The Absolute Best Ribs In NYC

Getting your hands sticky with a big platter of ribs is always worth the mess. This summertime staple, coated in dry seasonings or oozing in a pool of barbecue sauce, is intended to be feasted on at full throttle. If you've hosted a cookout in your backyard, you've probably spied guests vulturing around your trusty Weber for a taste of the smoky magic that occurs when pork (or beef, if you're a Texan) hits the grill. 

Barbecue ribs are a go-to order at smokehouses around the country, but some regions, among them Kansas City and the two Carolinas (via Smithsonian Magazine), are particularly celebrated for the craft of low-and-slow cooking. New York City has also carved out an impressive scene for traditional fall-off-the-bone ribs, which might be surprising to purists but not to the incredibly diverse residents of one of the largest cities in America (over 8.46 million, per July 2021 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau).

To find the absolute best ribs in NYC was not easy. Scouring all five boroughs for the pitmasters slinging out meaty excellence was a tough task, but if the city's massive population can teach us anything, it's that tasty ribs can be found all around you. From cozy dives and upscale smokehouses to pop-up joints and trusted butcher shops, these places will have you piling on the napkins and licking your chops clean. 

Hometown Bar-B-Que

Stowed away in the industrial enclave of Red Hook, Hometown Bar-B-Que is more remote compared to the smokehouses dotting the rest of Brooklyn. But if you can make the trip to this little coastal community, you'll be glad you did. Billy Durney polished his chops with the help of Texan barbecue titans to open his own joint in 2013 (via Texas Monthly), and the rustic food hall doesn't disappoint with its top-tier, expertly grilled meats.

Knowing Texas is where the majority of Durney's training took hold (and Illinois, per The Infatuation), the ribs selection is biased toward beef, a signature of the state and one of the heartiest meats on the block. That being the case, pork-lovers have room to indulge here, too. Spare ribs are hawked by the half-pound, cooked the classic way that will immediately demand attention. There's the spice-fueled Korean Pork Ribs garnished with scallions and cashews or the Jamaican Rib Tips whose Caribbean-inspired seasoning will snap your taste buds wide awake (per Hometown Bar-B-Que).

Out of more than 1,500 reviews on Yelp, Hometown Bar-B-Que's four-star average cements its status among carnivores. Yelp reviewer Roxana "Roxie" I. had the Korean ribs and couldn't get over the "sticky glaze" or "meat that just fell right off the bone."

Mighty Quinn's Barbeque

Mighty Quinn's Barbeque has unilaterally set the bar for charred meats citywide, with accolades splattered all over the website from Zagat, Forbes, The New York Times, and many more. Co-founder and pitmaster Hugh Mangum was a working cook by day, according to Huckberry, and sought to sharpen his grilling skills in his spare time. What started as a creative pastime transformed overnight into a full-time operation. 

Locations have sprouted up and down the East Coast and in the Middle East since the restaurant's 2012 debut (via Franchise Times), showing that demand in gluttonous, carnivore-approved eats isn't simply there but insatiable, with nothing slowing this appetite down. While the sleek sit-down space appears polished to the eye, there's nothing glamorous about the hefty slabs of protein coming out this joint. 

The carving board here is full, but the crème de la crème is, without a doubt, the Brontosaurus Rib. This gargantuan hunk of charred flesh is something straight out of the stone age and would make the CGI dinosaurs populating Jurassic Park look tame. Weighing multiple pounds, the mammoth-sized beef rib (three, to be exact) endures a marathon 18 hours in the smoker (via Gold Belly) for a blackened outer layer you have to barely tug at to reveal the juicy meat layer underneath. You can't take your dog here, but you can take the bone home as a treat, as one pet owner on Yelp ended up doing after enjoying the "super tender" meat. 

Izzy's Smokehouse

No pork at a barbecue joint? You won't be seeing spare ribs roiling away at Izzy's Smokehouse, since it only deals in kosher meats. But when you taste what's cooking inside this Brooklyn-based gem, it won't make a lick of difference. Sruli "Izzy" Eidelman's been profiled by Eater and Thrillist for his refreshing approach to the 'cue, replacing pig with hefty beef flanks that are capable of giving the esteemed pitmasters of Texas a run for their money. 

