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The Best Ribs in Toronto

  • f

My usual haunt has fallen from grace of late, and I am beginning to scour this fair city for the best ribs it has to offer.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Firstly, let's acknowledge that, by and large, Toronto does not have great ribs. But, we who love ribs must work with what we've got. Here's some of what we've got:

    DiPamo's (Eglinton & Avenue). Can be quite good; can also be quite fatty. Good beans, pulled pork, home made chips. One of the better ribs in town.

    Phil's BBQ (College & Ossington?). Very similar to DiPamo's; they are historically associated in some way.

    Ribfest. Some good travelling ribbers, most notably Camp 31. Catch this annually (summer) in Etobicoke. Used to be at St. Lawrence market, but I don't think it was this year.

    Beer Bistro. I went here recently. I was very skeptical indeed. They were pretty darn good. Worth trying.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Fwagra

      Was at Beerbistro last night and the ribs are no longer on the menu...pity since they were great!

      1. re: Fickle

        they are on the menu!

        as an appetizer! but also slightly different.... they took the ephemere off the beer menu as well. shame shame shame.

      2. re: Fwagra

        Dipamo's has excellent ribs; beef, pork side and baby back all slow smoked so you really get that apple wood aroma. You can ask for it wet and it will be brushed with their own barbeque sauce and sprinkled with their own barbeque rub as well. Try their corn chowder while you're there, one of the best in town.

        1. re: Fwagra

          Sorry, I had to repost this.

          STAY AWAY from Phil's! I have heard 'good' things
          > about this
          > restaurant from random sources, and was always
          > curious.
          > Going in, it smelled lovely and smoky and
          > meaty...but coming out, I
          > was thoroughly upset at the money we had wasted in
          > going.
          > Ended up going, and it was disgusting and
          > disappointing -- the
          > deepfried hush puppies (appetizers) were overdone to
          > the point of
          > being not golden-brown but charcoal-black...dry and
          > hard like little
          > footballs.
          > The ribs were horrible. I don't know how you can
          > screw up ribs, but
          > Phil's did! Dry like woodchips, and tough to chew -
          > I don't see how
          > they can keep their 'Kansas City BBQ Member' sticker
          > on the door. I am
          > half tempted to write the KC BBQ Association a
          > letter of complaint. I
          > could not finish the food - and I am a
          > platefinisher! That's how bad
          > it was. I had to send it back.

          > Honestly, Swiss Chalet makes better ribs. And
          > Montana's, for Godssakes. (How embarrassing).
          > Everyone, let's do Toronto a favour and quit
          > patronizing Phil's! His
          > whole marketing schtick is based on his 'Original
          > BBQ, I traveled the
          > South' thing. It tasted SO bad and that's why I was
          > so upset after I
          > left, because there was absolutely nothing
          > redeemable about the meal.

          1. re: charxchar

            I was also disappointed at Phil,s ,the pulled pork sandwich was dry, not enough sauce to remoisten.

            The sides were also quite bland .

            I usually go to Fat Bob,b smokehouse every 3 months to make a bbq pilgrimage, they do it right ...



            1. re: charxchar

              I agree, their sauce is horrible as well, like balsamic vinegar.

              1. re: Bobby Wham

                Concur with the above. Phil’s is not good value for the taste you get.

              2. re: charxchar

                I was there last year. Everything charxchar is aboslutely correct if not even worse. I just don't understand how come they're still open. The driest toughest ribs I've ever had.

                1. re: sharkey2008

                  I think it's surviving on reputation right now. At one time, they were good.

                  They did Restaruant Makeover so that should tell you something.


                2. re: charxchar

                  I'm consistently surprised by the harsh reviews that Phil's receives on this board. I think that their ribs are first class. Definitely the best that I've had in Toronto. I was at Ribfest yesterday and tried a rack from Camp 31. In my opinion, Camp 31 doesn't hold a candle to Phil's. The two sauces that are used at Phil's are ribilicious, the beans proper and most importantly, the ribs are meaty and well-smoked. The meat falls apart. Occasionally the ribs can be on the dry side, but when the meat is as thoroughly smoked and as tender as it is, this isn't a deal breaker. I supposes that there is no accounting for taste.

