We came. We ate. We conquered. With a bloated sense of self-worth – and bloated bellies to boot – we left the Danforth BIA‘s annual Thrill of the Grill last Saturday, still licking our lips and savouring the small strips of leftover meat stuck in our canines. The event – which supports ever so worthy kidney cancer research at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook – was a pantheon of the pig, and the pig in all of us.

Five restaurants (well, four restaurants and one meat shop) and two medical sponsors squared off in a meat melee of epic proportions, hosted by Tommy Smythe of HGTV and judged by celebrity chef Lynn Crawford and a panel of esteemed meat mongers: Kris Reyes and Liem Vu (Global Television), Michelle Henry (Toronto Star), Sarah Parniak (NOW Magazine), Dr. Georg Bjarnason (Odette Cancer Centre), and Pamela Ross (Sunnybrook).

We ate our way through the contenders as though we’d been starved for days, pacing each bite like metronomes and performing analyses akin to the grandest food critics around: “The Combine’s ribs are effin’ dope, yo!” and “Dayum, Allen’s, y’all got game!” and “Go Baxter, it’s yo berfday!” and “Pfft who? Pfizer? Those kids should stick to prescriptions, dawg.” Through this scientific methodology, we decided The Combine’s were greatest amidst the purveyors of food, and that Baxter won in the sponsor battle thanks in large part to their Thai-tinged slaw.

Ultimately, the judges agreed, and The Comine Eatery took home top prize in the celebrity judging, while the people spoke up in droves and deemed The Meat Department worthy of their trophy. Amidst the two sponsors, Baxter snatched up a duo of awards, leaving Pfizer to back away defeated. Game. Set. Match…

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The battle’s been won for the best ribs on the Danny, though the war against cancer rages on. Help support the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook here.