The Smoking Ribs – Pork Ribs
The Smoking Ribs
14211 N Euclid St · Garden Grove, CA 92843
Lip smacking sauce. Killer nachos and fries loaded as high as an ice cream sundae. Tender, succulent meats. In the heart of Garden Grove, among the hip seafood joints and innumerable pho spots, is an American barbecue establishment that serves up some of the best food in Southern California. Located in a modest plaza featuring two Vietnamese coffee shops, The Smoking Ribs is a small, modern restaurant with big flavors and mighty portions.
Step through the entrance and the tantalizing aroma of wood smoke immediately hits you like a blast of air from a passing freight train. A brick counter cuts through the middle of the restaurant, bar stools sitting in front. Two flat panel TVs stick to the walls at each end to liven up the ambiance. Red painted walls and black ceilings and tables exude an aggressive, intense feeling, which is quite fitting for the flavors found in all the dishes, especially the ribs.
The slow cooked, meaty pork ribs are unrivaled. Uniform, St. Louis style spareribs are beautifully aligned side by side in a row like piano keys, the sticky glaze gleaming on the surface and reflecting the warm sunshine beaming through the windows. Each rib has a substantial amount of meat, with an ideal ratio of meat to fat. First bite into the pork is firm, yielding very easily with each subsequent bite.
The surface is studded with black pepper specks, one of many spices employed in their secret barbecue rub. The robust seasonings work together to penetrate the meat, flavoring the pork with boldness. The ribs are more savory than sweet, with barely any heat. A touch of smokiness captures the art of barbecue and completes the aroma; smoky undertones linger with each and every bite. The membrane remains attached to the bottom of each rib, which is dotted with the seasonings. Though this part may be off-putting for some, the membrane supplies an enjoyable, crisp casing that snaps like a hot dog. If you like your ribs wet, there are squeeze bottles with sauce available so you can slather your pork in as much barbecue as your heart desires.
An obvious sign of perfectly cooked, competition worthy ribs, the pork meat comes clean right off the bone. It still remains firmly attached, but comes off with little effort. The Smoking Ribs does a superb job of walking the fine tightrope between having incredibly tender and juicy ribs without having meat that is already falling right off the bone.
The weekday lunch special pork ribs comes with a choice of side, the standard pork rib dinner with two. Though the meats take the spotlight, there is a myriad of side dishes here that holds their own. There are the traditional, including coleslaw, mashed potatoes, smoked beans, and mac & cheese, and the unique, like a twice baked potato or a blueberry cornbread to pair with your meal. Classic fried foods like French fries and onion rings are also an option. Mac & Cheese comes in a sizable ceramic bowl, overflowing with cheese and topped with panko breadcrumbs. Shells are cooked perfectly; their half shapes are like magnets that attract the cheese. Sauce is bubbly hot and really comforting and hearty. Its creaminess is the ideal complement for any main dish.
Portions for the rib meals are colossal, enough to feed two. Prices are more than reasonable, considering the distinct flavorings and the time investment in preparing these racks. Barbecuing and smoking are culinary techniques better left to the pros and is worth every penny spent.
You can’t help but just dive right in with both hands to devour the protein. Ribs are one of those foods you can channel your inner primal nature and eat with your bare fingers. You won’t care if your mouth is dirty with sauce. Gnawing at the bones and scrapping for every last morsel of flesh is truly an enjoyable dining experience.
The Smoking Ribs serves up champion barbecue ribs that are surely one of the best kept secrets of the OC. As for the smoke that greets you at the door? Well, it latches onto you and your clothes for the duration of the day, reminding you of one of the best meals you have had in a while.