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Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ: opening soon at Pape & Danforth

Just read this at TheGridTO (http://www.thegridto.com/blog/?a=crumbs). Will open in Slider Revolution's old space, 673 Danforth just east of Pape.

They have a website and Twitter/Facebook accounts which don't currently contain many details, and their Instagram contains a bunch of shots of homemade-looking bbq from the past few months.

If they know what they are doing, they will make a killing in this neighborhood. Anyone have any additional info?


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  1. I wondered the same thing.

    Would love to know more. As in, who's behind it, their background, etc.

    1. It's called Greenwood Smokehouse and it's at Pape? Well they are off to a great start already. I'd never use green wood for BBQ but maybe that's what is used. :-)

      Do you really think they would make a killing around here? I never knew we had smoke addicts in the hood. But didn't a smokehouse open recently? http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story....

      10 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        Paul, of Paul and Sandy's fame uses green wood. I've seen it used before down south. Not common but is done.
        The pic's look great. I'm a bit curious, Carolina and Memphis style ribs?? Are they trying to do too much to please too many??


        1. re: foodyDudey

          In this case, methinks Greenwood=one word=street name (photos on their Facebook page of BBQ with tag "Smoking meat for my family at our home on Greenwood Ave. — at East York."), as opposed to green wood= two words=green wood.

          Can't wait to check it out.

          1. re: goodfoodandbeer

            Actually I assumed it was named after Greenwood Ave , but why call it Greenwood when located Pape? I had not seen the Facebook page when I posted.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              Dead End BBQ in Knoxville is not located on a dead end street. The name comes from the cookouts the owner had at his home.....on a dead end street.


          2. re: foodyDudey

            Couple things,

            I would imagine that the name is either after their home address or their recent trip to Greenwood Country South Carolina where a lot of their pictures are from. That would also justify why they do Carolina Style and Memphis Style, if they are trained in that county (which I know well) they would have been taught both styles, hell if they just drove through that county they would have had both styles.

            Lets say they were trained there for arguments sake, they wouldn't be using green wood for sure. That is more of a mid west thing, and it's usually green mesquite and there are very few people who do that, or do it well.

            Now I want to drive to my family in South Carolina, hang out on their porch, and eat freshly smoked oysters while we wait for the ribs to finish cooking, it's been too long.

            1. re: BusterRhino

              Your post makes me long for our family reunions on cape hatarus. Thanks, now I'm colder! :)

              1. re: BusterRhino

                They do Memphis style in Greenwood SC??


                1. re: Davwud

                  Yea, Davwud they do. Since MiM holds some pretty major BBQ comps in the area and most of the restaurant owners down there competed or still compete their definitely is a mix of Carolina and Memphis (and KCBS) in the area. But Memphis is definitely found in the area, actually memphis and kcbs are pretty much found everywhere now.

                  1. re: BusterRhino


                    Nothing other than N. Alabama BBQ and one Texas style where I go.


              2. re: foodyDudey

                the owner lives on greenwood so used that in his name of restaurant. close enough

              3. wait wait...
                a place with an amazing concept and name like "Slider Revolution" went out of business in less than 1 year?

                !Viva la Revolucion!"

                1. Some more info on this place and its Marky & Sparky connection..

                  From Post City Magazine:

                  Another new barbeque restaurant plans to open this next month, stacking itself against the plethora of current smokehouse options available in the city as of late. Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ is slated to open at 673 Danforth Ave. in early January, though owner Warren DeSimone has hopes of serving up smoked turkey and ham dinners around the holidays. DeSimone’s restaurant opens mere months after his brother’s own barbecue joint (Marky & Sparky’s Smokehouse) started business in the west end, and will serve a variety of North and South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee-inspired meats.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: pourboi

                    Are North and South Carolina really known for their BBQ?

                    1. re: hal2010

                      hell yes.

                      the question is: do Torontonians know their BBQ? Or do most of us equate ribs to what we get at Baton Rouge, Montanas and Swiss Chalet?

                      i'd suggest that most Torontonians think BBQ = sauce. dry rubs are still beyond what most of us appreciate. we need sauce and a tomato base. kind of silly, but that's why you'll see most bbq joints in this city using wet bbq vs dry bbq.


                      1. re: atomeyes

                        Oh my gosh I'm excited for this restaurant!! Decor looks really nice, hoping for the best!!

                        1. re: atomeyes

                          why wouldn't torontians know bbq? some love their swiss chalet like my 75 year old mother but the rest of us are well equipped to understand what bbq should be. let's give it a chance and the people of east danforth toronto a chance to try and like. who cares if they use wet vs/ dry if it's good let's patronize the restaurant and help out a mom and pop resto.

                        2. re: hal2010

                          Good god. Thank all that's holy you've an anonymous account- otherwise you'd have furious mobs from two states coming after you!

                          North Carolina, along with Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City, is in fact one of the generally-recognized major hubs for barbecue in the US. NC is all about the pork, bless them, mostly whole-hog. SC might not be a hub, per se, but they certainly know their way around a smoker. Was in the Charleston region this past summer and tried some Championship barbecue. It's a revelation.

                          Too bad Toronto doesn't do southern barbecue very well, IMO. It'd be fun to have the real deal from each of the Big 4 styles.

