The 50 Best Places For Ribs In America
Ribs in America are right up there with the most important food alongside burgers, pizzas, doughnuts and chicken wings. The nation’s long history with barbecue and all its different variations makes this the best country in the world for a proper rib feast. They’re a staple that you will find in every town and city across the US, but we set out to find the best of the best.
From BBQ smokey pork ribs that have been cooked low and slow, to short ribs of beef served in high-end establishments, there is something on this list for everybody. So, grab a couple of friends, work up an appetite and prepare to get your hands dirty, because when it comes to the best ribs in America you’ll want to dig right in…
The 50 Best Places For Ribs In America, How do these rankings work?
1. Cooter Brown’s Rib Shack – Jacksonville, Alabama
This self-described “ugly little shack,” is one of Jacksonville’s foodie highlights. The spare ribs are covered with a dry rub and smoked for hours until these juicy cuts are so tender the meat practically falls off the bone. You can order a quarter, half or full rack either wet or dry with the sauce on the side.
But be warned: Even the half rack is enough for most appetites!
2. Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ – Indian, Alaska
Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ honors the classic pitmasters with their back-to-basics barbecuing skills. Expect all the traditional meats (with the occasional halibut or salmon bbq special), with the ribs are real sticky star of the show.
These St. Louis ribs are just as delicious as anything you’d eat in the south. Dare we say better? Go for half baby back, half St. Louis for the full experience.
3. Joe’s Real BBQ – Gilbert, Arizona
Joe’s Real BBQ obsesses over BBQ, smoking their flavorful meats for hours using only Arizona pecan wood and no gas, electricity or shortcuts. There’s no other way to to get the depth of flavor and tenderness.
Pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone good. Plus, you will be served by warm and genuine people who are proud of where they work.
4. Whole Hog Cafe – Little Rock, Arkansas
Whole Hog Cafe really does go the whole hog with their ribs, which are some of the best ribs in America. They serve up sensational dry-rubbed rib daily, and beef ribs every Tuesday. The meat is meticulously hand-rubbed, cured and slow-smoked.
The potato salad is white rather than yellow and hits the spot every time. The beans can’t be beat and the portions are reliably big. What more could you ask for?
5. Phil’s BBQ – San Diego, California
Phil’s BBQ has been satisfying locals barbecue needs since 1998, with thousands flocking to the store each day for their mesquite grilled baby back and beef ribs. In fact, local cravings for Phil’s mesquite grilled baby back and beef ribs are so strong, folks are willing to wait awhile (upwards of 45 minutes) in line.
Pro tip: order ahead by phone for access to a considerably shorter line for order pick-ups.
6. Bird Dog BBQ – Colorado Springs, Colorado
Bird Dog BBQ’s oak-smoked meats and original, house-made sauces are the best in town. Ask any local where you’ll find the best ribs in America and they’ll point you towards the pork spare ribs here – and then stop to wipe the drool off their faces as they think about them!
Want to test a sample before ordering? No problem. Just ask; but remember there is a line of people waiting patiently behind you!
7. Pig Rig BBQ – Wallingford, Connecticut
Proudly owned by a local Army veteran, Pig Rig is a top place to pig out on barbecue straight from an Ole Hickory Smoker, with irresistible house-made specialty sauces and sides. What’s even more irresistible though, is their ribs.
These signature baby back ribs are dry rubbed and smoked to perfection.
8. Bethany Blues BBQ – Lewes, Delaware
Bethany Blues has become a Delaware beach classic in just a few years, thanks to its delicious variety of barbecue specialties and styles from across the country. Their secret weapon? An authentic wood-fired smoker built in Mesquite, Texas.
The ribs themselves are either St. Louis-style, with a brown sugar rub and hickory smoked, or baby back with house BBQ sauce. Mmm.
