I have been meaning to get to Beast for a while now.  Just never enough to time….. I had heard from a few friends in TO that the food was really good . This past weekend I finally got to try some items.  Once again Angie Quaale from Well Seasoned accompanied me.

We stopped  in for a glass of wine and a few appetizers before we headed out for a late dinner at Parts & Labour

The building is really charming and with lovely plastered walls, planked flooring and cozy seating.More like you are going to someones home for dinner than a restaurant.  Its just a really nice place to eat and the chandeliers are gorgeous but not so pretentious you would feel uncomfortable  coming in more casual clothing.

We decided on our wine and then moved on to selecting some appetizers to share –

Cassoulet duck confit, chorizo sausage, poached duck egg

The beautiful succulent pieces of duck, the to-die-for chorizo, beans that held their shape yet yielded to a bite…  and a perfectly poached duck egg made this dish elegant, rustic and hearty all at once.  The only criticism I could make was it was just a bit heavily seasoned with salt for our tastes… That note aside this is a dish you want to delve into- curling up beside a fireplace with it……. Like your favorite cardigan or sweater you want to just keep going back to it.

beast charcuterie

I love cured meats. I love the smoky overtones the different textures and tastes a good charcuterie platter should come with. I am spoiled so many of my friends on the BBQ circuit cure their own meats and have shared their bounty with us.  Going to restaurants lately I have been very disappointed with some of the charcuterie I have had, until this arrived:

1.Rabbit and Carrot Terrine 2. Pate de Campagne 3. Mortadella 4. Duck Bresaola 5. Foie Gras “Pastrami” pickled veg, mustard & honeycomb -parker house rolls, absolutely everything was delicious. We could have spent all night with this gorgeous pig platter of food slowly savoring each item.

I would also like to note they make the parker house rolls and mini baguettes with red bran (I could eat a dozen of these they are soo yummy and the texture ROCKS)  in house and they are just perfect accompaniments to this dish.

lamb ribs carolina bbq sauce & hushpuppies

So here is the hard part. I don’t like lamb in any form at all. I have had countless chefs and BBQ cooks and friends have me try their lamb in every which way possible. I still don’t like it. Until now.

Lamb ribs are something I have never had before. These were succulent and properly cooked.  The outside crust was incredible. The sauce very lightly applied.  I wish I had the rub recipe. The meats texture and flavor was incredible. Different than any other lamb I have ever had. The fatty layer underneath is simply indulgent very rich….. Delicious. ….I was shocked by how much I enjoyed them. The coleslaw was vinegary and crisp & did a great of balancing the fattiness of the ribs.

Last but not least the hushpuppies. I have such a fondness for hushpuppies. I am an absolute hush puppy lovin’ lady- These were little balls of pure happiness. I could eat them by the bucketload . The crunchy exterior is in beautiful contrast to the fluffy light interior.  They were awesome..  Hushpuppies are a Southern thing that I hope catches on a lot more in Ontario.

I am really looking forward to another visit to Beast to have not just appetizers but an entire meal… The service was incredibly friendly warm and hospitable. Scott and Rachelle Vivian truly have something to be incredibly proud of with this restaurant.


Its no secret I am a huge fan of the Stockyards in Toronto (recently voted Best Barbeque in NOW’s 50 Best Restaurants in Toronto 2010).. I have had multiples of meals there and every one of them has been excellent.  Their porchetta (fennel and garlic scented pork loin, belly,and cracklings served on a baguette,with garlic aioli) with rapini and shards of delicious well seasoned crackling is one of my all time favorites sandwiches. Their buttermilk marinated chicken is perfectly cooked every time  (and always worth the wait!) with each bite a crunchy symphony of flavors (love it with their in house made smoked hot sauce) and their fries are decadently indulgent. My super fly fry girl and the guys manning the flat top and fry stations  kick a$$.  Basically they serve consistently great  food all the time. They have such a dedication to serving excellent food that there is no wonder why the place is always busy and people leave happy & full.

This past weekend I made a return visit. I had to make sure my BBQ BFF Angie Quaale who had flown in for some business got to try their food.  We had the porchetta and the fried chicken ( two of my all time favs) and they were both excellent. We were very happy and along with the meal one of my favorite drinks as well… Black Cherry from Boylan

Tom Davis (owner) likes to play with his food.  Thank God.  This tall lanky guy has all the excitement of a kid at Christmas when he tells me about some new and upcoming menu items -Korean fried chicken sandwich and Viet-Lyon sandwich. (Roasted pork belly, house made pork rillette, daikon, carrot, sriracha mayo) His enthusiasm is infectious and I can’t wait to come back and try them.

