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Best of Toronto

The Best BBQ Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / July 16, 2014

best BBQ torontoThe best BBQ restaurants in Toronto embrace the time-honoured cooking traditions of the Southern states. What was once a catch-all category for anything covered in mesquite sauce is yielding some serious smoke-infused fare: bark-encrusted ribs, briskets ribboned with fat, and spoon-torn pork shoulders.

In Toronto, traditionalists who take great pride in emulating regional styles are increasingly being joined by a new wave that's taking creative license when it comes to skewing flavours toward other global locations, or taking advantage of rare and interesting proteins - say, duck or offal. While in most cases good BBQ needs nothing more than a side of wet naps (white bread works too), on this list you'll even find smoked meats making their way into tacos, poutine and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Here are the best BBQ restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The top 10 under the radar BBQ restaurants in Toronto
The top 10 BBQ caterers in Toronto
The best ribs in Toronto
The best BBQ chicken in Toronto

The Stockyards

The Stockyards

The smokehouse and larder on St. Clair West seems to excel at everything it does, and while it's perpetually packed, you'll find it busiest on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday evenings when whole pit-smoked chickens ($15) and spice-encrusted racks of ribs ($27) come out of the smoker at 5pm. Week-round you'll find pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches on the menu along with a house-smoked bacon that makes its way into burgers, sandwiches and breakfasts. More »

Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse

This Roncesvalles restaurant features goodies from the onsite wood smoker all day long, ranging from the brisket topped Barque Benny ($14) on the brunch menu to the array of meats including brisket, back ribs, sausage, beef ribs and chicken offered at lunch and dinner. Sample it all on platters ($26 per person/$48 per couple) or order a la carte and share enticing apps like smoked duck tacos ($8) and wings ($12) to start. More »

Electric Mud BBQ

Electric Mud BBQ

From the same folks behind Grand Electric, this bourbon-fueled joint in Parkdale does Southern-inspired favourites from both the fryer and the cooker. On the menu under "Bar-B-Que" you'll find selections like cowboy beef ribs (MP), pork side ribs ($14.50), rib ends ($7) and pig tails ($10.50). More »

Big Crow

Big Crow

On Dupont, this hideaway behind Rose & Sons keeps the outdoor cook-out vibe going year-round. The menu is anything but traditional, but it'll certainly satisfy your carnal urge for fire-licked meats. While the selection changes seasonally, expect to find slabs of baby back ribs ($32/full, $17/half) dressed with unusual accoutrements like pecorino, walnut, sage and pears, as well as grilled specialties like flank steak or whole fish. More »

Hogtown Smoke

Hogtown Smoke

Both a food truck and a permanent restaurant in The Beach(es) are devoted to smokehouse standards. Accompanied by a full range of classic sides, the menu boasts drool-inducing sandwiches loaded with coarsely shredded brisket or saucy Carolina pork ($15-$16), and meaty delicacies served a la carte, or on sampler platters starting from $56 for any four meats and three sides. More »

Greenwood Smokehouse

Greenwood Smokehouse

The seductive scent of hardwood smoke will lure you into this smokehouse on the Danforth where you'll find sauce-slathered ribs by the whole ($28) or half rack ($18), and Carolina-style pulled pork piled high on a bun ($12). Don't worry if you find yourself elbow-deep in sauce - wet naps are in no short supply. More »

Paul & Sandy's

Paul & Sandy's

In Etobicoke, this BBQ joint is well loved for smoke-infused, bark encrusted meats, including dry-rubbed, Kansas City style ribs ($12/half or $20/full), and fat-ribboned pork and beef brisket that's so tender it can be torn by hand with almost no effort. Try to save room for the sides, too - selections include baked beans, creamy slaw and red skin potato salad. More »

Memphis BBQ

Memphis BBQ

Part of the Big Bone BBQ family of restaurants, this offshoot in Woodbridge serves up saucy sandwiches stacked with pulled pork or brisket ($8.75) along with smoked wings ($9.75/lb) finished on the grill and glazed in fiery red sauce. Not to be missed are the competition-grade ribs sold three, six or nine bones at a time ($9.75-$19). More »

Stack

Stack

This uptown smokehouse near Yonge and Lawrence adopts regional styles from across the Southern U.S. barbecue belt. Order meats like the Lexington pulled pork ($10) and the sweet and salty Memphis brisket ($10) a la carte, or have them both on the Ultimate Platter ($64) with baby back ribs, charcoal chicken, smoky molasses beans, mac and cheese, fries and dinner rolls. More »

Discussion

46 Comments

Elvis / July 16, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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I agree with most on this list, although there are some arguably missing. Electric Mud however - ugh.. I don't know what to say, the ambiance is nice and the beer selection is ok but the food, the ribs and rib sauce especially just sucked ass. That's the best I can describe it. The portions are small and you're dropping some coin, its not cheap. Avoid avoid avoid. Money better spent at Barque!! But good luck getting in there.
poor souls. / July 16, 2014 at 01:32 pm
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Oh BlogTO voters, you never cease to amaze.