9. Pig Floyds Urban Barbakoa -Orlando, Florida
Pig Floyds Urban Barbakoa will change every single perception you ever had of BBQ in the States. It takes a global stance to its barbecue menu, with everything from barbecued banh mi sandwiches to butter chicken tacos, but hey, we’re here for the ribs.
The oakwood smoked rack is the biggest (and the tastiest!) in town.
10. Fat Matt’s Rib Shack – Atlanta, Georgia
One of the oldest barbecue joints in Atlanta, Fat Matt’s has never changed its model based on restaurant trends, instead sticking to traditional counter service and proper cooking.
You’ll still see a line outside as people wait eagerly to get their hands on the grub here. With a tender slab of pork ribs on the menu, it’s too tasty to resist.
11. Roy’s – Honolulu, Hawaii
Roy Yamaguchi’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine blends fresh local ingredients with European sauces and bold Asian spices, always with a focus on seafood, but those ribs are also damn good.
These are no ordinary ribs: you’ll be feasting on slow braised honey mustard grilled beef short ribs. It’s a mouthful to say, but a delicious one to eat.
12. Goodwood Barbecue Company – Meridian, Idaho
For some of the best ribs in America, Goodwood Barbecue Company should be on your list. They serve up proper home cooked BBQ, with a menu centered around the unique style of closed-pit cooking.
There’s not one but three kinds of ribs to choose from here: St. Louis-style spare ribs, Baby Back or West Texas beef ribs. Our advice? Come with friends and order them all.
13. BEAST Craft BBQ Co. – Belleville, Illinois
BEAST Craft BBQ Co. is all about gourmet, specialty meats that are smoked to sheer perfection and come with a great range of homemade sides. It’s best known for the signature pork steak, but we’re here to draw your eyes to the ribs. Premium Duroc pork spare ribs are the best in the state.
P.S. ask for a creamsicle- it’s a fountain mix of Ski soda and Excel Red Cream and is the perfect drink to go with those ribs.
14. King Ribs Bar-B-Q – Indianapolis, Indiana
King Ribs established one of the first drive thru barbecue restaurants in Indiana, and now has two locations in the city. Their sticky ribs are the real deal: a hearty slab is slathered in sauce with just the right amount of char. You’ll be licking your lips before you’ve even driven off with your feast.
15. Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack – Iowa City, Iowa
Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack gets rave reviews for tender, smoky ribs and crispy fries, and it’s all well deserved. You’ll find this local favourite inside a unique red barn, the fun and funky atmosphere is as memorable as the food. Their St. Louis-style pork ribs are slow smoked to perfection.
16. Bite Me BBQ – Wichita, Kansas
In such a classic BBQ state, you know it’s gonna be the home of some of the best ribs in America. Bite Me BBQ is a prime example of the barbecue legends here. This barbecue restaurant is known for some seriously delicious dishes, but the ribs come out on top.
Dig into the smoked prime rib for a tasty bite, or order the rib sandwich with rib meat that’s so tender, they can’t put it back on the bone.
17. Feast BBQ – Louisville, Kentucky
Consistently delivering the perfect ribs takes time, dedication, and the constant pursuit of perfection, but Feast BBQ nail it on a daily basis. Their baby back pork ribs are an incredibly tender and succulent dish with proper char.
When it comes to the must-eat ribs in America, these bad boys will be up there every single time.
18. TJ Ribs – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
TJ Ribs in Baton Rouge is redefining ribs in Louisiana. Their award-winning baby ribs have been delighting locals and visitors for over 30 years.
Their recipe for success? The way in which they marinate, roast, and cool the spare ribs. And, of course, the final touch lies in their special dry rub.
19. Salvage BBQ – Portland, Maine
Rustic chic defines the decor at Salvage BBQ in Portland, Maine. However, their ribs are bursting with authentic flavours that feature hints of both North Carolina and Texas recipes.
From the communal seating straight through to the live music they enchant their guests with, the atmosphere here is almost just as enchanting as the flavoursome ribs themselves.
