Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Jun 14, 2008 03:58 PM

Brick BBQ Yard

My favorite place for BBQ ribs is the Brick BBQ Yard at the corner of East Mall and North Queen. 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. 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. Now I’m unsure if the have changed how they prepare the broccoli, because in the winter I thought they where using frozen broccoli, even though broccoli is available in winter, but when I asked I was told that they always use fresh vegetables. So I guess what they used to do is blanch the broccoli, but now they are not, which I prefer anyhow. In either case the vegetables are done al dente and rarely need any extra seasoning.

I’ve only once had the chicken-rib combo which was last year, when I go into the restaurant without my wife the waitress walks over with a pint of Stella and asks your usual full rack with mash and veggies? I always respond “but of course”. However, the chicken is also very good. Not dry, very flavorful and also with a nice smoke ring. I just love the ribs; I could eat a rack and a half with no issues other than maybe a 3rd or 4th pint.

My wife likes the Jerk Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry which taste good ihho. The shrimps are not rubbery, and they are not salad shrimps, they are done well. The jerk chicken is also good, again not overdone dry out chicken. When the plate was place in front of my wife I could see the steam coming off it, it was hot. The rice is nothing special, but it was cooked nicely, not mush.

The only weak point that I find is that the desserts, there only a few. The wait staff never ever ask if you want a dessert.

I have asked for pulled pork or brisket and have been told that they will add this to the menu down the road. They have had pulled pork as a lunch special once or twice, I’ve never had the pulled pork.

Most of the wait staff are young and as such are not the most helpful when it comes to explaining the menu. But they are attentive; you’re not waiting for food or drink.

The building is huge with lots of parking, and they have a nice big raised patio which should be open in a week or so, they are still waiting for the liquor license. They have live bands on the weekends and also a DJ. The atmosphere is not unlike a roadhouse. There are a few pool tables, but not in the dinning area, and also there are TV’s around the bar. They even have a huge screen with the game on.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Once again, a great review.

    Thank you pastryrocks, I'll p[robably head over there this week! I love trying low & slow smoked items from anywhere I can


    1. I should add that the menu at The Brick BBQ Yard is quite varied, from NY Strip loin, Fish & Chips, Penne Primavera, Stir Fry’s to proper BBQ. The full menu can be found here I’ve not tried anything but the BBQ. I have seen a lot of huge hamburgers being served.

      1. I'm dying to try this place.

        I've been looking for awesome ribs in TO since I married a southerner. Mostly I have to fondly remember the ribs from my last trip. I make damned good ones at home but they just aren't there yet.


        9 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          I tried them Saturday and if it wasn't for the sauce, they'd be the same old generic baby backs you get at Baton Rouge and other places.


          1. re: Davwud

            This is really sad Davwad. I'm heading over there this weekend to find out what has happen to my ribs! I'm a rather large man with a big yap and I’m not afraid to ask what the heck happen to the ribs!

            1. re: Pastryrocks

              I'm not sure there's a market for side ribs in TO. I think the Toronto attitude (not for the "In the know" people) is that we deserve better. Thus, they think baby backs are better. IMHO they aren't. I think they don't have enough fat to carry flavours into the meat. As a consequence, they all taste the same under the sauce.

              When I walked in and didn't smell a trace of smoke, I knew it wasn't gonna be great.


              1. re: Davwud

                No you don’t always smell smoke. Depending on how busy they are determines how often they smoke. What they do is smoke a batch of ribs and then reheat them on the grill per order. Also, the chef seemed to smoke over night when the place was closed.

                I don’t think that any place in Toronto is busy enough to sell ribs straight from the smoker to the plate. If someone does please by all means let me know. I wish someone was, but to my knowledge not as yet, with all you can eat ribs at some of the chains advertising daily on the TV, unsure if this would ever happen.

                But they did smoke the ribs; my above post is not an illusion nor was I high when I wrote it. I know smoke flavour when I see it, smell it and eat it. It’s a sad, sad day.

                1. re: Pastryrocks

                  "I don’t think that any place in Toronto is busy enough to sell ribs straight from the smoker to the plate"

                  This is sad but absolutely true.. Torontonians for some reason just don't appeciate good low & slow smoked BBQ like they do in the south, and the result is usually places that could potentially be GREAT (if they had the high turnover) but instead have to smoke & re-heat because of the lack of traffic and customers

                  It is a tragedy

                  I should add that even Camp 31 up in Paris, ON, who people usually think is the best we have in Ontario also does not have anything "fresh from the smoker" , at least not when I was there. My ribs were definitely re-heated.

