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Stiles Switch's beef rib
Stiles Switch's beef rib
Stiles Switch/Official

14 Must-Try Ribs in Austin

Beef and pork goodness

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Stiles Switch's beef rib
| Stiles Switch/Official

Carnivorous connoisseurs can attest to the magic of the perfect barbecued bone-in ribs. Brisket might be the favorite child of Austin’s finest barbecue joints, but the city’s beef and pork ribs are often touted as the best in the country.

Here is Eater’s guide to some of the best ribs in Austin from traditional brick and mortars, the trucks, and even off-the-beaten barbecue path. This means ribs galore at Franklin Barbecue, giant beef ones from Stiles Switch BBW & Brew, spicy sweet ones from Freedmen's, Arnold Schwarzenegger-approved ones from Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q, and others.

For more barbecue, check out Eater's picks for city essentials, newcomers, sandwiches, sides, desserts, and much more.

Everything below is listed in an unranked order. If a favorite spot for sweet and smoky ribs is missing from the list, let Eater know on the tipline, in the comments, or over on the forum.

With updates by Nadia Chaudhury.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Micklethwait Craft Meats

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Michelle Obama famously ordered a smorgasbord of barbecue goodness from this trailer which includes a hefty slab of pork spare ribs worth gobbling up. Of course, Micklethwait offers big and sloppy beef ribs as well that are meaty, peppery, and made of meaty dreams.

Franklin Barbecue

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Austin’s most accoladed barbecue destination is known foremost for world-class brisket, but the seared and smoky pork rib doesn’t disappoint. Aaron Franklin touts the beef rib as his favorite cut of barbecue for its rich and decadent hedonism, so look for his version on the menu and gobble it up.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

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Beef short ribs and pork ribs are on the menu, and both prove to be seasoned well. The pork ribs are particularly noteworthy, with a sweetness peeking out of a generally smoky bite.

La Barbecue

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Arrive early to be on the front-end of the long lines that form for this truck’s fantastic fare before it relocates to Quickie Pickie on East Cesar Chavez —where ribs are definitely on the menu by way of pork by the pound or rack and gargantuan beef weighing about 1.5 pounds each. These puppies get an almost-hard candy consistency of sweet char on the outside with deep smoke on the inside.

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

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Right in the heart of downtown for ultimate barbecue convenience, the famed Llano spot brought its infamous smoked meats to Austin, and happens to stay open for late night hankerings. Ribs are offered in beef and pork form and either animal offers a juicy, tender, and salty treat. A rib-induced meat coma can definitely be had.

Freedmen's

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This campus restaurant is so much more than a college haunt. The pork spare ribs are bathed in a sweet and spicy glaze of cider vinegar and jalapeno syrup that crisps up to a peppery sweet finish.

Chelsea Purghan

Lambert's Downtown Barbecue

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Lambert’s is lovingly known by insiders for its rich man’s barbecue. Although it might be more upscale than others on the list, the country-style pork ribs are decadent and good, rubbed with fennel and coriander and oak-smoked with a maple glaze. Lambert’s also offers a non-traditional appetizer of crispy wild boar ribs with a sweet honey and buttermilk blue cheese drizzle.

Lamberts/Official

Kerlin BBQ

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Kerlin’s beef rib is more contained than those of its Austin barbecue brothers, smoked with pecan for a wonderfully nutty flavor. The pork variety are sweet and peppery and fall away from the bone.

County Line on the Lake

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The beef back rib at County Line manages to be full of flavor without all of fattiness that a short rib tends to harbor. The restaurant serves slow-smoked baby back pork and beef ribs from its many locations or place online orders.

Black's BBQ

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Austin’s outpost of this Lockhart favorite serves a dreamy, giant beef rib where the bone is guaranteed to be at least nine inches long, with about two inches of marbled beef goodness piled on top. While there are pork spare ribs are on the menu, the beef rib is something special.

