Right here in Montreal is a bar that is slinging out some authentic Southern smokehouse BBQ. 'Diablos BBQ,' located on St. Denis just below Ontario, is this slice of Americana which is infusing traditional American BBQ techniques to local flavours, with delicious results. If you're a fan of BBQ, Diablos will become your new drinking spot.
Before I even get to Diablos' menu, the bar's atmosphere bears mentioning. Much like its cooking style, Diablos is a relaxed and unpretentious environment that infuses a variety of vibes and styles. All of the staff seemed incredibly friendly and both old and young, rock and hip hop, eaters and drinkers are welcome. A bar before a restaurant (as is attested to by Diablos' six page and incredibly enticing drink menu), Diablos employs a saloon-style ambiance which is unique and comfortable.
All of Diablos' meats are home-smoked and made from scratch in the Southern tradition. This involves a fairly long smoking process (which varies depending on the meat) that is worth the effort. Nearly everything that graces the Diablos menu is crafted on-site, so everything from appetizers to main courses will have a fresh taste and original flair. One such example is Diablos' deep fried 'Six Deadly Sin Burger.' Ranked fourth in Montreal's Burger Week, this behemoth of a burger is a testament to Diablos' American theme and American portions. I didn't get to try it, but damn, does it look good.
An array of appetizers are available on the Diablos menu (great for eating while drinking) and I got to sample the pulled pork slider, chicken wing, jalapeno popper, and deep fried chicken wing. A southern take on the traditional mini-burger, the pulled pork slider was moist and tender. The texture and BBQ sauce went very well with the cornbread buns. Unlike many chicken wings found at bars, the Diablos wing is not over coated with batter or sauce. While I wasn't the biggest fan of the dry rub seasoning used, I really appreciated the cooking method of the chicken wing. The deep fried alternative had a crisp batter and still avoided the typical bar-wing issue of too much coating. Both are solid choices for wing lovers, depending on your preferences. Diablos definitely knows how to deep fry, because the jalapeno popper was intense but delicious. This popper isn't frozen fare, as you can taste the freshness of the jalapeno and the creamy cheese filling. For those who like heat, the Diablos jalapeno popper is a great choice.
Before moving on to main course meats, I was graced with a bowl of poutine, done Diablos-style. Using a combination of sweet and white potatoes, as well as a gravy infused with smoked meat drippings, this is not your standard poutine. The southern influence works great with this classic dish, as the light smokey flavor and sweet potatoes added a great dimension to the traditional poutine flavours. Diablos can do Montreal cuisine too, as their poutine was everything a poutine should be: delicious, filling, and more than a little decadent.
Diablos talks a big game when it comes to their barbecued meats, and they deliver. I tasted a melange of meats including the pork ribs, beef ribs, and brisket, all accompanied by collard greens and mashed potatoes. The two sides were great additions to the plate, the mashed potatoes were standard fair but still fluffy and tasty, while the collard greens tasted fresh and crisp. Diablos is one of the few venues in Montreal to serve beef ribs, and this was my first try. Its kind of like having a huge steak on a bone. The beef ribs were good, but I'm a pork rib kind of guy, and I was thoroughly impressed with the Diablos pork ribs. Too many rib joints have 'fall off the bone' ribs which essentially break down as you touch them. Diablos' pork ribs have just the right amount of tough/tenderness to stick to the rib itself, while still tear-able by teeth to be chewed into meaty goodness. An awesome choice for those who love ribs as much as I do. Those looking for a unique spin on Montreal meats, try the brisket, which is a southern take on the smoked meat sandwich. The taste is very comparable, as the brisket has that peppery and pastrami-esque flavour, but is unique in itself with a smoky-sweet taste. Diablos definitely does meats very well, and while I enjoyed the pork ribs most, I'm sure any meat lover will be pleased by any choice.
Branching out from the lunch and dinner scene, Diablos also does brunch, in a Southern style of course. Classic southern dishes are available, such as chicken and waffles topped with bourbon maple syrup, as are cool spins on traditional brunch dishes, like the crab hash on a cornmeal galette topped with two poached eggs titled the 'Crab Benny.' Only available on weekends, Diablos' brunch looks delicious. and I'm sure will aid in hangover recovery.
For those looking for Southern BBQ closer to home, Diablos will go as far as vacuum sealing meats to cook yourself. If that's looking to be too much effort, check out Diablos' booth at the Bouffons Food Truck Festival for some Southern style meats on the go. However you do it, be sure to try Diablos BBQ Smokehouse for Southern BBQ done right.