                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                            Right on. Alabama and Georgia also does great pork. There's a joint in Sebring Fla. that also has great pork and sausages. I've eaten at well over a hundred b.b.q. joints in the States, and the only outfit that comes close up here is Buster's joint.

                            1. re: TorontoTuna

                              What other BBQ places have you tried in Toronto? cuz a whole bunch have opened in the last year or so and I have not seen that you have commented on any of them. Like to know what they are "missing".

                            1. re: hal2010

                              As mentioned, they are known for cooking the whole pig (although there are regional variations focusing on the ribs or shoulder). The sauces also vary. There's vinegar and pepper, which is typical in North Carolina and parts of South. There's mustard, which is primarily the midlands of South Carolina. There's also the more widespread tomato-based sauce.

                              According to the menu, I see that there is the mustard-based pulled pork. I'm also hopeful about the Memphis-style dry ribs - hoping they will be like the version at Rendezvous.

                          2. Looks like they're opening in a few weeks (soft opening).

                            Very nice looking space. lots of wood. vintage lawn tools and stuff on the wall.

                            style will be a mix of different wet and dry bbq styles. will also have a vegan-friendly menu.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: atomeyes

                              I saw two people sitting at a table inside yesterday when I walked by, but didn't have time to step in. I had assumed that they were actually open.

                                1. re: atomeyes

                                  they opened last night and the ribs were terrific so were the sides. they had a problem with a water leak that delayed opening today. i'm looking forward to trying the wings

                                  1. re: shelovesfood

                                    Anyone else been yet? I just saw mention on BlogTO that they were opened so came here for reviews. Surprised there is only one so far.

                                    1. re: ylsf

                                      My wife and I ate there last night. She had the pulled pork sandwich and I had a stew made of brisket, chorizo, and olives. It all tasted good, but I am no expert on BBQ food. We each had a pint of draft, and the bill was $40 before tip.

                                      We'd probably go back again and order take-out.

                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                        I see their sandwiches are served on a 'sesame bun'. Is this similar to Wonderbread, or does the bun have some texture?
                                        Hard to tell from your picture - and I don't see the promised slaw on it either.
                                        "Slathered with mustard sauce..topped with slaw" combined with 'wonderbread' is not an appetizing combination (IMO). Needs a sturdier bun (e.g. Portuguese) or toasted.

                                        1. re: estufarian

                                          "White trash" Wonder Bread bun is essential for a good BBQ pulled pork sammie, IMO...

                                          1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                            Then we agree to disagree.
                                            I love the buns at Black Camel - and I don't think I've seen a complaint (so far) that they're not serving Wonderbread style.
                                            Edited to add (after Michael N's comment below):
                                            I fail to understand why, generally, there are no (or few) objections to the use in Toronto (compared to the US styles)of different woods, different smokers, different smoking times, different cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder vs. whole hog) yet aficionados react fairly strongly to somebody serving 'real' bread as opposed to Wonderbread.
                                            I used the Black Camel example to show that pulled pork (which is the MAIN ingredient in the sandwich under discussion) can, indeed be served (and is served) on an alternative bun.
                                            I am happy to consume Toronto versions of 'iconic US dishes' - authenticity is irrelevant to me as long as it tastes good - but putting the meat in a tasteless surround that sticks to the roof of my mouth and dries up the saliva - the mechanism for extracting flavour, just doesn't interest me.
                                            If anyone (or everyone) prefers it that way - good luck and enjoy. But also give me the information I asked for so I can assess whether the place is even worth a visit.

                                            1. re: estufarian

                                              Black Camel is its own thing, and wouldn't be considered southern style BBQ.

                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                To each his own, estufarian. I completely understand your preference for a "good" bun. I have never had a Black Camel pulled pork, but I hear that all their sandwiches are great. But per Michael N's post below - they are not Southern BBQ. (nor are they trying to be?) For me, Southern BBQ is all about trailers and pits and "simple" eating, thus the wonder bun. That being said, I like "American style" griddled burgers (plain wonder bun is de rigueur, I understand) a la stockyards and Burgers Priest, but prefer a "gourmet" burger CHAR grilled with a crusty bun and some good REAL cheese (not processed). Just different strokes, I suppose...
                                                Re: Toronto's BBQ scene in general, I have tried very few places, and rely on the opinions of GTA locals on this board who lament the lack of good BBQ in their city. (though I would like to try Buster's someday) But we are lucky to have a few good places for Southern BBQ here in KW. None here get in to much detail re: cuts and woods used, though it would be interesting to know. I suspect for most people, it's about taste, so if they like the taste, they are not overly concerned with cooking details BTW... Lancaster Tavern and Hogtails BBQ are both worth a visit if you are a BBQ fan. But be forewarned, this is authentic Southern BBQ so don't be surprised to see a "wonder style" bun.

                                                1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                  I deliberately ignored Burgers in my 'edited portion of the post' to stay (mostly) on topic.
                                                  I have the identical objection to Burger Buns and ignore most places (if anyone's counting, you'll see I never post on any of the multiple burger threads - it wouldn't add anything to the discussion to say "I hate all their buns"). So at least I'm consistent (my level of 'strangeness' is debatable).
                                                  You may also notice I didn't indicate any opinion on the 'southernness' of Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ - that was Michael N's addition. I'll be happy to give my opinion AFTER I've tried it. That's IF I do!