                  1. re: Fwagra

                    Second that notion on Rib Fest. I heard the St Lawrence fest was actually held in the Distillery District this year, but I missed it. But made it out to the Canada Day Rib Fest in Etobicoke's Centennial Park. It's the best in the city, but only once a year! My favourite vendor there (after considerable sampling) is Gator from Florida.

                    Has anyone tried the Purple Pig downtown?

                    1. re: Fwagra

                      Y'know, maybe it's cuz I lived in the Deep South for a couple of years and got spoiled, but IMO Depalma's and Phil's just don't cut the mustard. I find that their meat is dry and just doesn't have the zest one associates with classic prok ribs.

                      FYI, Phil's on College is the original, Depalma's opened up as a franchise of Phil's, then the owners of the two places had a falling out.

                      1. re: geo

                        You are 100% right. Like you, I have lived in real areas. There isn't anyplace in Toronto worth going out to for BBQ of any kind. If I want BBQ, I make it.

                        1. re: geo

                          Hey Geo,

                          I have to agree . . . I lived in Texas for 5 years and I must say ever since I've been back to Toronto (about 20 years now) I have always been dissappointed with the Q in the city . . . I haven't been to Phils for a long time but the last time we were in it was just ok . . . Pretty pricey for what you get though . . . whenever I go down south or out west I have to hit the BBQ places and get my fix of chicken fried steak....
                          as a side note . . . I actually had some good ribs on a Friday night at whimpy's diner on kingston road . . . they are not on the menu and they are done in the oven but for the money they were very good and extremely tender...this was a while ago so I don't know if they still have them..


                          1. re: snackboy

                            Thanks for the tip SNACKBOY/Dave
                            Where on Kingston Rd was that?. I work at KR and Queen St East maybe I will pop over for dinner one night.
                            You need an email address so we don't have to share our persoal mail.

                            1. re: fruglescot

                              Hey Frugle,

                              Sorry for the delay . . . I have neglected my chow...

                              here is a link...



                        2. re: Fwagra

                          The Rotarians have a Ribfest every July in Thompson Park in Scarborough as well.. Many award winning ribbers and smokers ply their trade there.
                          Local Ontario purveyors, "The Purple Pig" got my attention although it's impossible to sample them all. A 3 day weekend affair.

                          1. re: Fwagra

                            I have to agree with you on Camp 31, I caught them at the Ribfest in Gravenhurst a couple years ago and their restaurant in Dundas, ON is worth stopping at whenever you're in that area

                          2. Billy,s ribs at master steaks , top notch !!!

                            Call ahead , he only runs them as a special.


                            1. If you like fall of the bone ribs the suggestions above are for you.
                              I am a dissenter on the board, because I don't like ribs that are boiled first, or heavily loaded with sauce, or fall of the bone.
                              I like a crunch to my ribs.
                              Although I have not been for a couple of years, Steak Pit on Avenue had good ribs if you like this type.

                              1. try barklays on lawrence just east of vic park oldschool finer dining experience at a reasonable price

                                1. c
                                  Cereal Killer

                                  Believe it or not, Laide has fantastic ribs, but they are certainly not "traditional" BBQ.

                                  1. The various Toronto attempts are all disappointing (especially Phil's). I also don't like the ambience or accompaniments at Dipamos although the ribs themselves are passable.

                                    I now go to Universal Grill on Dupont. Not the boiled, fall-off-the bone type. I prefer the spiced dry rub option, but they also have a 'wetter' version - but these are beef ribs. Still they aren't a pale imitation of what is far better down South.

                                    1. Have you tried The Purple Pig at Yonge and Richmond? I seem to recall they always had good standing at the RibFest, and I've always enjoyed both their ribs and their pulkled pork sandwich.

