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Feb 25, 2011 04:00 PM

Duggan's or Buster Rhino's ribs - Please help me choose.

So, this isn't a straightforward choice of which tastes better. Here's the thing: It's my husband's birthday, and he wants ribs. But he likes the saucy kind, not the kind that relies on artisan smokiness. Last year, we went to Stockyards, and while he did enjoy them, the ribs there were not of the saucy type he prefers. Me, well I know nothing about ribs in Toronto, as they're just not my thing.

So, if you know something about ribs, especially Duggan's and Buster Rhino's versions, as those are the two I would prefer to choose from (though I am open to other suggestions), where would you go for saucy ribs in a pleasant atmosphere, with decent service? Please also keep in mind that we live in Toronto (so Buster Rhino's would be a big drive), and convenience is worth something too.

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

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  1. OK, I may get shot for this recommendation, but if saucy, fall-off-the-bone ribs are what your husband enjoys, then Baton Rouge is the place to go. Ask for a small bowl of bbq sauce on the side if he wants it really saucy. Get the fully loaded baked potato rather than the mashed potatoes (which they beat into a gluey mass). I find the ribs the best thing on the menu there, and the atmosphere and service are both nice.

    Buster Rhino's ribs are very good, but they are a dry rub style, though there are sauces at the counter you can use. However, it's a long way off, closed on the weekends (I think!) and no atmosphere for a celebration.

    I haven't been to Duggan's, so can't comment on it.

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Baton Rouge is okay but I think Swiss Chalet has them beat when it comes to their ribs, I think I may get shot multiple times for this post.

      1. re: callitasicit

        How brave you are! My husband already mentioned he would be happy with Swiss Chalet, so he may get shot, too!! It's not really the more upmarket-type destination I was hoping for for a birthday celebration... Nonetheless, SC is a contender.

      2. re: TorontoJo

        Agreed - Buster's ribs are good, but they are probably the polar opposite of what your husband wants. They retain some of their bite, and as TorontoJo says, are the dry rub style which is a big turnoff for those expecting a gooey, saucy rack. Don't go all the way out there to disappoint a saucy rib fan.

        1. re: Wahooty

          Thank you for that. It is quite a distance to go for something that's not quite what you want!

        2. re: TorontoJo

          Thank you, TorontoJo! Baton Rouge was off my radar.

          1. re: Full tummy

            Yup, TJ is right. Baton Rouge ribs are a guilty pleasure for me.

        3. I've had Baton Rouge ribs once years ago. i remember them being surprisingly good. Not excellent, but good.

          if you want sauce, do NOT get Buster Rhino's. Saying that, BR's ribs are bloody excellent. You're tasting 2 things:

          1. Delicious cherry wood smoked perfectly into the meat
          2. the meat itself

          You smell like a lovely campfire after eating them. The flavour is excellent and the only thing overwhelming is the smoke. But after all, they are smoked/BBQed.

          Saucy ribs are nice, but I've learned to love the dry rub smoked ribs. More of an art form. If you're uninterested in your husband learning about that "art", then yes, find another option. :)

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

          6 Replies
          1. re: atomeyes

            Yes, Buster Rhino's ribs sound divine--to me, but I'm not the rib person, and for Hubby's birthday, I have to be considerate with respect to his preferences. Thanks for the advice. It looks like it's a race between Baton Rouge and SC, unless someone pops up and recommends Duggan's!

            1. re: Full tummy

              I found the BBQ sauce on Duggan's wings to be....well no other way to say it, crud, I can't imagine the ribs are any better.

              What about Highway 61? I know they don't get much love here but I've heard some positive chatter elsewhere.

              1. re: bytepusher

                Thanks, I will give Duggan's a pass, I guess. The menu looked good tho for items for the rest of the group... But no fans are popping up, so that has to say something. I will put 61 on the list.

              2. re: Full tummy

                Ive only been to Buster Rhino's once and im dying to get back there. The ribs might not be for your husband but I guarantee he would love the Brisket Sandwich. That thing was so delicious, there was a bunch of thin cut brisket and a good amount of their homemade BBQ sauce, all tossed on a plain soft white bun, absolutely delicious. Saucy and meaty goodness, and you could see the smoke rings on the brisket, damn I want some more...