In the mean time however I got to try something I had never had before … their Pit Beans.

Now I have eaten a lot of beans from bbq Pits.  I love BBQ beans. I have made gallons of them myself. However I have never  had better beans than at the Stockyards.  Truly I was shocked. I knew they would be good. IT pretty much goes without saying if Tom puts it infront of me I’ll probably like it. However I have never had better at any one of the BBQ joints I have visited all over North America (and that list is getting longer all the time). I personally cannot make beans this good.  I don’t know of anyone who can make beans this good.

What makes these so special?? Well they come to you and they really don’t look like anything exciting. Unassuming  looking bowl of beans. . Truly beans are a simple thing so many places serve them and more often than not they are a disappointing bland side dish. These beans could be a stand alone meal and you would be incredibly satisfied eating beans alone. Now think about that for a second.. How many places have you been where you could say their BBQ beans would be enough. Enough to satisfy your BBQ craving > These do. . Cooked in his homemade charcoal pit these capture the very essence of BBQ.  From the second the aroma starts to fill your nose with its hint of smoke and spice.. you want to dig in.   Let me wax poetic about these beans for a bit..  your first bite happens and you know immediately these are not your average pit beans. These are something truly magnificent. Starting with the texture of the beans themselves…They are not mushy they are not hard they have integrity but they meld in your mouth beautifully coating your tongue with flavor. Then a wonderful thing happens you taste some of the beautiful pulled pork mingled in amongst the beans and it is awesome meaty goodness.  Seconds later the back heat builds and it is a pleasant warmth like a BBQ hug of happiness. .  These beans are amazing. Well seasoned, cooked with care and truly special.

I am so glad to have tried them. I will be back for more soon. They are worth it.


I was happy to read a while back that Barrie would be getting another BBQ joint. Currently we have one Big Chris BBQ and I already like to eat there so why not another.. Barrie with its ever growing population can always use more BBQ.

Big Bone BBQ & Wicked Wings Barrie opened up just yesterday. Their location at 190 Minet’s Point Road is within a strip plaza facing Young St. It is an interesting location as it is ideally suited for the bedroom community at the South end and central Barrie.

They have awards from various ribfests around the walls and make claim that they have won over 50 BBQ Championships (?!).   The decor is casual and warm with taupe colored table cloths and walls with wood accent partitions.  Each table has ketchup salt & pepper, wet naps and a roll of paper towels but no  (?) BBQ sauce.  It is a nice… but not too nice place to go.   You would be comfortable here in dress pants as well as shorts.  They have achieved a good balance.

When I arrived there was one table of 4 young men all very animated and thoroughly enjoying their meal. It was nice to see people enjoying their food so much.  It was 11:30 am so no wonder that the rest of the dining room was empty.  However within moments many people started coming through the door. The crowd was a mix of businessmen in suits, young teens, families and local staff from area businesses.  They all looked happy to be there.   There was the sweet smell of BBQ throughout the restaurant…. and a terrific selection of Jazz, country, and blues on their sound system.

Lots of options on their menu.

Wanting to try just about everything I ordered the Elvis platter. It  comes with 3 bones, 1/2 lb wings, 1/2lb pulled pork, fries, coleslaw, beans and cornbread for $18.00  I also ask to have sauce on the side and the waitress went and asked if that was possible.  I also asked the super friendly waitress for sweet tea. I should have known that would be confusing.  In Canada no one ever refers to it as sweet tea. We usually order iced tea.  (I miss my US sweet tea! ).  No problem and off she goes to get it.

In the meantime I play with my blackberry but notice a couple of the staff milling about and generally doing everything they can to make people feel comfortable.  The owners of the Newmarket location (Lee & Tim Rombos of the Purple Pig & Memphis BBQ Woodbridge ON, fame) were on hand as well.  Certainly as this is only day 2 it is to be expected. I really hope they continue with their hospitality.

My platter arrives minus the beans. I do not say anything because truthfully I was paying attention to the meat.  It looks good plus instead of 3 bones I get 4. . ….