20. Urban Bar-B-Que – Rockville, Maryland
If you’re after a variety of barbecue flavours, then Urban Bar-B-Que is the place for you. BBQ chicken, beef brisket, and pulled pork are just a few of the hottest items here. But, they also serve some of the best ribs in America, and that’s really what we’re here for.
Perfectly cooked and smothered in the finest of sauces, we dare you to find better ribs in all of Maryland.
21. Redbones Barbecue – Boston, Massachusetts
Dining at this Boston eater feels as if you’ve been transported straight to the South. From beignets to fried pickles, you’ll be tempted to order their whole starter menu before making your way to their tantalising ribs.
Here, you can choose from St. Louis-style ribs or Memphis-style ribs, both offering their own unique yet equally delicious tastes. Go ahead and try them both.
22. The BoneYard Bar-B-Q – Michigan
Serving award-winning barbecue since 1972, the folks at The Bone Yard sure know what they’re doing. With years of experience under their belt, they finely craft, smoke, and smother some of the best ribs in America.
The ribs here are rotisserie-cooked, which probably accounts for the unique flavour. It’s truly something you’ll have to try for yourself, as words fall short of describing just how delicious they are.
23. FireBox Deli – Minneapolis, Minnesota
At FireBox Deli in Minneapolis, expect to find a variety of classic American BBQ fare and equally delicious sides to enjoy. While they’re locally famous for their beef brisket, it’s the ribs that deserve an award for flavour.
Sample their pork ribs to start and then work your way on to their rib tips. You’ll be licking the last bit of flavour off of each bone for sure.
24. Memphis Barbecue Company – Horn Lake, Mississippi
When it comes to the best ribs in this southern state, you’ll want to head to the Memphis Barbecue Company. Each rack of ribs is cooked to perfection, but it’s their signature barbecue sauce that takes things to a different level. It’s delightfully spicy and perfectly balanced with flavour.
Order a few bottles to take home with you. You’re going to want to savour the taste long after you’ve finished your ribs.
25. Q39 – Kansas City, Missouri
At Q39, the focus of their cuisine is a chef-driven barbecue, which means that you’re getting ribs packed with flavour well past just what a pitmaster might be able to deliver.
The spare ribs are artfully selected to feature only the highest-quality of meat. Then, they’re drizzled and smothered in a delectable honey glazed barbecue sauce. It’s as enticing as it sounds.
26. The Notorious P.I.G. – Missoula, Montana
With hands down the best name for a BBQ restaurant in the entire world, The Notorious P.I.G. is just as creative with their BBQ as they are with their name.
Guests here rave about the sauce, touted as the best-tasting sauce in Montana. When doused all over the perfectly-smoked ribs, it makes for easily some of the best BBQ ribs in America.
27. Smoking Jay’s BBQ – Omaha, Nebraska
Fill your belly and warm your heart with some of the finest barbecue ribs in America. At Smoking Jay’s they combine their love of smoking meat with only the finest ingredients to create a near fine dining experience.
The meat practically falls off of the bones as it oozes delectably with flavour and perhaps the most delicious BBQ sauce in the States.
28. BJ’s Barbecue – Sparks, Nevada
AT BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company, their Oribs have won awards seven times at the annual “Best of the West” Rib Cook-off. So, you know that when you order a rack you’re about to devour quality ribs smoked to absolute perfection.
If you’re feeling gutsy, go ahead and order their famous Kick-Ass Fries as a side dish. They pair well with their tasty ribs if you can finish it all in one sitting.
29. Goody Cole’s Smokehouse – Brentwood, New Hampshire
It’s rare that a restaurant anywhere but in the South knows how to create well-balanced meals that pull all of the traditional side dishes together.
From sweet cornbread and tangy coleslaw to the ever-classic BBQ beans, Goody Coles Smokehouse excels at trying all of the favourites together to compliment the outstanding taste of their ribs. Slow smoked and covered in a special sauce, their ribs, however, remain the main event.