                                      I have to admit that while the ribs at Canada's beloved Swiss Chalet are hit and miss depending on which location does the cooking, the one servicing my neighbourhood does a pretty darn good job.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: RichardW

                                        We were at the Purple Pig two weeks ago--the 2nd time in a year. I really want to like this place because it's convenient to me, but it just doesn't pass BBQ muster.

                                        Although the staff were very nice, the ribs are not so good. Fairly bland with not a lot of flavour. They don't stand up well to the real thing. We really didn't like their pulled pork sandwich. It was dripping with gloopy sweet, sweet bbq sauce. Perhaps to some peoples taste but not ours.

                                        Your best bet for good ribs is to make a day of it and drive to Camp 31 in Paris, go to one of the summber BBQ events, shuffle down to Buffalo or fly to Memphis.

                                        Link: http://www.camp31.com/

                                        Image: http://www.camp31.com/images/favourit...

                                      2. Go To Master Steaks in Mississauga. Best ribs smoked and full of flavour. Worth the drive.

                                        1. The best Ribs in the Toronto area are at Haugens in Durham and Boston Pizza. Both establishments make excellent baby back ribs.

                                          1. I agree with Fwagra about Ribfests. They are the best because there are multiple ribbers who tour across North America. The last time I went to the Markham Ribfest there were 5 ribbers, including Purple Pig (though I've never been to their restaurant). Anyway, I wrote this in another post, but the Etobicoke Ribfest is this weekend and the Markham one is the next weekend. Maybe I'll go to both this year ;)

                                            1. I'm sorry to hear that you people have had bad exeperiences with Phil's. I've been a few times quite enjoyed things. My wife is born and raised in Memphis and while she did point out that the ribs in the south are better, she was quite pleasantly surprised at how good Phil's were.

                                              BTW Dipamo's is closed.

                                              If you ever get the Alabama or Georgia you need to try Dreamland. Bet ribs I've ever had. Cooked over hickory right in the restaurant. It's amazing.


                                              1. Went to Ribfest at Niagara a couple weeks back. I think it was the first one of '06. They only had about 5 ribbers and Camp 31 was by far the best one there. The rest were Canadian.

                                                1. i very much like the ribs at baton rouge....i know it is a chain, but the ribs are big and meaty, and the sauce is tasty.

                                                  and i second universal grill for ribs with their sweet potatoe fries. make sure to make a reservation though, and be prepared for rude service.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: KAREN

                                                    I found the ribs at BR to good. Thing is, a lot of places make GOOD ribs. I want awesome.


                                                    1. re: KAREN

                                                      I was thinking the same thing when I started reading the posts - Baton Rouge has great ribs!

                                                      1. re: RileyFinn

                                                        BR ribs get alot of hate, but I like them also

                                                        Sure they're not authentically smoked or whatever but that doesn't mean traditional smoking is the *only* way to enjoy them

                                                      2. re: KAREN

                                                        This is just crazy to me that Baton Rouge gets well-reviewed while Phil's is slagged. I have tried BR and they are in the same league.


                                                      3. I live near Master Steaks -- but how often can I get ribs there? I don't recall ever seeing them the few times I was there

                                                        1. We went to Memphis Style SmokeHouse on Yonge north of Sheppard on last Friday at 7:30 pm and it was lined up. We left because they sold out of ribs. Came back on Saturday night and ordered a "heavy" ribs with half wet and half dry, some BBQ wings with hot sauce on the side. The wet ribs were the dry ribs slathered with their own BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce was tangy and decent, but not good enough for me to ask to buy a bottle for home. Overall I preferred the dry ribs: Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, tender and yet have some teeth resistance and woo-hmmmm smokey good. IMO way better than Phil's BBQ, Purple Pig and Baton Rouge is not even in contention. The wings were deep fried and coated with a sweet sticky BBQ sauce that is different from the wet ribs' sauce. Although juicy, the wings were above average. The hot sauce is not hot enough for me to grab a drink but still tard and tingly hot. BTW, Sam the African-American expat Tennesee BBQ pit boss came by our table and was quite the character... Now that's the way to do it: Korean-Canadian owners with a Southern BBQ pit boss who's been doing this all his life doing ribs in a custom build smoker that is half the width of the restaurant!