                I also tried their Smoked Wings, and they were huge, but i think they should have been crisped up in the frier, thats just my personal taste...

                I dont know if they sell their BBQ sauce, Id imagine they do, but you can also buy vaccuum sealed packages of their pulled pork and brisket, so if you make a trip out there, you can always stock up and make it worth your while.

                I also agree with what someone said earlier, Swiss Chalet has some tasty ribs, fall off the bone and great flavor.

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

                1. re: jmarcroyal

                  The sandwich sounds divine... Something to get next time we're out that way.

                  1. re: jmarcroyal

                    they sell 3 types of BBQ sauce at the BR store.
                    note that there is 1 store in Whitby, 1 in Oshawa and one in Uxbridge.

              3. Tho Buster serves its ribs fairly dry with just a bit of sauce to finish,you can buy bottles of their sauce and put on as much as you like. However, it's not much of a celebration spot, more a no-frills take-out with a few plastic patio tables and chairs. No service other than counter staff and no liquor license.

                They sell the ribs vacu-packed ($15 a rack?) so you can stock up with as many as you want and celebrate back home and throw the rest in the freezer. And make sure you call them to tell them you're coming. When we got there, they were sold out and had to drive another half hour to their Oshawa location to get them. Turned into a 3 hour return trip for us.

                Have you tried Phil's on College? You'll find all sorts of hate for it on this board, but more positive feedback imo than Swiss Chalet or Baton Rouge.


                or Hadley's?


                Sauce is generally put on the ribs at the end of the process so that it doesn't burn. Wherever you go, just ask for extra sauce!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Herb

                  Heres another possibility, And I might get slack for this too. Montanas! I only ever go there when they have All-You-Can-Eat Ribs. Their ribs are decent quality, nice and saucy with a few varieties of flavors.

                  I loved their Beef Ribs, the things were absolutely huge. Ill admit they were pretty fatty, but they were nice and hot and saucy and I enjoyed em. Unfortunately the service is usually horrible, they are always slow as hell, and I find their ribs are only good for one binge a year, you get all ribbed out after a feast over there. If youve never been there you might want to give it a shot.

                  1. re: jmarcroyal

                    All you can eat may be a winning proposition, so long as the ribs are decent. Thanks!

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      Their ribs are in line with SC and BR.


                  2. re: Herb

                    Will look into both your suggestions. Thanks!!

                  3. If you don't mind the drive up north, I would suggest Chili's in Vaughan (right off the 400 and 7 at Colossus). I know its a chain, but it's the only one in Ontario and I find the ribs nice and saucy


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greenapes

                      Thanks for the suggestion! Didn't know there was one in Ontario.

                    2. VERY long drive to get there, but if you want the best saucy BBQ ribs in Ontario you'll have to go to Camp 31 BBQ in Paris, Ontario:


                      If you go cross-border shopping to Buffalo, I strongly recommend Kentucky Greg's near the airport, this place is worth the trip if you're already over that way:


                      My wife is from Alabama and also prefers the sauced ribs so she definitely prefers these two places over BR.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: TexSquared

                        Well, those will come in handy if I'm out of town, hahaha! Thanks!

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          It's unfortunate nothing within the GTA can hold a candle to Camp 31 or Kentucky Greg's. If you want the best you have to be willing to travel; hey at least I'm not saying fly to Tokyo like you see in the sushi threads....

                        2. re: TexSquared

                          Just looked at the website for camp31. Is it all good? Looks like it might be a fun daytrip come summer.

                          1. re: Full tummy

                            Yes. You'll see a lot of the Ribfest haters post negative about them... I agree they're not at their best at the fests for any number of reasons (and have to overcharge like all the ribbers). Go to their restaurant and you won't be disappointed.

                            1. re: TexSquared

                              or yes you may be disappointed much like I was after the drive from TO. I have no problem telling people to avoid the drive to Paris ON to avoid the horrible meal three of us and I had. Hello Microwave.

                            2. re: Full tummy

                              Go once. Then decide if you want to return. We return every year for good reason. They serve a quality product at a fair price, and if my southern-USA-expat wife (born and raised on the Gulf Coast) says they're the best she's had up here, who am I (born-and-raised Torontonian) to argue.... be as ridiculous as me disagreeing with a Japanese expat on who makes the best sushi in the GTA....