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London's best ribs

From American standards to Thai flamepits, we've tracked down the capital’s juiciest joints serving up ribs

By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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Ever since Adam plucked a bone from his chest (admittedly, to ‘make Eve’ rather than fix dinner), we’ve had a thing for ribs. And while the barbecue rib craze has quietened over the past couple of years, a plethora of great restaurants – from low’n’slow Southern States places, to smoky Thai joints, Eastern tea houses and dim sum spots, and muscular trad-British eateries – still serve up this awesome meaty treat in a variety of forms. We’ve gathered the best below.

Have we missed somwhere grand? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Bars and pubs

Big Red

icon-location-pin Holloway Road

Bucket of ribs, £10

The dudes at this coal-black down-home heavy metal dive bar smoke all their pork long and slow for 12-14 hours, and you can taste the results by ordering a bucket of their lip-sticking ribs with honey and BBQ sauce for a tenner. Awesome stuff to go with dangerous cocktails and pumping jukebox metal.

Restaurants

Duck & Rice

icon-location-pin Soho

Jasmine smoked pork ribs, £16

Celebrate Duck & Rice’s delicious mash-up of Soho boozer and progressive Chinese eatery by ordering a big spread including their jasmine-smoked ribs – a ‘hero’ dish with that unmistakable Alan Yau imprint, earthy but modish, Chinese yet somehow global. Wash it down with a pint of Pilsner Urquell from the ‘tank’.

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Restaurants, Vietnamese

Go-Viet

icon-location-pin South Kensington

Grilled Saigon Pork Ribs, £9.80

Vietnamese food gets a fashionable twist here, so don’t miss the Saigon pork ribs. They arrive with a knife and fork, but this is finger-lickin’ food you’ll want to devour with your hands. The meat is moist, smoky and sweet with salty undertones, a topping of crunchy peanuts, and some pickles too. 

Restaurants, British

Hawksmoor Seven Dials

icon-location-pin Seven Dials

Gloucester Old Spot belly ribs, £11 

If you’re feeling hale and hearty, these might just be the ribs for you. So rich and so decadent, Hawksmoor’s enormous ‘bar snack’ (ha!) comes crafted from pork belly – that means the fatty-edged meat is exceptionally juicy. A fruity, peppery marinade provides intensity, while pickled red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment

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Restaurants, Barbecue

HotBox

icon-location-pin Spitalfields

St Louis pork ribs, £15

It’s party time at HotBox, so maximise the meat. USDA short ribs and mega-spicy pork ribs, we’re looking at you! Smoky, sweet and succulent, these dry-rubbed BBQ masterpieces are some of the punchiest around: St Louis gets its kicks from lethal Scotch bonnet chillies – so keep those spice-tainted fingers away from your eyes. Ouch!

Restaurants, Thai

Kiln

icon-location-pin Soho

Grilled beef rib, £43

If you want to pig out on beef, contact those Thai BBQ guys at Kiln, book a table downstairs and share the spoils from their grilled beef rib – a mighty meaty prospect served on a board with a chilli hit from nam prik kapi (chilli sauce laced with fermented shrimp paste and lime juice).

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Restaurants, Chinese

Park Chinois

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Braised Angus beef short ribs, £36

Deliciously smoky, loaded with black beans and finished in lavish Chinese style, these braised ribs are a perfect fit for Park Chinois – a decadent 1930s jazz lounge straight out of old Shanghai. And these bony beauties come to the table in their own frying pan, which holds in all those lip-smacking juices.

Venue says Brunch Chinois, every Saturday from noon-4pm. Three-course set-lunch, welcome drink and half a bottle of Champagne for £58pp.

Smokestak
Credit: Andy Parsons
Restaurants, American

Smokestak

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Smoked beef short ribs, £16.50

We’re pretty sure these are the best beef ribs in London, carried over from David Carter’s pop-up to this edgy bricks-and-mortar site. Racks of 30-day dry-aged meat are lavishly seasoned, smoked for hours, glazed on the grill, cooled off, sliced and served. The final gift? A spoonful of pickled red chillies.

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Restaurants, Fast food outlets

The Joint

icon-location-pin Brixton

Baby back ribs, £13

A ‘messy sauce everywhere’ kind of BBQ joint, this hip Brixton hangout goes big with its chef’s favourites – especially the baby back ribs. What you get is a hefty plateful of sticky meat with fries, BBQ beans, slaw and salad for just £13. Fancy maxing out? Add a side of BBQ riblets too.

Restaurants, Vietnamese

Viet Food

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Wok-sautéed pork ribs, £9.80

How to dress up those ubiquitous ribs and transform them into something newly minted? At Viet Food they toss the bony morsels in the wok, then jumble up the sticky meat with sweetcorn, green chives, slivers of red chilli and a splash of mint and chilli sauce. Colour? Yes. Texture? Wow. Flavour? You bet!   

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