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No. 10 - Electric Mud BBQ
No 10

Electric Mud BBQ

Above: Smoked pork ribs are topped with peanuts and scallions – add house-made hot sauce at your peril.

Electric Mudd BBQ
5 Brock Ave., Toronto

It feels like the work of a crazed set dresser from HBO’s True Blood.”

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Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan are obviously insane and more than a little bit evil. But they’re evil geniuses. How else to explain the twisted brilliance of the dudes who hooked Hogtown on Electric Mud’s crack rolls: crunchy, sesame-crusted dinner buns slathered in butter enhanced with barbecue drippings from their smoker. The mayor and I will take another round, please!

Electric Mud’s two-car-garage-size roadhouse – just around the corner from the duo’s Grand Electric taco bar, number seven on this list in 2012 – is a twisted hymn to the American South with its double- potato salad (tender cubes and crisp shoestring chips) and custardy banana cream pie. It feels like the work of a crazed set dresser from HBO’s True Blood: Witness the wall-mounted ostrich, wearing a crucifix necklace and bathed in blood-red light. And it’s a horribly fun world to inhabit for an hour on a Sunday night, sitting at an indoor picnic table and sucking down a Big Boi Root Beer: a plastic pint glass of local Agua Loca lager mixed with a syrup made from, and I quote the barman here directly, “sarsaparilla and twigs and stuff.”

Electric Mud is named for a Muddy Waters blues album, but as a cook throws the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet on the record player and you bite into a slow-cooked pork rib, topped with the unfamiliar combo of scallions and crushed peanuts, it all clicks. Just like the Stones’ “borrowed” rhythm and blues, Tooke and McGrenaghan have written a new tune for southern barbecue. Whoo whoooo!

Electric Mud bartender

Mixing up a cocktail at Electric Mud BBQ.

Electric Mud staff

Colin Tooke (third from right) and his kitchen crew.

Electric Mud Cooks

Electric Mud BBQ’s mad geniuses Colin Tooke, Ben Denham and Ian McGrenagham.


  • Sue Taylor October 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Ian! How exciting to make it in the top ten best new restaurant list in Canada! We were delighted to see you recently at the Grand Electric and have spread the word to family and friends about the awesome food experience there. Now, we can’t wait to visit the Electric Mud. I have no doubt we’ll be boasting about it too!! Congratulations to you and your business partners. Not one bit evil….just brilliant! Sue.

  • Terrence Lo November 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    As both a Yelp Elite and a local Calgary blogger, my fellow foodies and I are honestly scratching our heads at the selection of the Calgary restaurants. Carino Bistro? Market? While admittedly they are good restaurants, they are far from representative of some of the most exciting cuisine in this city. Even based on your Calgary representative, John Gilchrist, the inclusion of Market on 17th over, well, his ENTIRE top 10 restaurant list for new entries is a total head scratcher.

    For example, in the recent Gold Medal Plates competition, Duncan Ly of Yellow Door, Roy Oh of Anju, and Darren MacLean of downtownfood were gold, silver and bronze respectively. Yet, while Roy’s Anju would not count (as Anju opened in 2011, and has since closed recently), both downtownfood and Yellow Door would definately qualified yet weren’t even nominated let alone examined. Both of them have award winning chefs of tremendous passion, and both of them are easily worthy of inclusion in any top list in Canada (downtownfood esp. was #5 in Mr. Gilchrist’s own top lists).

    As such, if anything, at least for Calgary, this makes this list a farce at best as the restaurants chosen for examination was chosen virtually arbitrarily.

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