                                                          1. the best ribs in Toronto are the ones you bring back a cooler chest full of from BarBBarn in Montreal, and then very gently re-heat !

                                                            1 Reply
                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                  Their ribs were fine but I was disappointed by their brisket. It was quite dry. I had better brisket in a chain place in San Antonio where it tasted like it came out of a smoker not long ago. Tender and moist

                                                                  1. re: Blueicus

                                                                    Wow, San Antonio, the GTA is even bigger than I thought!

                                                                2. The best I've had are the DRY RUB (not the wet) ribs at Universal Grill.

                                                                  Second best: The Roxton.

                                                                  I have heard good things about Cluck, Grunt & Low, but have not been.

                                                                  Phil's is a joke.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: grilledcheese

                                                                    I read so many negatives about Cluck, Grunt & Low on here that I almost didn't want to go. Turns out it was great; some of the service problems may have been growing pains, but they seem to have everything down to a science now. I thoroughly enjoyed my ribs -- I had the St. Louis style, but they also serve a dry rub -- and I think they were even a touch better than the ribs I had in NYC at "Righteous Urban BBQ" which is supposed to be one of that city's better rib joints (they have their own ongoing debates). The sides were less noteworthy, but perfectly fine.

                                                                    I think everyone has their own mental version of the perfect ribs, hence all the strong opinions, but if you're in search of ribs in Toronto I'd say give CGL a try and judge for yourself. Don't let all the naysayers scare you off, or convince you that nobody north of Texas can cook a piece of meat.

                                                                    1. re: grilledcheese

                                                                      So funny - today my sister told me she went to Cluck, Grunt & Low last night for dinner. Said it was incredible and even though it looks like a dive, it was packed

                                                                    2. Take a look at Cluck, Grunt and Low they have very tasty ribs. I also enjoy the beef ribs there. -Bloor and Spadina.

                                                                      Despite the critics below i have never had a bad experience at Phil's...

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FrancoYYZ

                                                                        We go to Phil's once a year. Every so often the ribs are too dry. We ignore everybody's sides and just eat the flesh.

                                                                        The best ribs I have ever had outside the US South are at Dinosaur's in Rochester and Syracuse.

                                                                        1. re: Dean Tudor

                                                                          Contact me before your next trip. I think I can find a phone # for John Johns in Syracuse. I'd like your opinion.

                                                                          1. re: Dean Tudor

                                                                            I agree with Dinosaur in Rochester -Yum! (apparently there's one in Syracuse too).
                                                                            but no one on this thread mentioned Memphis on Islington north of hwy 7 - I thought it was quite good

                                                                            1. re: FresserGuy

                                                                              Yes, I've posted in another thread that Memphis Style in Woodbridge is a close second to Camp 31 in this market.

                                                                              Since some of you are mentioning Western New York places, if you're in the Buffalo area I recommend Kentucky Greg's Hickory Pit:
                                                                              If you're in the area for shopping at the Walden Galleria or are going to/from the airport, Greg's is close to both.

                                                                        2. Not from T.O. so can't help on where to go for ribs but sorry folks I have to disagree with something said here. Those travelling rib shows or contests are barely acceptable. Seriously. Mostly what you get are ribs that were cooked who knows when that are mopped and warmed on a grill by some kids.....yuck.

                                                                          I'm a rib man. I cook ribs many different ways. In summer I smoke many racks but I get tired of these so I do not close my mind to different cooking techniques. Bar be Barn in Montreal is supposed to have tasty ribs but I bet if you checked they boil them. I can hear rib-a-holics groaning at the thought. But you can find plenty of good ribs in Quebec and that is what many do.

                                                                          You can make very good ribs in your oven at home. The worst I think are the chain places like Kelsey's and Montana's. Usually they are cooked somewhere in a huge facilty, shipped to the store for finishing. One thing no matter how you cook them is ribs take alot of time.