                                                  I tried hard not to make this personal - if you check my original (before editing) comments I think you'll see we 'mostly' agree.

                                                  Perhaps I erred in putting the edit in - rather than attempting to expand my original response I could have responded (with the same info) to Michael N. But it seemed (to me) there was potential for a complete sidebar on that old chestnut of 'what is Southern Style BBQ' - and surely we don't need another one of those (especially as I don't particularly care anyway - as long as it tastes good).
                                                  And I'll repeat what I said in another thread (fairly recently IIRC) - my current favourite pulled pork sandwich is the Lexington pulled pork at Stack - BUT I ask for toasted sourdough bread (offered as an alternative to the 'normal' bun) and for the sauce on the side (not on the sandwich) - and they're happy to adjust this for me.
                                                  So I'm a regular there.

                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                    I just took my half of the pulled pork sandwich out of the refrigerator and tried it. It does not have much smoke flavour and in some parts, I could not detect any smokiness. It's OK but I know that at the superbowl party this weekend, one friend will bring some very good pulled pork sandwiches. I also was not crazy about that wonderbread bun, but maybe that is what is used for authentic southern BBQ . (I would have much preferred an ACE bakery sort of bun) The option for a side was fries or salad, and the menu says the sandwich is topped with Carolina slaw. There is some vegetation on top of the pork, but it appears to consist entirely of shredded iceberg lettuce. Perhaps that is what is referred to as slaw on the menu? It definitely does not look like the Carolina slaw in this recipe: http://southernfood.about.com/od/cole...

                                                    I wonder where Davud is when one of his areas of expertise is being discussed? :-)

                                                  1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                    I don't fully agree (but close) with estu to give a +1.

                                                    However I do fully disagree with "White trash" Wonder Bread bun is essential for a good BBQ pulled pork sammie, IMO..." thus -1

                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                      My apologies as my original post should have read:

                                                      "White trash" Wonder Bread bun is essential for a good AUTHENTIC SOUTHERN BBQ pulled pork sammie, IMO...

                                                      I have no doubt that a "good" pulled pork sandwich is possible without one. (as Black Camel fans will no doubt attest - I'll have to try one)

                                                      1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                        I take offense to "White Trash Wonderbread" I am white trash and hate wonderbread, wouldn't eat it if you forced me. I would rather die.


                                                        Lets be honest folks, many southern BBQ joints (I have been to one at least, so I am an expert) don't all serve wonderbread. Many southerners think wonderbread sucks too. The big name ones in general do though because it's all about the meat. The thought process is something like this...

                                                        "Hey eat my meat, it's awesome, I am going to serve it on this cardboard as it won't detract from all that amazing smokey flavour with the wonderful sauce I produced to go on it" I would actually prefer (personally) that you didn't eat anything along with the meat we cook, it's perfect without a bun, although that's what my customers want. Unfortunately up here in yankee country we make awesome bread and most of our meat sucks, so we are used to this amazingly fresh bread we can get then we stack crappy cuts of meat on it and the bread makes the sandwich... in BBQ that isn't the way it should be.

                                                        In the end though, it's you, if you think your tastebuds will sing a song of six pence when you eat the meat on wonderbread, give er a go. If you think it needs a multi-grain traditional sour dough to make your mind shoot off fireworks, please make yourself happy.

                                                        This argument over bread is insane.

                                                        So is the argument over traditional southern BBQ, I have been to the odd BBQ competition and I can tell you from the incredibly limited training and time I have spent down south that I have never had 2 BBQ meals the same (even from the same person), so..... the rules are this simple. If it's cooked low and slow with hardwood or charcoal smoke ... it's Southern BBQ. Then it comes down to rubs, (if used) bastes (if used), finishing sauces (if used), bread (if used)... Do you get the idea?

                                                        I don't want to sound like a know it all, as every day I learn something new. I do know that there are some very good BBQ joints in Ontario, and by very good I mean could easily compete with the BBQ I have had down south. Shoot there are lots of Back Yard BBQ's who could compete with a lot of the competitors I know.

                                                        Do you like it, then eat it, doesn't matter what anyone says, even me.


                                                        Have a great Friday folks, visit your local BBQ joint, hug the man who spent the day smothered in smoke, he loves you, otherwise he wouldn't cook this amazing meat.

                                                        1. re: BusterRhino

                                                          What he said! :-)

                                                          I want good everything with my BBQ. I want good coleslaw, I want good mac & cheese, etc. Why wouldn't I also want a good bun? I'd rather forgo the Wonderbread bun if that's the only option.

                                                          1. re: BusterRhino

                                                            i agree with you. my god give the guy a chance!! he just opened and spent a tonne of $$ trying to make the neighbourhood a good neighourhood he's just a guy that needs our support.

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  my personal preference is ciabatta for bbq when i make at home. i do not prefer slaw inside either, much prefer on the side. and i sometimes melt in some emmental. definely not authentic, but tastes good to me.

                                                  as for wonder bread i love it with fried chicken. any other bread would compete with the textures of the chicken to me.

                                                  as for burger buns, i seem to like most on offer. each of the best burgers in the city use what they think is best, and mostly i am happy with their choices. burgers priest and p&l make burgers next door to each other and use very different buns, yet both are excellent sandwiches.

