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Smoked Meat Duel at Wychwood

acd123 Jul 12, 2010 09:11 AM

Caplansky's vs. Goldin's vs. Stockyards.

Sunday, July 25th from 1pm to 5pm. See the attached link.

This should be interesting.


356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

  1. j
    jnine Jul 27, 2010 06:37 PM

    I really enjoyed this event. Smoked meat has been a huge craving for me this pregnancy, so the concept of a smoked meat duel was fantastic.

    First of all, I was not impressed with having to stand in line in the hot sun for almost 30min when Goldins ran out of product. So I was a little biased against them for making me woozy. The meat was a little skimpy,but thickly cut, a little tough, but very well seasoned. The caraway rye and ample mustard were my Grandmas fave.

    I went with high hopes for Stockyards, but was incredibly disappointed. We received some sort of texas bbq that was tough, grisley and oddly seasoned. The spices just didn't taste cooked in or blended. Almost like someone sprinkled some Paul Prudhomes Cajun seasoning on a tough old fatty roast. It needed more brine, and a re-think of the spice blend and an improve in the meat quality.

    This was my first taste of Caplansky's, and I was so impressed. His version of smoked meat is what I crave. Mildly spiced, well brined, cut across the grain, slight chew, nice and fatty. I can't wait to have more! I also liked the open faced presentation, and spicy mustard and heaps of meat.

    Yay Caplansky's

    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: jnine
      catmanchu Jul 28, 2010 08:47 AM

      I also think Goldin's should have won,Caplansky's second and the Stockyards last,but if Caplansky's won just because they got more votes because,they didn't run out of smoked meat,I'm surprised that the Stockyards ran out so fast since they are just around the corner from Whychwood.Whats even more weird is that they started serving their bbq brisket that they use for their brisket sandwich which was just disappointing,

      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1. re: catmanchu
        MeMeMe Jul 29, 2010 06:36 AM

        Strange - I was there late and Stockyards was still serving up sandwiches. Goldins kept running out.

        1. re: MeMeMe
          LovelyAsia Jul 31, 2010 01:40 PM

          Arrived around 2 and after waiting 10 minutes in the Stockyards line, while hubby waited 10 minutes in the Goldin's line and both lines did not move an inch, we gave up and left disappointed... a few that had food, said it took them over 30 minutes to get through just one line... with the line being so long and not moving, we figured it would be even longer, and having tried all 3 separately in the past, we figured we would just do our own taste test another time. Feel bad for anyone who waited in line only to have them run out!

          From the email we received from Goldin's we thought it was going to be $25 to try all 3 sandwiches? (And not have to line up in 3 huge lines to be able to try all 3) Would rather pay more for shorter line ups!

          Nice idea, but poorly executed...

    2. t
      trombasteve Jul 27, 2010 02:25 PM

      I think it must have made a big difference when you were there, as the meat I got from Caplansky's was definitely not at all grey or chewy. I got a leaner part of the brisket than I would have chosen, but it was good.

      Goldin's? I was underwhelmed. The taste was nondescript, it had been sitting in a pool of fatty goo in the bottom of the steam pan, and it was a very scanty portion of meat. Then again, they were just about to run out, in all fairness to them.

      Stockyards was the most interesting, by far, in my view, having a distinct peppery quality where both of the others were kind of bland, and it was also the smokiest. My particular serving seemed a bit overcooked (dry), but it wasn't tough, so the overcooking wasn't too bad.

      I voted for Stockyards, but I liked Caplansky's as well. I really don't understand why there's so much venom towards Caplansky's - for pete's sake, we're just talking about a sandwich here!

      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1. s
        Strongbad789 Jul 27, 2010 01:32 PM

        I tried all three, and I agree that Goldin's was by far the best. It had a great flavour and wasn't dry like Stockyards. I wanted to like Caplansky's, but it just seemed a bit bland to me (although I agree that serving it open-faced and giving a choice of mustards was a nice touch).