                                                                          Also southern barbecue ribs or Texas style ribs are not "fall off the bone" rather they are a bit chewy and by the very nature of how they are cooked (smoked) they tend to be somewhat dry unless the pitmaster used the "Texas Crutch" method which is wrapping the finished product in foil so they steam. Many true barbecue afficiondo's crinch at the thought. You can make moist smoked ribs but this takes a great deal more care than many establishments are prepared or willing to do. Frankly I find most ribs cooked this way too rich and prefer somethng that enhances the pork taste and not masking it.

                                                                          Learn to do them yourself and you will have far better ribs than you can buy, summer or winter.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ganman

                                                                            Can you recommend a link to making very good ribs in my oven at home? I'd love to have a rib man's take on this!

                                                                            1. re: bluedog

                                                                              Please post any tips on making ribs at home on the Home Cooking board.

                                                                              Thank you!

                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                Ganman, if you post any tips on cooking board as suggested, can you let us know on this board?....I believe that's allowed.

                                                                          2. A small group of us (5) went to the Memphis Smokehouse at Yonge and Shepard on Tuesday night and got treated fantastic and to almost everyone's opinion, the best Ribs in Town. Just like in the Toronto Star Article last weekend, Sammy the cook came out to see how we were enjoying his ribs. The smoke sausage were a hit also.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Lefty

                                                                                Love Memphis. They closed for a time around Christmas and I was worried that they went out of business. But they reopened in late January and I've since gone back a couple of times. Really great BBQ. We often share the "Miles Davis" between two of us (you get ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, cornbread, beans, and coleslaw).
                                                                                And the sausage and cheese appetizer is pretty great too.

                                                                                1. re: emmalee

                                                                                  Hi emmalee and ianmmmmmm. I assume you know each other as you've both posted rave reviews for the Memphis Smokehouse and indicate you've been there multiple times (yet didn't post earlier for some reason).
                                                                                  Anyway, glad you've now plucked up the courage to post your views (the first post for each of you). Welcome to the Board.
                                                                                  Anything else you recommend in Toronto?

                                                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                                                    Nope, don't know ianmmmmmm. Just a fan of Memphis.
                                                                                    Strangely have yet to post on this board (until today!), although have been a lurker for a while.
                                                                                    General recos for restaurants in Toronto? That's a tall order. :)

                                                                                    Was a fan of Truffles for a number of years, but have found that it has fallen in quality lately. Batifole is a consistent fave (l'ile flottante is one of my most loved desserts, and it's hard to find, but Batifole comes through!). Living in the Yonge/Sheppard area, I'm an avid explorer of Korean neighbourhood gems (Owl of Minerva is always a good choice, same with Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu)

                                                                                    1. re: emmalee

                                                                                      Agree with you on Truffles - certainly dipped recently. I'm neutral on Batifole - sometimes good, but not consistently so.
                                                                                      For some reason I thought Owl of Minerva had closed down - I'll have to get out more often!
                                                                                      Again, welcome.

                                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                                        Okay honestly there are no good rib joints that I have found in Toronto but if you are looking for a great pulled pork sandwich, try Sweetsmoke!! I don't have the address on hand but it is in Oakville. This place also has a great tortilla soup and interesting desserts.

                                                                                2. re: Lefty

                                                                                  I picked up some ribs for takeout at Memphis about 2 weeks ago. I would rate them as definitely of the pre-boiled variety and certainly no evidence of smoke. Some sauce slathered on but not carmelized. Fall of the bone as pre-boiled tend to be. Phil's is nirvana compared to what I got at Memphis. Maybe an off night. I'll probably try again if I'm in the area just to confirm my experience one way or the other.

                                                                                  1. re: Aardvark

                                                                                    Which Memphis?? Woodbridge or Yonge??


                                                                                3. Geezzzz...Having travelled a lot in the U.S., there really isn't anything like their 'Q. Phil's was great a millenia ago, but I wouldn't touch it with a bbq scraper now. Ever since that Restaraunt Makeover thing it tastes like crap. Memphis Style is not bad, probably the best T.O. has to offer. Ribs were good, but the "Spicy" is pretty lame. Stay away from their brisket. Tastes like boiled meat my British "mom" use to make. If you are going to Memphis Style, MAKE A RESERVATION! Ever since the article in the Star the place is going nuts.