                  1. re: Pastryrocks

                    Smoke smell tends to linger. Even a hint of it would bring a smile to my face.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Davwad I’ve read some of your posts and I have respect for what you have written. However, I know 100% that the ribs and chicken from here where smoked, I ate them more than 25 times over the past winter. In fact I would walk in the waitress would bring me a pint of Stella without asking and then ask if I wanted my usual, full rack with mash and veggies. I always thought what else is there? A few times while there I would smell smoke. The pink hue on the ribs was a good indication that there where smoked, not to mention the smoke flavour. Furthermore, I also know that Lickin Chicken also smokes and I rarely smell any smoke when I’m at Lickin Chicken. In fact Noel at Lickin Chicken has told me what type of wood he uses, though I can’t remember right now.

                      What urinates me off is that I live close to The Brick BBQ place and really enjoyed their ribs. Now they have gone and they changed the ribs and more than likely how they prepare the ribs. This is a sad day for me.

                      Darn it I’m heading over there Thursday night and going to find out what has happen!

                      Also, almost next to California Sandwiches on the Queensway is a place called Adam’s Rib. I never gone into the place or do I know how they prepare the ribs. I’m going to check them out.

                  2. re: Davwud

                    I must be in the minority then, because I love the baby backs, and enjoy them much more than the spare ribs...

                    Sure there is less meat on them, but also less fat and cartlidge and other undesirable pieces of the rib (FOR ME).. I realise this is a totally varying stance from person to person, just wanted to say I'm in for baby backs over spares :)

                  3. re: Pastryrocks

                    Yeah I'm a big guy too, if your going to sell me ribs they better be the real deal!

              2. yeah, I love good ribs,especially a spicy dry rub on side ribs but it is getting harder and harder to find. My kids love The Lonestar and I never minded going as they had ok immitation Texas style side ribs with a kind of tasty dry type rub. I had to take the kids there recently and without looking at the menu ordered the ribs.

                They have switched to back ribs and they are no longer even pretend smoked. \\they are now covered in a thick sauce that you can get sick of pretty quickly. The waitress said people prefer them. I pointed out there is nothing "Texas" about them and the sauce was right from Montana's and there was a whole lot of it....oh well maybe something else will come up.....

                1. Well went for ribs and indeed something has happen. Unsure what, maybe different supplier or they changed there method. Regardless my above review no longer stands. Please do not except to find what I wrote at The Brickyard BBQ.

                  When my waiter asked how the food was, I told her that the ribs did not have any smoke flavour and that they had little taste but for the sauce. She was useless; all she did is look at me with dumbfounded look. I asked for the chef, and was told he was not in. When someone is not happy with the food, the wait staff should be somewhat curious to what the problem is and try to find someway to fix the problem. But I guess she was not a real waiter and more like a food runner. I paid for the food and left no tip.

                  I’m sorry to anyone who went there thinking they would find good ribs. In all likelihood you will not, at least I didn’t when I went there yesterday. I wish the moderators would erase my post on The Brickyard BBQ.

                  When my wife and I moved to Etobicoke I was hoping that Chowhound would help us find some half-decent place’s to eat. So far that has not been the case. Not that I’m helping anyone with the above post on the Brickyard BBQ.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Pastryrocks

                    Hey, no need to be so tough on yourself.. It's not your fault that the place has gone down hill

                    If the chef wasn't in, who the hell prepared your ribs? Somebody who just nuked the rack and brought it to you?

                    Anyways, it's my opinion that there isn't nearly enough discussion for places outside the downtown core on here (Why are there so few Mississauga/Brampton suggestion threads? I even made a post that went pretty much unanswered) so it is always a welcome change to hear what other people have to reccomend... So, thanks for trying :)

                    I enjoy your reviews and look forward to what you find next, as long as it isn't downtown.. Traffic is a nightmare


                    1. re: duckdown

                      Duckdown in some restaurants and most hotels there is a chef who is responsible for menu development, ordering food, hiring cooks, etc... Depending on the size of the establishment they may not cook or prepare any food. The classical kitchen brigade ( the chef is responsible for running the kitchen and it’s the Sous-chef’s who actually get their hands dirty cooking in the kitchen.