The ribs and the wings both come without sauce but the pork had already been sauced for the day. The texture of the cornbread is good its not overly sweet or dry. Just a decent slice of cornbread that crumbles properly.  The waitress came with the beans and apologized without being asked.  The coleslaw is creamy, simple and crunchy.  Its a good contrast for the pork which has nice chunks  in addition to the pulled. I got a little bit of bark but not much.  The flavor was good – mild and unoffensive with a hint of smoke. I like the fact the pork was not mushy and it still had definition. I would always prefer to order it naked and I hope that could someday be an option here.  Their sauce is a tangy and sweet tomato based sauce. A typical Canadian BBQ sauce. I am in it for the meat so to me the sauce really doesn’t matter that much.

The ribs had good flavor. Smokey overtones and very mild in seasoning and to me-  the lack of sauce let the taste of the meat come through. The ribs were well cooked. They were not fall off the bone.  They were tender and moist and quite lovely. They were… however… a little thin on the meat side as you can see from the picture and certainly this may be why I received 4 instead of the 3 as stated on the menu.  The owner Mike Miller later told me they are actively looking into obtaining some heavier racks and securing their pork for the upcoming months.

Happy people make better BBQ trust me on this…

Now moving on to the beans. They are forgettable. Seriously. Just forget them if you are looking for Smokey pit BBQ beans. They taste like a can of Heinz beans right off the counter.  To some people that may be terrific and perfectly acceptable but I have higher expectations from a BBQ joint.  They need some oomph. They need some smoke and they need more flavor.  I hope they give them some of the same love & attention they have bestowed upon their wings……..

wing picture from their website (I will admit I was too busy enjoying them to take a picture)

Moving on to the wings… They are really fantastic.  Lots of smoke flavor in little wing packages. To me I hold all wings to the level of Buster Rhinos in Whitby my all time favorite place for bbq wings. These come really close other than being a little on the small side they are terrific. Good things can come in small packages. I love a really good smoked then grilled wing.  The dual cooking technique can elevate a simple chicken wing to heights of absolute  culinary excellence.  They do them really well here and offer 24 toppings for their wings from the traditional flavors to a little more unique like Rasta Jerk and creamy Parmesan.

The kitchen is open to the dining room for all to see.

They use a Cookshack with hickory to cook all of their BBQ.

I had a bit of conversation with the owner Mike Miller about the restaurant and the menu items. He pointed out that I had missed the brisket sandwich completely when I had ordered the Elvis Platter. I just had to order one and I am very happy that I did. They thinly slice all of their brisket and toss it very lightly with their sauce and a bit of additional salt.  While it is not a traditional Texas style brisket it is a really satisfying beefy sandwich that has all the right amounts of spice and sauce.  Its piled high on a perfectly proportioned soft bun. To me meat to bun ratio should always be taken into consideration.  You should never have more bun than meat. Ever. They do it right here and its delicious.

The only real glitch I  observed on my visit (and seriously its only their second day) besides the beans in their layout.  They have a podium at the front of the restaurant for the hostess and the cash station is at the back of the room. Its awkward.  I think they should have combined the hostess station and the cash at the front and be done with it. Certainly it would free up room to put in at least 1 more 4 person table if not 2.  It doesn’t make any sense to have to walk to the back of the restaurant to pay when you are heading out the door. Also for those people waiting on take out they would be standing basically in the dining room right next to the other patrons seated in tables. I really think they need to change that layout.

My bill for the brisket sandwich, the Elvis platter and the iced tea was $33.00 (not including tip).  There was plenty to bring home for my better half. He was happy too. Both of us will be back next time. For sure without a doubt we will be back and I am thankful that Barrie has not just one but two great BBQ joints now.

Congratulations to the owners on their successful opening. It was a delicious afternoon.

190 Minet’s Point Road
Barrie, ON, L4N 4C3

Mon – Thurs:11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri – Sat:11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun:12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Price Range:$$ (10-30)

Payment Options:
Take – Out and Catering available.


Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian Friends and Family!

Here are some recipes and links to make your Thanksgiving great !

Derrick Riches from has some great links on their website on the benefits of brining

Diva Q Turkey Brine

¨ 6 – 355ml cans Rock Creek Dry Cider
¨ 2 cans Apple Juice 1.2L
¨ 1 cup Kosher salt
¨ ½ cup light brown sugar
¨ 2 tbsp black peppercorns
¨ 2 tbsp all spice berries
¨ 1 gallon ice water
¨ 5 gallon bucket

Brine turkey one hour per pound of turkey. Make sure to keep it in the fridge or packed with ice. When finished brining rinse and pat dry.

