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Blackstrap BBQ – Verdun

This place is getting a lot of hype, and I think it's very much justified. I'm no BBQ expert, far from it, but what I ate there really impressed me. The brisket and chicken were incredible. The ribs and pulled pork were great. Even the macaroni and cheese was good and I never like that stuff.

So I think the place needs its own thread. Discuss away.

http://blackstrapbbq.ca/

http://www.facebook.com/bbqblackstrap

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  1. Lord, please let the braised greens be collards...

    Also, I realize it's because of the demand, but wow, sometimes pricing for BBQ up here blows my mind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

      Would Blackstrap be good for a group of about eight guys? I'm looking for a bachelor party dinner. I've read that you have to get there early to ensure the availability of some of the dishes. More generally, I haven't seen the space so I don't know the set-up. Are there better bbq options for a group, Boucan? Don't want Bofinger or IceHouse...Thanks!

      1. re: foodinspace

        I think it is too small - they have two picnic tables in the front, and then bar seating along the wall at the back. You would need to commandeer one of the picnic tables so would need to get there early - but then again I had an early dinner there the other night and I saw a foursome having trouble finding space (starting at the bar then moving to the picnic table)
        Also, I think they are in the process of getting an alcohol license, but it is not licensed yet, if that is important.

        Icehouse is also very small, I would suggest you might have a similar problem!

        1. re: foodinspace

          For a bachelor party in the smokehouse/bbq vain. I would suggest Fumoir Rubs. The main reason would be the location. Fumoir is right on Prince Aurther vs. heading down to Verdun. I have not tried the food at Blackstrap yet, so I can't comment, however the food and vibe at Fumoir works well for a bachelor party. ;)

      2. i've heard equally rave reviews from my family. their one complaint though is that they run out of food quickly.

        4 Replies
        1. re: catroast

          I was told that they've ordered a second smoker, so the supply problem should be solved soonish.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            They mentioned this on twitter but unless it was a typo they said it should arrive in 3 months! Which is soon, but not that soon! :)

          2. re: catroast

            Isn't running out of meat quickly a staples of the best BBQ joint down south

            1. re: westaust

              sure but that's because they feed 300 people in 2 hours, not because their commercial smoker is too small.

          3. Thanks for making a thread SnackHappy, Blackstrap definitely deserves its own (although I don't know if I want to make it more popular than it already is!)

            I have tried
            brisket sandwich - good, but a little dry, I needed to add sauce
            brisket by itself - excellent, though the brisket is a little lean, they use the burnt ends, which are a bit fattier, for their burnt ends poutine, but I would actually prefer a little bit of those to be included, to keep it juicy!
            chicken - fantastic, really, really delicious
            pork - delicious also, with a nice amount of fat to keep it juicy (it is not your usual thin strips of pulled pork, it is nice big chunks!)
            coleslaw - nice and vinegary, though sometimes the pieces of cabbage are too large I find (a minor complaint!)
            beans - also very good, though I found they were almost too flavourful and really competed with the meat. I would like to have them by themselves, with eggs and toast, for breakfast!
            and my two favourites
            ribs - hands down the best in Montreal. No need for sauce, the rub and the smoke is perfect.
            mac and cheese balls - out of this world amazing, I don't really like mac and cheese normally but these are wonderful! I have been craving these even more than the ribs!

            A note on pricing - the mac and cheese balls are $3.99 as a side, but they can be included as the side you choose when ordering a sandwich or a plate, which make them the best deal for the sides (3 to a serve)

            Also, I found it strange that they don't have family sized servings of their sides - the sides available are the same size that you would get with the plate or sandwich, yet you are able to order full racks and ribs and whole chickens. It would make sense to me to have some bigger servings of the coleslaw, beans and braised greens available, so you could more easily put together a take away meal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: unlaced

              About the dry brisket, I think it's a matter of which end of the cut you're getting. We were lucky enough to get some nice fatty pieces along with some leaner ones. Perhaps its, possible to ask for fattier brisket.

            2. After eating there a few nights ago, I have to say it was good but by far not the best bbq I''ve ever had, including just in Montreal. Now, maybe I'm biased because I've tasted the bbq fruit of the gods in places like Kansas, Carolina, plus I do my own smoking chez moi. But all that aside, my biggest problem with blackstrap is that I didn't taste very much if any smoke in their meats. Isn't that one of the biggest parts of bbq--the smoke?! I've heard rubs is better.

