Location: 172 Main Street, Toronto
I mentioned, in my post about Hanabusa Cafe, that Toronto churns through food trends with an almost alarming fervor. If anyone is keeping track of such things, Texas-style barbecue needs to be added to the list; something like a dozen restaurants have opened up in the last few years serving that very specific style of American barbecue cookery.
And yet no one seems to be able to consistently get it right. Even the much-lauded Adamson falls short. It’s tasty enough, but it lacks the deep smoky flavour that you’ll find in real-deal southern ‘cue.
I had heard good things about the Beach Hill Smokehouse, but alas: the search continues. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
I got the Austin sandwich, which is a no-frills brisket sandwich with barbecue sauce, served on a bun. It comes with one pork rib as a bonus.
I probably should have ordered the brisket on its own. The pictures I’ve seen of the Beach Hill’s brisket have featured big, impressively picturesque slices of glistening, fatty beef.
The sandwich on the hand… I have a strong suspicion that the sandwich is how they get rid of all of the little dried up bits that aren’t good enough to be served on their own. The brisket scraps in my sandwich were vaguely smokey, but incredibly dry. Zero fat, zero moisture — just chewy and tough. Even the generous amount of sauce (which was sweet, spicy, and tasty) couldn’t quite overcome the extreme dryness.
The bun was fine, but it was big and bready, and only served to further compound the dryness problem.
The rib was a bit better than the brisket. It was peppery and intensely sweet, with an almost ham-like cured flavour that reminded me of jerky. The texture was nice, however — tender but not mushy, with a little bit of a meaty bite. The flavour was a bit unusual, but it wasn’t altogether unappealing.
I got the loaded baked beans on the side, which was the clear highlight. They had a really great flavour, with a pleasant kick and a generous amount of pork and sausage chunks. They were some of the best baked beans I’ve had in a long time; they’re outstanding.