On Thursday, GC and I went to The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder.
Located on St. Clair West and about a 5 minute walk away from two of my sisters’ apartments, this could be trouble. It is so close to home, and my home-away-from-homes that I might develop an unhealthy barbecue addiction.
When we walked into the restaurant it was packed with hungry people crowded around the butcher block cash counter. The Stockyards does take out and dine in so at the dinner rush, it is incredibly busy here. But rest assured, we were seated almost immediately. I think in the future we will probably order take out and go to a nearby park or maybe take over someone’s apartment with a barbecue picnic. I think if you show up at someone’s house with traditional southern barbecue they won’t object to you coming in and sharing with them.
The interior of the restaurant reminded me of the Old South and not in the racist, awkward way but rather the rustic charm and simplicity of the antebellum period. How you would expect to find Paula Deen’s kitchen in the south – utensils that have been around for years, lots of wood counter tops and evidence of grease stains from years of good times and good food.
We sat at the long bar which opened up onto the kitchen – some people don’t like/love open kitchens in restaurants but I love them. I can see why – you see the mess, there is a lot of noise and you don’t always want to know what the kitchen staff is doing to your food. I think for anyone who doesn’t like an open style restaurant kitchen needs to come here. The two chefs who were working truly were kitchen performers. There was no shouting or arguing or dropping anything. They worked effortlessly together and they had such a rhythm together. From their tattooed arms to their cooking ability, everything about the pair was entertaining. Watching how all the various meals were prepared made me want to eat each and everyone that much more. The burgers were pulled out of the fridge, made fresh and formed into little balls and placed on the griddle with a little bit of coarse salt. Then smashed. I could have watched that for hours. Next time I will be ordering a burger.
Hickory smoked pork shoulder topped with coleslaw, Stockyards BBQ sauce, on a squishy bun served in a cast iron skillet. The pork was tender and sweet with a little hint of heat. The coleslaw was salty and tart and had the perfect hit of fennel, which is a flavour I don’t typically like but it worked so well with the richness of the pork and the tartness of the slaw. I stole GC’s container of slaw from him because I liked it that much. This is officially my favourite coleslaw of all time. All served in a cast iron skillet – this made me feel like I was a cowboy in the wild west eating my dinner over an open flame with tumbleweeds in the background. Perfect and authentic.
GC ordered the Stockyards Fried Chicken Dinner .
4 pieces of Buttermilk marinated chicken served with fries, coleslaw, and hot sauce. The chicken was crispy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside. The buttermilk tenderized the meat while giving it a hint of sweetness that set off the salty breading and frying. This doesn’t look like it, but it’s a lot of food – GC had leftovers.
Authentic, traditional Southern babeque without the trip to the South. Sounds perfect to me – how about you?