        I heard that the organizers told the vendors to expect 300 people, which was clearly a wild underestimation. Apparently Goldin's brought enough meat for 700 and ran out after just over an hour, and I'm guessing a similar thing happened to Stockyards. I guess it's hard to plan something like this, especially the first time it's been held, but I know a number of people that waited in lines for a long time and got nothing...if that was me I'd be pissed. Also, what was up with Mill St being a sponsor, but not having any beer to sell? Weird.

        Anyway, all in all it was a great event for me, since I got to try everything I wanted. I would support this being an annual event, as long as they work out the organizational kinks.

        1. k
          kittridge Jul 26, 2010 11:56 AM

          I actually created an account just so I could comment on this.

          Based on the comments I think there might have been inconsistenices based on what time of day people went. I found Caplansky's to be absolutely horrible. It was bland and rubbery. I'm not a huge hater of the place like other people are but I do find it really inconsistent. On a good day it's great but on a bad day it's horrible. This was definitely the worst I had. I found stockyards a bit dry like other people mentioned but overall it tasted great. It was my first time trying or even hearing about Goldin's and it absolutely blew me away. I even think that comparing to Schwartz's even I might choose Goldin's. It was wonderfully fatty and crumbly and the taste was spectacular. I found it perfectly salty.

          On my 2nd trip in line at Goldin's they ran out when I was about 5 people away from getting my sandwich and Stockyards had run out about 15 minutes earlier. I was with 2 friends and our votes went one for Stockyards and 2 for Goldin's. We got 4 tickets each so that we could have a 4th sandwich after we decided which one we liked best. We all agreed that Caplansky's was so bad yesterday that we upgraded our last food ticket to a beer one instead of eating there again.

          I'm wondering if part of the reason they won is that people arrived and only had the option of trying them and not the other 2?

          1. l
            laidoffhound Jul 26, 2010 10:48 AM

            Goldin's won in our minds, too - hands down. Preferred their cut (thicker) and spice, and the meat was the juiciest of the lot. We got there around 130pm fortunately, and had no problem getting all 3 (plus seconds at Goldin's) and a beer and getting out of there an hour later.

            Great event, if you got there early. Otherwise, I hear it wasn't too much fun.

            3 Replies
            1. re: laidoffhound
              MeMeMe Jul 26, 2010 11:29 AM

              It was totally fun if you remembered a) it's a charity event b) it was gorgeous out c) at the end of the line there were smoked meat sandwiches.

              I found Goldin's nasty - I gave most of my sandwich to my mate. Stockyards was amazing - went back for seconds. It's obviously a matter of taste/texture/ visual appeal.

              1. re: MeMeMe
                Wino In Training Jul 26, 2010 12:41 PM

                Definitely lots of personal taste.... as the recipient of MeMeMe's Goldin's sandwich, I loved it. Nicely fatty, lots of flavour. I had been looking forward to that one as I've had the other two. Goldin's got my vote.

                1. re: MeMeMe
                  laidoffhound Jul 27, 2010 08:06 AM

                  I agree - weather was brilliant and it was for a good cause. But I wouldn't have bothered if i had to wait for over an hour for a half sandwich because they ran out of meat, multiple times. That wouldn't be fun. Would have just made a small donation and left.

                  Stockyards can do a lot better. I was disappointed with the meat I got. Too dry and too spicy.

              2. s
                Sadistick Jul 26, 2010 10:02 AM

                I had Schwartz's while in Montreal not long ago, and was quite underwhelmed!

                It was dry, did not contain nearly enough fat, and was just not that exciting! I even asked for a non lean cut!

                My #1 in this city still remains (sadly they were not in this competition) Zuppa's!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Sadistick
                  jamesm Jul 26, 2010 10:48 AM

                  I don't get the schwartz's love either. It's not bad but certainly not the euphoric experience you would expect given the way some people go on about it. I haven't been in awhile but I've enjoyed everything at Caplansky's -- from the Monarch days to the new location.

