Chain Restaurant Ribs Ranked From Worst To Best

For many carnivores, there are very few culinary experiences that rival the sheer pleasure of biting into a flawlessly prepared rack of ribs. The combination of tender meat, rich flavors, and smoky deliciousness creates a sensory experience that lingers on the palate and leaves us coming back for more. Whether it's the mouthwatering sweetness of barbecue sauce or the subtle kick of spices, there's no denying the unique and irresistible attraction of an expertly prepared rack of ribs.

Despite their widespread appeal, not all ribs are created equal, especially when it comes to chain restaurants. Every establishment sources its meat from distinct suppliers and follows unique preparation and quality control processes, resulting in variations in both quality and taste. But which chain restaurants truly excel in delivering the juiciest, most flavorful ribs? If you find yourself without a go-to restaurant for satisfying your rib cravings, fear not, as we have done the research for you — subjective, as it may be.

Whether you're a seasoned rib enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates the joy of indulging in well-executed cuts of meat, here's our list of chain restaurant ribs ranked from worst to best.


While the name RibCrib may evoke imagery of mouthwatering ribs and other meaty delights, it's probably best to lower your expectations before trying the offerings from this Oklahoma-based chain with more than 60 locations in eight states. So, what exactly is on the menu? RibCrib serves slow-smoked half racks, big rib dinners with 10 hickory-smoked ribs, and three pork ribs. The dishes can be prepared in two distinct styles — either with the chain's original dry rub or coated in a sweet and sticky sauce.

Despite the promising menu options, according to patrons, RibCrib's execution often falls short of delivering the exceptional rib flavors and succulence one might anticipate. Eddy, who taste-tested the ribs for Wichita By E.B., was unhappy with the meal, saying, "I was extremely disappointed in the ribs. They came off the bone with ease but were very dry. I love it when ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and so good, you want to lick your fingers once you're done. I received the opposite. The look of the ribs alone weren't appetizing at all." A TripAdvisor reviewer agrees, commenting, "The ribs were terrible. First off they were served at room temp if not cold. I had to use a knife to literally cut the ribs to separate them. [...] They were close to rubber."

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

When it comes to ribs, Dickey's Barbecue Pit promises a lot. Calling meat preparation an art form, the Dallas-based chain with more than 500 locations commits to delivering full and half racks of glide-off-the-bone slabs of ribs. Dickey's rib preparation process starts with a dry rub that blends salt, cumin, garlic, sugar, and a selection of undisclosed ingredients — you've got to keep these recipes secret, right?

Following this, the ribs are carefully positioned in the smoker with the bone side down, allowing the smoke to infuse beneath the meat. They are then slow-cooked at temperatures ranging from 270 degrees Fahrenheit to 295 degrees Fahrenheit for about three hours.

Regrettably, Dickey's ribs sometimes fail to live up to their hype, as attested by some of the chain's past patrons. One of the grievances is that the restaurant prepares its ribs dry, serving the sauce only on the side. "This may be desirable for some who are watching their weight, but it results in the meat being bland and dry," one TripAdvisor reviewer says. Another rib connoisseur agrees, saying, "My ribs had so much gristle and cartilage bone in them that there was very little meat and I worked very hard, the flavor was just not there maybe because they do not baste them with BBQ sauce."

Logan's Roadhouse

We don't have a lot of information about the preparation process behind the baby back ribs from Logan's Roadhouse. What we do know is that they are called "fall-off-the-bone ribs" on the restaurant's menu and slow-cooked in-house at each of the Houston-based chain's more than 130 outlets. Although the menu description of the item may initially appear promising, the chain's patrons have expressed mixed reviews about the dish, with some praising the ribs and others criticizing them.

One TripAdvisor reviewer goes as far as saying that Logan's Roadhouse ribs were the best they have ever tasted, adding, "The meat falls off the bone when you pick them up, I was eating the meat with a fork and the barbecue sauce is just perfect." Another rib lover has had mixed experiences with two separate visits to the restaurant, saying, "I had ribs both times and the first time they were wonderful; fall-off-the-bone tender. The second time, not so good; dried out and stringy." And then there are the damning reviews that we would never wish to read about our favorite restaurants, such as this one: "The piece of meat that was supposed to be ribs was impossible to eat. All bone no meat."

