Cherry Street BBQ

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The Portlands just got smokier and in a very good way.

For those who don’t know, pit smoking bbq involves cooking meat over a wood burning pit or grill at a constant temperature for a long time. Low and slow. Those familiar with the technique and taste can rejoice in the opening of Cherry St BBQ.

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With the burgeoning Canary District a few blocks away its location among manufacturing plants, circus tents and axe throwing warehouses isn’t really that much of a brow furrower.  In fact with its rather remote-to-suburbia location it allows the patio and it’s live music or DJ to pump long and loud while the constant smoke from its “pits” leaves the teary eyes to its masters and maybe an alley cat or two.

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Walk into the restaurant and order your food from a butcher paper list of meats and sides then wander to the bar for a drink. Beer is a given but cocktails will surprise. Grab one of the many seats in this a bright and woody space or if you come at the right time you may even score a seat on the patio while enjoying the views of the “six”.

cherry-street-bbq

It is not the decor or neighbourhood ambience that brings you back to Cherry Street. Forever learning from BBQ masters around the continent, Pit master Lawrence Lapiante has created a simple yet effective menu in educating the city on proper southern BBQ. Whether it is the salt and pepper brisket,  sweet and sour pulled pork or finger sticky ribs each item on the menu is meticulously smoked at the right temperature for the right amount of time. A technique a lot harder than it looks.

cheery-st_01-bbq-sides

Sides change up seasonally and can include a gooey Mac and cheese, tart coleslaw and beans that have been brilliantly simmered underneath the fat dripping meat in the smoker. And in true Texas form each brisket is served with a slice of white bread, pickles, onions and jalapenos for the perfect impromptu sandwich.

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Take the time to visit this neighbourhood restaurant.  In an area slowly giving way to more places to eat and hang out Cherry Street BBQ is not only a beacon in a food desolate area but a mainstay for years to come.

Cherry Street BBQ

275 Cherry Street, Toronto

416-461-5111

Food Truck Friday: Urban Smoke

Urban Smoke (1 of 3)

Name of your food truck? 

Urban Smoke Food Truck

Owners names? 

Scott Danyshyn and Martin Buckingham

Why did you start a food truck?

A few years back, our owners were inspired by the amazing food truck scene on a staff trip to San Diego for the National BBQ Association Tradeshow. That spurred the launch of our Urban Smoke Food Truck later that year. Urban Smoke is an extension of our Gourmet Group and BBQ Gourmet brands. The goal of the truck is to build brand awareness and expand our BBQ offering even further.

What do you serve? 

Southern Style and Fusion BBQ Cuisine

Urban Smoke (2 of 3)

Your favourite items on the menu?

My personal favourite is our feature on Saturday at this year’s CNE “The Royal Yorkie”. It’s a homemade Yorkshire Pudding wrap stuffed with our Slow Smoked Beef Brisket, Candied Brussel Sprouts and our BBQ Gravy.  It’s amazing!

The most popular item on your menu?

That would likely be a tie between either our Beef Brisket Poutine or our new Pineapple Express which is a sundae with grilled pineapple spears, scoops of pulled pork, crispy bacon mashed potatoes, chopped coleslaw, topped with our homemade BBQ sauce and shaved coconut.

Most underrated?  Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

Hands down that would be our Eddie Vedder Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.  It’s not just for vegetarians….and it is excellent!

Urban Smoke (3 of 3)

Craziest food truck story/experience? 

Probably our first year at The Ex.  We had a line up from 11am till 11pm each day.  The Food Truck Frenzy was brand new and it was insane. The people of Toronto love food trucks and BBQ!  That’s great for us!  Another amazing experience was being featured on The Food Network’s Eat St. show.  The whole film/production process was intense but so much fun.  The phones wouldn’t stop ringing after our episode debuted.

Where can people find you?

We run concessions at a variety of large scale festivals across the GTA each summer and also cater many private and corporate events.

Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well? 

No, but Urban Smoke is part of The Gourmet Group of Companies which also includes full service catering with The BBQ Gourmet and The Breakfast Gourmet. Visit us online at www.thegourmetgroup.com.

Boneyard Grill

Boneyard Grill

There are some types of restaurants that you want to have a down and dirty feel to it.  A screw the fancy plates, the garnish splashes and the multi- syllable hard to pronounce big words kind of attitude.  And this is not a bad thing.  Sometimes you want a dining experience that doesn’t force you to whisper softly over the clinking of glass five tables over.

BBQ is the type of food for me.  BBQ is where I don’t even want to consider picking up a fork and can’t have enough wet naps.

