Tuesday, 24 February 2009


It's nothing fancy from the outside, but there was something really appealing about the BBQ joint as I drove by, that prompted us to stop. Cornwall BBQ sounded tasty, and I was in the mood for some slow and low smokey goodness.

And as soon as we walked in the door, I knew it wasn't low and slow BBQ. No, it was what I will call Rotisserie BBQ, but I will get back to that.

The inside of the restaurant had a warm glow, like red heat lamps, that gave the main dining room a blurry feel. The crowd was mostly seniors, and the decor was certainly matching their tastes. Doily style table clothes and country styled wall paper gave the room, what I would describe as an American country diner feel.

The staff were very friendly and very attentive. As were our fellow diners, who chatted with us once and a while. There was lots to choose from on the menu, and lots of interesting combos. There was a wing and rib combo, so I was all over that, as well as a 1/4 chicken dinner.

Also, if you ordered before 8pm, a meal also came with soup, drink and dessert. Wowzers, what a great deal!

The soup was chicken noodle and was clearly homemade, just like your mom used to make! Big chunks of chicken, noodles - it was a nice warm broth for a winter evening.

Above is the 1/4 chicken dinner. 1/4 chicken. But do you see how freakin huge it is??? I looks like a 1/2 chicken. Unbelievable. It also came with coleslaw (fresh, but nothing special. Mayo based), fries, a slice of bread and BBQ sauce. And this brings me to the BBQ part.

I'm very confused by this BBQ treatment I've discovered mainly in Eastern Ontario. Actually, just Rotisserie chicken joints - Swiss Chalet, Scores, St Huberts etc. First, I never consider rotisserie chicken BBQ. It is, I guess, technically, but I don't know, I guess I just put it in another category. The part that actually bothers me (and you knew something had to bother me) was the inclusion of "BBQ sauce" with rotisserie chicken, when it is not BBQ sauce at all. Its gravy. Its meat drippings with some seasonings and served with the bird. Swiss Chalet is famous for it. And I don't care for 'bbq' gravy, because I don't really care for chicken gravy. But don't call it BBQ sauce, because I will expect a tomato based product that is smokey and sweet. Not gravy.

That being said, Cornwall BBQ's 'gravy' would be bonus for people who like that kind of thing. It was homemade and fresh and I'm pretty sure had little strands of chicken in it. Again, its not my taste, but those who do like rotisserie 'gravy' I'm sure would like this.

My giant platter came out, with a 1/2 rack of ribs, fries, bread, coleslaw, 'gravy' and wings. We've covered the coleslaw and the gravy. The fries were crispy, but plain, possibly frozen. The bread was decent, fresh, good for sopping up the ACTUAL BBQ SAUCE that was on the ribs.

The sauce was also homemade, and interesting. I couldn't identify the main players in the ingredients, and the flavour changed as you were eating it. It was sweet, it was sour, at one point it had an Asian quality - interesting. I liked it and I didn't like it.

The ribs themselves were very generous, both in quantity (biggest 1/2 rack I've ever had) and in meatiness. The meat pulled from the bone with no effort. Tender, for sure. It wasn't traditional ribs, but they were succulent. But I was mostly interested in the wings.

12 wings were piled high on my plate, fighting for coverage against the ribs, fries, coleslaw etc etc. 12 look like a lot, but on closer inspection, they were small wings.

They were deep fried, and very crunchy. To perfection. Any longer and they would have been over done, but the cooks did well. While they were small, the wings were meaty, making up for their diminutive state.

There was no sauce on them when they came out. My spidey senses tingled when the menu didn't list any options, but that's ok, because some places don't. But the waitress didn't say anything either. But I just assumed it was simply hot. Nope, simply nothing. Wellllll, I guess that's what the 'gravy' was for. But that's ok, the wings were tasty on their own, slightly salty. Good. But after all the other food, I ended up boxing a bunch of these guys and sauced them at home.

My meal also came with desert, a maple cake. Mmmmm maple goodness. It wasn't a big piece, but it was the perfect ending to the dinner.

FINAL SCORE: What can I say, Cornwall BBQ is generous. Huge portions of chicken, ribs and sides. If your looking for a big meal with friendly service, this is your place. The wings are plain, but I would stick to the rotisserie chicken. Big, crispy, juicy, meaty.

It may not have been low and slow, but it was a darn good meal. 5/10

Cornwall BBQ Restaurant
436 Second St. West, Cornwall


Teena in Toronto said...

Wow! That looks like quite a feast!

Chris said...

Holy smokes that was a lot of food....hungry much? :)

Very in depth review. My favorite part was the "I liked it I didn't like it" remark, funny!

I've been fire roasting my past few birds but I am thinking about smoking a bone in turkey breast this weekend. It just sounded good when I was reading about the chicken.

Lord of the Wing said...

It was quite a feast - but it was two of us eating! But very generous portions

Chris - I can't wait to read about your smoked turkey!

Arusa said...

Wow, that chicken is huge. I love rotisserie chicken cooked under wood fire. It just brings out all the juiciness which normal fried chicken fails to accomplish. The gravy looks viscous and deliciously saucy. Would love to have dipped those wings in it and eat it all.

Lord of the Wings said...

You're right Arusa, wood fire cooked anything is just plain good.

Jade Graham said...

I just forked up greens. It takes real talent to make something that simple taste so delicious. Food Truck Wedding Los Angeles