                                                  - khao san road

                                                  1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                    Great thoughts maybe you should open a Indian Burger place or a BBQ Joint on Queen St!

                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                      why not a cupcake place? I hear those are hot!

                                    2. As a Danforth local, I am tempted to start a thread something like, "In this thread we review Greenwood Smokehouse, if we have tried it, otherwise we take our two cents elsewhere".
                                      But I know it wouldn't do any good.

                                      9 Replies
                                        1. re: julesrules

                                          Well I put my money where my mouth was... Picked up brisket and pulled pork sandwiches tonight. Both very tasty. I found the fries (Swiss Chalet style) oddly sweet, but good otherwise even after a 10 min walk home. The buns are soft and Wonderlicious and didn't hold up as well. I'm sick of baby greens and balsamic so nuff said there. I would love to see some collards or really ANY long-stewed southern green as a side. But the sandwiches were very good with a decent portion of meat. There was definite slaw on the pork. I won't get into their BBQ credentials. They tasted good, what can I say? The majority of people commenting probably won't even come to the east end to try, more for us ;)
                                          Oh, they need a hoppier beer on tap. Short list of 3 + cider. But they really don't have a lot of seating, so probably hard to maintain much more.

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            they think their beer list is good. it's great, if it was 2005.

                                            no one in the GTA pairs their beer with bbq, which is a bloody shame because it is pretty easy to do it. well, sort of.

                                            you have 1 beer for rich, dark meat like brisket. that beer would be a Belgian strong or a quad or dubel. brings out the sweetness and richness in the meat.

                                            you would have an IPA for things like fried chicken or some pork items that wouldn't be as rich or sweet. or you can have a clean, crisp blonde or (ugg) lager.

                                            Cider at a bbq place doesn't really make sense to me. but hey, it's about profit.

                                            think that Greenwood has Mill St's Vanilla Stout. guess that can go with brisket, but it isn't the best option. they have a Sleemans, i think. idunno...not an inspiring list.

                                            get Great Lakes to send some Barney Dubbel and then you're talking about a good pairing. also not sure if Toronto's ready for pairing beer to meat. many people just want "a light beer" or "a blonde beer" when they get food.

                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                              Cider is for the gluten free-ers. Otherwise they complain. Loudly.

                                              1. re: atomeyes

                                                I actually prefer cider with BBQ - especially pork.
                                                But - it's about what sells - that's the business reality.

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  Count another for cider & bbq just because I like it. I suspect atomeyes thinks that's just gilding the lily.

                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                    i actually meant to say that it would go well with pork. but, to be honest, when most restaurants have cider on draught, i assume it is not based on pairing with food, but to try to capture "the female clientelle". which, of course, i think is bogus (cuz women drink beer). but that's my assumption.

                                                2. re: atomeyes

                                                  And I personally like an IPA with sweet-sauced BBQ, bitter to counter the sweet. But the sandwiches I had weren't all that sweet. Went decently with the IPA we had at home anyway.

                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                    I second that.

                                                    I generally don't follow the "rules" when pairing food with beer or wine.

                                            2. Well, having got the info I wanted, I tried this place out last night.

                                              If you’re looking for ‘authentic’ BBQ it’s not going to please you – but if you’re looking for a pleasant neighbourhood place with competent food then it’s definitely worth a try.

                                              The place was crowded and tables which turned were quickly refilled. About half the seating is on stools, which I don’t particularly like if I’m ‘dining’ but it encourages me to ‘dine’n’go’ so presumably helps the bottom line.
                                              I was a bit nervous about the BBQ itself – while preparing to order I was able to scan the dishes served to others, and the bun wasn’t encouraging – although, to be fair, it seemed to hold together reasonably well as people were eating. The ribs had a very light bark (both colour and consistency) and looked a bit dry, with no visible smoke ring – but at this point I hadn’t tasted anything, so just first impressions.

                                              So, I chickened out (so to speak), and went for their daily special which was a smoked brisket and chorizo stew. I also had the mushroom soup, described as creamy, smoky and garlicky on the menu.

                                              The soup was a good consistency all round. The mushrooms were definitely fresh with a great texture (although the cremini seemed to be 80-90% with only a few pieces of Portobello). The base was good but bland, totally underseasoned – although that’s better than oversalting. I didn’t detect the garlic at first, but by the time I’d finished there was definitely a garlic note. Smokiness was undetectable. Good, solid but unmemorable overall.

                                              The stew was definitely worth the price – portion size was not overly generous, but I’d rather have a smaller portion of a good dish than a plateful of mediocrity.
                                              The beef was perfectly cooked – no stringy, fatty or otherwise tough pieces – all brisket – and again the texture was good. But the smoking seemed missing in action – or to be polite, extremely mild. I prefer a heavier smoke – but that’s my preference, not a criticism of what was served. Similarly, the chorizo had good texture and flavour – except it was probably the mildest chorizo I’ve experienced in a long while – again, I prefer a much spicier sausage. The vegetables were OK – mostly forgettable – the carrot was fine, but the peas had that grey-olive unappetizing shade that comes from canned or overcooking. The potato was good – again excellent texture.