                  356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  1. re: jamesm
                    Chester Eleganté Jul 27, 2010 12:02 PM

                    Schwartz's fatty is great about 95% of the time. As long as the vets are cutting, it doesn't get any better, but I've finally heard of an instance recently of new guys. And I wouldn't use their mail order packages as a basis of comparison.

                    Goldin's has the highest ceiling out of the Toronto purveyors. If you prepare the deckle yourself, it will likely be pretty damn good, though still not at the level of St. Laurent's finest. The offering I had at Free Times though was thoroughly mediocre though. Pre-trimmed of fat, pre-cut into portions and refrigerated and then steamed, from a mixed (likely medium) cut, with all aspects downgraded.

                    Caplansky's, youse all have gone on enough about the smokiness, flavour, etc. For me, I still prefer the Monarch style (when it was on), and wish Zane would be able to get behind the knife sometimes. I haven't gotten a properly cut sammie since. Even when their "second best cutter" was on, almost half of the meat was too thick, didnt follow the grain, and so caused the residual problems. It's still pretty good though (as are the fries and hash), and there is a charm about the place.

                2. j
                  JennaBean Jul 26, 2010 09:53 AM

                  The bf and I arrived at approx 230 p.m. Got our tickets and then got in line. Goldin's was out when we got there. We waited in line for about 30 mins only for them to run out again while we were almost to the front. It took about 30 mins for them to get some more product. After of an hour in line we got to try Goldin's for the first time.

                  Overall tasty with a good amount of fat but man oh man something in their spice mix made me want a gallon of water ASAP. It didn't seem salty so my guess is nitrates.

                  When we finally got to the front of the stockyards line about 45 mins later all they had left was dry, gray, over cooked brisket. Not at all appealing to say the least.

                  We have both had Caplansky's in the past and we both preferred it overall for the texture, fat and flavour.

                  My bf is a chef and all he kept saying is 'man these guys are in the sh*ts" and that pretty much summed it up for us.

                  356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  1. y
                    yaddayadda Jul 26, 2010 08:46 AM

                    Goldin's won, hands down -- my entire group agreed, and we had chefs in the audience. Stockyards second (too sweet and the spicing was off-putting), Caplansky dead last (tepid, gray, chewy).

                    1. s
                      SMOG Jul 26, 2010 06:02 AM

                      Sounds like people's opinions are varied. I get the sense that none of competitors had consistent meat throughout the day.

                      Like others, I found Stockyards to be dry, overly spiced (it was also sweet, which I didn't like much) and the proportion of meat/bread was way off - far too little meat and the bread was far too dense.

                      Goldin's was very good. Best texture of all, I'd say the downside was its mild flavour. But overall very good.

                      I thought Caplansky's use of small sized bread and having it open faced was genius, because it showcased the meat itself. They were also the only ones that offered more than one type of mustard. The meat had good flavour and a nice texture, very enjoyable.

                      While I enjoyed them all, mostly Caplansky's and Goldin's, I can't say any of them blew me away. Maybe my expectations were too high.

                      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1. t
                        The Londoner Jul 25, 2010 09:18 PM

                        Really slow. Took forever to get any food. Lines were long, and Stockyards and Goldin's ran out of meat (while I was there) which caused frustration. Caplansky's did not, but were soooo slow. Obviously the event was more popular than they expected, but it was a nice venue and the food was great once we were able to obtain some!

                        356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                        1. aser Jul 25, 2010 09:03 PM

                          Caplansky's was weak, it was very tepid, just like the last time I had one offsite at the Toronto island BSS/Pavement concert. They do have the name recognition to pull out a win.

                          Stockyards had great flavour but suffered from being too lean and overcooking.

                          Goldin's by far was the winner, so damn good. The only problem was demand stripped supply by a far margin for both Stockyards and Goldin's, they kept running out.

                          I had a delivery from Schwartz a few weeks ago and dare I say Goldin's sonned them. Goldin's reign supreme.