                                                                                  1. ok 2 spots I really like for ribs:

                                                                                    1. Steakpit on Avenue rd, north of Lawrence on the west side. Been there forever a tad pricey but they come with salad/potato...try them with mexican sauce. Also ask if they have beef ribs, their awesome when they have them, they are not on the menu.

                                                                                    2. Seniors on Yonge, south of St. Clair on the east side., upstair in their dinning room. Great ribs.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: gobuds

                                                                                      Has anyone ever tried the ribs at C'est What? on Front? I was told they have really good ribs but I haven't tried them yet.

                                                                                    2. The best Ribs imho are from The Brick Yard BBQ http://www.brickyardbbq.ca/ (95 THE EAST MALL, QEW & 427


                                                                                      They use spare ribs, which I prefer for BBQ, I find that the baby back ribs don’t hold up all that well to the long cooking process imho. The ribs from the Brick BBQ Yard are done to perfection; they have a dry rub which is not very spicy, wonderful pinkish smoke ring, and the meat is not fall of the bone, which is what I like, I like a little resistance. They do not par-boil the rubs, why would anyone subject any meat to such uncouth practices! Now I have had a few dry ribs in the past, but I believe the fellow who was cooking is now gone. The same chef is there since they open.

                                                                                      The BBQ sauce is also very good; I believe they use 3 different beers. The sauce is neither too sweet nor hot, but there is some spiciness, but not very much. I have purchased BBQ sauce on a few occasions, a Mason jar of sauce cost $10.00.

                                                                                      With the rib dinner comes your choice of fries (frozen not fresh), mash potatoes which are a mixture of sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and sour cream. I always get the mash potatoes; they are good, not over mixed so the gluten has developed like glue. The mash potatoes are seasoned just nice; there is even a little creamy sourness on the tongue.
                                                                                      Because they do a very good stir-fry, I also have the mix vegetables with the rib dinner. The rib dinner plate at The Brick BBQ Yard is very good eats!

                                                                                      Have not tried Phil’s or Memphis on Yonge Street, but I have been to Memphis in Woodbridge. I fear that if Memphis in Woodbridge is considered good, then well that there is no hope for BBQ in Toronto. The ribs at the Woodbridge location where dry and lacking smoke and flavour nor could I see a smoke ring. The pulled pork was better than the ribs, but not as good as the pulled pork at Lickin’ Chicken on Airport Rd. I was told by a friend that the chicken wings are very good at the Woodbridge location; I have not gone back so I never had the wings.

                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Pastryrocks

                                                                                        I agree about Memphis in Woodbridge

                                                                                        The restaurant never even smells like smoke and they use one of those "automatic smokers" called a Cookshack, it's electrical and not old fashioned like they would use in the south

                                                                                        The result is that there is NEVER a smoke ring

                                                                                        I also find them tough and dry...

                                                                                        I am looking forward to trying Brick Yard

                                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                                          DD & PR

                                                                                          I replied to you two on other threads so if you've already read them, don't worry. I just thought it needed to go here.

                                                                                          I'm not sure what happened at Brickyard. The ribs were baby backs (Advertized as such too) and had no real smoke ring. It seemed they may have picked up some smoke from the grill but by in large, they had the generic baby back taste.

                                                                                          The sauce is fantastic though. Far and away the best part of the meal.


                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                            Ah, I did not see your response

                                                                                            Interesting, how long ago were you there?

                                                                                            I looked at the pictures from their website and it looks like a sports bar

                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                              OMG Davwud, please say it is not so, I need to get myself in there and find out what has happened!

                                                                                              It’s summer and that’s when “Good Things Grow-ow in Ontario” and as such I like to cook good things. So generally in the summer we rarely go out for dinner.

                                                                                              Have not been for ribs for a while, at least since they built the patio. I’m rather sad to see that they have changed to Baby Back ribs. I’m not keen on back ribs they do not stand up to the smoking process as well as spare ribs do imho. Hence why no smoke ring?