Terry Black's BBQ

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The prodigal sons of Terry Black honor their father with their own take on Texas barbecue, and the ribs come in beef and pork. The convenience and promise of good flavor make Terry Black’s worth a spot on the rib list.

The Salt Lick

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Salt Lick’s pork and beef ribs are offered at each of its three locations as well as online via nationwide mail order.

Nick Simonite

Opie's BBQ

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Although off the beaten path, Opie’s is one of those favorite underrated barbecue locations and the sweet and spicy pork ribs very much contribute to this accolade.The sweet bite is reminiscent of being stung by a bee that was so cute, so it's good anyway.

Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q

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It doesn’t get more laidback than gas station barbecue, and Rudy’s ribs are of the St. Louis variety made with a dry rub and smoked in oak. Arnold Schwarzenegger approves of 'em.

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Michelle Obama famously ordered a smorgasbord of barbecue goodness from this trailer which includes a hefty slab of pork spare ribs worth gobbling up. Of course, Micklethwait offers big and sloppy beef ribs as well that are meaty, peppery, and made of meaty dreams.

Franklin Barbecue

Austin’s most accoladed barbecue destination is known foremost for world-class brisket, but the seared and smoky pork rib doesn’t disappoint. Aaron Franklin touts the beef rib as his favorite cut of barbecue for its rich and decadent hedonism, so look for his version on the menu and gobble it up.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

Beef short ribs and pork ribs are on the menu, and both prove to be seasoned well. The pork ribs are particularly noteworthy, with a sweetness peeking out of a generally smoky bite.

La Barbecue

Arrive early to be on the front-end of the long lines that form for this truck’s fantastic fare before it relocates to Quickie Pickie on East Cesar Chavez —where ribs are definitely on the menu by way of pork by the pound or rack and gargantuan beef weighing about 1.5 pounds each. These puppies get an almost-hard candy consistency of sweet char on the outside with deep smoke on the inside.

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Right in the heart of downtown for ultimate barbecue convenience, the famed Llano spot brought its infamous smoked meats to Austin, and happens to stay open for late night hankerings. Ribs are offered in beef and pork form and either animal offers a juicy, tender, and salty treat. A rib-induced meat coma can definitely be had.

Freedmen's

Chelsea Purghan

This campus restaurant is so much more than a college haunt. The pork spare ribs are bathed in a sweet and spicy glaze of cider vinegar and jalapeno syrup that crisps up to a peppery sweet finish.

Chelsea Purghan

Lambert's Downtown Barbecue

Lamberts/Official

Lambert’s is lovingly known by insiders for its rich man’s barbecue. Although it might be more upscale than others on the list, the country-style pork ribs are decadent and good, rubbed with fennel and coriander and oak-smoked with a maple glaze. Lambert’s also offers a non-traditional appetizer of crispy wild boar ribs with a sweet honey and buttermilk blue cheese drizzle.

Lamberts/Official

Kerlin BBQ

Kerlin’s beef rib is more contained than those of its Austin barbecue brothers, smoked with pecan for a wonderfully nutty flavor. The pork variety are sweet and peppery and fall away from the bone.

County Line on the Lake

The beef back rib at County Line manages to be full of flavor without all of fattiness that a short rib tends to harbor. The restaurant serves slow-smoked baby back pork and beef ribs from its many locations or place online orders.

Black's BBQ

Austin’s outpost of this Lockhart favorite serves a dreamy, giant beef rib where the bone is guaranteed to be at least nine inches long, with about two inches of marbled beef goodness piled on top. While there are pork spare ribs are on the menu, the beef rib is something special.

Terry Black's BBQ

The prodigal sons of Terry Black honor their father with their own take on Texas barbecue, and the ribs come in beef and pork. The convenience and promise of good flavor make Terry Black’s worth a spot on the rib list.

The Salt Lick

Nick Simonite

Salt Lick’s pork and beef ribs are offered at each of its three locations as well as online via nationwide mail order.

Nick Simonite

Opie's BBQ