If you don’t have a lot of time to make a whole bird try these Cajun turkey breasts! They are quick easy and flavorful!

Diva Q Cajun Injection

1 cup Apple Juice or Cider

2 tbsp liquid crab shrimp boil concentrate

¾ cup honey

½ cup Diva Q Cajun Rub

½ cup clarified butter

Diva Q Cajun Rub

2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves (rubbed)
1 teaspoon oregano leaves

  • Boneless Skinless Turkey Breasts
  • Plastic Wrap
  • ½ cup Canola oil

Cover the turkey breasts in a layer of plastic wrap. Using a meat injector make multiples of injections through the plastic wrap into the turkey breasts. When you are done injecting remove the plastic wrap and rub the turkey lightly with canola oil. Sprinkle on Cajun rub. Marinate in the fridge covered for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium high heat approx 350F.

Grill turkey breasts – turning over after 5 minutes on each side. When the breast reads 170F internally remove the turkey breasts.  Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before slicing.

My all time favorite go to recipe for roasted turkey is from Alton Brown!

We get all our turkey from Hovey’s Gourmet meats here in Barrie. They have provided us with awesome free range fresh turkeys year after year!! They are really fresh !!

Plus don’t forget abut the sides !  For these I turn to my favorite Southern lady and the Queen of all things buttah!! Paula Deen ! She has loads of side recipes on her website. Plus she has a great menu from her Thanksgiving special !

No matter what you decide to serve from our family to yours we wish you the very best this Thanksgiving!!

Here is a series of Youtube videos from a past appearance I did on Breakfast TV on the “A” Channel


BC was just a whole lot of fun and I was so glad to have the chance to go. I had an incredible experience just hanging out in Vancouver’s down town district. One of those times I was taken to a place that will stay in my top food favorites forever. Thomas Haas Chocolates. To die for. Angie introduced me to one of her indulgences the double baked croissant. Oh My Goodness. It is beyond good. If you ever have a chance go and get one. Flakey yummy super delicate crunchy not too sweet perfect mouthfuls of pastry and almondy goodness. So very indulgent. I will crave this forever.

Plus their chocolates are incredible little morsels of chocolate crafstmanship

My husband Vlad arrived in Vancouver (he had his own adventure of a cancelled plane and a 6 hour layover in Calgary) and we all had a good time getting ready for the competition.

After the multiples of trips around Vancouver etc to get supplies and stuff it was really time to head up the mountain to Whistler. Wow.

I got to go with Angie. I was so glad she drove since I don’t think I stopped taking pictures the entire drive up…. beyond beautiful majestic and captivating.

The competition was a lot of fun. Different to be at the base of a mountain. Never had so much luxury either. Our suite was gorgeous and HUGE.

Overall it was great to see everyone and a huge thrill to be there.

We came so close but we had to settle for a reserve Grand Championship. Pork Butt 2nd place Brisket 3rd place Chicken 8th place Ribs 11th place Congratulations were extended to Rob & Jacy from Prairie Smoke n Spice for their GC!!!!

Additionally the day before the comp we came in 10th out of 50 in burger and 3rd in King of the Grill with a 198 out of 200 pts out of 50.

We had a blast being on the mountain and I hope to go back next year. Thanks again to our hosts Angie and Dennis.


Well I am really behind in my blog posts but I thought I should share a few pictures and results from the Canadian National BBQ Championships in Whistler BC as well as my trip overall.

I flew out earlier this summer to spend some time with my BBQ BFF Angie Quaale teach at her incredible gourmet food store Well Seasoned and while I was there compete.

It was a culinary indulgent trip for sure. BC is where my Mom was born and I have not been since I was just a few months old.  The first thing I said after getting off the plane was holy crap those mountains are huge.

*Please note this picture was taken by Ralph Maughan

You see no picture does them justice to get their magnitude and their impressive size and beauty. Gorgeous breathtaking and majestic don’t seem t do them any justice as an adequate description.

Also I have to state the people of BC are seriously laid back. They take their relaxation very seriously.  Shortly after getting off the plane we headed to Granville Island. Now this was an incredible place to spend the day just hanging out eating some of their delicious local fare and well of course having a few cocktails.