              7 Replies
                1. re: Gloriaa

                  "Rubs is long gone...."

                  Well, that didn't take long. When did it happen? They just opened this summer.

                  EDIT: Hmmmm... As of four hours ago, they were still open. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php...

                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    And Rubs was still advertising(as in the past 24-48 hours) on TSN 690 radio. What happened if they did close?

                  2. re: Gloriaa

                    Rubs is open until 11pm tonight. Definitely not closed.

                  3. re: remdog99

                    Where is better slow cooked BBQ in Montreal? In my limited sampling of different Montreal BBQ places, nothing really impressed me(I haven't tried Blackstrap yet). What caught my eye with Blackstrap BBQ & different from other Montreal BBQ places, is that they focus on their dry rub not relying on the sauce for cover up. The sauce should supplement the taste of their smoked meats. The meat dry rub should stand on its own.

                    1. re: BLM

                      I think the reality is that although low & slow BBQ has gotten better in this city over the years, it is still nowhere near what it could be. And with the city cracking down more & more on wood burning, the future is not looking bright for BBQ in this town.

                    2. re: remdog99

                      I find that most of the smoke flavour at other BBQ joints come from the smoky flavoured BBQ sauce that they use. So what I appreciated about Blackstrap was that with no sauce at all, the meat was has a delicious smoke flavour (that didn't overpower the flavour of the meat itself)

                    3. I had the brisket poutine and it was crazy good! Really, I wasn't expecting it to be soo good, so delicious with the cheese melting just like you want it. Finding the pieces of brisket is like a big reward. I also had the ribs and they were great. A little to salty for me. Texture wise, I really felt the rub and it was very interesting. I took the fried mac&cheese and it was very average. If you order a meal with a side, try something else. For the sauces available on the counter, they were ok (to be fair, I never add sauce to my meals when I eat out). The spicey one was to liquid. The sweet&sour was interesting. Worth to go in Verdun for good BBQ food.

                      1. The only other bbq I had tried previously in Montreal was Bofinger and I didn't like it, so I was looking forward to a real bbq place here and very happy when Blackstrap arrived finally.

                        I went there last week with my MIL and boyfriend and we loved it. We got the giant tub o' food, don't remember what it was called, for $36 and also the burnt ends poutine. The tub had a bit of everything, my favourite side was the mac n cheese balls, the rest of them were ok but wouldn't order them on their own. My favourite meat was the ribs, although like someone else said I found them a bit too salty. I wasn't big on the sauces, I generally don't like vinegary sauces and the ribs were awesome without them anyways. Second favourite was the chicken, followed by pulled pork and lastly the brisket. I found it a bit dry too, but if it's just a matter of asking for a fatty piece I'll do that next time.

                        The poutine was really good but I was kind of overwhelmed by all the other stuff so I didn't get to really try it on it's own, it was good but I'll wait till I've tried it alone to see if I really like it or not. My MIL lived in the southern us for 12 years until last year and when she walked in there she said "it's just like in (I forgot the name of the state she said)!" She and the boyfriend loved it too :) I can't wait to go back there! They need to open another location downtown :D

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Chocolatesa

                          Thanks for the report. How does it compare to Dinette Triple Crown, for you or anyone who's been to both? I'd like to try one soon and need to decide which one to do first. :-)

                          1. re: kpzoo

                            I haven't been to Dinette Triple Crown so others will have to reply about that :)

                            1. re: kpzoo

                              They're both very good, you can't go wrong. I personally would give a slight edge to Dinette Triple Crown, but it's extremely close. During the summer, I would definitely choose DTC for the picnic experience.

                              We preferred the brisket at DTC but the smoked turkey, poutine and mac n cheese balls at Blackstrap were all excellent.

