Chicago is known for many things, including its deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. However, one of the Windy City's culinary gems that often flies under the radar is its delicious ribs.
From tender baby back ribs to juicy spare ribs, Chicago has plenty of options for rib lovers to sink their teeth into.
But with so many places to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go. That's where this guide comes in.
We've scoured the city to find the best places for ribs, taking into account factors such as flavor, tenderness, and overall experience.
Whether you're a local looking for a new favorite spot or a tourist hoping to try some authentic Chicago-style ribs, we've got you covered.
From classic barbecue joints to upscale restaurants, there's something for everyone on this list.
So sit back, grab some napkins, and get ready to drool as we take you on a journey through the best places for ribs in Chicago.
1. Smoque BBQ
Smoque BBQ is a popular spot for delicious ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. The restaurant's basic space has community tables and a casual BYOB atmosphere.
The ribs are smoked to perfection with a noticeable smoke ring and served hot and juicy.
The sauces are amazing, and the sides are not overshadowed by the meat. The portions are hearty, and the prices are reasonable. The service is quick and follows Covid guidelines.
The only downside is the limited parking space, but it's worth the hunt. Highly recommended for anyone craving mouth-watering BBQ.
2. Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern
Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern is a Chicago gem that has been around since 1932. The old-school tavern and barbecue restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for the best ribs in the city.
The ribs are tender and fall off the bone, and the three different sauces offered are all delicious.
The onion rings are also a standout item on the menu. The staff is friendly and the service is prompt.
The lively dining room creates a welcoming atmosphere for a casual night out. Twin Anchors is a true Chicago experience that should not be missed.
3. Gale Street Inn Chicago
Gale Street Inn Chicago is a hidden gem for rib lovers. Their baby back ribs are cooked to perfection and come with extra sauce.
The menu is limited but offers American cuisine with a twist, including chicken, fish, and burgers.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the atmosphere is cozy.
Don't miss out on their Monday specials, which offer a full rack of ribs with a drink purchase for only $22. This place is a must-visit if you are in the vicinity.
4. Carson's Ribs
Carson's Ribs is a long-standing steakhouse and rib-joint serving slow-smoked American barbecue like its signature babyback ribs.
The restaurant's Tuscan loaf is some of the best restaurant bread, and the Caesar salad is very good.
The slab of ribs and au gratin potatoes are extremely good, and the steak is perfectly seasoned and cooked. The service is wonderful, with attentive and polite waitstaff.
The floor management is also excellent. Carson's Ribs is a classic steakhouse and rib-joint standby, serving up delicious American barbecue.
5. Chicago Q
Looking for some Southern-style BBQ in an upscale setting with a full bar and bourbon flights to match your meal, then look no further than Chicago Q. This restaurant offers some of the best ribs in town, with St. Louis-style ribs being their specialty.
The diverse selection of whiskey flights is also a highlight. The service is top-notch and the portions are generous, making it a great spot for groups or a special night out.
Don't forget to try their homemade cheesecake for a sweet ending to your meal.
6. Soul & Smoke – West Loop
Soul & Smoke – West Loop is a barbecue and soul food restaurant that is worth checking out if you're a fan of ribs. The staff is friendly and the service is fast.
The ribs are tender and flavorful, making it a great place to dine. The meat platter is fantastic and the baked beans are a must-try.
The mac and cheese is off the charts, and the brisket is creamy and flavorful. The apple slaw is a great complement to the bbq.
The brisket sandwiches are tasty and the tips are amazing. If you're in the mood for some great bbq, Soul & Smoke – West Loop is the place to go.
7. Weber Grill Restaurant
If you're looking for delicious ribs, Weber Grill Restaurant is a must-visit.
The meat is cooked to perfection and falls off the bone with ease.
The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and always happy to help with recommendations.
The restaurant has a great atmosphere and is perfect for a night out with friends or family. Don't miss out on this meat-focused venue!
8. Lillie's Q
Lillie's Q is a rustic and cozy barbecue restaurant that serves some of the best ribs in town. The meat is tender and flavorful, with a crispy crust that adds the perfect amount of texture.
The pulled pork and chicken are also worth trying, as well as the smoked fried chicken with honey.
The sauces are varied and delicious, with options ranging from traditional tomato-based to vinegar and mustard-based. The sides are also noteworthy, especially the mac and cheese, which is creamy and rich.
The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming. Lillie's Q is a must-visit for anyone looking for upscale BBQ and housemade moonshine cocktails.
9. Leon's Barbecue
Leon's Barbecue is a must-visit spot for rib lovers. The food is consistently delicious and the staff provides quick and friendly service.
While there is no seating available, the take-out options make it easy to enjoy the mouth-watering ribs, chicken, and sausage links in the comfort of your own home.
The signature hot BBQ sauce is a must-try and the portion sizes are generous.
Leon's Barbecue may be a small chain confined to a specific area, but it's definitely worth a visit for anyone who craves authentic and flavorful BBQ classics.
10. Smoke Daddy BBQ – Wicker Park
Smoke Daddy BBQ in Wicker Park is a casual joint that serves up some seriously good ribs.
Their St. Louis style ribs are a must-try and are cooked to perfection. The brisket is also decent, but the real star of the show are the ribs.
The staff is friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is laid-back and perfect for a casual night out.
If you're in the mood for some delicious barbecue, Smoke Daddy BBQ is definitely worth a visit.
11. The Fireplace Inn
The Fireplace Inn is a cozy tavern that serves up delicious BBQ ribs and American fare.
With a warm and inviting atmosphere, it's the perfect spot to grab a bite and a drink with friends.
The staff is friendly and attentive, always making sure that customers have a great experience. The ribs are a must-try and are sure to satisfy any meat lover's craving.
The Fireplace Inn is definitely worth a visit if you're in the mood for some tasty ribs and a good time.
12. Bub City
Bub City is a lively BBQ restaurant and bar with a country-western theme.
The menu features delicious smoked meats, including tender and flavorful ribs.
The service is great, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The atmosphere is fun and lively, with live music adding to the ambiance.
Bub City is a great spot for a casual night out with friends or family.
13. Honey 1 BBQ
Honey 1 BBQ is a must-visit for anyone craving finger-licking ribs. The rib tips are tender and juicy, with a perfectly crispy bark that's infused with wood smoke.
The BBQ sauce is on point, not too sweet, and goes perfectly with the meat.
The staff is friendly and provides great customer service. The sides, including the beans, slaw, and potato salad, are some of the best in Chicago.
The atmosphere is casual and laid back, making it a great spot to grab a quick bite. Don't miss out on this legendary family-run business.
14. Lem's Bar-B-Q
Lem's Bar-B-Q is a no-frills eatery that serves up some of the best barbecue and rib dishes in the city.
The rib tips are tender and seasoned to perfection, while the center cut ribs are pretty good.
The vinegar sauce is amazing and the portions are great for the price. The wait can be long, but the delicious food is worth it.
It's a popular neighborhood staple that satisfies any barbecue cravings.