                                                                                              Yes it’s a sports bar, you’ll find two or three different sports on different TV’s. At night they have different bands playing. Is it a Kansas City or Memphis Tennessee style BBQ joint, no it is not. Maybe I should have mentioned this in my post about the place. It’s a restaurant that made great BBQ ribs & chicken.

                                                                                              I have spoken to the chef a few times, he seems like someone who is passionate about what he does. When I asked him about pulled pork, he said that they are not busy enough to sell pulled pork. He told me that he felt that day or two old pulled pork loses it taste, and becomes somewhat acidity, he would rather make pulled pork daily. I also thought his ribs would also express his passion, but apparently things have changed.

                                                                                              I wonder what has happen to my ribs!!

                                                                                              1. re: Pastryrocks

                                                                                                They could've at least offered bbq or baked beans as a side.

                                                                                                I will say the sauce was excellent though


                                                                                          2. re: Pastryrocks

                                                                                            I'm sorry. We have just had the ribs from the Brick BBQ Yard. They were beyond horrible. Mine had great big globs of fat on the bone for half of the ribs, they were incredibly greasy, bland and tough. I had the rice and the steamed vegetables as a side. They're kidding about the steamed veggies - I guess if you love lots of broccoli, which was 90% of the veggies, then hey, you'll love these. I ate about 2 ribs, or what I could eat, of a half a rack. They were disgusting. I will never go there again.

                                                                                            1. re: maryfran

                                                                                              Repeat after me: there are no good ribs in the GTA except the dry rub ones at Universal Grill.

                                                                                              For real BBQ the closest place is Camp 31 in Paris.

                                                                                              1. re: rsvp7777

                                                                                                I have tried the dry ribs from Universal which is highly recommended here on two occasions to make sure that the first time was not just a bad night.
                                                                                                They are soft and fall off the bone... not for me at all.
                                                                                                There is no "bite" whatever.

                                                                                                1. re: erly

                                                                                                  My initial reaction was to respond that this wasn't my experience - but hadn't been for a few months, so I judiciously waited - until last night.
                                                                                                  Indeed the consistency has changed. Some did, indeed, "fall off the bone". This represents a change - the rub also seems to be fruitier/sweeter than I recall. I raised this with the owner, who says thay still use the same supplier and she will check if anything has changed.
                                                                                                  Meanwhile, they are still my favourite in Toronto (from a flavour perspective) - but do note this change. I also prefer some resistance (or bite), but those who prefer the softer/mushier approach may find this an improvement.
                                                                                                  The Carolina style of BBQ (my least favourite) is extremely finely chopped - reminds me of baby food (in texture). Universal's are nowhere near that - I still like them - but we have to stand up and defend the need for texture in our BBQ.

                                                                                          3. Not sure if anyone is interested, but there's a rib festival happening this weekend at Thompson Park in Scarborough (1007 Brimley Road (in Thomson Memorial Park on the east side of Brimley, just north of Lawrence Avenue). Cheers and Happy Eating!


                                                                                            1. I'm from the Montreal area. Just a couple thoughts.

                                                                                              A couple of people mentioned Montreal's BarB Barn. It seriously went downhill like 20 years ago.

                                                                                              I agree with ganman - the rib festivals, which make a kind of carnival tour, are severely disappointing. Take a look at their slather sauce: everyone uses the SAME STUFF OUT OF A 5 GALLON PAIL.
                                                                                              Everyone's beans are outta the same 100oz Paula cans.
                                                                                              etc etc etc
                                                                                              Instead of being a unique rib BBQer, everyone seems to produce basically the same product.
                                                                                              Been to Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara on the Lake, and Kingston. Admittedly, no expert on rib festivals, but everyone seems so incredibly un-inspiring...
                                                                                              I figure its a road trip sell-o-thon rather than a showcase of good rib cooking...

                                                                                              Now to the crux of my post - what's up with Phils?

