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Aug 15, 2014 04:38 PM

Ribs that don't fall off the bone

Please help me out here!

Not everyone likes ribs that fall off the bone like a McRib.

The old school steak houses(Barbarians, La Castille, The Octagon) do a pretty good job, but I'm looking to see what else is available.


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  1. Ribs start falling off the bone when they are cooked for too long.

    Those meaty fall off the bone ribs are good.I have never had a


    1. There are many BBQ joints that have opened in the city in the last couple of years and I do not think that any of them cook the ribs so they fall off the bone. They range from high end places like Carbon Bar to little hole in the wall places... Here is a BBQ thread for you..

      11 Replies
      1. re: pourboi

        In my experience nearly ALL of those are fall-off-the-bone.

        I'll except Carbon Bar, whose ribs do retain texture. But then that's not BBQ (in the most commonly used sense) and, please note that the OP did not mention BBQ anyway - the query was about ribs.

        Looking down this thread, my ribs at Electric Mud were dried out - so didn't fall off the bone; Barque has been inconsistent (sometimes overcooked); the steak houses (both Barberians and Steak Pit have other specialties, so haven't tried the ribs). Best I've had recently that were still related to the bone were at Marky & Sparky's on Annette but only one visit so far (in July) so don't know if this was a one-off or not.

        My go-to place was always Universal Grill on Dupont, for their Rajah-spiced ribs. But even those have now succumbed to a tendency to fall-off-the-bone. But I still return there and also favour Stack (on Yonge) which are 'less' fall-off-the-bone than many places, but there I prefer the Carolina style pork, so haven't had the ribs recently.

        PS The McRib doesn't have any bones.

        1. re: estufarian

          "Best I've had recently that were still related to the bone were at Marky & Sparky's on Annette"

          Agreed..Just had some last week and they weren't fall off the bone.Good texture and nice smoke.

          1. re: estufarian

            FWIW... I wouldn't even bother with a steak at the Steak Pit. I believe their "specialty" has always been Ribs. (they even get their own page on the menu IIRC...)

            1. re: estufarian

              The McRib doen't have bones as it's a an extrusion made of pork composites.


              1. re: estufarian

                The Universal Grill's ribs are fall-off-the-bone nowadays? I never noticed. But then, I haven't been there in a few months. I always liked to think it was my still-functioning teeth that were separating the meat from the bone. No matter. Fall-off-the-bone or not-fall-off-the-bone, they're damn good ribs. Tasty, and satisfying. I've been going there, off and on, since the joint opened. I'd go even more often if I could find a place to park within striking distance of the restaurant - say, within at least two blocks. Like estufarian above, I'm also partial to Stack's ribs. The much-beloved Steeles Deli does decent ribs as well - the owner insists he doesn't boil them in advance, thereby hastening the process and tampering with the texture. There may be better ribs than Universal Grill, Stack and Steeles Deli out there somewhere, but I haven't found them. And with those three in my portfolio, I've no intention of chasing all over town to discover what I may or - more likely - may not be missing. There are a lot of disappointing rib joints around town, both fall-off-the-bone and not-fall-off-the-bone.

                1. re: estufarian

                  Why do you say that Carbon Bar's ribs aren't BBQ? They're smoking over oak with a dry rub Texas style. That's BBQ and they're not fall off the bone ribs.

                  Did you mean Big Crow which grills over wood as opposed to slow smoking?

                  1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                    Just sloppy on my part. I intended to refer to the source meat, rather than the cooking method. BBQ (usually) is cheaper cuts - NOT so at Carbon Bar.
                    And Big Crow DEFINITELY isn't BBQ - although they are ribs, so fit within the OP's request.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Right on Big Crow.

                      These days, BBQ isn't usually "cheaper cuts" it's often meat from "cheaper sources" (ie. most places aren't using high end providers, the cuts are usually the same). I can't help but think that's a description that only fits to a specific period, though - elite new BBQ joints such as Franklin are both definitely BBQ and using higher end purveyors, while historical BBQ would have used whatever local meat was available and predates our distinctions between crummy, factory farmed meat and higher end artisanal purveyors.

                      Pedantic, I know, but I don't think using quality products disqualify a place from being BBQ.

                      1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

                        One half of Marky and Sparky is Sparky, who is half-owner of Butcher by Nature. He supplies the meat to himself, so at least the ribs are "sustainable" or natural. Such meats never fall off the bone ;-)

              2. Sounds like you're talking old school steakhouse ribs as opposed to slow cooked/smoked BBQ ribs(?)

                Years ago, Steak Pit on Avenue Rd. was always up there with the best, IMO.
                Interestingly enough, I went back over a year ago and the ribs were still (surprisingly?) quite good. Same waitresses, etc. I remember from the 70's. Might be worth a try.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                  I agree given the examples that the OP is most likely looking for grilled ribs and not smoked. Steeles Deli is supposed to be very good and the next place I will try. Almost always good are the ribs at Leslie St Pickle Barrel. Has to be Leslie St as that location uses the original recipe. My favorite though is still Barbarian's. A buddy swears by Santorini which is on Bayview in Thornhill.

                  1. re: justsayn

                    I think we have to distinguish between BBQ and competition BBQ. Most BBQ is fall off the bone, the type you get from slow smoking meat for hours. Competition BBQ should have a gentle tug from the bone. Meat that comes off the bone too easily would cost points in tenderness and be considered overcooked.

                    1. re: gaudreaur

                      I don't believe the OP is referring to BBQ at all. More of a grilled, "steakhouse" rib.

                2. I was recently at Electric Mud where the back ribs did not fall off the bone.

                  1. I was recently at Electric Mud where the back ribs did not fall off the bone and were delicious!