I have been looking forward to trying out the BBQ from Bull & Boar Smokehouse Grill for months since I first saw a TV ad for the restaurant, that was very well done…
They do a fantastic job of promoting the restaurant on TV and also through a weekly email that you can sign up for. But the question is how good is the food????
Last week I took the opportunity to find out along with my buddy Joe as he went along for the ride when I had to run out to Belleville to pick up an order for my business which is about 2 hours east of us here in Oshawa just off of the 401 highway.
We arrived at about 5 pm and as you can see the parking lot had lots of open spaces in it so lots of room for my VW , which is loaded with a lot of paper.
After entering the joint had a bar / pub kind of feel to it and there were a few other patrons sitting down to their dinner.
We were greeted by a friendly server named Caitlin that brought us each a menu which I took pictures of beow. here is a tip when reading my blog…. If you click on the pictures they will open up in full size, so to save some space I am using thumbnails.
Joe and I were both very hungry even though before we left Oshawa, Joe forced me against my will to stop at McDonalds because he had a craving for a McRib which just recently came back to their menu. Now I know what your saying…. considering all of the fine BBQ Joints I know and the fantastic ribs we have had why the heck would he want a piece of formed meat mush that is on a bun and slapped with some generic BBQ sauce? well this was at 2pm and we knew we would be eating at the Bull & Boar but that was still 3 hours away so we figured that would tide us over. It did have an ok taste to it, had not had one in years so it was all good.
We started off with two appetizers Joe really wanted to try the Cornbread and I thought that the Iron Skillet Sour Dough with cheese sounded interesting.
After getting our drinks (a very good tasting Iced Tea) Catlin brought us our Corn Bread & Sour Dough.
As you can see both are served in the 6″ Cast Iron pans that they were baked in with cute little handles so that we do not burn ourselves.
First let me describe to you the $6.99 order of Cornbread…
The Cornbread was hot & fresh with a great consistency that had chunks of red pepper and jalapenos very tasty indeed.
But then we turned our attentions to the other Cast Iron Pan, and it was at that point Joe and I shared what could only be described as an orgasmic experience when we ate the Sour Dough!!!!
Cost of the Sour Dough was $6.99 it was $0.99 extra for the cheese on top.
As I said this is an amazing appetizer!!! This was by far the best single item I have ever had a BBQ Joint that was not meat and Joe was in complete agreement.
But unfortunately the fantastic melt in your mouth Sour Dough Loaf was as good as it got as then we ordered our main courses.
Joe received this plate of Catfish along with dirty rice and a side of Mac & Cheese.
The Mac & Cheese was decent enough with a nice blend of cheese that was well prepared and had a nice texture and taste (Joe let me try a fork full) I am not a fan of rice but Joey said it was good.
Joe was looking forward to the Catfish all day since it was one of the specials for that day in an email sent to me the night before. But he was really disappointed as the fish was in his mind over cooked to the point that it tasted burnt.
I should mention as well that Joe ordered one piece of buttermilk fried chicken which I did not get a picture of, but Joe was very disappointed in that as well as the skin was almost black and did not have any wow factor at all.
For my meal I went for the Smokin BBQ Trough for $18.99 which is a sampler platter of some of there BBQ. I was tempted to try one of the Bull & Boar’s Brisket Burgers which sounded so good, but I wanted to try the more standard BBQ fare so that I could compare to other BBQ I have had in the past. I wish now that i would of gone with my gut rather than my head as the Trough was for the most part disappointing.
As I said the Trough is a large tray of food that includes some Brisket, Pulled Pork, Smoked Chicken, Ribs and Smoked Sausage along with Fries, some slaw and baked beans.
Sometimes depending on the lighting a picture of food and look better or worse than in person but in the case of the Baked Beans this picture does show how bad they looked. to me the beans looked very dry and like they had been sitting for a while., for presentation at least I think the cook should of given them a stir before serving. To top it off I was not thrilled with the taste either as they were very dry and I could not put my finger on it but a spice was added that did not agree with me at all.
The pulled pork was average like much of their other meats it seemed a little dark to me, the pork not having as much tenderness as I would prefer.
Bull & Boar’s fries were fine but the fact they were in a coffee cup kind of turned me off. The Coleslaw was creamy but lacked any real taste.