Ribs are one of Izzy's standouts, and taking a glance at the menu shows an entire category is dedicated to beefy, charbroiled bliss. Racks consisting primarily of the cow, such as Dino Ribs and saucy Baby Back Ribs, join unorthodox renditions to the barbecue playbook. Lamb ribs, normally ignored by barbecue purists, achieve caramelized perfection paired with grilled onions, and Thai Sticky Ribs are the culinary crossover you never knew you needed thanks to its salty-sweet glaze. 

These mouthwatering ribs are smoking at two New York locations; one in Crown Heights, and another on the Upper West Side. Neighbors on the Gulf Coast, the Miami New Times reports, can also check out the restaurant that opened in 2021 in the Miami area. 

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

John Stage, a motorcyclist who canvassed the East Coast on his prized hog, craved stability. He retired his vagabond lifestyle to open a restaurant, and that restaurant would give bragging rights to New York's barbecue scene for years to come. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is the culmination of Stage's self-taught expertise, and the unassuming restaurateur now has six locations to his name, including two in the city and the business' flagship in Syracuse. The franchise even has a condiments line. 

Stage walked through the key steps in preparing Dinosaur ribs, and no surprise, they're done the St. Louis way (per Business Insider). Boneless pork, which is rubbed in dry spices and glazed in a rich barbecue sauce at the end, achieves unadulterated succulence that'll knock your taste buds out. Grab your slab by the half-pound or go whole hog with the Sweetheart Deal for 2, an offer that no carnivore could resist. A full rack of ribs, plus four knock-out side dishes, is all yours — and your sweetheart's, if sharing is on the table — for $42. For a price that low, you're getting away with highway robbery, plain and simple. 

Grub that's heavy on the gullet is what Dinosaur does best, and you won't find anything that compares. Savor the smokiest, meatiest ribs money can buy while tuning into a rockin' roster of live music — what could be better than that? 

Royal Rib House NYC

Low and slow goodness has wafted out of Royal Rib House NYC since 1968, but the Brooklyn establishment closed in January 2020 when its building was sold to new owners, and reopening became complicated during the pandemic (via BK Reader). Thankfully the longtime dive got back on its feet, and in March 2022 it hopped over to a new building in the same neighborhood to serve the lip-smacking delights that residents have gobbled up for generations.

The only thing that's changed about Royal Rib House is its location. You'll see that no matter where the meat-slingers dwell, the lines will wrap around the block awaiting favorites like steamy collard greens and corn bread. But any fan of this barbecue staple knows that it's the ribs that'll keep you coming back for more. They're packed with flavor, which one can credit to the meat's leisurely sit-time in the smoker and a signature barbecue sauce that The Infatuation discloses gets its zip from a special ingredient: hot sauce. 

It's difficult to picture that a dive with so much history practically went up in smoke, but luckily for us, that thought can be left to the imagination. Savor this regional specialty Wednesday through Saturday on Malcolm X Boulevard as well as a peach cobbler that's by all accounts a smash hit (via The Infatuation). 

Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall

When in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, check out this cute family-style cafeteria for ribs right out of Oklahoma. Jeff Lutonsky and Meghan Love, the couple behind Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall, whip up barbecued meats and homespun sides in homage to Lutonsky's grandmother, Mable. Down-home cooking that's crafted with care is always a winner, so it's not surprising the establishment's received glowing write-ups from The Village Voice and Time Out New York (per Mabel's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall). 

Settle down on a long oak table to enjoy smoked meats made nice and slow, with accompaniments like potato salad and baked beans for a peak sharing spread. Partake in St. Louis-style pork ribs, either on a platter all to themselves or mixed and matched with other meats from the lineup. The sticky barbecue sauce coating them is a revelation, but unlike close neighbors, the restaurant won't be passing along the recipe on a note card — NYC & Company says it's top-secret, and the owners intend it to stay that way. 

