Ontario's election campaign was looking more like a Wild West showdown on Thursday, as the leaders got into a dust-up over who serves the best barbecue.

It all started with a survey by Ipsos Reid that suggested voters would most like to invite NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to a backyard barbecue.

Them's fightin' words, at least to Tim Hudak, who said he has mad skills on the grill and he's not afraid to take on any pretenders.

"I am laying down the gauntlet, I am throwing down the gloves, I'm saying I'm going to challenge Andrea Horwath and [Liberal Leader] Dalton McGuinty to a barbecue contest," the Tory leader said during an interview on TSN Radio.

"Once they taste my ribs, once they taste my pulled pork, I think I can turn them around."

While Hudak was getting fired up, McGuinty responded by inviting the other leaders to his house.

"I love burgers," he said. "Everybody's welcome to my place for burgers and beer."

Horwath said she was thrilled to hear she was top choice in the survey, "as long as they're not barbecuing me!"

Hudak and Horwath then took to Twitter, sounding more like gunslingers than politicians as they discussed their impending cook-off.

"Look forward 2 a BBQ challenge with @timhudak and @Dalton-McGuinty. How about in TBay tomo after the leaders' debate?" Horwath tweeted, referring to a northern issues debate set for Friday.

"Sounds like we're on for High Noon tomorrow —showdown in Thunder Bay," Hudak tweeted back, adding the cheeky hashtag "#willdaltonshow?"

Hudak and Horwath have both agreed to the northern debate, but McGuinty has said he won't be showing his face in those parts, not on Friday anyway.

The online poll surveyed more than 8,000 Ontario residents between Sept. 16 and 20, and found 37 per cent of respondents picked Horwath, 32 per cent chose Hudak and 31 per cent preferred McGuinty.

It has a margin of error of 1.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.