                                                                                              We were in TO a couple of years ago, simply riding around. Found ourselves on College and saw Phil's. Had no clue and no prior knowledge. We felt lucky to stumble across what seemed to be a true BBQ joint.
                                                                                              Once inside, things seemed to go awry.
                                                                                              It was lunch and things were slow. I asked Phil to see his pit. He said that things were quite busy and didn't have the time. He returned to reading the newspaper...
                                                                                              (OK, I can understand if his kitchen was a mess and simply didn't want to show a customer - but to say it was too busy and go on to read the paper...geez)
                                                                                              The food was sub-par.
                                                                                              OK, write it up to experience, right?

                                                                                              Then we see him on Restaurant Makeover. They make out like he's a BBQ genious....geez again.

                                                                                              Just like to know your thoughts on this.

                                                                                              Oh, I also agree with other posters, that once you make your own ribs, when you get to what you're looking for (it certainly takes time, trial, and error), most places simply dissapoint.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                Purple Pig at Yonge and Richmond is shut down as of Aug 23 due to inability to pay rent

                                                                                              2. I've suggested in the past that someone try Buster Rhino's in Whitby. They use a Southern Pride commercial smoker and I'm pretty sure they use maple wood.

                                                                                                Personally I haven't tried their ribs, but they are cooked using real hardwood. I can vouch for their pulled pork and my personal favourite the brisket sandwich. It's occasionally salty but the best you'll find in the city. Excellent (salty) fries too!


                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Dr Butcher

                                                                                                  That's a good looking sandwich.

                                                                                                  I'm guessing those are back ribs though.


                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                    Davwud, I scammed the pics from a Facebook group I belong to. I've posted my personal pictures in other threads which really don't differ much from these.

                                                                                                    Here's the brisket:


                                                                                                    Brisket cheese steak:


                                                                                                    You're right, they are back ribs.

                                                                                                  2. re: Dr Butcher

                                                                                                    I had Buster Rhino and the ribs didn't look anything like that pic, not mention I wasn't impressed at all. They're more of a dry rub style which aren't my thing.

                                                                                                    Buster Rhino's
                                                                                                    2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                                                                                                  3. I've been perfecting my own rib technique of late, and am also keen to find the best rib spots in town.

                                                                                                    I happened to try the ribs at Abbot on the Hill (1276 Yonge St., north of Summerhill) and I was pleasantly surprised. They were extremely tender, dare I say "melt in your mouth", and were not over-sauced, but rather full of smoked, dry rub flavour.

                                                                                                    It's an uptown, upscale gastropub, not exactly full of vibe or energy, but as far as pubs go, it's a little different and the food was good - the prices reflect this.

                                                                                                    I've also tried the ribs at Beer Bistro, and they were pretty good - a similar style to the ones at the Abbot.

                                                                                                    It's been a few years since I've done Phil's, and based on the mostly negative chatter here, I'm not in a rush to get back. I do want to check out Cluck, Grunt & Low...

                                                                                                    1. To be perfectly honest, Ribfests this year have been a big disappointment. They are overpriced with prices rising to $22.00 a rack. I have been to Pickering, Scarborough, Markham, and Cobourg and have had burnt ribs, dried out ribs, tough ribs, ribs with too much sauce, and ribs with not enough sauce. I know people go for the "party" but if you really want some good ribs and are in the Whitby area, why not try Buster Rhinos!


                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Hooter1

                                                                                                        I was very impressed with the ribs from Wild Wing Oshawa.

                                                                                                        It was outstanding.

                                                                                                        Wild Wing Oshawa
                                                                                                        1155 Ritson Rd N, Oshawa, ON L1G8B9, CA

                                                                                                      2. I've mentioned this elsewhere, but Aquila, on Keele south of Dundas, has great ribs.

                                                                                                        1. I just had a half rack of ribs with hot BBQ sauce at Phil and Sandy's on Dundas in Etobicoke. Why, oh why didn't I order a full rack?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Davedigger

                                                                                                            We just finished a rack with beans and cornbread from Phil and Sandy's. I'd say these are the best ribs I've had in Toronto.