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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sweet Smoke BBQ & Grill :: Hunting for the Best Pulled Pork

Outside, Tortilla soup artwork, main dining area

I occasionally go through phases where I search for the best something-something. I've hunted for the best burrito (toss between Big Fat Burrito's pulled pork in Kensington Market and Burrito Boyz' Hablibut), best pie (Wanda's Ontario Sour Cherry Pie), and best chocolate chip cookie (Le Gourmand). After trying Reggie's, Lou Dawg's, and countless Ribfest vendors' pulled pork sammies, the next on my list was Sweet Smoke BBQ & Grill in Oakville. A perfect end to a crazy day of kayaking in Grand River!


Sweet Smoke Barbecue and Grill
Verdict: Go! Best pulled pork that I've tried...so far
Meal: Dinner

Price: $
20
Location: 3420 Rebecca St, Oakville


I love sandwiches (sammies!)! Two slices of really great bread surrounding fresh vegetables and meat can really go a long way. Grilled, toasted, fried or fresh...from Fusaro's Italian sandwiches to Black Hoof's raw horse meat sandwich, wonderful variations can be found all over the place.

Located in a plaza in Oakville, I will admit that I was skeptical about Sweet Smoke. A great barbecue joint beside a Mr. Sub and Funky Thai 2 Go? In Oakville? Hmm.


Brightly lit and very clean, the interior looked newly renovated and ready for some hungry paddlers. We grabbed a table and were promptly given menus, which we scoured for the meatiest, tastiest sounding dishes. Paddling 20km during a 3 hour torrential downpour makes you hungry.

Sweet Smoke is both family-friendly and a good hang out, and the owner and the waitresses provided great service. After dinner, the owner was quite chatty and talked about how he slow cooked his pork and what he thought of his competition. It was a very relaxed atmosphere for a casual Saturday night dinner. They also serve homemade iced tea - sweetened, brewed tea which I found better than the bottled variety.




Grilled Portobello Mushroom Melt
Arugula, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Grilled Red Onions, Gruyère Cheese, Guajillo Aioli on Toasted Rosemary Focaccia
A generous helping of portobello paired extremely well with the gruyère. This is the same cheese that Biff's used for their crepes, and I must say that I am a fan! Although I'm not usually a fan of cheesy sandwiches, gruyère pairs very well with meat and vegetables, this sandwich being no exception. I especially enjoyed the toasted focaccia bread. Warm, "meaty" with mushrooms, and toasty - this was my second favourite sandwich!

Southwestern Club
Hickory Smoked Turkey, Crispy Pancetta, Tomato, Greens, Avocado and Chipotle Mayonnaise on Ciabatta
We were surprised to receive this sandwich, because we only inquired about it but didn't actually order it (whoops). It didn't matter - we were so hungry that it was a welcome appearance so there was no need to complain or send it back. The smoked turkey was nice and juicy, the ciabatta was was buttered and grilled. I would have liked a bit more pancetta for additional flavour. Decent sandwich, but the mushroom melt definitely eclipsed this sandwich. Even though it was my least favourite sandwich of the night, it was still tasty!

El Cubano 
Pulled Pork, Shaved Smoked Turkey, Manchego Cheese and Quick Pickles on Sesame Seed Bun
Y-U-M! This was the best sandwich of the night. Smokey turkey, tender pulled pork, tangy sauce, and pickles was a great combination. Although it would probably be considered "nontraditional" for a pulled pork sandwich, I would have preferred it with the rosemary focaccia bread from the portobello mushroom melt and melted cheese. I liked the quick pickles quite a bit, I wouldn't mind ordering a side of them the next time I go in. The toasted sesame seed bun was soft & good, but wish it was a little more toasted - but the combination of the pulled pork and the turkey was heavenly so no complaints! Sammy win!

Flat Iron Steak Burrito 
Drunken Beans, Queso Fresco, Ancho Chile Salsa and Cilantro
Unable to find a great steak burrito in Toronto (tried Burrito Boyz, Burro Burrito, Big Fat Burrito and Burrito Loco) I felt like I was taking a chance ordering this. It came tender, juicy, and oh-so-delicious with melted cheese and great salsa. It was a good simple burrito, the meat was very well cooked - I wish it was jammed a bit more with veggies but considering that I wasn't at a burrito joint I can't expect to get a fat burrito. I wish there was a fast food burrito as tender as this...

