CLOSED: Adamson Barbecue (Toronto)

As the age old saying goes, “Things are bigger in Texas”. When it comes to Adamson Barbecue, this isn’t necessarily true… their parking lot only holds 16 vehicles, they prepare enough product for the day (often running out before closing), and the meat on the lunch plates is satisfying but definitely not American sized portions.

For groups of four or more, ordering sides by the container and meats by the pound are their suggested value option. Visiting with only two people, we decided to each get a lunch plate, which allows you to choose from one ($15), two ($20), or three ($25) meats, all arriving with two sides.

Two pieces of lean brisket and baby back ribs are freshly cut and placed on my tray. Is that it? It’ll be gone like that, there’s no way I can share! I thought.  One bite into the succulent smoked rib, as it melted into my mouth, had me wondering if it’d be inappropriate to suck every ounce of sauce and meat off the bone in a public forum. That baby back rib was the best I’ve ever had, which made it SO difficult to share the other.

Even their brisket impressed, although eat it first and quickly. The initial bites of the tender cut were surprisingly moist for what can sometimes be dry and crumbly. Liberal amounts of dry rub melded into the beef so that it forms a beautiful smoke ring and creates a flavourful brisket – sauce be damned. But, once left for 10 minutes and starts getting cold, the meat becomes noticeably drier so that some of the thin tangy sweet barbeque sauce is required.

If you don’t mind the cholesterol, ask for the fattier cut of brisket instead. Having portions of my husband’s, this definitely stayed succulent to the end. While there are some blubbery areas, the fat is soft and simply breaks apart to combine with the beef.

The slice of white bread, mild thinly shaved white onions, and crispy dill pickles went perfectly with the pulled pork allowing us to make our own sandwich. Of all the meats, it arrives in the largest portion, a good baseball size that definitely gave us our fill. Salty, smoky, and having a light pork flavour, it made for a satisfying last bite.     

There are plenty of sides to choose from and after looking through the station the kale Caesar and cornbread were the things that stood out. Other options include coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, fancy pickles, beans, and loaded potatoes (available weekend only).

Kale is kale, but the cornbread is king. Moist, cakey, and just slightly sweet, it almost felt like a dessert to end the barbeque. Plus, it’s a side that’s perfect for wrapping to go (even without the Texas size portions a lunch plate is difficult to finish) and tastes great the next day.

I get the love and why people line up early for a taste of Adamson Barbecue, it really is that good. To be fair, I have yet to visit Texas to sample the smoked meats of the South, but really how much better can it get?

While most people rave about their brisket, the baby back ribs is what earned the golden star for me. Adamson does it low and slow in a wood burning oven and keeps everything warmed until it is cut-to-order. With barbeque this good, I’ll stay out of the states just a little longer.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 176 Wicksteed Avenue

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

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Adamson Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato