Prefer your meat served juicy, saucy and on a handy stick? Then get along to Melbourne’s 10 best rib joints. Just remember to use a napkin.
Rockpool Bar & Grill
For ribs with upwardly mobile aspirations look no further than Australia’s favourite purveyor of fine meats, Neil Perry. At his Rockpool flagship you’ll find a slow-cooked Cape Grim short rib served Argentinian-style with zesty chimichurri. Just add a serve of the impeccable fries and say olé.
Riverside, Crown Complex, Southbank; (03) 8648 1900
Le Bon Ton
Absinthe-soaked good times are to be had at the reinvented Collingwood hooch house and the Americana menu keeps step with the theme. A pound of crisp lamb ribs in a spicy coffee rub surrender their hold on the bone to be dipped in a sweet and sour barbecue sauce.
51 Gipps Street, Collingwood; (03) 9416 4341
It’s the home of the Pickle Back shot (equal parts pickle juice and bourbon, guaranteed to put hair on your chest) and sweet caramel short rib, served with pickles, bone-marrow mash and a chunk of charred sourdough.
456 High Street, Preston; (03) 9973 3577
Melbourne’s favourite Hank might have moved to lush new CBD digs a while back but it didn’t lose its status as one of the city’s best barbecue champions. Meats is subject to a slow burn in a custom-built smoker for up to 22 hours so you know it’s going to melt in your mouth. Hit the charry lamb rack with cherry barbecue sauce for a convincing lesson in how Australian meat works when done American-style.
Level 1, 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne; 1300 274 753
The meat might be sourced locally but Sunshine Social’s ribs are pure Americana. The smoky, slow-cooked pork ribs are served with a house barbecue sauce that makes for a sunshiney meal indeed.
64 Glengala Road, Sunshine West; (03) 9312 0223
Big Boy BBQ
It’s Kansas City barbecue at the two Big Boy outlets (translation: a love of spice rub and thick tomato-based sauce) thanks to chef-owner Lance Rosen’s obsession with the city. The rib choice is broad: pork or lamb, half or full rack, saucy or spicy. Whichever way you lean, a whole heap of napkin action is required.
27-31 Hardware Lane, Melbourne; (03) 9670 9388
764 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield South; (03) 9523 7410
The deep-fried catfish tacos on the menu at this friendly pub dining room in deepest, darkest Collingwood are a statement of southern intent. So are the ribs, which change weekly but might feature the likes of chipotle-glazed barbecue beef ribs with sweet potato crisps. Yum.
289 Wellington Street, Collingwood; (03) 9419 5170
Fifth-generation American pit-master Kevin Bludso lends his name and reputation to this Crown Casino restaurant where it’s all about the low and slow. Order pork ribs solo or let them join an all-out barbecue party with beef brisket, chicken and spicy sausages.
Level 1, Crown Complex, Southbank; (03) 9292 5777
A hipster hangout with a newly unveiled rooftop beer garden, the Cornish Arms is renowned for a menu split evenly between pleasing carnivores and their vegan counterparts. Safe to say its smoke-roasted, grass-fed beef short ribs slathered in a bourbon and bacon glaze and served with cornbread, slaw and shoestring fries fall into the former category.
163A Sydney Road, Brunswick; (03) 9380 8383
It’s the slick city home of the lobster mac’n’cheese – the ultimate high-low dish. The ribs are no slouch either – grass-fed Cape Grim short rib in a caramel-sticky glaze.
Basement 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne; (03) 9078 7747
Top image: Fancy Hanks
SEE ALSO: Melbourne’s Best Late-Night Eats