Boneyard Grill

Boneyard Grill in Uptown Toronto satisfies all those criteria.  As a second location to the already popular Thornhill staple in a neighborhood known for fine china and cloth napkins you would think this would be a concept lost in it’s surrounding but outstanding BBQ, reasonable prices and a devil may care attitude is exactly what folks are looking for. Unpretentious and undeniably delicious.

Expect all the regular menu items, from wings to ribs and burgers.  Deep fried appetizers and dripping sauces.  What you may not expect is just how fantastic everything tastes.

Boneyard Grill

The onion brick is just that. A mound of thinly sliced and lightly coated onions that are just greasy enough to satisfy the reason you ordered them but not enough to make it a soggy mess.  Both the coconut shrimp and sweet potatoes are wonderfully crispy and accompanied by a variety of different dipping sauces.

Boneyard Grill

They cook their burgers to the perfect temperature and they don’t over saucebaste any of their BBQ allowing the flavour of the meat to shine through the tang of the sauce.

Boneyard Grill

With a menu full of salads and sides anyone can find something to enjoy.  But it’s the BBQ you should really get your hands sticky over!

Boneyard Grill
Uptown Toronto
1554 Avenue Road
Toronto, ON
M5M 3X5
(647) 349-0849
info@boneyardgrill.com

Monday to Thursday 11:30am – 9pm
Friday and Saturday 11:30am – 10pm
Sunday 11:30am – 9pm

Smoque N Bones

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Some of the best signs of summer are the smoke signals seen throughout the neighborhood as barbeques gets cracked open, sauces get slathered and the crisp sound of a beer top being cracked can be heard.  I love being able to come home from a long day of work, slap a steak or burger on the grill and have a relaxing no thinking involved kind of dinner.  But when it comes to true BBQ; the wings, the ribs, the pulled pork and the brisket I leave all that to the experts.  With that in mind I jumped at  the chance when I was asked to check out the new Queen West BBQ joint Smoque N Bones with 3 of my favorite foodie friends.

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

For me beer and BBQ go together like Mac and Cheese.  I really couldn’t imagine drinking anything else when a plate of ribs is in front of me and the  Samuel Adams Boston Lager that was paired with the meal was a perfect compliment to the smokey flavors and heavier side dishes. A light, hoppy beer with a refreshing first sip that was a blessing after a rough day and hot afternoon. With the windows wide open Smoque n Bones was just what I needed.

Chef Alex Rad, who left a secure corporate job to become a first time chef holds nothing back when it comes to his food.  While we started off with some pints and a crispy basket of large popcorn shrimp he began compiling what he hopes to be a signature offering on the menu, The Pit Boss Platter.

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

A long, narrow plank of wood piled with ribs, brisket,  a house made sausage that is not like anything I have tasted before and a sampling of BBQ appropriate side dishes; potato salad, coleslaw, collard greens, baked beans, and corn bread.  To further enhance the cacophony of flavors set in front of us he provided condiments like spicy mustard, tangy BBQ and a sweet honey butter. A gorgeous Cobb salad was also offered piled high with egg and pulled chicken.

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

If the Boss platter wasn’t enough we had the chance to try out two of the awesome  sandwiches offered;  the pulled pork topped with a generous amount of creamy coleslaw and the beef brisket equally elevated with a red cabbage slaw.

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

To cap off an outrageous amount of food we were further treated to a sample of the currently one and only dessert; the Bourbon Glazed Pecan Pie.

Smoque N Bones

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan Photography

Smoque N Bones does the traditional very well and throws in the occasional unconventional twist.  While some dishes stood out more than others each are well executed and the ideas playing around in Chef Alex head will help secure him a steady spot in the city’s fast growing BBQ scene. Cheers to great friends, great beer and great bbq.

All photographs appear with permission courtesy of Jeffrey Chan Photography.
This post is sponsored by Branding & Buzzing but all opinions reflected are that of myself and this blog.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken

Sometimes you just look at chicken and say “now what?”  I’ve fried it, baked it, BBQed it in a phethora of sauces, sauteed, stirfried…. You get my drift.  Chicken is one of those things that you can do a million thing to and they all taste great but coming up with something different can be frustrating.  Everyone has their tried and true ways of cooking chicken so when you feel the need to get out of that rut the endless options out there can be mind boggling.

I’d like to say my recipe solves that problem.  It doesn’t.  In fact it just adds yet another way to cook chicken to the never ending list.  But I can tell you this.  This is a perfect way to BBQ chicken.  The marinade is simple yet subtle.  It flavors the chicken but doesn’t become the center piece that takes away the smokiness you want which is the reason you are BBQing in the first place.

