I have discovered the best smoked meat in Toronto and maybe anywhere. And I think the vast majority of you don’t know anything about it yet. It's Goldin's Smoked Meat.
A couple of months ago, I saw a post on Chowhound claiming to be posted by the friend of a guy who is making and selling 'real-deal', Montreal smoked meat in Toronto. I was lucky enough to see the post before it was removed.
The post noted that people who want to buy should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, which I did.
I don't claim to be a deli expert like David Sax, Embee, Montrealer70 or some of the others on this board, but I have eaten a lot of smoked meat in my time. I've been to Schwartz's (too many times to count), the Main, Reuben’s, Ben's, Smoked Meat Pete's, Snowdon Deli, Caplansky's, Centre Street Deli, Coleman's, Pancer’s, Yitz's, Shopsy's, Pickle Barrel, Marky's, Carnegie, the Stage, etc. etc.
I lived and went to school in Montreal between 1990 and 1995, and I consumed a lot of smoked meat during that period. Also, I've been going to delis in TO since I was weaned.
I have to say that the smoked meat I had last night was some of the best I've ever had.
I emailed the guy for a 1.5 pound piece of smoked meat. It came vac-packed in heavy duty plastic. On the side was written, "1.5 lb, Medium", exactly as ordered. I noticed that the piece I got was the deckle. In the bag, the meat was covered with whole and crushed spices, similar to how the briskets look in the south window at Schwartz's.
It came with a sheet of paper with a description and instructions. The instructions were to boil the bag for 3 hours, drain the bag (be careful not to burn yourself!!), then slice thinly against the grain. The flip side of the instructions noted that the meat is marinated for two weeks in spices then smoked over hardwood. It is available in various sizes and in degrees of fattiness (lean, medium, or fatty). It also notes that organic briskets are available.
When we finished boiling the bag, we cut a small hole in the bag and drained a cup or two of liquid that was not in the bag prior to boiling. When the meat fell out onto the cutting board, I knew immediately that it was something special. The smell was unbelievable. Spices were falling off onto the board with some juice, but the meat still had a thick layer of spices. I'm sure there were peppercorns, fennel seed, garlic, salt, but I'm not sure what else.
When I started slicing I couldn't believe how tender the meat was. It was beautifully marbled and the fat was meltingly soft. In some areas, the meat was breaking apart into tender, red shards of juicy smoked meat.
We piled it high on rye bread and put on some spicy mustard. I took a bite and immediately said, "Oh my god - this is it". I felt like I was sitting at the counter at Schwartz's. My wife started laughing because I must have said, "oh my god" about 50 times before I finished the sandwich.
This was either as good as, or better than Schwartz's. It is salty (maybe a tiny bit too salty), spicy, tender, meltingly fatty, perfectly cooked, and all around delicious.
It is not "Toronto's Own" smoked meat, like Caplansky's, it is real honest to goodness Montreal smoked meat that is perhaps better than even Schwartz's.
I have to say that his product won't be for everyone. Although it's very easy to prepare and requires only boiling in the bag, it does take three hours.
Again, you can reach him at email@example.com.