                          2. I have only been to Blackstrap once for takeout (this past Sunday night) and was not impressed. Dry and cold slices of brisket...overly vinegary/tangy/bitter tasting sauces, cole slaw and greens. I might go back to try something else one day but am not in a rush.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: donster

                              As someone said above, "it is not your usual thin strips of pulled pork, it is nice big chunks!" exactly what I said. Pork was out of this world, the brisket was OK, it lacked smokiness and fat. Too bad they were out of ribs. I've tried brisket at both Blackstrap and Triple Crown and I give the edge to TC but I don't believe their brisket is cooked in a smoker. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

                            2. Good news for those of you living in the southwest, lasalle, verdun and nun's island, blackstrap is now offering delivery for 3$

                              1. Anyone been to Blackstrap recently? Initially I was very excited to try it but after reading reviews about them always being out of different things and that the pork is too dry, I haven't made much of an effort to make my way there. I'm looking to pick up some BBQ for dinner tonight. What are the chances they will be sold out of ribs and brisket by 7pm? I usually like Dinette Triple Crown, but want to try some place new. I live near Boucan, is that a good option?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: causeimhungry

                                  Lucky, they were closed earlier today due to a plumbing issue but they just tweeted that they have reopened!

                                  I went about 8 times before Christmas, I just completely overdosed on it because I was enjoying it so much, whereas now, as the menu is unchanged, I have probably been twice since Christmas. I still love the meats, I am just a bit sick of the sides (even the macaroni cheese balls/squares that I love)

                                  You can track them on twitter as they announce what they are sold out of as the night progresses.
                                  https://twitter.com/bbqblackstrap

                                  1. re: unlaced

                                    I'm surprised they're still regularly selling out their meats early on some days, even with a second smoker. Originally they had one smoker.

                                  2. re: causeimhungry

                                    it's worth going to Blackstrap at least once. Le Boucan is also a winner. Check em all out.

                                  3. Had it for 1st time -- liked it very much. Has pork sandwhich - was very tasty !

                                    1. My wife and I got take-out today. This is the third time we've eaten at Blackstrap and will definitely be the last. The first two times ranged from unimpressive to disappointing but today was just ridiculous. It was one of the worst meals we've had in a long time. Everything was excessively salty to the point of being just this side of inedible, the sauces were fine but only made my dry ribs even saltier and the fries were incredibly bad. I'd had them before and they were much better but these were undercooked and awful. I actually VOMITED after eating this stuff because my body couldn't handle the amount of salt I had ingested.

                                      $15 for undercooked fries and barely edible ribs AND I'm still recovering.

                                      Ugh.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Tiny Iota

                                        While complaining here might help you feel better. Complaining to the restaurant might actually accomplish something.

                                        I agree with you that Blackstrap isn't anything to write home about. But if I got food poisoning from a restaurant I would be sure to make it explicitly clear to them. If only so that they could take appropriate steps so that it doesn't happen to anyone else.

                                        1. re: EaterBob

                                          Oh, it wasn't food poisoning, it was just so incredibly salty that my body couldn't handle it. My family felt awful but I was the only one who couldn't take it. And I think people who frequent this board should be aware that they could get food that IS this salty.

                                          I'm not going to complain to the restaurant because of personal preference. Judging by what people have said in this thread it doesn't seem to bother anyone else.

                                          1. re: Tiny Iota

                                            The one time I went, two older men complained to the waitress about how salty it was and all she said was "people like salty"

                                      2. I raved about it in Nov but was very disappointed today, the brisket was drier than it was originally and the pork was lacking moisture as well, too bad since it was such a winner last fall. I found both meats lacked overall taste. Were the meats smoked during the week and served today? That's what it tasted like.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JerkPork

                                          Had the pulled pork burger and fried macaroni balls on Thursday. The fried mac and cheese was ok, the pulled pork however, was dry and even with a whole lot of sauce, wasn't very enjoyable and I ended up only eating about a third. This was the first time I went and will be my last.

                                        2. This is what happens with most montreal restaurants I find, they open and serve good food then about a month later they go downhill, portions get smaller, food is overcooked.etc.Makes me really mad

                                          1. ribs and brisket were tasty enough, if a bit too salty but the price and presentation was an insult. sharing a crowded picnic table with plastic forks and small portions of tasteless side orders (we had the 'mac and cheese' and greens) are not my idea of a fine dining experience at this price. our beer came in clear plastic disposables and held about 8 oz max. i was thirsty and hungry after we left. for 50+ bucks (for 2) definitely not deserving of the raves i've come across.

                                            21 Replies
                                            1. re: ergman

                                              Sorry about your experience, but who the heck goes to a BBQ joint expecting fine dining?

                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                People willing to dish out big bucks for it?

                                                I don't care much about presentation, but small portions absolutely kills it for me

                                                1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                  Putting aside the fact that fine dining has little to do with pricing, I don't find Blackstrap expensive at all for what you get. And I'm a really cheap diner.