The sauce all begins with the mustard.  Maille makes a great sweet and tangy honey mustard along with their classic Dijon that blends well with the oil and maple syrup resulting in a great chicken marinade.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

The recipe is simple.  I took one whole jar of the honey mustard, whisked it with 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/4 oil.  I use the oil to help keep the chicken from sticking to the grill.  I placed the marinade in a resealable plastic bag along with a ton of chicken legs and let them marinade in the fridge overnight.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

My father in law had this handy chicken leg cooker I had given him a while back and it worked perfect for the chicken.  We placed the rack in a foil baking dish, added a cup of orange to the bottom and cooked the chicken for about 30 minutes on med-high.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

The orange juice steams away keeping the chicken moist, the leg pan keep the chicken off the grill and sticking, and because of their upright position they self baste making them fall off the bone juicy.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty GardenerOnce the juices no longer run pink it’s time to serve them up.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

My father in law created this amazing portable buffet table out of an old BBQ.  Perfect because it can move anywhere and provide extra space when having a large feast or to just keep your dining table less cluttered.  Great way to salvage an old BBQ frame.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

Thanks to the great marinade your chicken is super moist and has a wonderful sweet and tangy flavor.

Maple Honey Mustard Chicken from The Tasty Gardener

 

*I received from Maille coupons to try any of their products free of charge.  All the opinions in this post as solely mine though Maille mustard has been in  my fridge long before receiving these coupons. 

Pineapple Chicken Kebabs

Marianating the chicken over night is the key to these great tasting kebabs. They were a huge hit at a dinner party I had the other night. It also makes them quick to prepare the day you want to bbq them.  Grilled pineapple is also a great addition though you can skewer anything you want with the chicken.

Hawaiian Kebabs

 

Pineapple Chicken Kebabs
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Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in 2" pieces
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • juice of two limes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • red peppers, cut in 2" pieces
  • pineapple, cut in 2" pieces

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken, soy sauce, honey, lime and garlic in a bowl, cover and let marinate overnight.
  2. Preheat your grill.
  3. Alternating between the chicken, peppers and pineapple skewer the meat and vegetablesonto your skewers.
  4. Grill, turning a couple times until chicken is cooked through and pineapple is soft.
Recipe Type: Main Dishes
7.6.8
268

BBQ Ribs

I think everyone is always on the search for the best and quickest way to make juicy, flavourful BBQ ribs.  I have been known to try many different recipes I come across and they have all been super tasty but all are time consuming.  I’ve figured out that is my first mistake.  Fantastic ribs should take time.  That is what makes them so amazing.  And when you think about the majority of the time is during slow cooking it really doesn’t requires much work on your part.

So once I decided time didn’t matter I came up with this great recipe.

Yields 4

BBQ Ribs
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork ribs, any cut will do
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • bottle of favorite bbq sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except ribs and bbq sauce in a bowl.
  3. Generously cover the ribs with the spice mixture making sure to rub it into the meat well.
  4. Wrap the ribs in foil and bake in oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove from oven. Heat grill to high.
  6. Remove ribs from foil and place on grill.
  7. Baste with BBQ sauce and cook for 10 minutes turning and basting regularly.
  8. Once you are happy with the amount of sauce and degree of grill marks on ribs, remove from bbq and enjoy.
Recipe Type: Main Dishes
7.6.8
256

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Combine all of the ingredients except ribs and bbq sauce in a bowl.

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

Generously cover the ribs with the spice mixture making sure to rub it into the meat well.

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

Wrap the ribs in foil and bake in oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven. Heat grill to high.
Remove ribs from foil.

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

Place on grill and cook for 10 minutes turning and basting with sauce regularly.

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

Once you are happy with the amount of sauce and degree of grill marks on ribs, remove from bbq and enjoy.

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

BBQ Ribs from The Tasty Gardener

Pulled Turkey

Pulled Pork is a favorite with BBQ lovers across the world.  Here I have lighten it up  a little by using turkey but still having all the big flavours everyone enjoys.

Serves 1/6

Slow Cooker Pulled Turkey

Serve this over rice for a tasty dinner or on a bun at lunch time.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the turkey in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat saute the onion and garlic until just translucent.
  3. Add the remaining ingredientss and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce over the turkey and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Carefully shred the turkey in the sauce and keep warm.
Recipe Type: Main Dishes
7.6.8
149

Place the turkey in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a saucepan over medium heat saute the onion and garlic until just translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

Pour the sauce over the turkey and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Carefully shred the turkey in the sauce and keep warm.

Serve over rice or in sandwich buns.

Hickory BBQ Ribs

 

Serves 1/4

Hickory BBQ Ribs

It may be the middle of BBQ season but by cooking these ribs in a slow cooker you not only free up more grill space, you also have tender, fall off the bone ribs. Try this sauce on wings and chicken breasts too.

