America's Best Ribs for 2011

There are few meals more primal and delicious than a rack of ribs, but who makes the country's best?

America's Best Ribs

Ribs turn your typical Tuesday meal into a special occasion. When they're done right and accompanied by great sides (and an alcoholic beverage or two), they can lead to the best kind of food coma: one where you end the meal lying on the couch, finding the optimal position on your side to make having overeaten that meaty goodness comfortable.

Click here for America's Best Ribs Slideshow.

The best way to prepare ribs is up for debate. They can be cooked in an oven or barbecued on a smoker or grill, via wood or charcoal. And every storied restaurant across the country has its own trade secrets involving seasoning, set-up, temperatures, and sauces. So coming up with a list of the best ribs in America is no easy task.

Regardless of the methodology used to prepare ribs, they're always messy enough to require a stack of napkins or a roll of paper towels. And when ribs are truly at their best, the meat falls right off the bone. So who makes the best ribs in America?

Cities like Kansas City, Memphis, and Austin point to barbecue as a tenet of civic pride — and they should, because meticulously preparing carnal delicacies is important work. Certainly, you'll recognize some big names — no list of America's best ribs could, after all, go without mentioning The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas, or Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City, Kan. But what about Bogart's in St. Louis?


The restaurants on this list differentiate themselves through overall meat quality, tasty sauces, and the manner in which the ribs are prepared. Some have historical legacies, while others are just getting started. All of them will leave you full and fulfilled.