Toronto may not be located in the south, but we love our comfort food and our chefs know how to whip up some mean BBQ and fried chicken. In a city with endless choice, where do you go to load up on crispy fried chicken, melt-in-your-mouth brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs and succulent pulled pork?
Here’s our roundup for the best BBQ and fried chicken restaurants in Toronto.
When you’re in need of some smoky BBQ goodness, look no further than Smoque N Bones. Drawing inspiration from the heart of America, this Queen West BBQ spot blends a mix of Memphis, Texas, Kansas, the Carolinas and of course, Toronto into big, authentic, southern flavours. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, from the sauces and sides, to the tailor-made smoker that gives Smoque N Bones meat its distinct flavour, aroma, colour and texture. A clear choice for best BBQ in Toronto.
Pork side ribs (½ or full rack) are the staple here. These tender ribs will take your tastebuds on a bus trip to flavourtown 🚌. They’re seasoned to perfection, smoked for more than two hours, grilled over an open flame and served with BBQ sauce on the side so you can do them up to your liking. We know you like ‘em saucy (just saying).
A tasty classic, you can’t miss the pulled pork, available on its own (½ or 1 lb) or in a sandwich, smothered in tangy, house-made BBQ sauce and topped with creamy coleslaw. And if you’re looking for the ultimate side, you need to try the Brussels sprouts. It’s not your grandma’s Thanksgiving recipe – Smoque N Bones is famous for these babies, topped with caramelized onions and drizzled with cask-aged reduced balsamic.
If you’re looking to spoil yourself with well-seasoned fried batter, juicy meat and light, fluffy waffles, Cluck Clucks is your best bet for some of the best fried chicken in Toronto. The chicken is brined overnight, lightly dredged in seasoned flour, then fried to order, resulting in tender meat with crispy skin. We’re huge fans of the house sauce selection – cluck sauce, sweet heat, chipotle aioli, dill mayo and MC hot (if you like it mother-clucking hawt 😉🔥).
We’re obsessed with the Cluck Yeah! – boneless fried chicken breast, served as a sandwich in between fresh jalapeno-and-cheddar waffles, with coleslaw, chipotle aioli and dill mayo. Subtly spicy and packed with flavour, you’ll remember this unique dish forever.
When hunger hits, we recommend the Mother Clucker – a 3-piece bone-in fried chicken, served on top of the signature fresh jalapeno-and-cheddar waffle with your choice of sauce. The Clucking Little Waffles, Cluck Clucks’ signature waffles tossed in cinnamon and brown sugar with a side of Nutella and Maple, are a sweet end to a hearty meal. Ummm… yes pls.
Are you craving seriously good fried chicken? Always at the top of Toronto’s best fried chicken lists, look no further than Joe Bird. The menu has something for everyone with flavours borrowed from a variety of cuisines, like Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern and of course, the southern US.
It’s not your average bird joint – you can find fun twists on the southern classic, like the Thai Bird – served grilled, with crispy onions and toasted peanuts, or the ~xxxtra sPiCy~ Diablo, with your choice of fried or grilled chicken thigh, diablo sauce, pickled pineapple, garlic mayo and arugula. #Hothothot.
Our go-to? The Bao Buns – two perfectly steamed buns with fried or grilled chicken thigh (duh, we always choose fried), topped with ssamjang mayo and pickled slaw. Ssamjang is a thick n’ spicy Korean paste that gives the dish a unique, sweet and tangy bite. Yasssssssss.
You should definitely check out La Cubana for some of the best BBQ in Toronto. Chef & co-owner, Corinna Mozo takes traditional family recipes and creates non-traditional dishes that pack a real Cuban punch of flavour. Chef Mozo’s house-made bread is incredibly soft, slightly sweet and chewy, and lends itself well to the menu of sandwiches and medianoches. Medianoches are Cuban sandwiches named for being the go-to midnight snack after leaving the nightclubs in Havana.
You’ll wanna eat this one slowly to savour each bite – the vibrant Guava BBQ Short Rib Medianoche. The short rib is braised for about five hours, then slathered onto a house-made bun, and topped with slaw, chimichurri and crispy onions. This creative Cuban sammy will have you saying AY CARAMBA! 💃
Warm up with the sumptuous Honey Glazed Pork Belly plate, served with rice and beans, jalapeno-spiked red cabbage slaw and tostones. Tostones are twice-fried plantain slices that make the perfect side to this Cuban BBQ dish. The Jicama Salad is a great starter or side, cutting through the rich BBQ dishes at La Cubana. It’s a lighter option, made up of slivers of fresh radish, apple and cucumbers on a bed of Bibb lettuce.
We’d be remiss to exclude Popeyes Chicken from a list of Toronto’s best BBQ and fried chicken. Um, hello, it’s Beyonce’s favourite – the chain even gave her a lifetime membership card 🤤. Yes, it’s a chain, but over the last 40 years, it’s amassed a faithful following of fried chicken aficionados that crave the 12-hour marinated, hand-battered, hand-breaded chicken that’s packed with Louisiana flavour. It’ll have you singing, “love that chicken from Popeyes.” 🎵 Just don’t ask us to sing. OH, and did we mention the hot, buttery biscuits?!
The Deluxe Chicken Sandwich is the reigning chick sammy champ. It has stirred up a ton of hype – and for good reason. Marinated with onion, garlic, red and black peppers, it’s got that Cajun-style spice that people love. Plus, it’s extremely crispy. *drools*
For the classic kids, we recommend the Chicken Tenders. They’re juicy, crispy and portable. You can choose three or five in a combo, and a mild or spicy batter. What’s not to love? We also stan the classic 2-Piece Chicken Combo, served with your choice of sides (go for the Cajun fries, ‘cuz… well, duh).
These Toronto spots know how to cook up a mean bird and the BBQ is top notch – we think you should order in from each of the best BBQ and fried chicken spot on this list via www.foodora.ca 😎🍗. Make sure you wear your stretchy pants – we won’t alert the fashion police, since it’s all in the name of good food.