Which Has Better Ribs: Texas Roadhouse Or Chili's?

At the risk of sounding pompous, ‌I consider myself a high authority on the subject of ribs. After all, I was raised on the stuff and have encountered my fair share of both scrumptious and appalling rib racks over time. I've sampled ribs from popular dine-in restaurants, given unsolicited critiques at family cookouts, and have even smashed a McRib or two (when I was a kid, of course). When presented with the opportunity to compare the ribs sold at Texas Roadhouse and Chili's, I jumped at the chance. This was the ultimate showdown, especially given that both restaurants are known to serve some pretty saucy rib fare.

In today's post, I'll run down everything you need to know about ribs from both Texas Roadhouse and Chili's. I'll compare everything from cost to texture to give you a clear picture of the pros and cons of each rib entrée, and in the end, I'll reveal which of the two I believe is truly better.

So, if you're ready, let's get started on our journey to discovering which has the better ribs: Texas Roadhouse or Chili's?

Chili's ribs cost more

Starting with a simple analysis of the two menus, Texas Roadhouse and Chili's ribs run around the same price, though Chili's ribs are a bit pricier. For a full rack of ribs at Texas Roadhouse, expect to pay $22.99 before taxes and $17.99 for a half rack. At Chili's, you'll pay $24.89 for your full slab and $19.20 for a half slab. The difference is only a couple of dollars, but, as you'll see later, it becomes harder to justify the higher price point on Chili's end. Either way, you'll pay between the $15-25 range for ribs at both restaurants, depending on the size you choose, and will get two sides with your rib entrée at either establishment.

One thing that is also worth mentioning is that Texas Roadhouse offers an appetizer portion, also known as a "sidekick," of ribs for only $11.99. Chili's also offers ribs as an appetizer, but only when you order it as part of the "Smokehouse Combo" at the heftier price of $19.99. Still, it is unclear as to how many ribs are offered via the Texas Roadhouse deal, as the website makes no mention of sizing. From what we've seen, it could be comparable to a half rack of ribs, but without confirmation from Texas Roadhouse as to whether or not this is true, we won't pretend to know. 

Texas Roadhouse's ribs are WAY meatier

When comparing Texas Roadhouse ribs to Chili's ribs, I noticed an immediate difference in terms of appearance. Texas Roadhouse ribs packed tons of meat while Chili's ribs were unbearably thin. 

Upon the first bite, I quickly discovered that Texas Roadhouse ribs take the cake when it comes to texture. These ribs were deliciously meaty and melt-in-your-mouth tender. There was also little to no gristle. Chili's ribs, on the other hand, were downright embarrassing. They were so tough and overcooked that I had to use muscle to separate the meat from the bone. A part of me thinks I just got a bad batch, and I sure hope that was the case as the texture here was just awful.

Still, although I'd say that Texas Roadhouse easily takes the crown for the best texture in this rib showdown, I do have a (literal) bone to pick with the company's saucy entrée. For some reason, every bite seemed to contain a small piece of bone, and this made for a very unpleasant experience. The texture of the ribs was delightful, but those darn bones put a damper on the experience. I've sampled these ribs several times before and don't remember having a problem with them, so maybe it was just this once. Even so, I felt that it's something I should mention, especially if you plan to order these ribs for young children.

Chili's sauce has more kick

In comparing the sauces, I found both restaurants to have yummy yet very different-tasting sauces. Starting with Texas Roadhouse, the sauce featured here was very sweet and wasn't the least bit spicy. It had a subtle smokiness to it that paired beautifully with its sugary overtones. With that said, there wasn't enough sauce on these babies. To be clear, Texas Roadhouse does exclusively ask if you want extra sauce on your ribs online, and normally, I would have jumped at the chance to have it added. In this case, however, I wanted to report to you how the ribs actually come, without all the fancy extras. With that said, I'd recommend you always ask for extra sauce because the ribs aren't quite as flavorful without it.

Now for Chili's sauce, I have to say it wasn't too bad. At first taste, I didn't like it, but as I kept eating, it grew on me. Chili's offers Texas Dry Rub and Honey-Chipotle flavors for ribs, but I kept it classic by going with the house BBQ sauce. The sauce featured a very pepper-forward taste paired with sweet undertones. It also has a mild spiciness to it that lingered a bit on my tongue. And while the sauce wasn't as pleasant as Texas Roadhouse's sauce (in my opinion), it did pair nicely with the charr of the rib meat. Ultimately, people who prefer a spicier BBQ sauce over a sweeter one are likely to love Chili's version.

Texas Roadhouse felt like better value for money

When comparing the ribs from Texas Roadhouse and Chili's, both seemed to be roughly the same portion size — at least when we're talking about the length of the ribs. Still, I couldn't help but feel slightly cheated by Chili's.

As already mentioned, the Texas Roadhouse ribs were way meatier than Chili's. Because of that, it just felt like my bucks were better spent at this rodeo-inspired restaurant. This is especially true considering that Chili's ribs cost more than Texas Roadhouse ribs, yet they are thinner, severely overcooked (at least in my case), and aren't quite as tasty. Still, I would say that by looks alone, one slab doesn't seem to be more substantial than the other. The amount of meat packed on each bone is where the two differ, causing Texas Roadhouse ribs to win out in the portion category as well.

Texas Roadhouse ribs vs. Chili's ribs : Final verdict

So, which was the ultimate winner of our saucy rib smackdown? Texas Roadhouse, without a doubt. While I have several qualms concerning Texas Roadhouse's ribs including the lack of BBQ sauce and those pesky little bones that kept cropping up at each bite, I truly did enjoy them. They were very meaty and substantial, and if there were just a little more sauce on them, they'd be near perfect.

Chili's ribs, on the other hand, were a bit of a disaster, and I don't recommend ordering them. They were thin, horribly overcooked, and overall, just bad. One thing I did enjoy about Chili's ribs was the sauce. Though I still don't prefer it over Texas Roadhouse's sauce, I do think it has a unique flavor that is further complemented by charred meat.

All in all, Texas Roadhouse reigns supreme when it comes to delicious ribs. Its meaty and tender texture makes for a satisfying entrée. Don't forget the extra sauce!


Texas Roadhouse ribs and Chili's ribs were compared on the basis of pricing, size, texture, and flavor. As a person who loves a good, sweet sauce over tender ribs, I am naturally biased in that direction. Still, I tried to give credit where credit is due and did my best to highlight the pros and cons of each feature from both Texas Roadhouse and Chili's restaurants. My hope is that you walk away informed and that you use the information given to make your own decision about which delicious rib option will best satisfy your craving, but for me, Texas Roadhouse had the best ribs of the two.