Toronto’s Best BBQ Joints

In some parts of the southern United States, barbecue is more of a religion than a cuisine. Here in Toronto, we don’t have the same kind of fanaticism around grilled and smoked meats, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a great rack of ribs. Whether it’s Texas-style brisket or St. Louis pulled pork, Toronto’s pit masters take their craft as seriously as anyone south of the border. Here are a few great places to get saucy.

Adamson Barbecue
176 Wicksteed Ave.; adamsonbarbecue.com

Its location is off-the-beaten-path, but that doesn’t stop hungry carnivores from queuing outside this Leaside legend for a taste of some truly excellent BBQ. Adamson specializes in Central Texas-style barbecue, which translates to mouthwatering brisket, spare ribs, and house-made sausages cooked in their smoker for up to 24 hours. Everything is made fresh daily and they close when they run out of meat, so come early and come hungry.

Big Crow
176 Dupont St.; roseandsonsbigcrow.com

Set back from the street in a rustic wooden shack between Rose and Sons diner and the train tracks, eating at Big Crow feels like going to a relaxed backyard barbecue. Instead of sticking to tradition, their menu combines Asian, Mexican, and European influences with BBQ staples, resulting in a huge variety of delicious options like jerk chicken wings with pineapple salsa, and steelhead trout poke with peanuts, chili, and ginger.

Plus, check out:

The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder
699 St. Clair Ave. W; instagram.com/thestockyards

You’ve got to be pretty confident in your BBQ to serve it only three days a week, but pitmaster Tom Davis’ food is worth the wait. Plan to visit on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday for the Stockyards’ famous smoked chicken and ribs; and be sure to come early as they usually sell out. If you’re unlucky enough to miss the boat, you’re still in for a treat: their smash burgers and fried chicken are legendary.

Cherry Street Bar-B-Que 
275 Cherry St.; cherrystbbq.com

Simple, classic BBQ dishes are the focus of this roadhouse-style restaurant in Toronto’s Port Lands. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken are slow-cooked to perfection over white oak daily. Add a couple of classic sides like mac and cheese and coleslaw, and a cold microbrew from their taps, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect summer meal.    

Carbon Bar
99 Queen St. East; thecarbonbar.ca

Don’t let the crowds of suits from the nearby Financial District fool you—Carbon Bar can get down and dirty when it comes to barbecue. Ribs and brisket are dry-rubbed and smoked over white oak in their BBQ pit before being lovingly smothered in tangy house-made sauce, and are accompanied by classic sides like pit-smoked beans and cheesy grits. You may want to tuck a napkin into your shirt for this one.