                                                  1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                    Small portions at Blackstrap? Not really...however, the quality has gone way way downhill lately - the last order of burnt ends poutine we had was more like super-fatty brisket poutine instead. Largely inedible, apparently a problem with their brisket supplier, but I won't be running back there anytime soon, with Triple Crown as a much better option.

                                                    1. re: cherylmtl

                                                      The thing is Triple Crown isn't a BBQ joint. It's a Soul Food/Southern US place with a tiny smoker that only makes brisket.

                                                      I haven't been to Blackstrap in a while, but if quality has become an issue, I don't think there are real options out there. My last visit at Moonshine was pretty disappointing. Diablos is a joke. Rubs will probably never reopen. Boucan keeps getting canned by almost everyone I speak to. All of a sudden, Montreal has a bunch of BBQ joints, but none of them seem to be delivering the goods.

                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                        isn't DTC's pulled pork smoked as well? Also how is Diablos a joke?

                                                        1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                          What I was told about DTC by someone who worked there is that they only smoke the brisket. I could be wrong, though.

                                                          As for Diablos, I went once and will never return. Everything we ordered was bad except for the drinks. The ribs tasted as if they had been boiled and the brisket was corned-beef grilled with BBQ sauce. It was absolutely terrible.

                                                          1. re: SnackHappy

                                                            oh wow that is groundbreaking about DTC. Do you know if it has always been like that? I know that beef brisket is more expensive than pork shoulder in butcher shops but if i remember correctly back when they first opened, the pork was price the same as the brisket.

                                                            So.... if they never smoked their pulled pork, does that mean we have all been unknowingly enjoying "ass" tasting liquid smoke despite most of us swearing off of that very negatively portrayed stuff?

                                                            1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                              Considering how good their pulled pork usually is, I'd be surprised if they don't smoke it. That being said, I've had their fried chicken the last few times, because it's just sooo good (especially the Nashville-style hot chicken).

                                                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                Does anyone know if DTC opened their dining room yet?

                                                                1. re: causeimhungry

                                                                  Not yet, I recently asked and was told it will be used for bigger parties for the time being. They made it seem that it will eventually be a regular dining room in a years time. Kitchen renos are in the plan before they expand the dining room for regular service.

                                                                  1. re: JerkPork

                                                                    Oh that's unfortunate, but thanks for the update.

                                                        2. re: SnackHappy

                                                          I think I heard Rubs BBQ is opening a Laval location(might of already opened).

                                                          1. re: BLM

                                                            Yeah, they were supposed to open the Laval store on the 6th, but it still hasn't open.

                                                            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-Fum...

                                                    2. re: SnackHappy

                                                      i was using the term 'fine dining' euphemistically - i know what a bbq joint is. why would i comment otherwise? the place is not bad, just overrated based on my experience and the raves of others. YMMV.

                                                    3. re: ergman

                                                      I've never been to Blackstrap, but $50 is not expensive for 2 with booze. Not even close. Even, for eg., at The Main it would be $40-45 (in. tax & tips) for burger platters and a couple pints. Or at any pub in town, fish n' chips place, etc.

                                                      However, I agree with your complaints about presentation - in fact, they pretty much lost me as potential customer over the plastic cups and spoons. Not because I care about aesthetics, but because it's inexcusable, environmentally speaking.

                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                        The plates, cups, and utensils used at Blackstrap BBQ are compostable. They are made from some sort of organic material. Nevertheless, I like eating with real utensils!

                                                        1. re: JedZ

                                                          Especially for BBQ. How do you cut slabs of meat with a plastic fork?

                                                          Organic material makes even less sense from a business standpoint, btw. Costs more than cheap plastic, which is already more than real cutlery in the long run.

                                                          1. re: Shattered

                                                            source on that? I was thinking that cutlery would be more expensive because you might need to invest more in dishwashing

                                                        2. re: Shattered

                                                          i'm not implying $50 is expensive, just not complete value for money in this case. btw 'the booze' was more of a tasting than a full dose which contributed to our letdown.
                                                          @ghostquatre ..as for the plastic utensils, i do believe that over time, using steel cutlery more than recoups its initial investment. though there is certainly a carbon footprint when washing stuff, there is most probably a larger one in producing single-use implements.

                                                          1. re: ergman

                                                            Blackstrap is fake folksy and the food quality does not forgive the plastic cutlery.