30. Fink’s BBQ Smokehouse – Dumont, New Jersey
Fink’s is home to quite an array of scrumptious barbecue treats. It’s their meats that really seal the deal for most guests, as they’re all slow-smoked in a jumbo southern pride smoker until perfectly tender.
The Pitmaster here sure knows how to select only the finest of meats and smoke them until perfectly palatable. These are some of the best ribs in America for sure, and we won’t listen to anybody tell us differently.
31. Rudy’s BBQ – Las Cruces, New Mexico
From pork spare ribs to savoury baby back ribs, Rudy’s is absolutely killing it when it comes to delivering top-notch barbecue to hungry New Mexico residents. Their ribs are just juicy enough so that, with each bite, flavour oozes off of the bone.
You can order a half-pound of ribs, but honestly, you’re going to want to get seconds they’re just that good.
32. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – Harlem, New York
Free live music sets the stage for an unforgettable experience at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York. However, with ribs as delicious as theirs, you’re going to be so distracted by the flavour that you might not even notice the music.
Ribs drip with flavour here, and they’re so well cooked that there’s no way you’ll be able to stop at just one rack.
33. Rib Country BBQ – Murphy, North Carolina
One might argue that North Carolina, as a state, is Rib Country, USA. So, the name of this barbecue joint perfectly fits the style. And, when it comes to ranking the best BBQ ribs in North Carolina, there are so many fantastic world-class places that when we say Rib Country BBQ has the best ribs in America, we mean it.
They’ve perfected the art of carefully balancing heat and cooking time to seal in the special Rib Country taste. Delicious is a serious understatement.
34. Spitfire Bar & Grill – Fargo, North Dakota
Wood-fired, smoked, and fresh, the ribs at Spitfire Bar & Grill are so outstanding that you’ll feel as if you’re tearing into the freshest meat in all of the country. The smoky smell of their ribs wafts into the taste, creating an unforgettable explosion of flavours upon first bite.
The ribs here have long been regarded as the best in North Dakota. It’s high time you head over to check them out for yourself.
35. Montgomery Inn The Boathouse – Cincinnati, Ohio
They serve up lots of BBQ classics and do so in a wonderful setting that will take your breath away when you sit here admiring the view.
The ribs come with a thick, sticky and wonderfully tasty sauce that glazes them to absolute perfection. Easily some of the best ribs in America you will ever eat. But look, don’t just take our word for it… Get down here ASAP.
36. Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch – Davis, Oklahoma
The lines can be an hour or two during peak times at Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch , so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. But that sort of loyalty from customers tells you everything you need to know about the flavours that await you.
You’ll find brisket, sausages, pulled pork and chicken, but trust us and make a play for the ribs. It’s a decision you will never regret.
37. Adam’s Rib Smoke House – Salem, Oregon
Adam’s Rib Smoke House is a multi-award-winning restaurant that is known for their outstanding slow-smoked barbecue meats, homemade side dishes and uncompromising commitment to service. The perfect BBQ combo!
You will feel at home as soon as you walk in the door and quickly be planning your next visit for yet another order of their ribs. An epic feast awaits.
38. Baby Blues BBQ – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
There are some places that you go to eat just for the pure fun and enjoyment of the experience, and this is one such place. Huge slabs of ribs, great tacos and a large selection of always cold beers make it an epic place to dine.
The ribs are juicy, come in huge portion sizes and will leave you licking your fingers with joy.
39. Durk’s Bar•B•Q – Providence, Rhode Island
They first thing that you will notice at Durk’s is the sheer beauty and presentation skills on show with ever platter. The food is nearly too good to disturb by eating. Nearly – we’re greedy AF, okay?
You can have a portion of ribs on their own with gorgeous side orders, or have them as part of a meat tasting platter. Superbly executed food.
