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Memphis BBQ

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on November 30, 2014 / review policy

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeMemphis BBQ is a divey roadhouse on Islington - it's the original home of Big Bone BBQ, sold off to independent ownership once the Southern Ontario-wide chain took off. John Sidhu and sons Amar and Aran are the current proprietors - Aran having learned the ropes under the founding pit masters.

Inside and out, the place captures an appropriately rustic, backwoods kind of vibe. The wide narrow space is divided into two rooms; the first, a take-away counter and short order kitchen; the second with seating for about 20 in a compact space decorated with posters, newspaper clippings and eclectic memorabilia. It's the kind of place where tables are set with rolls of paper towels and wet naps.

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeThe Elvis Platter ($18) is the one of the best ways to sample an array of house specialties. The dinner (presumably meant for one) comes with three side ribs, half a pound of finely shredded, saucy pulled pork, and half a pound of wings (smoked or fried) with baked beans, cornbread, fries, and slaw.

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeThe ribs are great - the meat peels off the bone, while the Memphis-style BBQ sauce, deeply coloured and sweetened with molasses, is brushed on last minute and finished with a turn on the grill so that the sauce caramelizes and crisps up the edges.

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeSkip the fried wings, which are unremarkable (though certainly welcome for variety sake when ordering a party pack). Opt instead for the house smoked wings, which marinate overnight before being smoked for four hours and then glazed and finished on the grill for a little flame-licked flavour.

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeThere's a tempting line-up of sandwiches and burgers too, though we're encouraged to go off menu and try the Fantasy Burger ($10.95) in a combo with onion rings and slaw. It's essentially a banquet burger, with cheese and peameal bacon, plus the entirely unnecessary but heavenly addition of pulled pork.

Memphis BBQ WoodbridgeThe place isn't licensed, so takeout is the best bet if your ideal feast includes a beer or two. Selling out is not unheard of - and neither are line-ups, so calling ahead for big orders is advised, especially during big televised sports events.

Memphis BBQ Woodbridge
Photos by Jesse Milns



What, you think you're better than me? / November 30, 2014 at 01:00 am
Yes, I know, a bit far north. However, great food, nice owners, good value - That'll do.
John / November 30, 2014 at 09:11 am
You do realize Woodbridge borders north york and etibicoke. It's really not that far north, essoically for drivers
poh replying to a comment from John / November 30, 2014 at 11:04 am
Or for that matter by public transit. York Region has a pretty decent bus network too.
NL replying to a comment from poh / November 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm
lol the bus that runs to this restaurant is weekdays only and every 40 minutes. Pretty shitty if you ask me.
In utereo / November 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm
While I was pregnant my Ob was directly across from this place. OMG! I had a craving and it was amazing! I didn't eat there but had take out. This was a decade ago, but if they are the same owners I'm sure nothings changed. It's not attractive from the outside and inside but the food is amazing.It actually looks like a dive you would not want to enter. I highly recommend it! Now I have a craving :)
lol wut replying to a comment from poh / November 30, 2014 at 05:43 pm
Really? REALLY?! It takes just under 2 hours one-way from downtown Toronto and it requires two different transit systems so it isn't cheap either.
petah / November 30, 2014 at 06:02 pm
by far the best BBQ in the gta.
Francesco / November 30, 2014 at 06:04 pm
Here's a great idea, get a job and save up for a car
@lol wut / December 1, 2014 at 10:06 am
First off you do need to drive. When 905ers go out to dinner in Toronto how long do you think it takes? Usually over 1 hr with all the traffic and construction, then another 20 mins trying to find parking, that doesn't stop people from going to their favourite restaurants. 905ers don't have to go to Toronto to eat out because there is a variety of restaurants in the 905 ranging from Indian, Thai, Italian....yet we still come to Toronto.If you have a craving for this type of food and just want to take a drive out of Toronto why not? This food is something you wouldn't eat on a weekly basis, so what's the harm in taking a drive here and there to enjoy some great food?
KH / December 1, 2014 at 08:07 pm
Been there a while ago, went back today. Asked for the pulled pork sandwich, hold the fries. Supposed to come with beans and slaw too. They brought me just the sandwich. It was very disappointing. Very friendly but nothing to return for.
milo lai / December 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm
bs - 905'ers leave the 905 for food because there's f all in the suburbs unless you want to stuff your gunt at Boston Pizza

i didn't know this was 'blog sticks' edition
91 Supreme / December 2, 2014 at 08:57 am
Typical Blogto hipster comments about leaving the city. Not our fault that you don't have a car, and ride a bicycle for a living.
Bob from Etobicoke / December 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm
The residents that live south of Lawrence really need to chill with the anti 905 comments.
@milo lai / December 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Well you don't know the suburbs very well than. There are restaurants everywhere of all different nationalities, from Italian, Chinese, Thai , Indian...... List goes on. I actually live in Vaughan but like to go to Toronto for a change of scenery, and to try different restaurants. I've lived her for over a decade and never ate at Boston Pizza because everyone knows it's shit and with all the wonderful option available why would I?
zach / December 2, 2014 at 05:01 pm
just please try it before you say anything about this place. Hands down my favorite BBQ place.
Mikey / December 5, 2014 at 01:19 pm
This place looks amazing.
Anna / January 2, 2015 at 11:20 am
Best BBQ I've ever had in Canada. Hands down, no competition
lou replying to a comment from KH / January 20, 2015 at 02:53 pm
hun when you don't get the fries the coleslaw and beans doesn't come with it. It comes as a combo......
Alison / February 1, 2015 at 05:38 pm
I had a mini combo which comes with ribs, chicken wings, fries, coleslaw, beans. The first 3 were all amazing (and the probably the best in GTA), but I had to wait for an hour to get this one little order for take out. That's ridiculously long. I don't think I can go back
Richard / July 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm
I have to say i was not impressed, the brisket was the best part of our take-out, the ribs and chicken wings nothing special, we had to wait 45 mins to get our take-out order, was it worth the wait i will have to say no.

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