                                              So, from a personal perspective, not enough smoke, not enough seasoning, not enough spice. But as a comfortable, don’t-have-to-think-about-it, neighbourhood, good-value eating, destination, I recommend it. Not really worth driving across the city for, but if I lived nearby I’d certainly return.

                                              41 Replies
                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                "not enough smoke, not enough seasoning, not enough spice...but if I lived nearby I’d certainly return"

                                                Just curious what you would be returning for? Based just on what you wrote, I have no interest to even try it.

                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                  Good solid food. At fair prices.
                                                  It just wouldn't be my first choice for BBQ - but I actually eat out for other foods too.

                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                    I'll answer here also. Even though it didn't have much smoke, it's still tasty and a pretty good deal. The pulled pork sandwiches and brisket sandwich each have 8 oz of meat. My wife and I don't usually eat that much at meat at dinner so we can actually order it to go and split one sandwich. It's good enough to eat once in awhile if I want a break from cooking dinner, and it's only a 5 minute walk away, maybe less. I'll try them again soon to check out the brisket sandwich.

                                                    1. re: foodyDudey

                                                      Exactly... and the place only needs to be a neighbourhood favourite. It's not big enough to support being a destination. Not every new restaurant is looking for that kind of hype or needs it to succeed. If they can get a long-term local following (and I think they can) they will do just fine. Locally speaking, the portions and flavour compare to that gas station place on Queen, for example, with beer and proper seating for about the same price. Cheaper than the burgers at the Works. Etc.

                                                      I did detect some smoke in my sandwich and I enjoyed the pulled pork sammy well enough to order again (which is not true for 99% of too sweet, unsmoked PP I've tried around town, since I can make that stuff in my crockpot).

                                                  2. re: estufarian

                                                    I agree that there was very little smoke in the stew, and also in the pulled pork sandwich. I was wondering if the little smoke flavour I detected was actually coming from the BBQ sauce. Looks like you had the same stew as I did, but without the olives which were a nice addition. I wonder why you didn't get any. Also, the chorizo I had was fine, I wonder if it was the same on both days or a milder version in yours. Overall your assessment is very close to mine, I just didn't say much as I don't like saying anything that isn't positive when a new place just opens. But the Wonderbread, well that deserves to be mentioned! I'd rather just buy the brisket to bring home or as Vinnie would do, I'd bring my own bread if dining there.

                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                      You did chicken out... why be one of the first to review a BBQ place and not order the tradictional BBQ dishes? I took the $59 hit and sampled the BBQ platter at Carbon.. I also tried the BBQ combo at Smoke Bourbon the week they opened.. .Any place calling itself a BBQ joint has to have its reputation based on ribs / brisket / pulled pork... not mushroom soup...

                                                      1. re: pourboi

                                                        Truth is that sometimes its best when a place first opens! Before they get slammed and can't keep up, before they lose money and have to cheapen the product/service and before they hire rookies in the kitchen, or before they just plain get lazy on the details.

                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                          I reviewed a place I'd visited. Typically I go twice before posting a review, but in this case I had asked questions and felt I could contribute to the discussion.
                                                          I didn't 'set out to review a BBQ place' - I visited a restaurant for a meal and reviewed the restaurant. I don't care what they call it - if I go to a 'Steak House' and have lobster, surely that's my choice - I don't feel any compulsion to review their steaks. Let the restaurant call itself 'Squat and Gobble' - it doesn't matter to me - it's what's being served that matters.

                                                          At Carbon, I chose what I wanted and, when asked what I thought of my meal told them. I also told Greenwood that I expected more smoke in both dishes and more spice in the chorizo. My opinion is given free - that's what it's worth.

                                                          Only once (recently) have I felt somewhat obligated to go to a place (and I was planning on going anyway, just moved it up on the priority list) - and that was Kramer's which was in my neighbourhood and had been taken over by a new owner (from another restaurant I had enjoyed).
                                                          Of course, if somebody else is paying........... but that's a whole other discussion.

                                                          1. re: estufarian

                                                            I think the issue isn't what you ordered (you're not a professional reviewer after all, and obviously are going to get what looks good to you), but that you declared "If you’re looking for ‘authentic’ BBQ it’s not going to please you" seemingly only on the basis of having eyeballed the ribs. Yes, there was brisket in the stew, but it's going to be hard to suss out how authentic/smoky it is after it's been cooked in a stew.

                                                            1. re: Michael N

                                                              If the pulled pork sandwich is smoked to a similar level as the brisket, most people won't detect much. My wife and I were going to order a brisket and pulled pork sandwich and try 1/2 of each, but the waitress said that they would be quite similar and suggested ordering the stew. Even with very little smokiness, the stew was very tasty because of the chorizo and olives. It was not bland or under-spiced to me. That goes to show that either the food we were both served on different days was not the same, or also that everyone has their own expectations. It's best to just go try it! I found the stew too much to eat all at once, especially as there was a fair amount of either fat or oil in it which made it too rich for me to finish. The portion I had refrigerated for the next day had hardened fat on the top which I had to remove before re-heating it.

