So you think all you need is a pair of tongs and a bbq to call yourself a meat (wo)man? Try again, backyard burner. After the meal we had at Hogtown Smoke (1959 Queen St. E), the new food-truck turned restaurant in The Beaches, we’re not sure we’ll ever be able to settle for amateur meat again.
We cruised in mid-afternoon to avoid the lunch and dinner rush – wanting to catch an hour of alone time with the kitchen. Not so. Even at that time of day, Hogtown Smoke is still busy filling people up with pork, chicken, and beef that’s been steadily smoking for hours in their black, double-barrel smoker that looks as if it eats residential BBQs for breakfast. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, this is not a place vegans would flourish. It’s more the kind of place that welcomes eating meat with your hands. A sure sign of this is they don’t cut their ribs – these babies just fall right off the bone when you pick them up.
We love that food trucks in TO are picking up enough fans to turn into full-time locations, and Hogtown Smoke’s new shop is one of the best transitions we’ve seen so far. The warm and simple wood tables and booths offer a friendly and relaxed vibe. Add in the charm of upside-down bucket lamps, exposed brick, and chalkboard menus, and we felt welcome as soon we stepped through the door. Which is definitely a good thing, because we soon found that the best way to settle into their menu is while we’re relaxed – the seemingly endless options of deliciousness were almost overwhelming.
In our first glance we were hit with such mouthwatering house specialties as their Patron-Infused Smoked Half-Chicken, Signature Smoked Brisket (slow cooked for 18 hours), and their competition-level St. Louis Spare Ribs. We know, we want to live there too. But it’s not just about the meat; Hogtown Smoke also makes all of their own hot sauces and brings a collection of them to the table with every order. You can use the unique Peanut Butter Chipotle to bolster your chicken wings or just enjoy burning your tongue off with the Ghost-Pepper Sauce. Either way the message is clear: feel free to be as saucy as you like.
Throw in a cool pint of Beau’s, some Barq’s Root Beer baked beans, and the occasional 2-Pound Hogtown Poutine (how could you not!), and there’s simply no place we’d rather get our smoke on. Forget going to The Beaches to swim, we want to drown ourselves here. But be warned: you’d better come hungry cause in a staring contest, we promise it won’t be the meat that blinks first.