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Aug 26, 2011 02:17 AM

Authentic southern BBQ spots in TO?

looking for any good reccos for best BBQ in Vaughan/GTA


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  1. So far the best I've had is Big Bone BBQ in Newmarket.

    Buster Rhino's in Whitby is another good option.

    IMHO nothing is as good as the best places I've found in the south but these two could certainly hold their own down yonder.

    I find we tend to not have enough smoke flavour up here. That's a personal thing though. As well, I feel most places over try on their menu. Fancy mac n' cheese and upgraded buns for pulled pork just don't cut it. If you know what I mean.


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

    11 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      If you want smoke (and good BBQ in general) hit up Memphis Fire BBQ in Winona. They have a wood smoker out back. My car smelled like smoke during the ride home with takeout :) There is another thread on it here.

      I like Barque (by high park area), Sweet Smoke (Oakville) and Camp 31 (Paris, On). I enjoyed Buster Rhino's too but that is the further away of all the places for me. I did not like Highway 61 at all, and I hear that the other "Memphis" bbq place on Yonge north of 401 is not good.

      1. re: ylsf

        Highway 61 has a nice room and decent beers. But it's on Bayview, which means there is some karmic reason they can't serve good food. Might be over a burial ground or something.

        Also good in town is Stockyards, though not licenced when I was last there.

        1. re: Snarf

          Oh yeah, totally forgot about Stockyards. I guess because it is a bit tricky actually getting some chicken or ribs there (high demand, only certain days/etc). But, I really enjoyed the ribs I had there too.

          1. re: Snarf

            Highway 61 on Bayview is crap. Stay far away if you want real BBQ.

            1. re: Philip T

              Agreed 100%, I avoid it completely.

              1. re: Philip T

                Sadly I agree -- I made two visits to Highway 61, and wanted to like something about it other than the beer selection, but didn't. Last time I shared a meat sampler platter that contained almost every type they have: two types of ribs, chicken wings, pulled pork, and more. All the meat was simply flavourless, some was dry, some was chewy. The sides were boring. Service was odd and lacklustre both times.

            2. re: ylsf

              Yes... the big avoid is "Memphis Style Smoke House" at Yonge and Sheppard. Went once. Big mistake:


              "Memphis BBQ and Wicked Wings" in Woodbridge is not associated with them at all, and is fine:


              1. re: TexSquared

                "Memphis BBQ and Wicked Wings" is the original location for the Big Bone BBQ franchises. Apparently, they couldn't copyright the original name.

                1. re: TOFoodie1

                  Thanks for the heads-up (I think Davwud pointed out the common ownership in other posts); they use the same logo/mascot design which is also a clue.

            3. re: Davwud

              I had great ribs and smoked wings at the Big Bone BBQ in Barrie a few weeks ago. I had a bad experience at Camp 31 - was served totally dried out ribs and had to send them back (no apology was offered). I've only had take out from Buster Rhino's (their north Oshawa location), but the ribs were excellent.

            4. The original comment has been removed
              1. Buster Rhino's has just opened a location in the Distillery District - I found that out when they were at the recent food truck festival. Worth a visit.

                Distillery District
                55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

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

                4 Replies
                1. re: SuriniGirl

                  I believe they sell their pulled pork and brisket to Sweet Escape for sandwiches, but I am pretty sure they havent opened a location there!

                  Sweet Escape
                  55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                  1. re: SuriniGirl

                    Buster Rhino's just opened up at College and Ossington too. Great spot :) I went last Saturday and it was super quiet. Had the meat platter with brisket, pulled pork, and ribs as well as baked beans and hush puppies. All were excellent, but the brisket as well as the hush puppies were the highlight for me!

                    I am a fan of Barque. Their ribs are OMG level.

                    1. re: ekim256

                      That's the old Phil's place.

                      The great attraction there now is the beverages - they've imported some of the traditional accompaniments (such as Cheerwine). I had the best (IMO) 'sour' cider I've found in Canada.

