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Nov 4, 2008 09:51 AM

ISO really good pulled pork

This summer we went to Buzz and Ned's in Richmond VA (of the Bobby Flay Thowdown fame). It was the first time we had tried pulled pork and really enjoyed it. The brisket wasn't as tasty IMO. Is there any place in TO or west that serves the same type (quality) of food? I did a search of Phil's and I'm not sure it's worth the drive.


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  1. Black Camel at Rosedale station makes a mean pulled pork sandwich.

    4 Replies
    1. re: currycue

      ON its own, I thought it was just ok. But asked for the horseradish sauce (or coleslaw, I forget) and it brought it up a few notches, for sure.

        1. re: currycue

          When I had the pulled pork, it was acutally a tad dry for me (it needed their homemade BBQ sauce to moisten the meat).
          However, the beef brisket was nice and tender and didn't need any sauces.

        2. Are you looking for pulled pork or BBQ pulled pork? I'm assuming you're looking for BBQ.

          I make my own BBQ so my experience with restaurant BBQ is very limited.

          People have commented on Memphis BBQ, I believe they are in Woodbridge. There's Memphis Style smokehouse at Yonge and Sheppard. There's Phil's which you've mentioned. I go to Buster Rhino's in Whitby in a pinch but they really only have lunch counter service and are only open week days. I recommend their pulled pork, brisket and fries.

          1. I really enjoy the pulled pork from Lykn Chicken on Airport rd. They do really good pulled pork, not dried out and has a great smoke flavour. He serves coleslaw and BBQ sauce on the pulled pork sandwich.

            Imho stay away from Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge. The meat is dry and tough.

            Here is a link to my post

            1. I've always been disappointed in Phils....Black Camel fab. Try La Tortillaria in Kensington Market for the Mexican version, it's yummy. Also, Chris McDonald at Cava might be doing something pulled-ish, at least he used to at Zocalo many years ago.

              2 Replies
              1. re: likescrab

                Phil's was good but has gone down hill. As evidenced by his turning to Restaurant Makeover.


                1. re: Davwud

                  Ever since I saw RM I thought it looked so good, but no one has commented favourably about the restaurant, hence the search.

              2. Thank you everyone for mentioning the Black Camel. It's about an hour, possibly a bit more of a drive for me. I have no problem driving that amount of time for good food but would you consider it worth the drive?

                Pastryrocks thanks for letting me know about Lykn Chicken on Airport rd. It's only about 35 min away therefore much more doable on short notice. (and not as much eye rolling from hubby)

                14 Replies
                1. re: jillybean38

                  Depending on where you're coming from, if you park at a subway outside the centre core and take the subway to Rosedale station, Black Camel is literrally right there. And if you want to spend a bit more time, take a stroll up Yonge St. and get a few beers at Rebel House. Nice atmosphere and above average pub food.

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    I'd say well above average pub food and an excellent selection of beers.


                  2. re: jillybean38

                    I've been to both and neither overwhelms me.
                    Lyk'n Chicken pulled pork is cooked to the point of mushiness. It has almost no 'tooth feel' at all. Flavour was OK (and the counter people were extremely cheerful) but that texture turned me off. Note, this is essentially a take-out place with a couple of stools at a counter, in a strip Plaza.
                    The pulled pork at Black Camel is certainly better. However, I think it's expensive for the portion you get. It's served in a bun - and that's the part I hate - the bun is a close relative of wonderbread - and we're back to the texture thing again. And the BBQ comes from the sauce (a bit too much tomato - but that's a personal preference).
                    I'm not sure what 'style' Buzz & Ned serves. My guess is it most resembles North Carolina - but even there there are two sub-styles. One uses pork shoulder (most likely version IMO) and the other uses the whole pig. If it's the shoulder it's 'almost' always very soft and mushy (from long slow cooking) - so you might actually prefer the Lyk'n Chicken version.
                    But not sure either is worth a 30 min + drive!

                    1. re: estufarian

                      "the bun is a close relative of wonder bread"
                      In the south (Ms, Al, Tn) that's what you get. I'm constantly being scolded by Mrs. Sippi if I don't buy the crappiest hamburger buns I can find.

                      The rib joint we go to when we're down yonder serves Sunbeam bread.
                      It's a close relative of Wonder to dip in the sauce.

                      You may not like this but in the parts of the south I go to, this is how it's done.