Mixed Barbecue Sampler
Hickory Smoked BBQ Ribs, Slow Smoked Pulled Pork, Cowboy Beans, and Jicama slaw
I came for the pulled pork, but when I spotted an item that gave you pulled pork and ribs, I was sold! The pulled pork was great - tender, juicy, smokey, and full of flavour. Everything I look for in pulled pork. While some might be turned off by the orange-coloured sauce, I happened to love the citrus flavour. If I could tweak one little thing, it would be the hickory flavour - more please!
The ribs however, were a little on the dry side but they still had a nice smokey flavour that I enjoyed. They weren't too dry, but I've had better.
The beans were tasty and saucy but the slaw was just slaw - I later learned that many people top their sandwiches with the slaw. I would've tried it if it occurred to me!


Cake and Shake!
Blackout Cake with Dark Chocolate Pudding, and Vanilla Bean Milkshake
The chocolate fiend in me was definitely satisfied with this rich, moist cake. Creamy chocolate mousse layers nestled between dense cake was a great way to end the meal. If you like frothy and richly-flavoured milk shakes, you will love this. Mmm...

If you're looking for a savoury sandwich, Oakville's Sweet Smoke Barbecue & Grill is worth a visit! Friendly service (although we did accidentally get a sandwich that we didn't order), warm meaty sandwiches, and a bright interior made this a great place to grab a bite. Their desserts look quite tasty, so if you are in the area and feel your sweet tooth itching you can get your fix here with tarts, cheese cakes, and cookies.
Yummy dessert selection in the display case. There were also jars of cookies above!


Overall, I had a great experience at Sweet Smoke's Barbecue and Grill. If you're passing through the area, swing by and grab a sandwich (they do take out)! Their pulled pork is juicy, tender, and sweetly flavourful. Better than Lou Dawg's and Reggie's in my humble opinion. Black Camel does not smoke their version, which I feel is key to a great pulled pork sandwich...however it all boils down to personal preference. While a little pricey for a sandwich that doesn't come with sides, the pork is so good that I would definitely order it again. I have yet to try Beer Bistro's Berkshire pulled pork sammy...so stay tuned, Sweet Smoke may be dethroned!


Sweet Smoke Barbecue and Grill
Verdict: Go! Best pulled pork that I've tried...so far ;)
Meal: Dinner

Price: ~$
10 per sandwich. Doesn't come with sides!
Location: 3420 Rebecca St, Oakville



Sweet Smoke on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

Bearsie said...

Personally, I find the pulled pork sandwich at Sweet Smoke far too citrussy in flavour (orange based sauce.) My personal favourite in the Burlington/Oakville area is Pete's Hillbilly Heaven (not the location on Brant Street but the original.) This is small takeout place with only about 12 seats but the pulled pork is fantastic. Moist with great bark and several sauces to meet any taste. Give it a shot... I'm sure that you will like it.

Erin said...

Yum...sounds good! Maybe I'll check it out the next time I'm in the area :)
The citrussy taste is exactly why I like their pulled pork

duckdown said...

duckdown here, just want to add that the 'citrusy' flavor is also what I love about the place and what makes it so unique from everything else in the GTA. Big fan of the way it works together -- and I love that cuban sandwich too. I really think I need to suddenly make a trip to Oakville now ;)

cheers

duckdown said...

BTW I've also tried hillbilly heaven on just one occasion -- I actually went there to buy exotic hot sauces since its a half hot sauce retail shop and half southern BBQ, and it too was quite good. It's extremely far away from me so I don't know if I'll be back any time soon, but I did thoroughly enjoy it

Erin said...

hehehe...enjoy that El Cubano! I think I am going to ask for more pickles next time. BBQ is so subjective, the only way to find the best is to try them all :D

duckdown said...

BTW I've also tried hillbilly heaven on just one occasion -- I actually went there to buy exotic hot sauces since its a half hot sauce retail shop and half southern BBQ, and it too was quite good. It's extremely far away from me so I don't know if I'll be back any time soon, but I did thoroughly enjoy it

duckdown said...

duckdown here, just want to add that the 'citrusy' flavor is also what I love about the place and what makes it so unique from everything else in the GTA. Big fan of the way it works together -- and I love that cuban sandwich too. I really think I need to suddenly make a trip to Oakville now ;)

cheers

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