Tony Roma's

There's little doubt that Tony Roma's has the utmost faith in its ribs, with its menu referring to them as "world-famous" and "the stuff that legends are made of." Serving a range of rib dishes — including baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, and boneless beef short ribs — the offerings at this chain with more than 100 locations are seasoned with spices, slow-smoked until tender, and served with BBQ sauce.

Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, simply saying something doesn't necessarily make it true. And, when it comes to the quality and flavor of Tony Roma's ribs, it appears to be a roll-of-the-dice kind of situation. On the positive side, one TripAdvisor reviewer applauds the chain's ribs, saying, "You have the best ribs I have ever tried! A friend of mine brought me there for the first time then I kept coming back for more!" On the other hand, some others are not as taken with the dish, with one unhappy patron saying, "Absolutely horrible. The ribs tasted like they were cooked 4 days prior and placed on the microwave 5min before serving. Meat was rough, dry, overcooked and uneatable."

For those wishing to replicate Tony Roma's rib experience at home, the chain's pre-cooked ribs are also available at grocery stores. Slow-cooked, seasoned, and basted in sauce, the ribs come on a convenient grill-ready tray. Plus, they are available in the chain's original flavor or Kansas City style in a sweet hickory sauce.

Sonny's BBQ

One of the most popular items on the Sonny's BBQ menu, its baby back ribs are slow-smoked over oak, fire-grilled, and delivered to the table sizzling hot at an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenieht to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. The chain also offers St. Louis ribs — five spare ribs coated in either sweet and smokey sauce or a house dry rub.

According to patron reviews, Sonny's BBQ ribs can be a little hit or miss. While many meat enthusiasts have praised the dish, describing it as "incredible," "excellent," and "meaty and tasty," there have also been some disappointed reviewers. One TripAdvisor user has expressed their frustration with the dish, saying, "Sadly, the baby-back ribs I ordered arrived exceptionally dry — so dry that the ribs could not be cut easily with a serrated knife and most of the meat was completely caramelized onto the plate. There was little real meat to be seen." Another patron has echoed this sentiment, commenting, "Have been here before and ribs have been good. This visit, was very disappointed in the entire meal. The corn was hard and old ... the ribs were very dry and chewy."

Famous Dave's

Famous Dave's offers two types of ribs: baby back ribs and St. Louis-style spare ribs. The chain's slow-smoked baby back ribs come in two varieties. The original style features a Chicago-style rub and a sweet and zesty sauce, while the Memphis-style ribs showcase Famous Dave's secret blend of secret herbs and spices. The ribs are then glazed with sauce and placed over an open flame, resulting in a mouthwatering caramelized exterior.

Launched by Famous Dave — or rather Dave Anderson — Famous Dave's is a commendable option for rib enthusiasts, particularly when you consider the passion that has gone into the chain's recipes. Anderson's love for ribs was sparked at a tender age when he used to sample spare ribs from street vendors with his father. These ribs were prepared in massive 55-gallon smokers, filled with charcoal and green hickory wood, creating a tantalizing flavor that left a lasting impression on the young boy. As such, it's little wonder that Anderson spent over 25 years searching all over for the perfect barbecue recipe.

Those seeking to replicate the Famous Dave's experience in the comfort of their own backyard can invest in one of the restaurant's BBQ sauces and follow the chain's recipe, which also calls for Italian salad dressing, coarse ground black pepper, brown sugar, and minced dried onion. Famous Dave's BBQ sauces are available in a range of flavors, including the fiery and bold "Hot and Sassy," the tangy "Sweet and Zesty," and the spicy "Devil's Spirit."

Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse offers full and half slabs of slow-cooked ribs that undergo a unique three-day preparation process that involves an in-house seasoning blend and the Kentucky-based chain's special BBQ sauce. The chain even offers a detailed recipe to ensure that its patrons, as well as any other rib enthusiast, can savor a version of its delightful rib experience right at home.

As per the recipe, the Texas Roadhouse rib rub is a combination of sugar, salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, white pepper, and chili powder. The recommended cooking method involves baking the ribs at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about two hours, followed by a resting period of 15 minutes. Finally, the ribs are grilled for four minutes on each side, basted in sauce, and then grilled for an additional minute.