                                                              1. re: Michael N

                                                                Yes, I wrote
                                                                "If you're looking for authentic BBQ it's not going to please you"
                                                                AND I stand by it!
                                                                I've had plenty of BBQ (and contributed to many discussions on this and other boards) and when there's no smoke ring, a light-coloured bark, no smoke aroma (for example), I already know it won't be authentic - but I don't care about authenticity - that was thrown in for guidance to other Chowhounds - that's what (I think) this board is all about. So I tried what were, to me, some interesting dishes (I had already seen foodyDudey's photograph of the stew) and reviewed those. But if anybody (who has been) wishes to debate AND take the side that this place serves authentic BBQ, I'll be happy to contribute. I believe I can communicate intelligently on North Carolina (all 3 styles), South Carolina, Georgia, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis and Texas - all of which I've visited and sampled numerous times. I'll also take a stab at Tennessee, Kentucky and New Mexico with which I am less experienced (but reasonably impressed) - especially New Mexico which is probably my favourite sauce (as opposed to rub). And I'll take on Beef, Pork, Turkey, Sausages (but not chicken as I just don't get BBQ chicken or deep-fried chicken for that matter) and throw in Bison for good measure. So I class myself as 'experienced' but would never claim to be an expert - there are too many other cuisines to sample.

                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                  Fair enough! (and my intent wasn't to question your BBQ bona fides, I was just pointing out that it's odd that you judged the authenticity of the place based solely on looking at the ribs -- but sometimes looking is enough, especially if they were clearly under-smoked.)

                                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                                    Curious about the names of Texas places you tried and the meats sampled. Please no mention of sides.

                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                      Sampled too many to recall. However, the only one that needs remembering is Franklin's in Austin - since I tried that 3 years ago there hasn't been a need to try elsewhere (for Brisket certainly and also sausage)!

                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                        on this we agree Franklins is the best... and they give a nice grab of wonder bread with each tray...


                                                            2. re: estufarian

                                                              Learning to smoke well takes years of practice. Starting with that experience, but with totally new circumstances doesn't take you back to year zero, but will complicate matters. It's possible, even probable, that this factor will change exponentially and quickly. My advice? Be patient.

                                                              1. re: Googs

                                                                I do agree - and hope I will have plenty of time left as well.

                                                                1. re: Googs

                                                                  I learned to smoke in about a week. Unlearning took 10 years, though!

                                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                                    yes and no - at the level that Toronto restaurants compete, all any restaurant would have to do to blow the competition away would be the following:

                                                                    1)start with a nice piece of meat
                                                                    2)cook it at 225F for a long time, with at least 2 hours of solid hickory wood smoke at the beginning. Not wisps of smoke, actual smoke!

                                                                    That's it - that's the essence of BBQ. You can argue all day about brines, and rubs, and sauces, and foiling, and tricks to keep it moist, but at this point if you don't have *any* smoke ring you are worthless as a BBQ joint. Might as well just call yourself a diner.

                                                                    1. re: bobbob911

                                                                      Its that easy to "blow away the comeptition"??.. and you have done this is a "restaurant sized" smoker doing 4, 5, 6 briskets at once? or 12 Racks of ribs?

                                                                      Things that work on your Green Egg or small home smoker do not always work on restaurant scale. Large smokers have hot spots and you have to look at smoke flow.. you may have to rearrange the briskets 4 or 5 times during those first 2 hours to get things "even" because customers want consistiency...

                                                                      Watch the Competition shows on TV they are constantly monitoring, moving, adjusting... takes more than to set it and forget it ;-)

                                                                      1. re: pourboi

                                                                        Obviously I have not done BBQ on a commercial scale. That being said, any BBQ that has no detectable smoke taste, or pink smoke ring, that is not simply because of hot spots. It's because the chef wants to water their product down to capture the biggest perceived audience, plain and simple. And they are wrong.

                                                                        1. re: bobbob911

                                                                          Not everything is Black & White: A pink smoke ring does not indicate good BBQ:

                                                                          "In the world of barbecue the smoke ring is one of the most sought after properties of smoked meats. It is believed to show that you have done a good job and properly low and slow smoked the meat in question. Is particularly prized in smoked brisket. So what is it?

                                                                          A smoke ring is a pink discoloration of meat just under the surface crust (called bark). It can be just a thin line of pink or a rather thick layer. A good smoke ring is around 1/4 inch in thickness. The smoke rings is caused by nitric acid building up in the surface of meat, absorbed from the surface. This nitric acid is formed when nitrogen dioxide from wood combustion in smoke mixes with water in the meat. Basically it is a chemical reaction between the smoke and the meat.

                                                                          So how to do you get the best smoke ring? Opinions vary. Generally water soaked wood produces more nitrogen dioxide loaded smoke. If you really want to make sure you get a smoke ring then cheat. Coating meat with a salt tenderizer link Morton's Tender Quick, will load up the surface of the meat with nitrogen dioxide and give you a great smoke ring. Because of the prevalence of this kind of cheating, smoke rings are no longer taken into consideration in barbecue competitions. "

                                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                                            All you are saying is that the presence of a smoke ring does not necessarily mean good BBQ. I agree. However, the *absence* of a smoke ring does certainly mean bad/lazy BBQ.

