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Ribbee’s original dry rub option is a stark detour from Goldee’s and their glazed St. Louis cuts. Photo by Cody Neathery
Ribbee’s, 923 E Seminary Dr, FW. 11am-9pm Thu-Sun.

Since the Anchorman himself Ron Burgundy once proclaimed, “ribs — I had ribs for lunch, that’s why I’m doing this,” I’ve had questions. Where in the barbecue world (including San Diego, which Ron says is German for “a whale’s vagina”) is there a joint serving only ribs?

I had eaten at dozens of barbecue establishments across Texas before the nationwide ’cue boom but never found a place specializing in succulently smoked nuggets of meaty morsels in the form of baby back, St. Louis, or spare. As we bask in this juicy golden age, one spot does come to mind. Served out of a barred window from this white-painted cinder block building in an edgy part of Garland, Meshack’s BBQ Shack’s ribs were among the best on the planet. That was their niche, and I can’t even recall if any of their other meat offerings were any good.

With respect to the old guard like Meshack’s, humble Goldee’s became a national destination after topping Texas Monthly’s list of best barbecue joints in the fall of ’21, something I mentioned in a recent article about Goldee’s Zain Shafi and Sabar BBQ, his Pakistani-influenced Texas ’cue trailer parked next to Tinie’s Mexican Cuisine in SoMa and open only on Saturdays. When three of the five Goldee’s owners not named Shafi wanted to try something unique, Ribbee’s was born.

Each rib gave a slight tug from the bone, which was perfect.
Photo by Cody Neathery
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Biting into one of their baby backs expertly cooked on an M&M-brand smoker from the piney edges of East Texas in Tool, I pondered why no one’s ever rocked a ribs-only joint before. When asked, “Why just ribs?” — only because it’s a ballsy move — co-owner Jalen Heard answered in his signature jovial manner, “I asked [co-owner] Jonny White if he’s sure about limiting the menu to one item without brisket and sausage, and he replied, ‘Yeah, it’ll work.’ ” And that’s the gusto these guys have. Third co-owner Lane Milne was manning their sister concept the day my party visited.

Ribbee’s is located in South Fort Worth in a former Sonic that the team recognized as an opportunity. The dining room is spacious enough. A patio already existed, and more than enough kitchen and preparation area have helped make Ribbee’s, well, a fast-casual restaurant. With a fire-engine red exterior and “BBQ” on the sign out front in a clean font, this 2-week-old venture is watched over by a welded longhorn. Apart from some TVs inside, it is bare bones like its big sister Goldee’s.

Written on a dry-erase board near the ordering window flanked by a merchandise rack, the menu is straightforward. It consists of four flavored options for the ribs that come served in a Styrofoam to-go container with crinkle-cut golden fries dusted in a salty-sweet seasoning and with chopped creamy coleslaw, and if you’re familiar with the in-house baked loaves of bread at Goldee’s, be prepared for freshly baked rolls that are soft where it counts with that sticky-icky ooh-wee!

Ribbee’s original dry rub option is a stark detour from Goldee’s and their glazed St. Louis cuts. Ribbee’s spicy original comes dry rubbed as well, and it will spinning-heel-kick your taste buds.

The old suggestion that rib meat should fall off the bone is false — that just means they’re overcooked. All of Ribbee’s orders are racks split into thirds, and each rib we tried gave a slight tug from the bone, which was perfect. Two other baby-back options — a sweet and a tangy hot honey — are both glazed, which left us needing several napkins to dab the drip.

The real humdinger here is the dry-rubbed beef ribs. They’re not the massive dinosaur-bone ones you’re thinking of but rather more manageable, smaller ones that have that same rich, beefy smoked flavor.

To maintain the nostalgic drive-in feel, floats of root beer or Big Red round out the desserts, mimicking the simplicity of the entrée menu.

Along the same lines as other fast-casual concepts without convoluted menus, the team of White, Heard, and Milne prefers to keep the menu tiny but mighty, which allows for quality control and efficiency. The math works: Find one item you’re good at, and do it well, and it doesn’t get much better than Ribbee’s ribs.

Ribbee’s
All-pork ribs $19.99
Beef ribs $22.99
Ice cream float $5

Ribbee’s is located in South Fort Worth in a former Sonic.
Photo by Cody Neathery
Ribbee’s M&M-brand smoker hails from the piney edges of East Texas in Tool.
Photo by Cody Neathery
Crinkle-cut golden fries dusted in a salty-sweet seasoning, chopped creamy coleslaw, and baked rolls that are soft where it counts accompany every order.
Photo by Cody Neathery
(From left to right) the beef rib, original dry rub, and hot honey are here to please.
Photo by Cody Neathery

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