2 MASSIVE omissions. AFT and AAA.

No list is complete without those 2 within the Top 5.

a replying to a comment from poor souls. / July 16, 2014 at 01:58 pm
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who cares
mike / July 16, 2014 at 02:00 pm
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No Marky & Sparkys?
ummm replying to a comment from a / July 16, 2014 at 02:01 pm
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You clearly do enough to reply to "poor souls" post.
TorontoFoodBwoy / July 16, 2014 at 02:06 pm
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Stockyards Sucks!!! Gets my rating for most over hyped place on St Clair and probably in Toronto. Burgers are like 14 dollars with tax and are small as fuck, ribs were horrible the one time I had them. Everything sounds good, costs too much and is a small portion. Toronto is a real sad place for BBQ if Stockyards gets the best rating.
Jazz replying to a comment from ummm / July 16, 2014 at 02:06 pm
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whateves
Kadi / July 16, 2014 at 02:09 pm
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Smoke N Bones on Queen West!
EscherTO / July 16, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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No AFT, but no 420 Smokehouse either?! One of the best little smokehouses I've been to in Toronto...a little gem on Parliament St.
Chris! / July 16, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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Barque is weak shit unless you like your ribs tough, cold and served immediately after ordering them.

AAA should be on here for their beef ribs alone.
Meg / July 16, 2014 at 02:25 pm
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Barque has the worst customer service ever. We live in the neighbourhood and have been on multiple occasions, but it's been a negative experience every single time.
Hamish Grant / July 16, 2014 at 02:42 pm
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We really like Barque! We live in the neighbourhood too - the three times we've been (as well as the two times we've ordered delivery) have always been delicious and the service has always been attentive despite the always-busy-ness of the restaurant.
Milly / July 16, 2014 at 02:46 pm
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I'll whole heartedly second 420 Smokehouse - it's the only place in Toronto that I've found which actually smokes all of their meat, and it is damn tasty. It's a little away from the action in Cabbagetown but it is well worth the trip over. 420 is hands down better than Barque and Stockyards every time I've gone (quite a few times now....)
Elle / July 16, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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Totally agree that Aft and AAA need to be on this list, two of the best!!
Phazer3000 replying to a comment from Hamish Grant / July 16, 2014 at 02:52 pm
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What's all this 'WE' business, speak for yourself.
Ray / July 16, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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Do I need to define the difference between BBQ, Grilling and Smoking for everyone?
Dean replying to a comment from Ray / July 16, 2014 at 03:00 pm
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shut up Ray.
East of Yonge is a start replying to a comment from poor souls. / July 16, 2014 at 03:25 pm
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Agreed. Both Aft and AAA are huge omissions, but at the same time I'm not super heartbroken that the throngs of BlogTO readers won't make it any harder to find a seat at either.

Let's focus on the positive: there are restaurants on this list that are east of yonge. It's a small win.
Pamela / July 16, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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Let's add some food trucks and trailers to the list! Fat Louie's BBQ at Keele and St Clair has my favourite pulled smoked brisket in the city!
Jodie / July 16, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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Barque has terrible customer service, and a manager who stares icily at patrons. They also serve stale popcorn as an appetizer.

Stockyards has to be the most overrated "southern" style restaurant in the city. People rave about their fried chicken, which has no taste. I'd rather head over to Churchill's.
p replying to a comment from Jodie / July 16, 2014 at 04:50 pm
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I'm with you on the Barque comment,
but dissing Stockyards' buttermilk fried chicken is insane. I think you must have had a cold when you ate it. Also their ribs and burgers are the shit.
Jim / July 16, 2014 at 05:05 pm
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WTF no Marky & Sparky's this place won the best dish of 2013 for their Brisket and their ribs are to die for. BlogTO readers are way off their votes sometimes.
Ed / July 16, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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I haven't been since it opened but I personally think Smoke Bourbon is the best BBQ i've had in Toronto.

I've been to Electric Mud and other than being affiliated with Grand Electric, I don't see what the appeal is. The pork belly was dry. Twice. C'mon. Dry pork belly?!

Barque is good but I wasn't amazed.

I'm glad Stockyards made it to number 1 because they're great. But I encourage you all to try Smoke Bourbon...I know there was some issue with ownership shortly after they opened but damn is the food good. The white sauce is off the hook!