                      The standout for me (1 visit) were the ribs which I found smokier (which I prefer) than those at the Whitby location - not sure whether that's a quality control issue, or a deliberate strategy.

                      The ribs at Barque are variable - sometimes dried-out - even burned, although I have also had excellent ribs there.

                      1. re: estufarian

                        I've been going to BR TO since they've opened in April. I think I'm into double digit visits now. I really love that they've put some effort into the beer and cider.

                        As far as I know, the main BBQ staples are smoked out in Oshawa. I don't know if any additional tweaking is done after delivery. Some food specials are smoked at College & Ossington.

                  2. While I hate to say this out loud because I've enjoyed not lining up for them, Big Bone BBQ is also in the middle of the Food Bldg at The Ex. It's my one and only must-have when I'm there. And a ride on Craaaaazy Mouse.

                    Please open in Toronto soon BB bbq, please. Preferably near me in East York.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Googs

                      That booth's been there for years. It was Purple Pig's booth for awhile, then Memphis BBQ (Woodbridge, same people as Big Bone) took it over.

                      Anybody remember who used to occupy the current Epic Burgers location in there?

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        Purple Pig begot Memphis BBQ begot Big Bone. All the same people.


                        Memphis BBQ
                        8074 Islington Ave, Woodbridge, ON L4L1W5, CA

                        Purple Pig
                        1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H3W4, CA

                        1. re: Davwud

                          Thanks. I thought Purple Pig was a different group (and they were downtown, right?) while Memphis/Big Bone were strictly York Region.

                          1. re: TexSquared

                            Purple Pig was downtown when it was open yrs ago - real dive!

                            Purple Pig
                            1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H3W4, CA

                            1. re: justsayn

                              There was a Purple Pig location downtown at Yonge and Richmond, and another location in Aurora. Both were decent when they first opened, but then in later years went way downhill, rode on their early reputation for a few years, then finally closed.

                        2. re: TexSquared

                          Yes, and in the 3 years(?) I've been going to the Big Bone booth, I've lined up for more than 2 minutes exactly never. You'd think people didn't know it was there.

                          1. re: Googs

                            I know. That booth never had a long lineup... it's kind of hidden in that alley that too many people bypass....

                            1. re: TexSquared

                              And so, against my own interest, I point it out. Good places should also be successful even if it does mean waiting.

                      2. It's not in TO and it's only open Wed to Sat. but Muddy's Pit BBQ in Keene (north side of Rice Lake) is serving up some great BBQ and even the digs feel down south.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Lefty

                          That looks mighty cool. Do you happen to know if there's a marina where one might "park" nearby?

                          1. re: Googs

                            I have never done it, but I am told that with a small boat you can go up the Indian River from Rice Lake right to Keene .... contact the Indian River Campground? they might have more info

                          2. re: Lefty

                            Bump. Finally got around to trying Muddy's Pit BBQ in Keene (open since 2010 so I have been slouching on the job). It was great !

                            Got the "Sampler" which has two ribs, portion each of Pulled Pork and Brisket, and a Smoked sausage. The sausage was the weakest (a little dry), the brisket was good with a nice bark, sticky sauced ribs were great, and the Pulled Pork was excellent. They have KC style BBQ (v good but a little cumin-y IMO) and a sweet heat Carolina mustard sauce that was fantastic (not overpoweringly vinegary).

                            Lots of sides available too (coleslaw, salads, beans). Licensed with 2 drafts.

                            Cozy southern style setting, open indoor and outside picnic table seating, friendly staff, gorgeous drive along County Rd 2...

                            Destination spot.

                            1. re: PoppiYYZ


                              Tue - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

                              Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

                              Sun: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

                              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                This place is in Peterborough....

                                The name of the thread is "Authentic Southern BBQ spots in TO"...

                                1. re: C mac

                                  Lefty already mentioned that above. It's worth the drive.

                                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                    Regardless, thanks for the report! Close enough to Toronto area to pay a visit. Sounds good.