Barbecue season is well underway, so it’s getting harder and harder to leave the house for dinner. But with the fairer weather comes a desire to do a little less. Some nights, an evening of patio grilling is offset by laziness. Fear not, sun-stroked Torontonians. You can have your meat and eat it too at these restaurants that grill up their own version of a backyard BBQ.
Not just a summer special or a one-off occasion, every day all year is barbecue season for this Dupont joint. The al fresco seating is tucked discreetly behind their sister restaurant Rose and Sons, and they turn out succulent whole birds, meaty ribs and just about ever iteration on the meat spectrum in front of your eyes on their wood-fired grill.
Electric Mud BBQ
Walk in to this Parkdale barbecue emporium and it smells as if you’re in the smoker itself. Their slogan, “If you can kill it, we can grill it!,” aptly describes a menu laden with succulent carnivorous options. The front patio is enclosed during the winter and heat lamps and house-made electric hot sauces will keep you warm. Sidle up next to a couple strangers at their picnic bench seating and gear up for some goodness.
AFT Kitchen and Bar
East-enders have Paul Campbell to thank for convenient access to some true Texas and Deep South barbecue in Riverdale. Their back patio has more capacity than their dining room, so summer is the perfect time to settle in under the starlight and watch as slabs of side ribs and whole briskets are pulled from the adjacent smoker.
Photo by Nelson Tam
If you’ve never ventured out to the Junction Triangle for a meal, promptly enter Farmhouse Tavern into your GPS. Over half of the menu is prepared in Chef Alex Molitz’s signature oil drum smoker, from the seasonal veg to their cote de boeuf. Grab a group of friends and indulge in in The Big Bird – a luxurious preparation of whole smoked peking duck with confit fried wings and legs, two soft poached deep fried duck eggs, and a heap of local veggies.
Smoque N’ Bones
If you’re on a stroll near Trinity Bellwoods, chances are the scent of BBQ will lure you into Smoque N’ Bones. Think beef brisket, ribs and spicy house sausage as well as popcorn shrimp and wings. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on their sides — buttermilk onion rings, anyone? – and order one serving (at least) of the cornbread. What pairs best with BBQ? Bourbon, of course, and Smoque N’ Bones has it in spades, as well as a cocktail menu boasting housemade syrups.
Boots & Bourbon Saloon
This east-end saloon pairs BBQ with loveable Southern kitsch (yes, there’s a mechanical bull). Enjoy live music, dancing and a menu that runs the gamut from cajun fries to bourbon-braised pork ribs to beef chuck chili. For those needing a little more, check out the apple bourbon donuts and funnel cake.
Carbon Bar comes with pedigree, courtesy of Yannick Bigourdan and Franco Prevedello (Nota Bene, Splendido), and serves up a balanced mix of BBQ classics alongside, shall we say, less messy fare such as ceviche and crab cakes, in a spacious, glossier-than-your-average-BBQ-joint setting. The piece de la resistance is undoubtedly the Pit Master’s Platter (for a minimum of two people), featuring pork ribs, beef brisket, buttermilk fried chicken and (somehow) more.
If you’re searching for well-smoked BBQ in Toronto’s west-end, pull up a seat at Barque. From their brunch-time Barque Benedict (with smokiness courtesy of smoked brisket or smoked salmon), to their sampler platters heaped with your choice of pork, 12-hour brisket, or baby back ribs, Barque’s menu unites all the BBQ standards for easy sampling. On Sunday nights stop in for their family night menu, offering large platters of—you guessed it—various iterations of “smoked goodness.”
Head up to St. Clair West for Southern-style eats. This snug, ever-fragrant space serves up burgers, brisket and grilled (smoked) cheese sandwiches, but stop in on select evenings for ribs and chicken smoked over hardwood embers.
This Leslieville restaurant sits pretty in a former Country Style and serves up novel interpretations of Southern BBQ such as the smoked butter chicken with sweet mango chutney. Other snapshots of the good ol’ Down South include BBQ corn salad, poutine “loaded” with beef brisket, and sandwiches topped with the Pumps’ own BBQ sauce. Soak up the summer rays from their cottage-ready Muskoka chairs while waiting for your order.
Featured Image: Smoque N’ Bones’ Facebook page
What are some of your favourite ‘Backyard BBQ’ restaurants in Toronto? Let us know and tweet us @ViewTheVibe.