Wandering around the streets of Vancouver afterwards with my hosts Dennis and Angie was a whole lot of fun. There is so much to look at and see taste and experience that it is a bit of sensory overload.

After spending the day being tourists we proceeded to the beach at English Bay for the evening to watch one of the most incredible fireworks displays at the Symphony of Fire from Team Spain. We had a very long extended and relaxing meal with a whole lot of cocktails.

Here is part one of some video from the event.

It was an incredible way to end my very first day in BC.

The next day was all about relaxing kicking back and just getting caught up.

We also headed out for some great food. super yummy.

To top it off we went to a comedy club contest. This was held in a not so savory part of the city and was an adventure in itself. Some of the comedy was so horrible it was funny. The highlight was a friend of Angies – Art Factora who was funny, truly funny and kept us laughing long after he came off stage. they also served PBR a favorite beer of mine.

I also held a couple of recreational BBQ classes while I was there. I taught a class on ribs and also a class on BBQ desserts. Well Seasoned has had chefs from across the world come and teach at the store everyone from top TV Chefs to local favorites. Their course calendar is packed to the hilt with culinary excellence and opportunities to learn.

On another day we headed out to lunch with Anthony Sedlak famed Chef and star of the MAIN on the Food Network. Funny guy who likes to stand on his head. A lot. He was great company to have lunch with and I am really looking forward to seeing his various projects come to fruition. We tried a new burger place Romer’s Burger Bar and by the descriptions on the menu I was really looking forward to my burger. Sadly the burgers lacked in taste texture and overall appearance but the company I had more than made up for the poor meal.

One of the all time best meals I actually had during my stay was in Angies and Dennis’ backyard. we had a truly divinly decadently delicious halibut that Angie crusted with Salt & Vinegar potato chips. It was incredible. Dennis had caught the halibut himself. Paired with some fresh veggies, salads and a couple of bottles of wine this was by far my favorite meal from the entire vacation.

We also did girly things like get  pedicure and one other thing I never ever thought I would do … we got tattoos. Yup. Tattoos. You see I have been calling Angie and I and a few other ladies of BBQ sisters in Smoke. Angie one day called me a said in her ever so exuberant voice you know we should get tattoos when you come to BC….. and so we did.  She got hers on her leg and I got mine on my wrist. I won’t kid you it hurt like heck at first but the pain went away and I am so happy I did it. There are a few other ladies now that have plans to get the same tattoo as well and thats going to be pretty awesome.

We had to prep and get supplies for the competition in Whistler so we ended up doing some shopping and of course did a little trip to Washington as well.  One of the great things about BC is the availability of incredible produce and meats everywhere you go.

I have to go into more detail about one of the places at the Granville market.

Oh My goodness this place is an amazing culinary feast. We went back to Granville to stock up on munchies for Whistler. This is where I fell in love with an incredible charcuterie place called Oyama Sausage Company.

They make everything themselves. Pate’s, hams sausages terrines salamis cured smoked meats you name it they have it and its all delicious. I want to go back and try every single thing they make. Everything.


This is a great deal and a good place to eat. Was in there for lunch earlier this week and saw their Fathers Day special posted:

Big Chris fathers day special folks.. Two full racks, large fries, and a large caesar salad for $35.00.. Dont make dad cook on his day, take it home and tell him that YOU MADE IT..


Barrie, ON



I am just going to put it out there. One of the best places I have ever eaten BBQ ever is at the Stockyards. Yes. It is. Period. But wait. Theres more. How about the sexiest damn burger, the best onion rings, the most flavorful porchetta, the best tasting limeade and some of the nicest sandwiches a girl could ask for. It was freaking awesome. That sums up the whole meal:  freaking awesome.

I have been wanting to go to this place for a year. Since they opened last April. I never got the chance till tonight. I was worried it would not live up to its reputation. I was hopeful that the hype was true. It did not disappoint. I think for anyone coming into Toronto missing The Stockyards would be a sin. Truly.

I got to enjoy this meal with Ben Kaplan a writer for the National Post. He had written a story about the Stockyards previously and knew the owner Tom Davis. Tom is a tall lanky guy who has an intensity about him and a true warmth and passion for all things BBQ. He was on a mission to feed us both enough food to kill us. He seemed to take a real delight in it.

