America's Best Ribs Slideshow
The Unvegan's Zack Colman struggled for years to find an acceptable barbecue joint in Los Angeles and was ecstatic when he happened upon Baby Blues: “The food came out and looked perfect. No silly garnishings or other wasted vegetables... Everything tasted as good as I had hoped. The ribs came right off the bone, while the chicken and brisket both had that tasty smoky flavor you hope for. We tried out all three of their barbecue sauces and I liked them all.”
Baby Blues BBQ
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay said that the beef ribs at The Salt Lick were the best he’s ever eaten. USA Today describes how second-generation owner Scott Roberts creates delicious ribs by bucking barbecue tradition: “He sears his meats over open flames in circular stone pits that recreate wagon train cooking, which he insists seals in the juices, then finishes them with the more typical slow cooking associated with championship barbecue. In another unorthodox turn, he stops the cooking altogether when the meats are about three-quarters done, rests them for a day or two in fridges, then finishes them, adhering to the theory that barbecue, like leftover pasta or chili, tastes better the next day.”
Originally opened in 1932 in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood as a Prohibition-era tavern, Twin Anchors was frequented by Frank Sinatra. The ribs are slow-cooked for five hours, wrapped in plastic, and served to tender perfection. If you find yourself there on a weekend with a wait more than an hour, though, make sure to heed the establishment’s golden rule: No dancing.
In a city known for its barbecue, Corky’s reigns supreme. Its web site describes the painstakingly delicious process that its ribs go through to reach the eater: "Born of a unique combination of place, history, and just plain knowing what great ribs and barbecue are supposed to taste like, Corky’s unrivaled ribs and authentic, hand-pulled barbecue are meaty, succulent, and falling-off-the-bone-tender. Corky’s barbecue is made with old-fashioned Southern tradition — slow-cooked in pits with hickory chips and charcoal, hand-pulled to select only the best, and basted in our special blend of Corky’s sauces.”
While Pappy’s has received extensive acclaim for having outstanding ribs, it just may be outdone by its former barbecue master Skip Steele, who opened Bogart’s earlier this year. Bogart’s uses a torch to caramelize the sauce on top of its ribs. Make sure not to completely fill up on the ribs, though, as the sides at Bogart’s are fabulous. Feast Magazine writes, “Dill-laced deviled egg potato salad; thick, sugary baked beans; and barbecued pork skins round out your plate at this slice of carnivore heaven.”
Off the Bone, a small barbecue shack located just outside of Dallas, is the type of place that you are certain is going to be exquisite before even setting foot through the front door. Named the best barbecue in Dallas by D Magazine, the restaurant is aptly named: "Our customers say you don't need no teeth to eat our meat," says meat curator and co-owner Eddie Brown.
Off the Bone
In naming Cooper's amongst the best barbecue in America, Details’ JJ Goode writes, “Cooper’s engages in two practices that some consider antithetical to the state’s trademark style: direct-heat cooking that’s dangerously close to grilling, and saucing. But this cowboy-style barbecue spot breaks the rules proudly, cooking meat about two feet from mesquite coals and then finishing it over low heat... It’s all charred, pepper-flecked, and insanely good.” A special part of Cooper's experience is picking out your own piece of meat off the grill.
Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ
Where are America's best ribs being made? Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City, Kan. We asked Kyle Hopkins, the host of Kyle's Kitchen, for his take on Oklahoma Joe's and he happily obliged: "It's in a gas station and the line on the weekend is always through the restaurant, out the door, and winding around the gas pumps. (The one at 47th Street and Mission is the one in a gas station and the original.) Ribs are perfect KC-style ribs — sweet sauce (called Cowtown) and a spicy one you can add as well (Night of the Living Sauce), and some unreal meat. They are like rib candy. Hold their shape perfectly until you bite into them, then the meat melts in your mouth."