Ontario, Canada has lots in common with Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas and Missouri – big wide open spaces, winding roads, crazy wild history.
And BBQ. While Ontario is a burgeoning BBQ scene with a few pretenders to the throne, there are still tons of truly unique, tasty and ride-able BBQ destinations. And most of them are on killer routes to boot.
We’ve compiled a list of the top places and added where to find them and what route to take to get to them – all to create the perfect bite of BBQ sauce, ashphalt, rubber and gasoline. Ride on.
Photo Courtesy: Muddy’s Pit
Muddy’s in an Ontario BBQ veteran that riders know and love. The roads around Peterborough are winding and the BBQ is slow. Motorcycles get preferential parking out front, but everyone gets the same killer BBQ. Pitmaster Neil has some outstanding ribs and brisket, but the adventurous will try his smoked bologna, flying saucers, and sausages. Plenty of sauce on the outdoor tables and football on the TVs mean that there’s as much BBQ ambience as there is BBQ flavour. Not to be missed, and a perfect Sunday ride from Toronto, Ottawa or Kingston.
Photo Courtesy Buster’s BBQ
Buster’s has been a must-stop destination in the tiny town of Vermillion Bay for ages until a fire laid them low and only their killer blueberry BBQ sauce was available at selected stores. Now, by all accounts, they are open again, on Highway 17 and are taking back their slot as the top BBQ place on the Nor-Wester loop. This is a high mile loop through some of the most sparsely populated sections of Ontario, but the roads are killer, the food is drool worthy, and the few people you meet will welcome you like home.
Riding out for BBQ is an Ontario thing – you’ll always find plenty of bikes in front of the Q joints north of the Mason-Dixon. But The Olde Ridge is something special. Every weekend during the summer you’ll find a good dozen bikes outside waiting for Bobby’s killer smoked ribs, and they keep coming back. A passionate focus on BBQ essentials here results in the most pure BBQ experience on this list. A perfect smoke ring, bright pink flesh and sauce that is candied to the point of stickiness instead of sloppiness. Ribs, brown paper towel and a sauce that doesn’t quit…much like the curves on the roads in this neck of the woods.
Legendary describes many of the things in Northeastern Ontario – the size of their motorcycle loops, the hospitality, their friendliness towards bikers, and the servings at JR’s BBQ. A broad menu means you’re never low on options, but the real treat is the BBQ chicken – although the ribs, pulled pork and even pizza are all good too. Of course, if you’re riding 400km+ a day through the boreal wilderness, you should consider their platters. Their dark coloured rib sauce might keep you coming back.
Photo Courtesy Low and Slow Facebook
Anyone who has been to the Soo knows there is a quietly understated food scene breaking loose, and the crew at Low and Slow are no exception. A great patio is just the start – the decadent menu is rounded out by BBQ essentials like collard greens and shrimp and grits. The route around the world’s largest freshwater lake also makes the ride worthwhile – although we’d suggest parking the bike for an afternoon to fully take in the glory of the food at Low and Slow and the waterfront in the city. You won’t regret it.
Photo Courtesy NorthernOntario.Travel
Newcomer Barbecupid has made a name for itself as a foodtruck in Thunder Bay, and those in search of a meaty fix while doing Ride Lake Superior will be happy to know that the guys at Barbecupid are rising in the scene with some truly unique takes on BBQ staples, like the “Thrilled Cheese” that adds BBQ pork to a traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Take a pound of brisket to go and munch all the way around the lake.
There are hundreds more BBQ joints all over Ontario – but not all are on such spectacularly ride-worth routes. If you’re looking for a fix for your throttle and your stomach, pick any on the list – you’re sure to feel fully satisfied by the end of your ride.