Rave-Worthy Ribs Reside in Nashville

Martin’s Bar-B-Q smokes some of the best ribs in America

Run — don’t walk — to these ribs.

Before we began to compile our second ranking of America’s 35 Best Ribs, we spoke with Ardie Davis, Kansas City Barbeque Society member; author; barbecue competition judge; and founder of the American Royal International BBQ Sauce, Rub & Baste contest, who told us that “regardless of breed, expense, and cooking method, perfect ribs look delicious, are easy to chew — and to you, they’re delicious. The meat easily tugs off the bone… but is not overcooked to a mushy consistency.” He described the ideal taste as possessing a “kiss of smoke,” while being simultaneously “not bitter; lightly seasoned with complementary seasonings if any… No hint of Freon, lighter fluid, fish, or other flavors that don’t belong in ribs. Perfect ribs resonate deep down in your primal DNA.”

While we know that barbecue styles vary region by region (we hear you grumbling about Kansas City, Texans), we feel confident that these criteria are universally applicable when determining great ribs.

Martin’s has been featured on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, and The Today Show, as well as in print outlets Bon Appétit, Esquire, Condé Nast Traveler, and Men’s Journal, so we think it’s high time we gave them a little love, too.

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The cooking process begins at 5 a.m. every day for Pat Martin and his team because, as their website states, “Whole hog, live-fire bar-b-que is our roots. It’s the essence of who we are.” They offer both Memphis-style dry rubbed racks and “wet” ribs slathered in Southern Belle sauce. We say go for the dry, and if you like a little kick, sprinkle on just a drop or two of their “Devil’s Nectar” sauce — it’s made with habanero chiles and is sure to pep up your rib experience, though these succulent specimens are fantastic all on their lonesome.