You might spend more on the ribs here than at other joints, as a half rack edges on $30, per the menu. But it's a typical price-point for Brooklyn barbecue, and more importantly captures the essence of true-blue meaty goodness for these amazing ribs. 

Hudson Smokehouse

Many barbecue titans have spent years, even decades, perfecting the craft of fall-off-the-bone ribs, but some joints delivering carnivorous delight will pop out of nowhere. Hudson Smokehouse opened just weeks before the pandemic, but its mighty chopping block of charcoal-grilled meats has already made a splash in the Bronx (per New York Magazine). Not to mention it's also made history as the neighborhood's first-ever meat-smoking facility, which comes with bragging rights that the restaurant proudly, and deservedly, displays on its website.

Beef ribs are a Saturday special, but if the regular ribs on rotation show us anything at all, it's that you'll wanna be back every day of the week. The menu features full and half racks as well as rib tips, which, if you aren't familiar with them, consist of the ends that the chef chops off while carving up a spare rib. These hefty hunks are ideal for smoking since the meat is full of fat (via Chicago Tribune). 

The pork ribs are tender and tear-able, while the brawny, Texas-style beef ribs possess the perfect pull-apart texture due to a 16-hour stint in the smoker (via New York Magazine). And because Hudson Smokehouse doesn't stick to a single regional style, the restaurant finds a lot of success in doing things its own way while honoring the traditions that came before it.

Pig Beach BBQ

The name Pig Beach BBQ evokes a paradise for swine, and in a way it is. Loads of outdoor seating and jumbo TVs make this easy-going sports bar a destination for prime pit action, whether it's pork shoulder, pulled pork, or, of course, ribs. The meats are locally sourced, the grilling is done on site, and the free-wheeling pig mascot wears sunglasses. It's no wonder carnivores head out to Queens or Brooklyn (or West Palm Beach, Florida) when there's a big game on and racks of ribs to be gobbled. 

Make no marks about it — $23 is a lot to fork over for a half rack of ribs. But you have to trust us when we say these baby backs are worth everything in your wallet. The seasoning is no salt-and-pepper affair; pitmasters douse meat in 18 flavor-enhancing spices, followed by a hearty sauce bath that takes place during the smoking (via Insider). Between the sweet, honey-heavy tang and succulent pork, there'll be no slowing down the moment you dig in.

Claiming a four-star average out of more than 700 reviews on Yelp, the Brooklyn site gets outpourings of love for the meat, especially the ribs. "Star of the show," ecstatic reviewer Kadeesha L. said, adding, "Meat literally falls off the bone." 

Juicy Lucy BBQ

Although the name references the gooey, cheese-wadded hamburgers popular in Minneapolis, Juicy Lucy couldn't be farther from the Twin Cities if it tried. This eatery out of Staten Island was crowned a local cooking competition's Rib King of 2021 (via NYC BBQ), a win made possible by Rich Holmes' flair for authentic, slow-smoked magnificence. With a couple of spices and a lot of time, throwing down killer ribs is just doing business. 

Straying between regional styles is fairly common at barbecue spots around America, and Juicy Lucy is definitely no outlier to that phenomenon. The majority of the menu smacks of Central Texas, Holmes tells Pig Island, but the St. Louis Spare Ribs will make purists happy to have branched out. Though slightly honeyed from the sauce, a good char encrusting the top will enhance the flavor and make the meat come alive with every bite you take. 

If you're looking to plow into some Texas-style beef racks, Juicy Lucy serves them only on Saturdays, so make the trek your own weekly tradition for some seriously slammin' ribs. And as far as the Juicy Lucy burger goes? Those are on the menu, too. 

Hill Country Barbecue Market

From among the countless highlights Hill Country Barbecue Market is known for (and there are many), customers have remained smitten by one menu item in particular. "Ribs were the highlight," reviewer G C. said on Yelp, while customer Chelsea C. described them as "standouts in the platter." Owner Marc Glosserman established his first restaurant in Manhattan's Flatiron district, and since then, displaced Texans have found home in its rowdy dwellings. Between the live music and delectable smoked meats, this place recalls the roadhouse saloons of Austin more than the well-dressed eateries lining Midtown. 

