Monday, February 6, 2012

King Ribs

Hubby got in the mood for barbecue again (this happens every so often at our house).  It is one of the rare categories of restaurants that he seems to have an overwhelming desire to try all of, so I am always willing to indulge. I am not sure why he was so geared up for King Ribs other than I think he likes the fact that it is in an old car wash. Hubby is a car guy.
Anyway, they just do a carry out thing at King Ribs, so we got online and picked out what we wanted. We got the rib dinner (on Sundays it is on special for $7.78 with two sides), some barbecue chicken (half chicken is $4.50) and pulled chicken (1 pound is around $10, but not sure because it isn’t really on the menu).  (We wanted the pulled pork, but apparently they were out).  We had sides of mac and cheese,  potato salad and baked beans.
Here’s the thing. It wasn’t very good. I feel like I say this a lot about barbecue, but honestly I have had some good stuff, and this wasn’t it.  The best thing was the half chicken, the meat was not completely dried out and the skin tasted pretty good. But the thing about all of it (and you can tell from the pictures), is that it was completely drenched in the sauce, and the sauce was thin and runny and not the way I like barbecue sauce.  It almost seemed like a thin tomato sauce or something.  It didn’t have any smoky flavor or and depth at all. We did get the mild, and if I were getting it again, I would certainly get the hot (we got mild because the kids were eating it). 
The pulled chicken was dry, and again, just soaked in the sauce.  There was a lot of it though.  The ribs were actually the worst thing I think—they were the big spare rib type ribs, which don’t tend to be our favorite anyway, but these were exceptionally dry.  Literally, I think we each ate one, and then gave up completely.  It was sort of a bummer you couldn’t taste more smoke in the meat too—when you drive by you always see those big smokers going outside which has always intrigued me.
The sides were actually not bad.  Not amazing or anything, but better than a lot I have had around town.  The mac and cheese was probably my favorite.  It was made with real cheese, and it had some of those crisp edge bits in it which are my favorite part.  My next favorite was probably the potato salad—it had mustard in it and some peppers and pickles maybe?  It was at least something to balance the meat, which is what I like in my barbecue sides.  The baked beans were pretty standard, although they had some hunks of pork in them.
All in all I would give this place a pass, I have certainly had better barbecued meat elsewhere.  I am still on a quest for a place that can do it all well, although maybe that is just a pipe dream.
King Ribs BBQ
4130 N. Keystone Ave
Indy 46205

King Ribs Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


  1. You ordered the wrong thing - their specialty is rib tips. Rib tips are very difficult to cook correctly, and theirs are typically awesome. Their saucing method compliments the tips nicely. I have never been to the North Keystone location, but have had good luck with the location on Pendleton Pike.

  2. Sometimes I feel like I might never be satisfied...

    But I think it is important to not get discouraged! There is a new outfit in a strip mall off 79th & Fall Creek Rd - I'm looking forward to giving them a try. They had a tent set up in the parking lot on Saturday night and the smokers were calling to me, but we'd been running errands for hours and I couldn't get over there to try anything.

  3. I don't think "you ordered the wrong thing" is a great excuse, unless you did something like order a cheeseburger at an Indian restaurant.

    If you're getting barbecue at at barbecue restaurant it should all be good, right?

    Another question (to no one in particular), if a particular dish is a house specialty, why not promote it accordingly? Highlight it on the menu, and tell all new diners about it! Am I marketing genius or what?! :)

  4. thanks for the feedback everyone. Duster, it would have been nice to know the rib tips were a specialty, but I tend to agree with Sarah that a) at a bbq place, out of three different bbq items, something should have been good and b)if something truly is a specialty, a restaurant should highlight it.

    Tom H, thanks for the tip. Putting it on the list now. Let me know if you notice the name of it. And I agree, don't get discouraged. There is always somewhere new to be discovered!

  5. Don't get me wrong, I'm not making excuses for King Ribs. If the rest of the food wasn't up to par, it wasn't up to par. I just thought I should let you know that their rib tips are (in my experience) VERY good. I make spare ribs pretty often - I own a competition grade smoker - and it's really damn hard to get rib tips that good. They used to be set up in the end zone of the RCA Dome at the gate to our season tickets, so I am pretty familiar with their BBQ. The tips are the best thing on the menu.

    BTW, wouldn't it be nice if they had some local food choices at The Luke? That was really nice at RCA Dome.

  6. Duster, that would be nice. Some local stuff at the Children's Museum is my secret dream...

  7. I have never been to the Keystone location, but I frequent the location on 16th street. To me the BEST barbeque ever! Try them and let me know what you think. Each location is independently operated.

  8. Have you tried Big Hoffa's in Westfield? I've heard really good things about them, but haven't actually made it there myself yet. I tried searching your blog, but couldn't find a review for them, so figured you probably have not.

  9. Tanisha, thanks for the tip!

    Kim, I have not been there yet. It is definitely on our list though. thanks!

  10. I think it's pretty cool how many bbq restaurants are around the Indianapolis area. One would think that a traditional southern food wouldn't be a prevalent here. I'm glad that's not the case, and it's always interesting to hear people's varied opinions.

    Also wanted to mention to you that I did a review of Big Hoffa's on my blog from last Summer. Interesting place. Here's the link.