7 Spots to Find the Best Ribs in St. Louis, According to a Local

best ribs st louis

St. Louis, Missouri is a town known for delicious ribs; in fact, we even have our own style of ribs!

St. Louis-style ribs don’t refer to the rub or the barbecue sauce. Instead, the distinctive feature is the cut of meat, which comes from the underbelly of the pig, is grilled, and is often fattier than traditional baby back ribs. This combination creates a unique and flavorful cut of meat that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Most barbecue joints in The Lou serve traditional St. Louis-style ribs, but you can find every other kind of ribs here as well. Keep reading to discover the seven spots to find the best ribs in St. Louis.

Map of the Best Ribs in St. Louis

Best overall: Pappy’s

You can’t come to St. Louis and not visit Pappy’s. Named “Best Ribs in America” by Food Network and “Best BBQ in Missouri” by Southern Living, you can bet that Pappy’s has some of the best food in St. Louis.

Pappy’s slow-cooks its meats for up to 24 hours, and more specifically, the ribs are dry-rubbed and slow-cooked over apple and cherry wood. This restaurant serves food until they run out, and they often do run out, so be sure to get here early!

My personal favorite: Salt + Smoke

This Texas-style barbecue joint is one of my favorite places to eat in St. Louis, mainly because everything on the menu is fantastic. The ribs are a menu favorite, prepared St. Louis-style and smoked over cherry wood.

The rib platter comes with a cheddar pop-over and two sides; I highly recommend the white cracker mac and cheese, which pairs perfectly with the flavor of the ribs!

  • Address: 6525 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130
  • Website: Salt + Smoke

Best-kept secret: Adam’s Smokehouse

If you want ribs as good as Pappy’s, but don’t want to wait in Pappy’s massive line, check out Adam’s Smokehouse. For meat that falls right off the bone, a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors, and a perfectly balanced dry rub spice blend, Adam’s will not disappoint.

This restaurant starts by dry-rubbing the ribs, slow-smoking, and then topping them with an apple butter glaze, which really puts them over the top.

This family-owned smokehouse is nestled in the Clifton Heights neighborhood, and with a small space, ordering takeout is a popular choice. The carryout combos are a great value and are guaranteed to please the entire family.

Best neighborhood joint: Bogart’s

Bogart’s has a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere, with a laidback interior and picnic tables lining the sidewalk. However, in my experience, the best food is often found in the most understated environments. Bogart’s is no exception; the ribs are out-of-this-world!

You can order a half slab or full slab, which come with two sides, like beans, slaw, and potato salad. The menu also offers bulk combos, which are an excellent value and can feed the entire family. Whatever you order, there’s no way you will leave feeling hungry.

Best St. Louis chain: Sugarfire

With locations in Olivette, Valley Park, St. Charles, and downtown, you can enjoy an incredible plate of ribs whether you are exploring the city or running errands out in the suburbs. I used to live only a few blocks away from one of these locations, and it was a constant test of my willpower!

You can order a third, half, or full rack of ribs, so there is a portion size for every hunger level. I particularly love Sugarfire’s range of sauces, from St. Louis barbecue to white barbecue sauce, so be sure to sample as many as possible.

Rib meals here come with two sides, which rotate from day to day, but you can always count on french fries, slaw, or baked beans. But if they happen to be serving mac and cheese while you’re there, make sure it’s one of your sides!

  • Address 1: 9200 Olive Blvd #114, St. Louis, MO 63132
  • Address 2: 605 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63101
  • Address 3: 932 Meramec Station Rd, Valley Park, MO 63088
  • Address 4: 3150 Elm Point Industrial Dr, St Charles, MO 63301
  • Website: Sugarfire Smokehouse

For old-school vibes: Roper’s Ribs

Located in Florissant, this small, family-owned rib joint has been around since 1976 and has been named by Steve Harvey as the “Best BBQ Ribs in America.” Roper’s offers ribs of all kinds, from St. Louis-style to baby back, but every kind is smoked over hickory wood for 12 hours to create a smoky and rich flavor.

Roper’s only has a few tables inside, so the real focus is on the meat! The ribs at Roper’s are so tender that they fall off the bone, and whatever sauce comes on top is just the right amount of sweet and spicy. If you aren’t a fan of spicy flavors, order the dry rub instead.

  • Address: 6929 W Florissant Ave, St. Louis, MO 63136
  • Website: Roper’s Ribs

Best atmosphere: The Shaved Duck

Nestled in the historic Tower Grove East neighborhood, The Shaved Duck smokes cherry and hickory in the back, which will make your mouth water as you walk towards the restaurant. Since 2009, this restaurant has been serving incredible baby-back ribs, basted with a delicious rub.

If you decide that you want to attempt to make these ribs at home, check out one of The Shaved Duck’s barbecue classes, which take place every month.