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 2 racks of baby back pork spareribs

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan stir together all the ingredients except the ribs. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut the ribs into serving sizes. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  3. Pour the sauce over top and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours until ribs are tender.
Recipe Type: Main Dishes
7.6.8
111

 

Ribfest

Miss.Ribfest200915The Rotary Club of Mississauga hosted it’s annual Rib fest over the weekend and I had the pleasure to taste some of the good eats offered by 14 different ribbers from across North America all vying for awards such as People’s Choice or Best Sauce.  To try as many different ribs as possible I enlisted the help of a second taster.  While we stuck to the general rule of buying only 1/3 racks it was amazing how fast we filled up.

Miss.Ribfest20095The southern states have always been well known for their aptitude with the BBQ so our first tastes brought us to Camp 31 from Alabama and Uncle Sam’s from New Mexico.  I found the ribs from Uncle Sam’s a bit dry and chewy which is definitely a problem when you order a 1/3 rack.  The cut is usually from the ends, which are thinner and cook faster then the centre cuts.  The sauce used at Camp 31 was more of a sweet sauce while Uncle Sam’s had an obvious smoky taste.  I also splurged and got a side order of baked beans and coleslaw but I didn’t find anything spectacular about them and regret wasting valuable stomach space.

Smokin' good times!

 

Not wanting to be completely one-sided our next racks came from two ribbers out of London Ontario.  Crabby’s BBQ ribs were also a bit dry with a rather mediocre sauce making the fact that they had really short lines one of the only highlights of their booth.

The favorite of the day.

 

 

The other local boys from Kentucky Smokehouse were definitely encouraging people to give them the vote with their engagement with customers and providing little extras like cooking to order for some lucky folks.  My bonus was an additional rib to chow on.  I can guarantee they didn’t need to go that far to get my vote.  By far these were the biggest, juiciest, meatiest and tastiest ribs I had tried all day.

Sauce dripping, finger licking good.

 

Unfortunately at this point we were filled to the gills with meat and sauce and we couldn’t bring ourselves to try another rack.  Next year I’ll have to make sure to enlist even more people so I can try even more ribs and quite possibly some of the chicken, pulled pork and beef ribs available to the crowds.

 

One thing for sure was that there was something for everyone at Rib fest. Children’s rides, a main stage for musicians throughout the weekend and a vendors market were all teeming people.  And I’m sure we all had at least two things in common, sticky fingers and full stomachs.

Miss.Ribfest20091

Burgers Galore

Nowadays grocery stores offer you a huge variety of frozen pre-made burgers for the BBQ. They are definitely convenient when you’re in a hurry and I’ve been known to use them when in a pinch but ultimately homemade burgers are the way to go. You can really get your creativity and taste buds going with a pound of meat and a range of flavours.

The Meat

-Use ground pork, chicken, turkey, veal, beef or a combination of those to make your patty. Each has very different and distinct flavours.

– To be healthier use extra lean ground meat and bind it with egg white instead of the whole egg.

– To prevent shrinkage and dryness add 3 tbsp of water to your mix. Burgers shrink as they cook because the moisture evaporates therefore adding extra moisture will counteract this.

Additions

burger-toppings– Add onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms, even carrots to the meat. Make sure they are chopped fine or shredded so the patty stays together.

– Add soy sauce for an Asian flavour, salsa for a south-western flavour or pick from you’re your favourite BBQ sauce

– Use different seasonings like basil, oregano and cayenne to tempt your taste buds

– Stuff the patty with cheese like mozzarella, Swiss and bleu or even bacon or sun dried tomatoes

Toppings

– No matter whether your burgers are homemade or frozen you can still personalize yours with a huge variety of toppings from fried onions, to tomatoes to pesto mayonnaise. Even buns come in different flavours.

Whatever your finished product enjoy that it’s all your doing!

Feta and Spinach Burger

Feta and Spinach Burger

What is your burger made of?

BBQ Kings

It’s our first official long weekend of the summer and many people are heading North to the cottage or staying home and planning their first BBQ’s of the season.

It’s also the time of the year where the men in our lives come out of hibernation and declare their supremacy as professional chefs. Why is it that the ability to operate a BBQ suddenly makes them the number 1 “cook” in the family. Don’t get me wrong; men have an uncanny ability when it comes to outdoor grilling but BBQ chicken does not make a culinary king. And when it comes to all the prep work and the accompanying side dishes, it’s still the lady of the house (in most cases) who pulls it all together.

Marinating means so much more than brushing sauce over and over again and vegetables can be grilled along with those steaks and ribs.

But I’ll be fair and let them have their shining glory for the next several months. Because I know it won’t be long before the turkey gets stuffed and all is right in the world again.