                      Since I have worked in that environment, I know not to ask the ‘cook’ what is going on with the how and why of preparing anything on the chef’s menu. Furthermore, one person could not operate the kitchen for all the hours that the Brick BBQ Yard is open. I believe there are 3-4 people working in the kitchen at the Brick BBQ Yard. So had I asked the person who was cooking when I was there, they more than likely would have not been able to explain what the heck was going on. At best they would have said that’s what the chef wants or how the chef said to do it.

                      1. re: duckdown

                        I agree about the chat about things outside the core being pretty lacking. I've posted on stuff in Aurora/Newmarket on a few occasions and have had little or no response. So much so that for the most part, I don't even bother.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          I'm the "little" response! (and I don't even live in Aurora!)

                          The problem with this board is it scares away any non-Torontonians because people who start threads don't bother to state "Toronto" or "GTA" in their title. There should be a RULE that new queries or reviews HAVE to state "Toronto" or "GTA" in the subject heading.

                      2. re: Pastryrocks

                        How sad! This place is actually close to me and I had been looking forward to trying it. Thanks for the warning and for saving me time and money!

                        Have you tried the ribs at the blue shack on the boardwalk on Lakeshore between Ellis and Windermere yet? It's really close to Mimico/Etobicoke area and he uses a real smoker.

                        1. re: Food Tourist

                          This sounds good :)

                          anyone have any details on this?

                          1. re: Food Tourist

                            No I never tired the ribs from Blue Shack. Where is the Blue Shack located? I googled it with no luck. Do you have an address?

                            1. re: Pastryrocks


                              It's actually called Royal Burger and is a blue shack on the boardwalk between Ellis and Windermere on the south side of Lakeshore beside the water.

                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                Thanks Food Tourist, I’m heading over there soon.

                                1. re: Food Tourist

                                  ALERT! As of April 2008, there is no longer a smoker at Royal Burger! I went for dinner tonight and Tyrone sadly informed me that the smoker was removed and is now stored and unused in High Park (at Grenadier Cafe). Apparently the owners (4 brothers) run all the concession stands along the boardwalk and are not interested in selling slow smoked food anymore. Tyrone is dividing his time between Royal Burger and the cafe in High Park.

                                  Anyway, after a lengthy discussion, where he proclaimed the chicken burgers and nuggets the "best" thing on the menu, he offered to cook me up something, and presented me with a full rack of lean, perfectly charred ribs, fries (slightly crispy outside made me think maybe they are not "fresh cut") and a Gatorade (which I saved for the next homeless man who approaches me at a red light "toll booth"). After I thanked him, I wandered 500 metres away to avoid the seagulls, and while I walked I anticipated writing my chowhound report ("sadly, no smoked wings, ribs or chicken, and the current version of the ribs are sadly lacking") TO MY GREAT SURPRISE, these ribs were ACTUALLY GOOD. Not "you must go there and try them" good, but a solid 7.5 out of 10. Good sauce, good texture, and doesn't have that boring boiled meat taste that Politica's has (that's my last rib experience so the comparison sprang to mind immediately).

                                  SO, if you are walking along the boardwalk between Parklawn and Sunnyside pool, support Tyrone! I'm not saying his are better than the big chains because I've never tried Baton Rouge or Montana's, but I imagine his are superior!

                                  1. re: Food Tourist

                                    Would you believe I was there tonight!

                                    What bad timing.

                                    I went up and asked about the slow smoked BBQ as well and the guy said not only did he not have any but he was also shutting down for the day (and this was only like 8pm or 9pm... granted, it was about to start pouring rain.. but still)

                                    The place looked almost totally deserted except for a bunch of teenagers smoking pot on the benches behind the place..

                                    I didn't stick around, nor order anything

                                    Wish I had've read your post before I left the house :/

                                    ON A SIDE NOTE: I went to Phil's original BBQ tonight after instead, and actually it wasn't too bad. Had a pulled pork sandwich and the BBQ chicken sandwich -- I actually liked the chicken better... either way, not actually half as bad as I remember.. I would get it again.


