With RibFest season just around the corner I will be making less restaurant visits during the summer months but there was one BBQ Joint in Toronto that I wanted to visit.
I had heard from a few people that the Stockyards smokehouse&larder was a must visit joint including fellow Canadian Diva Q one of BBQ’s Pitmasters, Daniele raved about it in her blog and others have been impressed by their Fried Chicken and Waffles.
Joey and I were on a road trip to Toronto to pick up some presents for his son’s upcoming birthday so I asked him if he was up for a BBQ review. For some reason I never have to twist his arm for these things.
the Stockyards are located at 699 St Clair W. in Toronto at Christie Street. I was driving there coming from the East during Rush hour so it was a very slow drive If I was asked I would tell people taking public transportation would be the best bet as there are streetcars on St Clair and parking is hard to find in that area, there is no parking on St Clair and only a few spots on the side streets. I was lucky to fin one spot though cramped on Christie Street.
Driving on St Clair the Stockyards were not to viable as we were driving but after parking we were able to find it pretty quick
Once in side we noticed that there were no tables but there were bar stools in front of two bar like counters that were amde os very solid wood and even the ceiling was like a barn board kind of look.
We sat at the last two stools that was in front of the deep frier that they do their buttermilk fried chicken in. The joint was quite busy and the staff seemed to be enjoying their work.
Menus were given to us and the first thing I noticed was that the Chicken and Waffles were not on the menu, it turns out that they are only served during Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays… Pity as that would of been my choice.
As you can see on this portion of the menu you have to keep in mind the different times that they are open and just like I remember from my childhood just like Fish & Chip Joints the Stockyards are closed on Mondays.
Some foods are only available on certain days and times. There was a commercial I remember where a companies slogan was “An educated consumer is our best customer,” I think that holds true here as well.
Here is the rest of the menu, you can click on the pics to see them full size if your having trouble reading them.
Joe decided to try the “Dirty South” which is a Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy, Cheddar and a Buttermilk Biscuit while I decided to go with half a rack of Ribs and a half Chicken the server asked me what side I would like and I decided to go with the Cole Slaw. To drink we both had the Iced Tea which is home made with infused Lemon and Ginger. Both Joe and I loved the Iced Tea it reminded me of the Sweat Tea that they serve in the Southern United States. though I appreciate that the Stockyards uses paper straws that look cool and are better for the environment they do break down and collapse quite easily.
Since there was a mirror beside me I took advantage of that and got myself in the picture of the joint while waiting for our order.
Here is Joe’s Meal
Joe let me have a taste and the gravy had some decent flavour though I did not try the Chicken Fried Steak portion, Joe enjoyed his dish but he was not overwhelmed by it. However Joey was a big fan of the fries which were nicely cooked and tasty.
My Chicken & Ribs was served to me in two 10″ cast iron pans (just for presentation, the pans were not hot) Both meats came with a bowl of their South Carolina style vinegar red pepper sauce which is a lot different than what I have been used to in the Canadian BBQ Joints that I have visited. It is a very tangy sauce and somewhat similar to the NC style of sauce that I had while in North Carolina on Pulled Pork this past January. Though the Stockyard sauce has more of a red sauce than the NC style. It was a good match with the Chicken.
On the ribs, when I first looked at the I thought wow these are huge!, but once I got into eating them I found there was a lot of fat on the one end. They had a good pull to get them on off the bone and the bark on the meat was good and I liked the seasoned taste though a couple of the ribs on one end where burnt. These were Side Ribs instead of Baby Backs which I am more used to.
The South Carolina style vinegar red pepper sauce was not as nice on the Ribs as on the chicken, I also let Joe try one of my Ribs and a piece of the chicken, He enjoyed it but did not rave about it. Personally that cut of Rib is not what I prefer.
I also had the Cole Slaw that I mentioned earlier and the dish of slaw was a very large serving and for $5.00 it better be, I was under the impression that the side came with the meal but after getting my bill I saw that it was an extra cost.
At first glance the Slaw seemed to be lacking some ingredients that you normally see like some shredded carrots and other things but still Joe and I still thought that this Cole Slaw was extraordinary.
After our meal Joe asked if they had a dessert menu but we were told no, a bit of a disappointment. I also noticed that the staff were not to willing to be open to some flexibility from the menu. I asked if they had a sampler plate so that I could try a few of the meats, which at most of the other BBQ joints that I tried of late were more than willing to accommodate me but not at the Stockyards. It would be nice if they would had a Chicken and Ribs combo platerather than my needing to order basically two meals.
After the meal I asked my server if I could take a picture of the smoker (along with letting her know at that point that I was a blog writer) and she asked another of the staff and she suggested I should talk to the owner Tom Davis.
after a few minutes Tom came over and introduced himself (and granted my wish to see the smoker which he made him self about 8 years ago.) This location has been open for about 2 years now and I think they did a great job of making the joint look like a BBQ restaurant that has been open for 32 years not just 2.
The smoker runs on a combination of Hickory and Apple Wood and is enclosed in a wooden shed attached to the back of the building, however Tom said that due to city regulations he needs to shortly make wither a brick or steel enclosure around the smoker. Tom is also needing to replace the smoker that was being used for smoking fish (Tom believes and rightly so that you do not want to smoke fish in the same smoker that you do Beef Pork and Chicken in, the oils of the fish would seep into the other meats and that would not be good.
It was a little different for me to be sitting at the table/counter and looking right at the staff preparing food, rather than having the kitchen in the back and the smoker out front like it is at BARQUE * not that there is anything wrong with that, it is just that different places like to show off different things. Tom is hoping in the future to take over an adjoining unit and add in a bar and more tables.
As you can see in the back of the above picture the Stockyards does a booming takeout business. Speaking of take out Joe and I both ordered some food to go, Joe a half rack of Ribs for his 12 year old son and my self some fried chicken for me to take home.
Here is my bill for the evening (keep in mind that some of the bill was for the take out orders too.)
Joe called me later in the evening and told me that his son did not like the ribs at all, Joe was going to try some later on . As far as the Fried Chicken goes I had some as I was writing this review along with fries and I liked the flavour of the chicken, the seasoning and the buttermilk had a great taste and the chicken was nice and juicy but I did find the chicken somewhat greasy.
The take out chicken came with fries and a container of hot sauce and a small container of cole slaw.
Overall it looks like the Stockyards smokehouse&larder is a decent joint and I would like try some of there burgers like the one that has pimento cheese in it, (see the menu pics above) but It would only be if I was in the area, for another reason. This is not the kind of place that you would want to bring a first date to since the stools are not that comfortable and not that romantic, but for a couple of friends like Joe and I it was an alright place to have a southern style meal.
For me the Chicken and Waffles will have to be tried another time.