As we sat through the meal and talked back and forth I was thinking about the episode with Anthony Bourdain where he visits Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal QC. Martin Picard serves Anthony dish after decadent dish of fois gras items. All more decadent than the one previous. It just about kills him with the deliciousness and indulgence of it all.

Now imagine that instead of fois gras you were served outstanding  BBQ. Then burgers, and in house made pastrami and andouille and bacon and well you get the picture. That was my culinary adventure for tonight. Oh my goodness.

I started out the night with a photo-shoot in the rain on the back of my truck with my super cute Traeger pig BBQ. Then I moved on to the culinary indulgences. Limeade. Ahh limeade. I love you limeade. It is a perfect pairing with BBQ in my opinion. Their limeade puts all others to shame. Crisp clean and not too sweet. Lovely. Just lovely.

Now the first taste of the night came with the onion rings. Too many places forget the onion and all you get is batter. These were the best I have ever had period. A good onion ring is soooo hard to find. These were delightfully crisp. The batter had a pepper kick that made you want them more and more. The integrity of the onion never got lost with the batter. It stood on its own still retaining its crisp. Deep fried perfection.

I’d like to thank the fly fry girl Allison. She is a very hospitable friendly lady who worked the fry station all night like a champ. She rocked.

Our seats were right at the full view of the kitchen. Prime real estate at the Stockyards considering there are only 14 seats . The lineups never cease for takeout and on a Tuesday night its all about ribs and chicken.  Their full menu is plentiful. Additionally all of their takeout containers are biodegradable. Even the straws are biodegradable. Kudos to them for being environmentally responsible with their packaging choices.

Before the onslaught of food started we took a tour of the back room and the smoker. Tom runs it on hickory and apple wood he sources from the Niagara region and sugar maple hardwood lump charcoal. Its no secret I am a HUGE fan of sugar maple hardwood lump charcoal. It really does add to the flavor of the food. The smoker itself is a J&R Clone. Its a fairly large smoker that can accommodate a lot of meat. Tom had it custom made to his specifications. After years of playing with smoke  fire wood and charcoal on a cheap $100.00 Canadian Tire Smoker he knew what he wanted. He got it and it runs beautifully. It was great to see it in action as he was still smoking chicken when we got there.

Getting back to our seats from the tour of the kitchen the first 6 dishes arrived. The smell was truly intoxicating to me.

Pastrami, ribs, pulled pork, andouille, brisket and coleslaw.

The pastrami they do in house. It was wonderfully tender and nicely spiced. I think it will soon rival Caplansky’s.

The pulled pork had lots and lots of really great texture and definition. They do not serve it with sauce on –it is served on the side. Their sauce is not the syrupy sickly sweet consistency of so many other BBQ joints. It has twang and depth with apple cider vinegar and just a touch of sweetness. KUDOS to them. There are glorious shreds of bark through out. It was incredible. As we were doing a tasting it was served on its own. Truly a good pulled pork in my opinion should be able to stand on its own without sauce without a bun and without coleslaw. This pulled pork stands on its own and sings. Its that good.

Brisket. Oh my brisket. I love the point on brisket, all that delectable fat. My sandwich was full of delicious point.  This brisket was sliced thin and served on a French Baguette with caramelized onions garlic mayo and just a touch of their BBQ sauce. It was divine. Tender morsels of brisket that pulled apart with just a little tug. It was an incredible sandwich and the addition of the mayo and onions was just taking it to a whole other level.

Their slaw is different, in a good way. Its not some afterthought. It really has a great crunch factor and peppery bites with touches of celery seeds. Its a great accompaniment for any of the dishes.

The andouille was a really nice surprise. Its available on their brunch menu. The coarse grained meat had a wonderful smoky flavor and an abundance of defined texture. I can’t wait to go back and try their brunch menu. I would not want to miss it. I may need a while to recoup from tonight though.

Tom smokes his spare ribs for 7 hours. You would think that after 7 hours that they would fall off the bone be mushy or be overdone. You would be wrong. These ribs were one of the best I have ever had and certainly one of the best in Canada. Seriously meaty they would rival any rib I have had any where in North America. They held their shape after biting through. The bone turned a nice whitish color and the meat was tender but not mushy. The rub is simple and effective  – it does not mask the actual flavor of the pork but compliments it thoroughly. Too often the rubs and sauces that are used by restaurants mask too much of the pork. This rub is like the best supporting actor ever. It just helped it along but didn’t overshadow them. I loved how much of the rib was caramelized.  Goodness. Pure Pork Goodness.