40. Wholly Smokin’ Downtown – Florence, South Carolina
Wholly Smokin’ Downtown is the place to come if you really want to let your hair down and have some proper tasty comfort food. With a large range of beers and cocktails, it is also a great place to spend time with a group of friends and order as much meat as possible.
Be warned: the portion size of the ribs is super generous, so you will want to make sure you bring a serious appetite.
41. J.R.’s Roadhouse BBQ PIT – Summerset, South Dakota
This classic barbecue joint first opened in 2013 and has been serving ribs to many thousands of happy customers ever since.
They say that it’s all about the quality of meat, simple ingredients, and a true passion, for what they do. Good food. Cold Brews. Good Service. Nothing fancy. And that’s what makes these some of the best ribs in America.
42. Corky’s Ribs & BBQ – Memphis, Tennessee
Corky’s Ribs & BBQ has four locations in Memphis, which is great news, as it means you are never too far away from a portion of their magnificent ribs.
They serve amazing comfort food in general, including nachos pulled pork and burgers but the ribs are the true star of the show. Beautifully sticky, with a rich charring and meat that falls off the bone.
43. The Pit Room – Houston, Texas
This is a family run business that often features as one of the best BBQ joints in the state that is itself world-famous for this type of cooking.
They offer both beef and pork ribs and that does really pose you a huge problem as both of them are as good as each other. The good news is you can mix and match along with sides to create a world-class BBQ experience.
44. R&R BBQ – Salt Lake City, Utah
R&R BBQ claimed the top spot as Utah’s best competition BBQ team and still proudly hod that title today, so you know you are in safe hands.
The ribs have the juiciest, most succulent meat you could ever imagine, which when combined with their special homemade sauces is just an absolute delight. You only think you’ve eaten good BBQ until you step through the doors here. Then, everything changes.
45. Bluebird Barbecue – Burlington, Vermont
Bluebird Barbecue brings people together over warm flavours of slow-smoked meats, delicious sides made from scratch, and a bustling craft beer bar.
They pay tribute to the backyard barbecue, with a relaxed vibe that gets even better once your food arrives. As soon as you taste those ribs for the first time you will be hooked for life.
46. Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue- Boulevard – Richmond, Virginia
Buz has always sought out the perfect barbecue. Not that par-boiled, mass-produced, liquid-smoke injected kind, either. Nothing but real barbecue will do.
Their ribs are cooked to perfection; it’s all about that sweet perfect sauce that glazes them to perfection. Classic side orders are what take this meal to a whole different level. Superb.
47. Brileys BBQ and Grill – Lake Forest Park, Washington
Brileys are famous for their BBQ platters chicken wings and some of the best pulled pork in the business. What you really want though are the tender ‘n’ juicy ribs with a couple of their wonderful side orders.
You will very rarely eat food this good, and it’s a must-try among the best ribs in America.
48. Dem 2 Brothers And A Grill Bbq – Charleston, West Virginia
Just five years ago they were selling the ribs at the side of the road, but when the lines snaked around the corner it was time to find a permanent home. And thank God they did too, as ribs this good deserve to be served up in serious quantities.
They serve over 200 customers a day and although they have other great dishes – including fabulous pulled pork – the ribs are where you want to focus your attention.
49. Pat’s Rib Place – Waukesha, Wisconsin
Pat’s Rib Place opened their doors in 2009 and believe in good Southern hospitality, which they serve up in spades alongside their ribs on a daily basis.
The meat is super succulent and literally will drop off the bone as you pick them up. You can’t beat it. Best enjoyed with a large portion of their delicious fries.
50. HQ BBQ – Evansville, Wyoming
They recently featured as one of the best BBQ spots in the whole state and their ribs are the pick of a fantastic menu. They also do great beef, chicken wings and have a huge selection of drinks.
But believe us, you’ll want to make sure order those ribs no matter what. The ribs come with a dry rub and are tasty beyond belief.