                                                                            1. re: bobbob911

                                                                              No the Smoke ring does not change the flavour or texture or smokiness of the meat, it is a chemical reaction that depends on temperature, humidity, wood, etc... Different wood may have more or less nitrates, wood will obsorb more or less water depending on its dryness, your meat by the time you rub the last of your 20 racks of ribs may be a bit dryer or warmer than optimal, the humidy outside (like in winter) may be very low - all this affects if a smoke ring will develop. None of this indicates bad lazy BBQ... it is just a myth that people believe which makes some places cheat to create the ring.

                                                                              Not seeing a ring MAY mean that the chef actually is not coating his meat in chemicals to try to impress BBQ snobs and is smoking it as natural as possible which means a better product.

                                                                              Taste and Texture are what indicates great bbq..

                                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                                Taste and texture are what makes great food. BBQ has nothing to do with it - except as a means to an end.

                                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                                  Sure - but don't give me a braise or an oven cook and call it BBQ! Don't give me a hamburger and call it steak! Hamburgers and steaks can both be great food, but they aren't the same thing.

                                                                                2. re: pourboi

                                                                                  Trust me - you don't need to inject anything or use any chemicals to get a smoke ring *IF* you have sufficiently smoked your BBQ. Yes its true that the smoke ring has no inherent flavor, but the absence of one is a red flag that the BBQ was not sufficiently smoked.

                                                                                  Besides, the OP also said there was no smoke taste. Guess what? If there was a smoke ring, there probably would have also had smoke taste!

                                                                                  1. re: bobbob911

                                                                                    Nope: OP: "The ribs had a very light bark (both colour and consistency) and looked a bit dry, with no visible smoke ring – but at this point I hadn’t tasted anything, so just first impressions.

                                                                                    So, I chickened out (so to speak), and went for their daily special which was a smoked brisket and chorizo stew. I also had the mushroom soup, described as creamy, smoky and garlicky on the menu."

                                                                                    He did not try the ribs (so far I don't think any poster has but correct me if im wrong). Not detecting smoke flavour in a Brisket stew does not imply the Ribs had no smoke flavour...

                                                                                    1. re: bobbob911

                                                                                      "you don't need to inject anything or use any chemicals to get a smoke ring *IF* you have sufficiently smoked your BBQ."

                                                                                      Then why would contestents at BBQ competitions use chemicals with such regularity that the judges now ignore smoke ring? Are you saying that they do not sufficiently smoke their meat when they are in the running for thousands of dollars in prize money?

                                                                                      1. re: pourboi

                                                                                        "But the smoking seemed missing in action – or to be polite, extremely mild." "So, from a personal perspective, not enough smoke" - I don't think I'm splitting hairs here. A subsequent poster agreed.

                                                                                        Its so depressing - just once I would love to read a review of BBQ in Toronto where someone said there was too *much* smoke! In the US you can tell a good BBQ joint because you can smell it a block away. The only comparable experience I can think of in Toronto is McDonalds, you can usually smell that from down the street also :-)

                                                                                        With respect to BBQ comps, I suspect there was probably a smoke ring "arms race" at some point that was just simply futile and/or counterproductive. I don't think anyone in a comp needed to add fake smoke ring because they had none - they just wanted to make it look bigger or more eye-catching or whatever.

                                                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                                                          They use injection to add flavour, and another substance called fab b (I believe). Remember competitors are looking at the long haul, they are looking at pulling the best meat from x spot - cooking for comps is considerably different than for a restaurant.

                                                                              2. re: pourboi

                                                                                Nope, we do heat checks on our smokers, nightly, the entire smoker is the same temp. They are awesome smokers the ones restaurants use up here. Oh and doing 4-8 briskets or shoulders at once any home BBQ can do, you really want to see the magic, watch when 50 12lb shoulders come off a smoker.

                                                                                We all use Southern Prides, they are all convection machines, we all use gas as our heat. Toms at Stockyards was the only one I know of in Toronto that used wood and charcoal.

                                                                                1. re: BusterRhino

                                                                                  Greenwood (mentioned on his facebook page)& AAA use offset barrel .. and the new place on Mount Pleasant (with the silly Parks & rec name) & Rose & Son are using some small square box smoker. Not all use Southern Pride..

                                                                                  I know you control yours like a swiss watch but you are also pumping out more volume than probably all the rest in the city put together... So what is your call on Smoke ring? Ever have a rack come out without a ring while another rack in the same smoker, same batch had a smoke ring?

                                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                                    I have definitely had meat come out without a smoke ring. It's always ribs, and always amounts to human error.

                                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                                      Greenwood smokes using an offset barrel? That's of as they have a metal box under the cooking hood in the kitchen area, it says "Southern Pride" and it looks very similar to the electric smokers on the SP website.

                                                                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                                        I was just going by what they posted on their Facebook page on Jan 24th (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...) ... maybe that was what they were using before the restaurant opened? and they got a SP at the restaurant?

                                                                                        1. re: pourboi

                                                                                          Given the fence in the background of that picture, I'm going to assume that's the guy's personal BBQ in his backyard.

                                                                                        2. re: foodyDudey

                                                                                          Southern Pride is a four letter word in Texas. This is how they do it.


                                                                                          Then there's this.