                          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                          1. d
                            dubchild Jul 25, 2010 06:54 PM

                            I'm surprised Caplansky won, the sandwich was open faced and the meat had such an unappealing colour, almost greyish. The flavour was good, well balanced, but dry. Stockyard's relied too much on the coriander. I didn't feel there was a balance between the meat and the spice. Goldin's, in my mind was the best. Good fattiness, well balanced flavours, and nice amount of smoke. I still don't think any of them match Shwartz's.
                            Well organized event with a good turn out. The Stop is definitely an organization to watch.

                            356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: dubchild
                              Orange Jul 25, 2010 07:11 PM

                              Where is the announcement for the results?

                              I went with 2 friends, and 2 votes went to Goldin's (including mine), and 1 went to Caplansky. I agree with both Underdog Rally & dubchild - Goldin's has the best balance of flavor, including a nice rich meat flavor. The slight fattiness adds to the texture of the bite.

                              (It's smoked "meat" after all.) Caplansky's is rather bland, and the meat texture is like it's undercooked. I had to bite hard & pull the meat with my hands to take a bite. I remember it's chewy before when I visited the old location, but not to this extent.

                              The portion I got from Stockyard was the opposite - It's way overcooked. The meat was dry & salty.

                              This is a great event & I hope they do similar events with other food items.

                              356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                              1. re: Orange
                                ggom1 Jul 25, 2010 07:48 PM

                                Interesting - my friend and I went and both of our votes ultimately went to Goldin's too. It was the first one we tried and liked the texture but wanted a bit less saltiness and a bit more flavour. We didn't like Stockyards at all, found the flavour to be a bit strange (almost sweet?) and wanted more fattiness. We liked the flavour of Caplansky's, but not the texture. It was fun, but I'm glad I have a brisket from Schwartz's hiding in the freezer ;)

                                I wonder if there was a difference depending on which batch you got? We got there early and saw that both Goldin's and Stockyards ran out of meat around 1.5 hrs into the event.

                            2. m
                              mikefly Jul 25, 2010 05:26 PM

                              Arrived late.. at 5:20.. not a soul to be seen.


                              1. jfreir Jul 25, 2010 04:45 PM

                                No if and or buts. The Stockyards rocked it. My memories of MOntreal Smoked Meat never did coincide with the Toronto versions. It was always spicier than the bland Caplanksy's-style. Stockyards had the spice, so tender..I am reminiscing fondly as we speak. Goldin's a close second. Caplansky's...meh.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jfreir
                                  bytepusher Jul 25, 2010 05:00 PM

                                  And yet, Caplansky's won the voting, baffling to me

                                  356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                  1. re: jfreir
                                    Underdog Rally Jul 25, 2010 05:25 PM

                                    I think each showcased a different style of smoked brisket, and I enjoyed them all. Caplansky's meat has my favourite texture, but it's very mild, and I prefer bold flavours. Stockyards had my favourite spice, but I'm not a fan of the texture (the meat I got was more of a smoked meat jerky-like snack). My vote went to Goldin's, which had both a spice blend and texture I enjoyed. To be honest, I'm pretty glad to have all three in the city depending on my smoked meat preference for the day.

                                    This was a pretty good idea for a fundraiser, with really good, cheerful crowds. It was also nice to taste all three meats together. Kudos to The Stop, they've been putting on some really clever events for fundraiser and for advertising their cause.

                                    I can see why Caplansky's would win the vote though. I like bold flavours and interesting textures, but that's not everyone's cup of tea. Caplansky's product is much more "user friendly." Keep in mind also that not everyone went in with the idea of comparing sandwiches. Many people in line with us only bought 1 ticket each, which was promptly spent at the first stall upon entry - Caplansky's.

                                  2. p
                                    Pincus Jul 15, 2010 05:00 PM

                                    I'm not going to lie. I'm looking forward to this.

                                    1. Davwud Jul 14, 2010 04:49 AM

                                      My big question on this is, is Zane gonna go back to his original way of doing things or the new way??