                                    1. re: duckdown

                                      Did either of Phil's sandwiches taste smoky? Were they moist enough? I haven't been for a long time and am wondering if those items have improved or not. I used to like Phil's ribs but haven't had them in at least a year.

                                      Sorry I led you astray! I thought I saw you there but I thought you got fries at Royal Burger? I noticed a guy matching your photo spraying his fries with vinegar. I was there at 8 pm, long before the thunder/lightning started up again. At that time, there was a man eating fish 'n' chips under the picnic shelter and an Orthodox Jewish family playing in the sandbox behind the shack.

                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                        Ahhh no sir, the photo is just from a video game I like, I'm actually a big fat guy, lol :)

                                        When I was there it was really dark outside with dark storm clouds and there was only a bunch of teenagers hanging around under the shelter.. Definitely right as the thunder/lightning was hitting, it was deserted

                                        About Phil's, actually both of them had a smoky taste. I saw a small smoke ring right on the tips of the pulled pork but it was not very significant (not nearly the deep pink smoke ring you'll see from the good vendors at a rib fest) I tried both the chicken and the pulled pork by themselves and the chicken was good but the pork was somewhat dry definitely. On the other hand I'm a wet BBQ fan and I happily added the included sauces to both sandwiches and enjoyed them both

                                        Certainly not mind blowing but the price really isn't too bad at only $6.25 for each sandwich, and each included a side

                                        Worst part of what I had was the bun, I would have liked it softer I guess

                                        Cheers mate :)

                              2. re: Food Tourist

                                I finally tried Brick Yard on Sunday because of a BOGO free coupon in the entertainment book and a persuasive chowfriend. The ribs were average and the meat was dried out at the edges. Not sure where "drunken bbq sauce" gets its name. Wings were tiny but juicy (we tried thai flavour). Blah mash sweet/potato. Apparently the crispy fries are house-seasoned. (Who cares?!) Cranberry juice was the poorest excuse for barmix ever. I won't be back.

                              3. re: Pastryrocks

                                I'm glad it wasn't just me who thought that the ribs were not what you had originally posted.

                                I agree with DD that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. You didn't change the menu.


                                1. re: Pastryrocks

                                  Hey, don't worry about it. It wasn't you that changed things.
                                  It still makes me think that in TO, it's tough to sell side ribs.


                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    I don’t understand all this interest in Back ribs. They have less fat than the spear ribs, which means less flavour and also a greater chance of drying out. When back ribs are smoked, they can not stay in the smoker as long as spear ribs due to the lack of fat. This also means that they have less smoke flavour.

                                    Regardless of cut, St Louis, Kansas City, or just good old spear ribs, due to the extra fat they can be as tender as Back ribs (please don’t ask me the difference between cuts, I don’t remember). I know that people are cautious of their fat intake, however, ever eat a hamburger made with extra lean mince as oppose to regular mince. The extra lean has about half the fat of the regular. The extra lean has much less flavour than the regular. Julia Child said something that I try and follow, “Everything in moderation”. I do try and follow, it’s just very, very difficult.

                                    I don’t mind Baby Backs done in the oven. But they do not work well imho on the BBQ, grill or smoker. Even my butcher White House Meats does not sell spear ribs, just baby back. I do not understand all the interest in Baby Back ribs; it does not make sense to me.

                                    1. re: Pastryrocks

                                      I prefer the texture of them, and the entire rack is consistent when you are using baby backs, because of the uniform sizing and perfectly trimmed bones... not to mention preperation is a breeze and they look much more appealing.

                                      For example, if you have the "full" spare ribs where you don't remove the membrane on the back of the ribs and leave the tips/caps on past the edge of the bone, you wind up with a rib that is half good (the part near the bone) and half fatty, gristly, cartlidge-laden mess (the "skirt" section of meat above the ends of the bones).. Maybe some people enjoy chewing on that stuff, but I personally absolutely hate it

                                      That is just my opinion of course, but I'm definitely in the baby backs camp

                                      1. re: duckdown

                                        I always trim the part with the cartlidge off. You don't have to deal with it that way. Unless you want to of course. It can be used for other things. Like last time I got some nice soft panini and some slaw. I made rib sandwiches after I pulled the meat off.
                                        Also, the skirts or other trimings went into my beans. What a great flavour. All in all, the last batch of ribs I made were the best.