Soul Azteka Hosting New Southern BBQ Pop-ups as “Diablito”

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This is a town of many meat lovers. For god sakes, The St John’s Farmers Market, our purveyor of collective prime veg, has a “Pork Wars” fundraiser every year. And yet, we have no dedicated burger joint anymore and no BBQ. 

Is it the weather? Do you need picnic tables for baskets of brisket? No! And here to prove it is Diablito, a pop-up that has spun off from the Mexican restaurant that also began as a pop-up. 

Cinthia and Michael Wozney are using their colourful, casual, family-friendly, hole-in-the-wall for a new venture, a semi-regular BBQ pop-up. Soul Azteca has been proving they know how to make their meat for a over a year now. Their al pastor, carnitas, and birria has made its way, via their Friday family meal deal and their Toonie Taco Tuesdays, onto palates both versed and virgin to meats beyond moose and steak. 

Now, roughly twice a month through the winter on Saturdays, from noon to 6, or until the meat sells out, there will be chicken, brisket, pulled pork and more. They have committed to December 9th and 23rd for the next two dates. Whatever the cut of whichever beast, Wozney will be “cooking with fire,” as he works out new recipes for smoking and sauces. 

He knows there is some cross-over between their customers who love Soul Azteca’s Mexican food and those who know and love traditional Southern BBQ. While he is excited to fill that niche and feed those specific cravings, he also wants to “play around with [the]typical Southern styles til we create our own,” and eventually “make a Northern BBQ.” 

This slow migration northward begins with his love of pollo asada, a butterflied chicken cooked over charcoal that he eats “four or five times” on each visit to Mexico. Meat and fire recognize no borders. But sauces do. For the first incarnation (haha) on November 18th, Wozney made a Memphis style house chipotle “sweet heat sauce,” a mayo based Alabama White Sauce, and Carolina Gold with mustard, cider vinegar, and hot sauce. 

Along with three meats and three sauces, there will be dill pickles, raw onion, and three sides to choose from. Things like Mac n cheese, Coleslaw, and savoury BBQ beans. Everything will be “family style,” meaning “very large portions,” which is also something of a southern tradition. 

You buy a pound of any of the meats and chose your sides, each portioned to serve two to three people. Wozney is considering adding a smaller sandwich option. (Please god, are you there? Make sandwiches always an option.) 

After re-jigging their regular hours this fall to leave Saturdays open for events, catering, the St John’s Farmers’ Market, or pop-ups like Diablito, there is no reason to stop dreaming at sandwiches. Wozney hinted that Cinthia is pushing for a Mexican style burger and hotdog night with the full range of traditional street cart toppings (think “wrapped in ham and cheese and then grilled”).

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Emily Deming

Emily Deming is involved in a love affair with St John's so deep it extends to attending plays, poetry readings, and dance festivals.

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