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Got ribs?

Where do you guys go for ribs in or around Baltimore? I like them fall-off-the-bone tender and slathered with fresh-tasting tomato-based sauce. A nice onion loaf would be a bonus. I've tried Red Hot and Blue in Laurel and found it just OK, but nothing like what I remember of long-gone Wiley's in New York.

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  1. OK, I know it's a chain and I know no one is going to believe me, but Houston's has the best ribs I've ever had in my life. I was taken there last week and told I must try the ribs....they are absolutely fantastic. Tender and juicy very little fat (they boil them and then grill or something like that). I was really surprised.

    1 Reply
    1. re: krissywats

      I believe you. I used to pride myself on making fantastic ribs. After having Houston's ribs, I haven't made my own since...

    2. In Baltimore, Big Bad Wolf on Harford Road, in Cockeysville, Andy Nelson's. It's pretty much the consensus here. No onion loaf, though. Mt. Vernon and Corner Stable are also good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ko1

        Big Bad Wolf is near my auto mechanic, so I'll try it in 2 or 3 years -- the next time I have my oil changed. ;-)

        1. re: ko1

          Good list, but I'd strike Big Bad Wolf. As for myself - I've yet to have a good meal there after several tries. In fact, the people that originally recommended the place to me have recently agreed the ribs haven't been good in a long time.

        2. I'm crazy about Andy Nelson's brisket, bbq beef, and smoked catfish, so I guess I'll have to take your other suggestions seriously. Guess I've been too busy to notice the ribs. His potato salad is the best I've had, too, and I don't even like potato salad.

          1. Andy Nelson's.

            I don't like Corner Stable at all. They're boiled and slathered with a too-sweet sauce. Andy's are perfect in every way -- cooked over wood, big and meaty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JonParker

              You can't compare Corner Stable to Andy Nelson. Corner Stable offers McRibbynuggetbabybackbites. To be fair, I think they make a fine snack to have at the bar, it's just not anywhere near the same league as Andy's. Might as well compare a helium balloon to a jet fighter.

              1. re: Cohort

                That about nails it. I work in Hunt Valley, so my coworkers used to drag me there frequently. I started dragging them to Andy's, and most of them haven't been back since.

            2. Not exactly Baltimore, but Adam's Ribs. Several locations in Anne Arundel County. Severna Park, Edgewater, Eastport... yum....

              1. If you are willing to go to Laurel, you should check out smokey hollow -
                I would have not known about it but there was a review in the Sun -

                I think it's great - would love to hear about how it ranks amongst some of the other faves.

                5 Replies
                1. re: chowmac

                  We *love* Smokey Hollow. We're Andy Nelson's loyalists, but I actually find Smokey Hollow to be more consistent. Smokey Hollow's brisket completely ruined me for Andy Nelson's!

                  1. re: MDS

                    Thanks for the tip, guys. Better brisket than Andy Nelson's? Now, that's a challenge I can't pass up.

                    1. re: MDS

                      I second the comment about Smokey Hollow brisket. Best I've ever had. As for Andy - best RIBS I've ever had. Both do catering and in my daydreams I imagine a banquet somewhere in-between with Andy serving ribs and Smokey serving brisket. Mmmmmm.

                      1. re: Cohort

                        I went to Smokey Hollow last Saturday and picked up a brisket sandwich and a pulled pork sandwich. I asked for the pork to be unassembled so I could reheat it to eat later, but they ended up giving them both to me that way. I also got a pint of potato salad.

                        The brisket was quite good -- big chunks of tender beef with a little char on some of it. The pork seemed a bit fatty to me, and nowhere near as flavorful as Andy's. Both packages contained way more meat than could fit on the bun. The pig sauce was nothing special, but the gorilla sauce was excellent. The rolls were pretty standard and not really designed to hold up to BBQ. Andy has them beat on that count.

                        In fact, I think Andy has them beat on all counts except for the gorilla sauce. It was quite good, and is certainly a nice option to have in the area, but Andy's is near perfect in every way. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Smokey Hollow to someone in Columbia, but for best in the area, it's Andy's hands down IMO.

                        I will definitely return however. It's fairly close to where I live. One nice bonus I got out of the excursion was that the gas station on the corner had regular for $3.03, so I filled up and more than made up the cost of driving down.

                    2. re: chowmac

                      Thanks for the heads-up on Smokey Hollow. I live in Silver Spring, so it's only a twenty minute drive.

