Thrill of the Grill event on the Danforth

This weekend my friend and I went to the third annual Danforth Experience Thrill of the Grill event. This being my first time attending this event, I had no idea what to expect. The event featured six different restaurants from the Danforth area all grilling barbecue ribs and coleslaw to see who would be voted ‘the best rack’. Celebrity chef Lynn Crawford was among the distinguished guests on the judging panel but the people who attended the event also got to vote.

For the $12 cost of admission people got to visit six different barbecue stations and try six different samples of coleslaw and ribs all prepared slightly different by each restaurant. The restaurants that participated in this year’s competition were 7 Numbers, Allen’s, Combine Eatery, Factory Girl, Globe Bistro and Silk Road.

ribs judging panel

Thrill of the grill judging panel

I had no idea that there could be such variety when it came down to barbecue ribs. Each of the restaurants had a slightly different preparation. The Silk Road featured a sweet and sour barbecue sauce, Factory used an avant-garde marinade with pineapple and bourbon, 7 numbers used a nice dry rub, Global smoked their ribs for several hours before putting them on the grill which gave it a nice smokey flavour, Allen’s had nice meaty ribs that were fall of the bone tender and the Factory used a nice classic, well-rounded barbecue sauce (I even went up to the chef – Jerry Sathasivam and asked him if he sold the barbecue sauce retail – he doesn’t).

So you got to sample six different ribs accompanied with six different coleslaws for $12. But wait! It doesn’t stop there, the $12 also included samples of wine from Gnarly Head Wines, beer from SteamWhistle brewery and ESKA Natural Spring Water bottled. Not bad (the cost of the ribs alone would cost around $15-20 if you were to have the same thing at a restaurant). I’m an obsessive taste tester so this event for me was a total dream. Complete with a raffle draw (prizes included a Sub-Zero and Wolf outdoor gas barbecue grill, Kitchen Aid appliances and restaurant gift certificates), hand washing stations (eating ribs can get messy) and a place for the people to vote, this is definitely an event that I will be going to on an annual basis.

And the best thing yet – all the proceeds went towards kidney cancer research at the Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre.

Who won? Interestingly enough, the celebrity judge panel voted for Factory Girl. I have to admit that the flavour on these ribs was my favourite (and hence, why I approached the chef and asked if they sell their barbecue sauce). The people’s choice award went to Allen’s – probably due to the meaty, fall off the bone quality of their ribs.

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