Marky & Sparky's / July 16, 2014 at 05:36 pm
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Even thou we didn't make the list on BlogTo we know we are doing something right with the love and reception we get from the surrounding neighborhood. We have made many other list including top 10 best BBQ restaurants in all of Canada. Best dish of 2013 on dineTO, and best restaurant for 2013. I know our review wasn't the best review on BlogTo but nothing wrong with taking their review and improving our products. Maybe we can convince the BlogTO readers next year to like our BBQ =(
Ryan / July 16, 2014 at 05:58 pm
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I am glad 420 Smokehouse is NOT on this list. If you like cold food and indifferent service, be my guest.
BlogTO voters on crack! Stockyards #1 ?? / July 16, 2014 at 06:19 pm
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For a place that serves ribs only a couple times a week does not deserve to be here. The seating here is very limited and one of the female waitresses there is always rude and in a bad mood.
asdf replying to a comment from Marky & Sparky's / July 16, 2014 at 06:34 pm
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I always hate seeing establishments comment on blogs effectively calling attention to themselves. Work on your promo outside of the comments section of pseudo 'news' sites and then maybe you won't be a sore loser next year.
Marky&Sparkys replying to a comment from asdf / July 16, 2014 at 06:47 pm
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Far from a sore loser but it is what it is. I'm just happy to make BBQ for our loyal customer day in and day out.
Kaz / July 16, 2014 at 07:02 pm
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I didn't dislike the flavours as much as Elvis, but I have to agree with him - Electric Mud takes Southern fusion to its bougiest heights... and that's a bad thing. You are dropping a ton of money for portions that would make a Southerner snort, "you call those ribs?" Unlikely I eat again at one the worst value for money place I've been in Toronto. Go to Big Crow - it's pricy too, but the portions and flavours will leave you pretty satisfied.
smores ice cream sandwich / July 16, 2014 at 07:51 pm
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Seconded on Big Crow - the chicken in particular is fantastic stuff. I've eaten there many times and always been satisfied.
joe / July 16, 2014 at 08:46 pm
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missing aft?

the worst
DirtyT / July 16, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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I'm a fan of Marky & Sparky's.. They SHOULD have been on the list. Decent Brisket, decent pulled pork (which they make a killer poutine with), kick ass ribs.
Al / July 17, 2014 at 01:19 am
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Although not technically a restaurant I would have loved it if they included The Brixton Grill at the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market every Thursday, the only all vegan barbeque around.
BBQ / July 17, 2014 at 09:15 am
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Barque has always had great customer service every time I go and the food could not be more delicious! They're a busy joint...all the time, but they know what they're doing
Bob / July 17, 2014 at 09:21 am
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No Lou Dawgs?
Brandon / July 17, 2014 at 09:28 am
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I personally agree that Barque deserves one of the top spots on the list. Electric Mud is decent but way too expensive. Their beef ribs are pretty good, but be very cautious of the Market Price tag. The price of beef ribs doesn't fluctuate much, so I have no idea why they mark it that way. We assumed they wouldn't be too pricey, but ended up paying $15 for each rib... Glad Smoque & Bonez didn't make the list though - that place is so incredibly overpriced too. $25 for half a rack of ribs and 2 tiny sides is ridiculous.
jess / July 17, 2014 at 11:41 am
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Smoke Bourbon BBQ
This replying to a comment from Meg / July 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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This a million times, couldn't possibly have worse, ruder customer service. The food is crazy overrated too. Very mediocre food, not top 10 in city.
Smoker / July 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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SMOKE BOURBON BBQ HOuSE..........that's where it's at......hands down best BBQ in Toronto
bobbbbbblouuu replying to a comment from Bob / July 17, 2014 at 01:43 pm
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Dont be silly Bob.

Lou Dawgs wouldnt make a Top 50 list.
Bike replying to a comment from Smoker / July 17, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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Smoke Bourbon is ass. Uninterested servers. Brisket that has been cooked so long the fibres in the meat have broken down to mush. I'm so glad that shithole didnt make this list. Oh... And the one time I ate there and left thought that back door... RATS. All over that huge dumpster they stuck right on their exterior.
Nick / July 17, 2014 at 05:10 pm
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Stack is the best BBQ I've had in the city so far. Along with Paul and Sandy's.

The brisket at Stack is STUPID good. I've gone back multiple times just for that.

I personally feel that Barque is super overrated. I found it to be over priced for a relatively small portion side for 'OK' BBQ. They kind of miss the point if you ask me. I'm not saying they're bad, there is just definitely better BBQ, and BBQ experiences in Toronto.

Stack may be a trek for a lot of people and not super hip, but the food is actually ridiculously delicious.
Nick / July 17, 2014 at 05:11 pm
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portion size*
Fallerboy replying to a comment from poor souls. / July 17, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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Big bbq fan here. Ate at AFT months ago. Considered it all fairly average. Not enough smoke or flavour in their meats. Will not return.
Mr. Brown / July 19, 2014 at 10:37 pm
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Carbon bar
j-rock replying to a comment from Jodie / July 20, 2014 at 01:13 pm
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The fact that you feel that way about the Stockyards' fried chicken makes it very difficult to take anything that you say seriously.

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