                      I guess it's "Authentic" versus market adaptation.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        This is true, Wonderbread is pretty much the standard for serving pulled pork on down south. However I’d have to strongly disagree that Black Camel uses a roll similar to Wonderbread. It’s absolutely nothing like Wonderbread and I’m not sure where that comparison comes from. It’s a beautiful Portuguese roll (can’t remember what bakery makes it). BC’s roll is one of the things I love about that sandwich. Nothing wrong whatsoever with Wonderbread. It makes for great BBQ accompaniment. But BC’s roll is certainly not like Wonderbread.

                        1. re: magic

                          Yeah. I've only ever eaten them in Memphis TN. Wonderbreadesque bun, incredible smoked pork (pulled or chopped) and slaw on the sandwich.

                          After that I wouldn't even try to find one in Canuckistan.

                          1. re: magic

                            Absolutely Wonderbread is the standard in many places (although not in KC - my favourite version, or New Mexico - also a favourite). But that's a personal preference to avoid this.
                            And I LOVE portuguese bread - if you think that Black Camel's version is authentic - just take a Portuguese person there. I think BC may have tried to emulate an 'authentic' southern version - but try the bread at any of the multiple Portuguese chicken places around the city. It doesn't resemble Black Camels.

                            1. re: estufarian

                              Well, you could be right, I'm by no means an expert on Portugese baked goods. I know a few things, but not an expert. Portugese roll is how it is described. And I'd say it's much much closer to that than Wonderbread.

                          2. re: Davwud

                            Davwud, I agree totally.

                            BBQ recipes I've found on the net continually state to use the cheapest white buns you can find. I splurge for Wonder over store brand..

                            I ate at Ike & BG's Rib Restaurant in Buffalo and they had some sort of white bread that was the softest I'd ever tried. The steam from the meat helped I'm sure....


                            I've never thought of pulled pork (and BBQ in general) as anything more than comfort food, and tradition reigns in this house.

                          3. re: estufarian

                            I’ve have yet to make it to the Black Camel or to the Memphis place on Yonge St. Or even the joint in Oakville which would be easier for me during the day. Due to traffic the two in Toronto are out of the way. Memphis in Woodbridge is imho not worth the drive even from Woodbridge.

                            I’ve never found that Lykn Chicken pulled pork mushy, but what heck do I know. I really only had pulled pork from Phil’s once a few years ago and I have not been down South since 1978 as a teenager with my parents, who think BBQ is done with propane not smoke.

                            I would much prefer to eat meat that has not been frozen or has to be reheated; unfortunately the pulled pork at Lykn Chicken is reheated. Does anyone know if Memphis on Yonge St. or Black Camel are busy enough to provide fresh smoked meats that do not require reheating? I mean fresh meat from the smoker would be divine. I would be in heaven if BBQ here in Toronto, even just 1 place, was at the point where we could get smoked meat right off the BBQ.

                            1. re: Pastryrocks

                              Black Camel's meat is not smoked. It's done in ovens. So in that sense it is not traditional. But still very good.

                              1. re: magic

                                Some interesting posts on the debate between Pulled Pork and Pork which has been Pulled have been moved over to the General Topics board: so people outside Ontario can chime in with their take on the issue.

                              2. re: Pastryrocks

                                Pastryrocks. Up here it's very hard to keep meats coming straight from the smoker due to the logistics involved. In order to cook for a restaurant you need to have capacity, in order to turn a profit you need to cook in quantity. There just isn't the demand in Canada to use up all of the product you cook at a particular time. There will be some holding or reheating required most of the time.

                                Cooking a brisket or pork shoulder can take anywhere from 12 to 20 hours to cook depending on the smoker temperature. Realistically you need to use the meat within a few hours to serve a quality product. Once brisket is sliced it can dry out extremely quickly, to a lesser extent pulled pork. You can't hold them for long without losing quality.

                                Ribs can take between 4 and 6 hours, and once they are cooked they need to be served immediately, holding ruins them.

                                From a customer standpoint we want fresh from the cooker, from a business standpoint unless you have a huge demand and high food turnover, this is tough to do. Smaller BBQ joints I've eaten at in the USA cook a set amount each day and sell it until they run out. They then start over and prepare for the next day. With rent in Toronto, owners can't really do this.

                                So, to make a long story short, unless you get lucky, finding BBQ straight off the smoker is a very tough to find in Canada. Most of it is cooked, cooled and reheated. The good thing is that if vacuum sealed right away, reheated BBQ is still pretty darned good. If you're getting smoked pulled pork or brisket from a restaurant in T.O. this is likely what you're eating.

                                1. re: Dr Butcher

                                  Thanks for your reply. I guess I'll need to take a road trip.