by Kristina Groeger

As a self proclaimed officianato of smoked meat, I headed over to the Deli Duel at the Wychwood Barns on Sunday July 25th.  The competition was held as a fundraiser for The Stop.  Each person was given a single plastic coin to vote for their favourite meat.  With a skeptical mind I embarked on a meaty mission for a good cause.

Why Skeptical?  I am one of the diehard people who cannot visit Montreal without eating at Schwartz’s deli.  If I’m there for the day, that is where I will eat.  No questions asked.  The hot, steamy meat comes fresh from a steamer with a pickle the size of the Jolly Green Giant’s big toe.  It’s the type of place that always has a lineup (in -30 degree weather in winter) lineups that I have not seen in Toronto.  You eat and then you leave.  It’s a shrine.  It’s an institution.  My question is, can Caplansky’s, Goldin’s and The Stockyards beef it up for us?  Yes, they certainly can.

When reached for a brief interview Mr. Zane Caplansky stated “We’re going to win, because we are the best”.  Tom Davis of The Stockyards was “happy to be cooking for such a good cause”.

The Stockyards sandwich was surprisingly spicy, rich red in colour and very juicy.  The pickle was sour and delicious.  Goldin’s served up a good slice of half fat meat, which to me was your standard issue for smoked meat.  Finally we reached (the decided winner) Caplansky’s, the busiest booth at the event.  Without a choice of fatty or lean meat, I was handed a lean cut.  Unfortunately to me I do not like lean smoked meat.  My partner Charles ate Zane’s entire pickle without sharing and  I still haven’t forgiven him.

I plunked my plastic golden coin into the Stockyard’s vote box.   A live band played as we had a few Steam Whistle brews on benches admiring The Stop’s lovely vegetable garden.

Kistina Groeger is a professional cook, amateur photographer, part time food writer and full time nerd. Her website address is