Indulge your cravings for smoky ribs, brisket or un-chicken at BBQ joints in one of the best foodie cities.
Looking for the most tender smoked brisket, sauciest wings, juiciest pulled pork and yummiest racks of ribs (with sides of cornbread, slaw and beans, naturally)?
When you’re in Toronto, stellar BBQ is never too far. Here’s a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood guide on where to go to satiate your carnivorous (or plant-based!) cravings.
The best BBQ along the waterfront
Place your counter-service order, and you’ll soon be blessed with a paper-lined metal tray topped with MICHELIN Bib Gourmand–recognized BBQ.
The pitmaster takes inspiration from several regional styles of BBQ—fruit juice adds a touch of sweetness to the pulled pork, and their brined and smoked chicken may become the only way you’ll want to eat the bird going forward. Classic sides like meaty brisket beans and Frito pie round out the southern experience.
The best BBQ in the Upper Beaches
Rub, smoke, eat, repeat. Eastenders have been following the last two rules of Beach Hill Smokehouse for years. The MO here is Central Texas BBQ: quality cuts of meat rubbed with spices and cooked slowly over indirect heat from burning pecan or oak wood.
The result is certified Angus beef brisket, handcrafted sausage you will dream about and turkey—not often found on BBQ menus in the city—that you’ll be thankful for.
And don’t get too laser-focused on the delicious proteins: you’ll definitely want to try the devilled egg potato salad and poblano coleslaw, too.
The best BBQ downtown
Their Pitmaster Platter will give a helping of their top items: it’s a whopping heap of Texas-style BBQ, cooked slowly over white oak, with St. Louis–cut pork ribs, certified Angus beef brisket, buttermilk fried chicken, cheddar jalapeno sausage and pulled pork, served with fries, dill pickles and signature sauces that are made in house.
If you’re looking for less traditional dishes, try the burnt ends kimchi ssam or mango BBQ chicken supreme. Want to get some veggies into your system? The collard is cooked in lemon butter for a decadent take on greens.
The best vegan BBQ downtown
While not strictly BBQ, a dinner menu jam-packed with stick-to-your-ribs faves like un-chicken and waffles and faux chicken-fried steak will address any comfort-food cravings. Try the Southern Combo for a belly-busting selection of fried un-chicken, creamy mac n cheez and sautéed collard greens, with plenty of BBQ sauce on the side.
Foodie fact: the restaurant’s moniker is a riff on Toronto’s historic nickname (with origins in the city’s late 19th- and early 20th-century hog-processing industry).
The best BBQ along Queen Street West
Right by Trinity Bellwoods Park, Smoque N’ Bones may be tucked into a sliver of a space, but its food—which takes inspiration from Memphis, Texas, Kansas and the Carolinas—is big on flavour.
Start by sharing the signature chicken wings (smoked and fried after marinating in fresh herbs and spices) and continue with the baby back: you get to slather on the BBQ sauce yourself with a brush.
Don’t sleep on the many side options here: from the slow braised purple cabbage and crispy fried Brussels sprouts to the hand-cut buttermilk biscuits, your food-loving heart will thank you.
The best BBQ in Roncesvalles Village
Their inclusive approach encompasses beverages, too. While they’ve always maintained an impressive wine program, the non-boozy options are just as delicious with non-alcoholic beers and real fruit juice.
But for the ultimate meatatarian meal, we recommend ordering the sampler for two and going with the smoked duck tacos to start, continuing with their mouth-watering brisket, chicken thighs and baby back ribs, and complementing it with their Caesar salad (the candied bacon is addictive) and pimento mac n’ cheese.
The best BBQ in Scarborough
Serving only halal meats, Northern Smokes is proud of its southern-style BBQ with a northern touch, smoked using a signature mix of wood logs in the smoker and a blend of spices for the food.
Much like the city of Toronto, you’ll find a mix of cultures on the menu: juicy Korean short ribs, spicy jerk chicken, peri peri chicken and Montreal-style smoked brisket round out the menu of classics. Four different poutines add Canadian flair to the menu, and if you can plan in advance, the special-order lamb leg, marinated in herbs and spices, makes it worth the trek east to Scarborough.
The best BBQ Uptown
Smoking meats for upwards of 12 hours, STACK Smmmoked’s Texas smoker will give you a true appreciation for taking things slow. You can’t go wrong with this Uptown mainstay’s signature smoked sausage links or the pulled pork with Carolina BBQ sauce.
With a plentiful menu—think six types of burgers, tacos and quesadillas and 10 types of sandwiches—everyone in your crew will be able to find a dish they’ll love. There’s also a kids menu for the littles.