Stockyards – Inducing meat sweats, one customer at a time

As the weather starts to get warmer, I find myself in the mood for BBQ.  Maybe it’s the long winters where BBQ-ing just isn’t feasible or maybe it’s that inner caveman crying out for meat cooked over fire.  In any case, when I find myself craving BBQ I head up to St. Claire and Christie and then follow the aroma of southern spices and BBQ sauce to a storefront with “The Stockyards: smokehouse and larder” written on the window.  At first I was thinking “larder”…a place where they use a lot of lard in their cooking….sounds gluttonously delicious.  Turns out a larder is a cool area to store food, much like a fridge before fridges were invented.  Anyways, on my first trip a couple years ago I tried the hickory smoked pork shoulder sandwich topped with coleslaw and bbq sauce.

First off, I like how everything they serve is in a frying pan.  Gimmick, yes, but it puts a smile on my face.  The sandwich was delicious.  The pork is tender and saucy.  The coleslaw is crisp and cool and adds a nice contrast to the BBQ flavor of the pork.  The only disappointing thing was the bread.  It reminded me of wonder bread.  Not that wonder bread is a bad thing it’s just everything else is so top notch you have to ask yourself why they didn’t splurge on better bread like they do at the Black Camel.  This was a couple years ago so maybe now they’re starting using better bread.  On subsequent visits I’ve been indulging on their ribs which, sadly, they only serve three days a week: Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

The ribs are smoked over apple and hickory wood and use a South Carolina style vinegar red pepper sauce.  I’ll admit the ribs don’t fall of the bone but the do have a nice texture and come off the bone with little effort.  What makes these ribs outstanding is the flavor.  You can taste the lovely smokiness with a tasty spice rub and tangy BBQ sauce.  They come out with a side of BBQ sauce in case you want to lather it on to make it extra saucy.  Welcome to flavor country, that’s all I have to say.  Oh, and the portions are huge!  Next I tried the buttermilk marinated fried chicken served with fries, coleslaw and hot sauce.

Colonel Sanders eat your heart out!  Crisp skin, tender meat (without being too greasy) and spiced just right.  I find a lot of fried chicken too salty… this is not the case here.  It uses a nice blend of spices without taking away from the crisp flavor of the buttermilk batter.  It comes with four big pieces of chicken, a huge plate of fries and coleslaw.  The fries are normally really good.  Crisp, hot and perfectly salted but on this occasion they were a little soggy.  Maybe we let the chicken sit on them for too long while switching back and forth between the ribs and the chicken.  On another occasion I tried the BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich served with caramelized onions, garlic mayo, veal jus, bbq sauce on a baguette.

The beef was good.  It crumbles into small tender pieces and was spiced quite nicely.  I really liked the addition of garlic mayo into the mix.  I think the beef, onions and BBQ sauce would have given it a one dimensional flavor but adding the garlic mayo adds a whole other dynamic to the taste.  The baguette was also really good.  Maybe this is an indication that they’ve starting moving to better bread in all their sandwiches…score!  On my last visit, I tried the BBQ pit smoked chicken, slow smoked over apple and hickory wood served with Stockyards bbq sauce on the side.

All I have to say is AMAZING!  This could be some of the best chicken I’ve ever had.  The meat was very tender, even the thicker breast meat was soft and juicy!   It was practically falling off the bones.  The chicken was well spiced and sauced just right.  It had a subtle sweetness to it but still had a nice balanced southern spice taste to it.  Soooooo good!  I’m craving some just writing about it now.

Now I took a couple co-workers here with me on my last visit.  One lives in the US and has eaten BBQ across all your major BBQ states.  The other has made frequent visits to the south and is also a BBQ connoisseur.  I know this stuff is great by Toronto BBQ standards but I had to see how it matched up against our southern counterparts.  The verdict: it’s gooood.  They both really like the pit smoked chicken.  They like the brisket and said if they were served that in the US, they wouldn’t be disappointed.  They like the ribs but both preferred the fall off the bone type of ribs and Memphis style over the South Carolina style.  All in all, we enjoyed the meal.  After all, we all left with the “meat sweats” so clearly we couldn’t put the food down.

~ by jlowjlow on June 4, 2011.

One Response to “Stockyards – Inducing meat sweats, one customer at a time”

  1. Hickory Bbq Wood…

    […] tify me of follow-up comments via email. […]…

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