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Oct 9, 2011 07:56 PM

BBQ Beef Ribs

My favorite BBQ item is beef ribs. I also care about the sides, especially cole slaw and potato salad, but for me, the most important part is the beef ribs. I have now had them in the 3 places that I know serve them, County Line, Salt Lick and JJ's. Here are my impressions so far.

County Line, both Austin locations- Best value for money (you get 7 for 19.45 on the Big Daddy Beef Rib Platter). The ribs are very moist, easy to eat but retaining a chewiness that I find enjoyable and extremely flavorful. Best tasting sauce, not too sweet, nicely spiced and enjoyable. The coleslaw is some of the best I've ever had, with a noticable flavor of celery seed, firm slaw, served on the same plate as the other items and no seepage (I despise seepage). The potato salad is decent, the potatos retain their shape, there is no overpowering taste, but nothing special. Overall, when I want beef ribs, until I find something better, I will go to County Line for my beef ribs.

Salt Lick Round Rock - Their big platter is 19.95 and you get the equivalent of 6 ribs (actually 3 bones on the plate, but the meat is cut next to the bone). The cut on the ribs makes these ribs easier to eat than County Line as the meat is doubly as thick on each rib you pick up, but I miss the extra rib's worth of meat. Before any sauce, it is as tasty as County Line. However, the Salt Lick sauce isn't to my preference. It seems too sweet and doesn't compliment the beef. Their coleslaw is not as firm as I expect, as if it was salted and left to drain some of it's water before it was put into the slaw, making it less crispy. It still was tasty, just different than I've had before. The potato salad was far too cooked for me, not quite mashed potatos, but softer than I prefer. Another note is that the seating is picnic tables. For inexpensive food, this seating is fine for me, but when my entree is nearly $20, I'd like a more comfortable seat; not a deal killer but not preferred either. All in all, if my friends are going there, I'll be glad to go to Salt Lick and have beef ribs, but they aren't my favorite.

JJs Cedar Park - This restaurant is just down the road, so I really wanted to like it. However, my first experience was likely my last. This place has counter service and not waiters.I wanted a large order of beef ribs, so I tried to order 7 beef ribs (they don't have the big half rack). The counter person informed me that the beef ribs were about a pound each, so that much would be 42 dollars and recommended I have the platter. The platter was 3 beef ribs. Each rib was cut down the middle, but the meat portion wasn't nearly as long as the County Line version. I got it with coleslaw and potato salad. The ribs weren't remarkable, okay, but not as tender and flavorful as the others. The sauce was ok. I don't remember the potato salad, but the cole slaw ruined it for me. It had far too much liquid seeping out of it, ruining the plate.

Overall, I like the County Line whenever I want Beef Ribs. It has excellent beef ribs, is the most comfortable, has had consistently excellent service in my experience (Salk Lick also had excellent service, no issues there), has the best value for money, has the sauce I prefer, the cole slaw I prefer and the bread I prefer.

Does anyone have another place to get beef ribs that they can recommend I try?

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  1. Haven't been in over a year, but Iron Works downtown was my favorite spot in town for beef ribs. Guess I need to make another trip to verify that they still nail this.

    Artz on Lamar also has/had them and does/did a passable job, but I'm unclear on the current status of that restaurant.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tom in austin

      2nd for Iron Works. I've seen them at Texas Rib Kings and they're on the menu at Ruby's but I haven't tried them at either place.

      Texas Rib Kings
      9012 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758

      1. re: tom in austin

        Artz's is open (at least within the past couple of months) and i do like their beef ribs. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned them yet.
        I have never had beef ribs at any of the OP's places, so i can't compare, but i like Artz ribs. I can't remember much about the sides, so well I guess that says something. But. having said that my vegetarian daughter likes the grilled veggie plate.

        I do not know if RuBy's (not RuDy's) has beef ribs, but since you were talking about sides, their sides are the best in Austin that i have had. Their creamy cole slaw is the best cole slaw that i have had in town.

        1. re: TroyTempest

          You're square on Target with Artz, Troy. Artz is open and since I've been going there (6+ years) their meats have been consistantly good. Unfortunately, I have always contended that Artz sides are consistantly forgetable (But they are sides, so no biggie.)

          I think Artz also has arguably the bexst babybacks in town. I used to also think their brisket was top-notch too.......until Aaron Franklin ruined everyone on brisket. (c:

      2. Texas Rib Kings on the SE corner of Burnet Rd & Research Blvd (US 183) has some tasty beef ribs. It's never too crowded, but they often sell out of beef ribs before the night is through. The value is good, about 3 ribs and 2 sides for $12-ish. I don't care for their potato salad (the Salt Lick is my ideal in that category) and don't care for cole slaw in general, so I can't speak to that. Good beans, though.

        Texas Rib Kings
        9012 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758

        1. 3 for Iron Works for beef ribs. The best I have sampled. John Mueller (JMueller BBQ) is now open as well and he said he'd be having short ribs "every day", but he didn't have them on opening day this previous Saturday. If and when he does have them, they will probably top the list in town. Short ribs are the singlemost best piece of cow you can pull off a pit.


          1. This has got me to wanting to try beef ribs again. In my experience when they are good the are great, but everywhere I have ever had them is very inconsistent and when they are bad they are VERY bad! I love Texas Rib Kings and they are close by so I may just have to try them for lunch.

            Texas Rib Kings
            9012 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758

            1 Reply
            1. re: danny_w

              UPDATE: Well I went and the sample that I had did not qualify as either great or very bad, just OK. I have always been a fan of their pork ribs though (best in town IMHO) and will stick to those. I have to give the beef ribs a try maybe once a year, but pork ribs are always the winner in my book.

            2. Thanks to everyone that made a recommendation, I will try them all. Today I went to Iron Works BBQ; my impressions are below.

              I ordered the beef rib platter, which was 6 ribs worth of meat on 3 bones (cut like Salt Lick) for 13.45. The meat was juicy, cooked to perfection with a great taste without adding sauce. The sauce comes in a squeeze bottle, so it is easy to control how much you add and re-add after each bite if you want. The sauce was very tasty, not overbearing but spiced just right to my taste, neither too sweet or vinegary. The platter came with two sides. I made a mistake and didn't specify the sides I wanted so I got beans and potato salad, so I can't review the cole slaw, but the potato salad was excellent, my favorite so far at any BBQ place I've tried. The restaurant is informal, counter service, paper plates and plastic dinnerware, but the price reflects that. Also, parking is simewhat limited, but there are 7 or so spaces at the restaurant and a few across the street. Overall, the food is excellent. I will definitely be back.

              5 Replies
              1. re: BruceE

                And for under $14 for the rib plate, you can't beat the price of Iron Works. That's almost a whole rack of beef ribs.

                1. re: sqwertz

                  Well, I definitely thought it was a good deal, but it is closer to half a rack.

                  1. re: BruceE

                    A rack is seven ribs. IW "Double Cuts" theirs. They cut right next tot he bones and throw away every other rib bone, leaving twice as much meat on each rib than if you'd just sliced them all right between the ribs.

                    1. re: sqwertz

                      Thanks for the info, I thought a rack would be an entire side, similar to a pork rib rack, thus my confusion.

                      1. re: BruceE

                        Beef ribs are so trimmed of meat noways (laser guided automatic meat cutters) that they pretty much have to cut them that way, IMO. I don't buy em at the stores unless I need really expensive soup bones. I don't have the room on my pit for such little return on meat.