In the above picture are some Brisket slices, a couple of Rib bones, Smoked Chicken and some Sausage.
I enjoyed the brisket, it had great flavour, was tender and had a nice bark to it, The sausage was alright though nothing spectacular. I will spend the most time describing these ribs.
Ribs can differ from rack to rack but these were one of the poorest ribs that I have tried. first as you cvan see in the picture there is very little meat on these bones. Even the addition of more sauce did not even help.
The worst part about the ribs was the gritty sandy taste, my guess is that it has to do with the amount and kind of seasoning used.I gave one of the bones to Joey who also had nothing good to say about the ribs.
The Smoked Chicken was also hard to get into, I did like the nice colour of the meat as it had that nice pink colour that smoked chicken should have (a common misconception with seeing pink with smoked chicken is that it is not cooked enough, but as long as the chicken is brought to the correct internal temperature all is fine.) Doneness was not the issue with the chicken it was the taste and again I think it comes down to the seasoning used, on the bright side the skin was not rubbery and had a decent bite through.
I had two sauces with my meal both a Honey Garlic sauce and a Sweet Georgia type BBQ sauce they were both decent sauces but could not save the taste of anything on this platter.
I really had trouble eating my sampler plate, there was no joy it was more like I was looking forward to being finished instead of enjoying the meal while consuming it.
After we finished eating I asked our server Caitlin if I could get a picture of the smoker that they used and they graciously agreed. I snapped a picture of Pitmaster Chris standing in front of a Cook Shack Fast Eddy 500 lb. Smoker which is the same smoker used by the Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ Ribfest team that I have told you all about a number of times.
I had given Catlin my card during our meal and after I took the picture of the smoker and got our bill for the meal the General Manager of the Bull & Boar Smokehouse Grill, April came over to the table to spend some time talking BBQ with Joe and I.
April told us that the Bull & Boar has been open since Feb. 2010 and that it was a single restaurant not part of a chain. to her credit after we mentioned that some of the food was not that pleasing, she offered to give us replacements but both Joe and I declined as to be honest the food took away our appetites. April was very nice as was the rest of the staff.
April then asked if she could at least give us some samples of other foods to take home with us to which I said sure. She gave me a bag with a takeout box in it and we made our way home to Oshawa.
On the way home Joe mentioned to me that he was not feeling all too well after that meal at the Bull & Boar and that to him the McRib that he had earlier in the day was better than the BBQ at Bull & Boar. I also found out later that Joey did not have a good evening with his belly, he thinks that the Catfish was the cause.
Later that night I went to visit with my friends Herman and Bob so I brought the care package from the Bull & Boar with me.
Inside was some Brisket, some smoked Bacon some more Ribs and a couple of ABT’s (Atomic Buffalo Turds) which are bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and some dipping sauce.
Herman was nice enough to through it on to his BBQ Grill to cook for us.
It was the first time I had ever tried a ABT and I must say that it was quite good, lots of heat and a nice combination of flavours, Bob and Herman both liked them as well.
The Bacon and the Brisket were both very tasty too but then we had the Ribs. I was really hoping that these would be better than what I had in the restaurant but they were just as bad, Bob agreed with me on the sandy gritty taste and lack of enough meat on the cuts.
At the restaurant April said that she was surprised by our reaction to their Ribs as it is the meat that they say is their most popular. I hope that is not the case as they have plenty of menu items that I did not try but did look to be very appealing.
Would I recommend the Bull & Boar Smokehouse Grill? Well that is a tough choice, I do think that their appetizers are amazing and there are more menu items to try such as on Saturday nights they have a Smoked Prime Rib which I would like to try on another visit. At the same time I would not want to recommend most of the meats that we had except for the Brisket which was very very good. Next time I go to Belleville I plan on visiting the Smokehouse Blues BBQ Joint which is just south of the Bull & Boar andcompare their BBQ, it is a small little place compared to the Bull & Boar. It will be interesting to see how they compare.
If I had my druthers I would go to Bull & Boar for the Sour Dough Loaf and then go somewhere else for the main course at least based on the menu items I tried so far.
Here is the contact information for the Bull & Boar Smokehouse Grill
13 Bell Blvd.