Nobody could accuse Hill Country's ribs of being less than authentic. The fact that the smokers are lined with Post Oak (and Texas-grown at that, according to its website) should give skeptics some reassurance, as the wood creates that crisp, blackened crust that defines the regional specialty (per Texas Monthly). You'll also get some bang for your buck because, let's face it, Hill Country doesn't slack on bringing the meats. A rack of spare ribs weighs almost 4 pounds (via Gold Belly), so you might want to devour them with another person or two in order to truly appreciate their rich, mouthwatering taste. 

Butcher Bar

One Tripadvisor user swears up and down that the "best ribs in NYC" can be found in a low-key Greek neighborhood on Queens' west side. And they have a point. Butcher Bar launched as a meat market, according to The Village Voice, and no sooner did it open that its chopped meats took center stage on barbecue platters and hamburger buns alike. 

The must-have menu item is the caramelized beef tips known as Meat Candy, but the ribs are no slouch when it comes to delivering smoke-filled ecstasy. Just looking at these pork ribs will get your teeth gnashing and stomach rumbling. Order these racks of porky goodness dry-coated or sauced to perfection, with side dishes like tangy coleslaw and cornbread to round out the protein on your plate. Seeing as Butcher Bar uses premium meats that smoke for as long as they need to, you might find that dousing extra sauce on top won't be necessary. They're that moist and pliable. Don't be surprised if you bring one of these hefty bones to your lips and find that the meat comes spilling out, a tell-tale sign that the smoker has done its job and done it well. 

Bark Barbecue

Bark Barbecue is a pit stop for truly tasty ribs. It's also one of the lesser-known joints on this list, but you wouldn't suspect it, given that carnivores clean the place out within a matter of hours (per Vice). Ruben Santana taught himself how to smoke grilled meats with perfection, and in the process he fused his Dominican heritage into savory culinary tributes. Chicharrón, which is pork belly fried to a crispy finish, takes up just as much space on the carving board as the sliced brisket and turkey. 

Barbecue sauce can act as a Band-aid for dried-out meat, but at Bark, the sauce enhances the quality that's already there. There's also Santana's touch for seasoning, which he's perfected with a spice blend that fires up the flavor without your mouth going down in flames. An interview with Vice shows the particulars, including cumin, chili powder, and oregano straight from the Dominican Republic (via Vice)

The Infatuation awarded Bark Barbecue a score of 8.7 out of 10, which puts it among the city's top barbecue joints today. Bark can be found at vendor pop-ups like Smorgasburg food market (also where Mighty Quinn's began, via The Infatuation), but a move in November 2022 to Brooklyn's Time Out Market means you no longer have to wait for the dog-days of summer to chow down (per NYC BBQ Weekly).

John Brown BBQ

Snagging Michelin's Bib Gourmand honor five years in a row, John Brown BBQ has certainly proven itself a deserving recipient. The Queens-area joint fires up the grill in the Kansas City barbecue tradition, which means pulled pork and burnt ends — those brittle nuggets of goodness carved off brisket during prep (via PBS) — are king on the menu. 

But for the folks at New York Magazine, the pork spare ribs are what stole the show and likely contributed to the publication's impressive score of 83 out of 100 for the smokehouse. "Tender with just the right amount of chew," raved reviewer Harry X. on Yelp. "Perfectly charred and flavorful," fan Jane K. said on Yelp

When considering the sprawling cityscape that is New York, the barbecue coming out of Brooklyn and Manhattan unsurprisingly tends to hog the spotlight. With that said, it's clear John Brown BBQ gives Queens a competitive edge with its peerless techniques and the tastiness that follows. With ribs available in quarter, half, and full racks, you won't want to miss out on succulent slabs of meat the next time you're in this Long Island City neighborhood.