Toronto loves barbecue. We’ve seen barbecue food trucks, restaurants and smokers pop up all over town. And just over a year ago, in a Leaside industrial park, Adamson Barbecue restaurant took things to a whole new level. Owned by Adam Skelly and his partner, Alison Hunt, Adamson Barbecue started as a food truck and catering business. Today, it serves up some of the best Texas barbecue outside of Texas, period.
They’ve got the crowds to prove it. People started lining up around 10 a.m. on the Saturday we visited. The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or as Skelly says, “until they’re sold out.” And that can happen a lot earlier than 2 p.m.
To say Skelly has mastered his pit is an understatement. He is dedicated and passionate about his barbecue, which is evident even when watching him carve it up for his customers, who he chats with while carefully putting together their orders. The overwhelming success, he says, caught him a little off-guard. He started making barbecue in 2012 (bad barbecue, he jokes), adding that it took about a thousand briskets to get it right.
They took over the enormous Leaside space out of need for an industrial-sized kitchen, and a place to run the massive smokers without annoying the neighbours. They burn nothing but Sugar Maple and Oak; there are cords of it piled up out back. A crew of 12, plus Skelly and Hunt, work around the clock tending to the slow-cooking meat and there’s even someone on the night shift tending to brisket into the wee hours of the morning. That’s dedication.
On Saturday we visited, they smoked 1150 pounds of meat—that turned into 500 pounds of barbecue—which would be sold out in less than three hours. Skelly sources his beef, brisket, poultry and pork from suppliers that will cut it the way he wants—meaty. With simple preparation, but a whole lot of time, he transforms the meat into some of the juiciest, most favourable barbeque around. No sticky, sweet options here; bold and peppery best describes Skelly’s barbeque style.
Beyond the barbecue, the kitchen crew is busy making sides and desserts (strawberry pie on our visit—yum!) and baking loaves of their own delicious white bread. You can wait in line to order sandwiches, or platters of meat by the pound or plate. Email ahead for catering options. They even have brisket frozen so there’s no excuse for not picking some up to take to the cottage.
Don’t worry about the line. Just head over early enough to get some. It’s that good.
176 Wicksteed Avenue
Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or sold out)
Closed Sunday and Monday
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