If those dishes were not enough for a couple of foodies the next ones just about killed us with their decadence. It was like a foodie swan song and we almost bit the dust.

Fried Chicken, BAT, Porchetta Sandwich and the sexiest burger ever.

I am going to say this for the record I am jaded about fried chicken. After over indulging earlier this year on a couple of trips to Memphis and eating at Gus’s fried chicken I never thought I would ever find anything close again. I was wrong. Now I am going to say this chicken is almost as good as Gus’s. Almost. Pretty darn close in fact. The batter is awesome. The chicken is moist and succulent. However I think it needs more spice. Thats just a personal thing. It’s an easy fix with a couple dashes of hot sauce. Thats all it takes to bring this chicken to just about the same level as Gus’s. Once again its deep fried finger licking, lip smacking deep fried greatness. The chicken is not greasy at all. It is crunchy and savory and truly yummy.

BAT. What a name LOL. Its the Stockyards house cured bacon, Arugula, fried green Tomato, and lemon aioli on a ciabatta roll. Out of everything I had this was my least favorite. There is nothing bad about this sandwich. I just wanted to eat the bacon and nothing else. The bacon is so lovely with smoky overtones and full bodied flavor that it seems almost sacrilege to cover it up with anything.

I have now had the burger of my dreams. This burger was the sassiest, tastiest and sexiest burger I have ever had. It is a griddle smashed burger. This burger is unabashedly fierce. Smoked green chilies give it sass,pimento cheese gives it depth, the ground beef, brilliantly cooked and a buttered grilled bun like a perfect pillow. – I am in love with this burger. It was like sex on a bun. It was that amazing. I cannot wait to have another one. In fact I may go again Thursday when I am in Toronto again.

Last but most certainly not least is something I would recommend above everything else. It is their Porchetta sandwich.
I love porchetta when it is done right. Here is done exceptionally well. There is so much to love about this sandwich I do not know where to begin. It could be the fact that within the first bite you know there is a whole lotta love in the making of this wondrous sandwich. It is a fennel and garlic scented pork loin, belly,and cracklings served on a baguette, with garlic aioli.

This is truly a dream of a sandwich. While you are smelling the beautiful fennel and garlic you are experiencing the most satisfying crunch of the cracklings and while you are enjoying the cracklings your mouth is flooded with pure pork pleasure and if that wasn’t enough the silkiness of the garlic aioli comes across your tongue like the caress of a lover. While their chili burger is unabashedly sexy this is more like the most incredibly orchestrated symphony of flavors, tastes, and textures. I could not dream a better sandwich that this.

It was a culinary adventure like no other.

Many thanks to my dining partner tonight Ben Kaplan.  His is an exceptionally smart guy who was funny as hell. Truly talented – I know everyone will be hearing about him and his writing accomplishments.

Many thanks to the staff of the Stockyards and to Tom Davis himself. Thank you for sharing your passions about BBQ.

I have no doubt I will be back. Soon. Very soon. Like maybe in 48 hours.

the Stockyards
Smokehouse & larder
416 658 9666

Monday closed

Tuesday 11:30 to 9:00pm
Wednesday 11:30 to 9:00pm
Thursday 11:30 to 9:00pm
Friday 11:30 to 9:00pm

Saturday 11:30 to 8:00pm
Sunday 11:30 to 8:00pm



I made a repeat visit back to Big Chris today. I had not planned on it but as I was over in that area of Barrie it was convenient. Good food is always worth it.

Today I tried their shaved roast beef. A while back I posted their beans well to put it bluntly -sucked royally. Since then however I have great news – they are really great now. Completely terrific. Texture flavor and all aspects are just super yummy now.

This time I stayed and ate with my 4 year old son.

This is how they serve their in house diners. It was a very generous portion of lovely smoked shaved roast beef (you can opt for their horseradish mayo) great french fries, side of crunchy coleslaw and the new and uber improved beans. It was plenty for both of us. Kudos to them for improving their products and reacting to customers. I have no doubt Ill be back and I would suggest anyone who appreciates good bbq goes.


Well today has been a very exciting BBQ day!! I got to see the new Traeger 300 in person right after it was unloaded. It is even more impressive in person. Really solid design. I am looking forward to playing on one in the upcoming weeks.

Here are some pictures of the unit

As soon as I get the spec sheet I will update this post!