Best Ribs in Austin

Rack Stars
August 22, 2016
by Zagat Staff

Find top-tier racks of ribs at these Austin joints. 

Salt Lick
Barbecue · Southeast Austin · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

This airport spin-of off the “landmark” bastion of beef provides a “quintessential Texas BBQ experience” thanks to “moist” brisket, “terrific” ribs, “first-rate” sausage and its famous “tangy” sauce. The restaurant features a large wrap-around wooden bar, Texas wines and beer along with retail rubs, sauces and whole briskets to go.
Franklin Barbecue
Barbecue · East Austin · $$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

“Believe the hype” that’s built up around this East Austin “experience” , in which “melt-in-your-mouth” brisket, “unbelievable” ribs and pulled pork are doled out in modest digs from 11 AM till the eats run out (usually early) at what many claim is “hands-down” the “best” BBQ joint in town and "possibly the world" ; fans agree the “hours” -long waits are “well worth it.
Ruby's BBQ
Vegetarian · North Campus · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

For a “BBQ joint” with a little “variety” , those in the know head to this North Campus standby for brisket and sausage, plus a few Cajun dishes and even “vegetarian" options like meatless Frito pie; the “gas station” –style looks aren't a big draw, but there's an outdoor patio and the no-frills interior has plenty of “Austin history on the walls.”
Stubb's Bar-B-Q
Barbecue · Downtown · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“An Austin classic” in “the heart of Downtown” , this BBQ mainstay serves up traditional smoked meats and sides, plus its famed sauce, in a stone-and-brick building dating to the 1830s; adorned with longhorns and band posters, the “festive” digs are made all the more so thanks to “fantastic” nightly live music and a Sunday gospel brunch.
Micklethwait Craft Meats
East Austin · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.4

Barbecue fans “highly recommend” this East Austin food trailer doling out specialty sausages, “tender” brisket and “insane” beef ribs; customers eat at picnic tables next to the cheerily painted trailer.
Stiles Switch
Barbecue · Brentwood · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.4

Brentwood is home to pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick (of Mueller’s fame), who turns out “amazing” , “moist brisket” , “hot” sausage and other “tasty” BBQ backed by “cold” craft beer on draft; contrary to trend, they cook and stay open all day, and (perhaps the best part) you “don't have to wait in line for five hours” to get in.