                                                                            2. Fail. Is there some sort of bylaw against billowing smoke? I went there last night kicking and screaming with a client from this hood, knowing damn well what to expect from a commercial joint with an ersatz 'smoker'. Had the Bris, Pulled and ribs...NOT BBQ! Buster's has the best 'commercial' Q in the area, but he'd be the first to tell you that any large scale operation without logs, a fat piece of meat (not the other 'white meat', but a Berk or Tammy) and lotsa time is not going to be real Q. And another thing...I hunt, and I smoke squirrel, rabbit, groundhog, and the heart and sweetbreads from Bambi to make my Brunswick Stew. The good joints in Carolina and Georgia all have this dish at least once in a while, so one would think some of these 'authentic' joints would take a stab at it.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: TorontoTuna

                                                                                SOS BBQ in KW serves Brunswick Stew as a side option. Not sure there is any exotic proteins in theirs (I believe they use a mix of their meats (pork, brisket, peameal, etc.) My understanding is it changes based on what meats are "handy" the day they make it(?)

                                                                                I tried it a while back and it was pretty good. I'm not really a stew person, but I imagine it would be satisfying on a day like today.

                                                                                1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                                  Don't think Ontario restaurants can serve game meat, only farmed, so squirrel might be a high expectation. But works as yet another random excuse to brag on this thread. Possum, anyone?

                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                    Possum works, but isn't prolific enough to go after. Venison lights are readily available from farmed deer, as are farmed rabbits and other farmed exotics. In Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, wild game is available for sale, but not in this backwater nanny state. Make friends with a hunter or farmer and expand your horizons.

                                                                                    1. re: TorontoTuna

                                                                                      i once ate a discarded gum wrapper.
                                                                                      alas, no smoke ring present. :(

                                                                                      1. re: atomeyes

                                                                                        Prairie Oysters always have a smoke ring, try those next time :-)

                                                                              2. so...
                                                                                they closed last weekend to iron out some wrinkles (from their twitter account).

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: atomeyes

                                                                                  I'm ironing out wrinkles in my shirt!

                                                                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                                                                    From the website: Thanks for your patience and support during our soft launch period, while we work out the details of our hours and menu.

                                                                                    After our GRAND OPENING in March we will be open for lunch and will have an expanded menu. Watch this space for updates!

                                                                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                                                                      Maybe they went on a trip south to learn how they cook BBQ there ?

                                                                                  2. I too was so looking forward to a great Smokehouse BBQ in the east end. Sadly I can not recommend this place. Out of 10, I give it 3. The ribs were so over cooked, they were almost flaky and the baked beans... sad at best. Oh and most importantly the smoked beef brisket, had a taste of, hmm... (to me tasted of burnt plastic) and (to my friend, she was lost for words and ended up saying it just didn't taste right).
                                                                                    Lastly just don't go to the bathroom without climbing gear and a helmet. Now all that's left is for Toronto's building inspector to make a visit to this place and have to use that stair case. Smokehouse in the east end great idea, just wish the owners had of done a little homework on how to properly smoke meat and how to run and conduct a safe eating establishment.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: twofatladybears

                                                                                      You should mention it on their Facebook page. At least they don't charge extra for the climbing practice do they? That's got to be worth $8 on it's own! I went when they first opened, and although it's less than a 5 minute walk away, I have not been back yet.

                                                                                      1. re: foodyDudey


                                                                                        We gave it a try and weren't impressed. I couldn't help but feel the place still had the grease and grime from 3's Company days.

                                                                                        I can see a resto not having a huge budget to open but please, give the place a thorough cleaning!!!!!

                                                                                      2. re: twofatladybears

                                                                                        It's the same bathroom and stairs the last two places in that space had, can't remember back before that.
                                                                                        I skipped the meat yesterday and had the specials (soup and salad with smoked elements). Salad was good, soup was thickened with flour and way too much of it. But the hush puppies with it were perfectly fried. Beer list has gotten better.

                                                                                      3. Has anyone been recently? We went for the first time with very high hopes. I hate to write negative reviews but this was truly one of the worst meals we''ve had out in a long time. Walked out wishing I hadn't spent $70 w tax and tip on such a mediocre meal.
                                                                                        I had a pulled pork sandwich, hubbie the brisket sandwich and daughter had the mac and cheese.
                                                                                        Mac and cheese was enjoyable. My sandwich was dry and flavourless, brisket sandwich was fine but was nothing special, we felt like we could have had a similar sandwich anywhere.

                                                                                        On a side note the waitress had her hair totally down and while talking to tables was running her hands through her hair. The owner / manager needs to reinforce that hair should be tied back if you're dealing with food.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Baelsette

                                                                                          I haven't been recently, once was enough but I do wonder how it is now.

                                                                                          1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                                            Although its not a large space, whenever we drive by it looks as if they're full. For all I know though, could be only the window tables that are occupied.

                                                                                          2. re: Baelsette

                                                                                            I tried it out for the first time a couple of Saturdays ago and coincidentally ordered the exact same thing you did.

                                                                                            I thought everything was fine. Staff was very friendly and attentive, brought the kid's meal out early which was very nice. both sandwiches were saucy and had a genuine smoke flavor. I could taste the pork over the sauce which is nice, the brisket was more pot roast than steak in texture, which I found unusual.

                                                                                            did not try the washrooms.

                                                                                            overall, nothing special, but at $ 42 w tax & tip, I wasn't disappointed. standard Toronto quality bbq.