                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Davwud
                                        bytepusher Jul 14, 2010 08:52 AM


                                        Are we talking about the rumoured brine injection machine?

                                        1. re: bytepusher
                                          SMOG Jul 14, 2010 10:14 AM

                                          I think he means that the "old" way being very smokey and tender, and the "new" way being much less smokey and more chewy.

                                          I would guess the new way. First, because he's still got a very busy restaurant full of customers to feed and can't afford to be playing around for a competition. Second, because on his blog he says the meat has never been better, so he's obviously very happy with the "new" way. There is also going to be a lot of volume required for this event, so between smoking the meat for the event + the restaurant, who knows how much quality will come through.

                                          I'm very hopeful though...

                                          1. re: bytepusher
                                            Davwud Jul 14, 2010 03:32 PM

                                            I've never been to Caplansky's so I can't comment on quality from a first had point. I can only tell you what I've been able to glean. It's pretty much taken as fact though.

                                            Zane's old way of doing things produced a superior (when he nailed it) however inconsistent product. The new way is more consistent but not as good on the high end.

                                            It's also a fact that in BBQ competitions, the ribs (or whatever) that you buy are not the same as what is turned in for judging.


                                            356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                            1. re: Davwud
                                              jayt90 Jul 14, 2010 08:23 PM

                                              From the blog, Zane changed to a larger Southern Pride smoker. Not as good as B. R.'s but better than the Monarch device. I don't know what Stockyards has but it is offsite, and may allow more smoking. Goldin's is more secretive, and still a backyard operation.
                                              Zane has never mentioned brine injection. My reports indicate hand rubbing in the basement, but that may have changed. I'm sure this question will arise on his straightforward blog.

                                              1. re: jayt90
                                                Davwud Jul 15, 2010 02:53 AM

                                                My reports indicate brine injection.

                                                I'm not judging. Just wondering if he's gonna do it up special for the competition or just use what he sells as is.


                                        2. l
                                          longolame Jul 12, 2010 08:01 PM

                                          If the moderators finally allow me to say this...
                                          From previous blind taste tests, 1.Stockyards, 2.Caplansky's, 3.Goldin's
                                          And this 'duel' is simply a fund raising effort.

                                          1. c
                                            childofthestorm Jul 12, 2010 06:51 PM

                                            Mark my words, Stockyards will be a dark horse in this event. Wish I could go but I'll be out of town.

                                            1. s
                                              savagehenry Jul 12, 2010 06:29 PM

                                              I can't believe no-one is speculating as to whether Zane will run out of meat before the event starts. Of course, you'll want to show up 15 minutes early, as that's when your fries will be ready. But I'm going anyway -- these three are definitely the top contenders and The Stop is a great cause.

                                              1. duckdown Jul 12, 2010 02:49 PM

                                                Also received a couple e-mails in my inbox from Goldin's mentioning the event, but I doubt I'll go.. I don't live anywhere near it..

                                                Is it just me or does $25 sound like an awful lot?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: duckdown
                                                  grandgourmand Jul 12, 2010 03:04 PM

                                                  It's got a charity event angle, so that's built into the price.

                                                  1. re: duckdown
                                                    Herb Jul 12, 2010 03:08 PM

                                                    Think of it as three $8 sandwiches and a tip.

                                                  2. s
                                                    SMOG Jul 12, 2010 10:33 AM

                                                    Will definitely go. Who are the odds on? I know Caplansky's isn't loved on this site and for good reason, but when he's at his best, his smoked meat is truly amazing. I wonder if he'll go all out to prove that he's still got it.

                                                    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                    1. Underdog Rally Jul 12, 2010 09:29 AM

                                                      I just got an email from Goldin's mailing list about this. The email said $25 to try all the smoked meats and The Stop's site (http://www.thestop.org/event/25-jul-2010) says free admission. I think there should be a prize just for eating $25 in smoked meat in one sitting.

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