Heather Johnson from The Food Hussy, who taste-tested Texas Roadhouse's ribs, praised the final result. "What you end up with is fork-tender meat that literally falls off the bone! We killed the rack of ribs between the two of us — so good! ... These were great because they were sauced but not drenched. They're served with extra sauce so you can sauce to your delight." However, it's worth noting that not everyone has been equally impressed with the ribs, suggesting that the chain with more than 600 locations may have some quality control issues. One unsatisfied TripAdvisor reviewer writes, "They were not good. The sauce itself was just average and the ribs were very fatty."

LongHorn Steakhouse

LongHorn Steakhouse's baby back ribs are prepared using a meticulous two-step cooking process. First, the ribs are slow-cooked to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Next, they're finished on the grill over an open flame to imbue them with a mouthwatering smoky flavor. Finally, the ribs are coated with the signature BBQ sauce from the restaurant chain, which has more than 500 locations. While the ribs are both tender and flavorful, Tasting Table recommends requesting the sauce on the side since it has a slightly sweet taste profile that may not be appreciated by some patrons.

According to one TripAdvisor user, LongHorn Steakhouse is among their preferred mid-budget steakhouses, primarily due to the ribs. "LongHorn's ribs are always cooked the same. The baby back ribs just falls off from the bone with very soft texture with ample amount of BBQ sauce," they explain. However, Meaghan Cameron, from Eat This, Not That, wasn't as impressed with the meaty offering, saying, "These ribs suffered from a lack of smokiness, and they were a bit lean, but they still had a good chew. They were definitely not dry but needed a bit more fat to reach the pro-level tenderness."

Outback Steakhouse

From its Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie and Sydney 'Shrooms to No Regret 'Ritas and Top Notch 'Tails, Outback Steakhouse offers the quintessential Aussie culinary experience. And there's little doubt that the chain's Outback ribs steal the show in The "Not Steaks" (But Still Aus-some) category. Smoked, coated in a special BBQ sauce, and grilled to perfection, the ribs deliver a tantalizing blend of flavors that's likely to leave you craving for more. While we can't vouch for the accuracy of this information, according to The Food XP, the sauce for the Outback signature item is composed of bacon, white onion, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, mustard, molasses, and seasonings such as cumin and paprika.

Outback Steakhouse's baby back ribs have received generally positive reviews from rib aficionados. Merin Tom, who taste-tested the dish for The Makeup SOS, says, "The beef ribs was smoked and grilled to perfection and the sweetness from the tangy BBQ sauce was absolutely gorgeous. It was super tender and fell apart easily — almost butter like." Meaghan Cameron, from Eat This, Not That, agrees, saying "Smoky and sweet with a good amount of melty fat and chewy meat, these ribs checked all the boxes. The rub penetrated deep into the meat and every bite was as good as the first, straight down to the cleanly picked bone."


Who could possibly forget the Chili's serenade to baby back ribs from 1998 that goes something a little like: "I want my baby-back-baby-back-baby back ..." However, it's not just the catchy jingle that has solidified the reputation of Chili's ribs as some of the finest in the restaurant industry. Available in full and half racks, the baby back ribs at this chain with more than 1,600 locations are expertly smoked with pecan wood and slow-cooked with a choice of delicious sauces or rubs including honey chipotle, house BBQ, and dry rub.

While we aren't exactly sure what goes into the chain's special rub, Stephanie Manley from CopyKat Recipes suggests that it might be a blend of cayenne pepper, salt, olive oil, black pepper, granulated white sugar, paprika, dried minced onion, and garlic powder. According to a Reddit user, who claims to have been a chef at Chili's for five years, the secret behind the dish is its initial preparation in a pressure cooker to ensure that the ribs remain juicy. The former employee also claims that the ribs are finished off on the grill to provide them with a crunchy exterior.

So what's the verdict? One TripAdvisor reviewer says that while they normally find ribs very messy to eat, Chili's take on the dish wasn't only delicious but also relatively mess-free. "The ribs, with Chili's tangy sauce, were tender and delicious. They literally dropped off the bone. I only wasted three napkins," they wrote.