                    3. Yes, thanks from here as well. I drove up to Smoky Hollow yesterday based on this rec. I didn't try the ribs, but the pulled pork was quite good. I was surprised to find barbeque in a generic strip mall, but the smell of smoke permeates the whole storefront. I was disappointed in the sauces, although adding some more vinegar seemed to help (if you prefer eastern NC style, as I do).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alopez

                        glad you like the rec. - the location is surreal - a generic, middle of nowhere strip mall - but they seem to have their priorities in the right place - I'd rather travel 15 mins to go here then 3 mins to red hot and blue - all these guys focus on is the "art" of bbq and food - not a full service restaurant etc.

                      2. Andy Nelson's is the best. Everytime I come home to MD from NYC, I make it my beeswax to hit up Andy Nelson's. I wish they would provide cots in the parking lot so I can nap after eating all that pork and potato salad.

                        1. Big Bad Wolf's is good but my favorite is Mr. Chelsea's Barbecue in a little strip center on Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. They have great sides (no onion loaf though). Also Ray Lewis' in Canton is OK.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pkaizer

                            I've been to Big Bad Wolf no less than three times and have deeply regretted it each time. Yuck! No more. My ribs were tough, and even though I ate at the counter, they were cool to the touch. The meat was very fatty (of course), but none of it had melted away like you should expect. His ribs showed all the signs of someone cooking too fast at too high a heat (char and unmelted fat).

                            I've had friends tell me he was great for a few weeks, but has been slipping ever since. They agreed with me about the ribs and suggested that I order something else. The sides were okay, but nothing wonderful.

                            But let's face facts, I'm there for the ribs - not chicken or side dishes. After three failures, I'm tired of trying. It would be nice to have another good rib place in town, but I'm not going to gamble on him a fourth time.

                          2. andy nelsons, hands down....best cornbread, ribs, collards....also, make sure to try their carolina mustard sauce..my dad can't eat barbecue sauce because of the tomato and he is in hog heaven with the mustard...in fact, we like it so much we are having our rehearsal dinner for our wedding there!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: amykramy

                              If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

                            2. Another vote for Adam's Ribs in Anne Arundel county.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Denise

                                Adam's Ribs are okay with me. Not spectacular, but if you're walking by you should stop in and try them!

                              2. My 'local' favorite is Johnny Boy Ribs south of Laplata on 301. Very good ribs, smoky and fall off the bone delicious, great place to get a half slab, bread and a cold drink and wolf them down on one of the picnic tables. I used to like the Adam's Ribs near the South River in south Annapolis, but I don't slip my boat there anymore so I haven't been back in years. I live inside the beltway but I don't like any of the ribs I have had at Three Pigs, Dixie Pig, Red Hot & Blue, Old Glory, or the worst ones, Rocklands & Kenny's. Houston's? I will have to try them! Laurel for Smokey Hollow definitely sounds worthwhile, as well!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ziv

                                  You won't be disappointed with Smokey Hollow. If you can't find it, it's next to the dollar store - Hilarious location.

                                  One note - If you order the sandwiches, it can be expensive. The best deal is takeout. Get rolls at the store and pickup a pound of brisket and corn fritters on the side. Take it home with some "gorilla sauce", and you'll have a very good meal.

                                2. Maybe I hit them on a bad day when they first opened, but I wasn't impressed by the dried out barbecue we had at Smokey Hollow. I've been going to Kloby's in Woodlawn since and have had several fantastic meals. Their meats seem better prepared and I enjoy their sauces more (the gorilla sauce is the only one at Smokey Hollow that I though worthwhile).

                                  1. i've been going to Dotson's in Glen Burnie for years, and it never disapoints.

                                    1. I have to commend you guys on the Smokey Hollow recommendation. I had the opportunity to try the brisket sandwich with gorilla sauce this week, while having my car serviced at the new Jaguar dealership nearby. Boy, were they jealous, those drivers waiting for their water pumps to be replaced, as I dug into that baby in the customer lounge.

                                      I wouldn't have the temerity to call it "better" than Andy Nelson's, but it was different in some nice ways. I like that it was chunky brisket instead of sliced, which did indeed leave the outside charred and the inside not quite as too-well-done as Andy's. Brilliant! And the gorilla sauce is very good, especially for dipping the chunks that fall out when you take a bite.

                                      Next time, the quarter rack of ribs.

                                      1. Well, I finally had a chance to get back to Smokey Hollow for the ribs. Would it be too much to say they were the best I've ever tasted? They were. They were indeed fall-off-the-bone tender as I requested in my original post. The cole slaw was not as sweet as I prefer, but it tasted nice and fresh. The beans had a bit of meat in them, but nothing special, IMO. (Oops, I almost wrote IMHO.)

                                        Now, about those hush puppies. Why have I never had these before? They were delicious! You hush-hounds who have a basis for comparison, please tell me how these rate in your experience. I may have to go on a hush puppy tour of the South.