Morganfield's Morgan's rib sampler | Photo: Gregeory Leow
Happy Independence Day to our American readers! We may not have fireworks (banned, sorry) or a public holiday for an afternoon by the grill, but we do have slices of good ol’ Americana to offer in our cosmopolitan city. Here are our top places for American-style ribs in Singapore so you don’t have to break a sweat for a celebratory homerun:
Dallas Restaurant & Bar
Spiced, fall-off-the-bone ribs
This part alfresco eating and drinking spot decorated in shades of red and black counts quality slow cooked ribs as one of its mainstays. Choose between the ‘fiery’ or ‘berri’ (‘cranberry’) barbecued baby back pork ribs (half slab $30.42; full slab $44.46). The much-raved-about former is spicy, but not so hot that it kills the rest of the spices (read: American-spicy, not Asian-spicy). The meat also falls off the bone easily, and sides of red cabbage slaw and potato wedges are as well done as they can be. Fortunately for us — and our svelte figures — this plate isn’t Texas-sized. That said, the half-slab is plenty.
Dallas Restaurant & Bar | Address: 31 Boat Quay | Tel: 65322131 | Opening hours: Daily 11am-midnight
Hard Rock Café
Tennessee-style ribs in hickory-smoked sauce
This rockin’ joint has been faithfully serving American cuisine to both Singaporeans and expats for more than 20 years. Its Tennessee-style ribs (full slab only, $32++) — like its burgers and fajitas — are constant hot orders, and the secret to their popularity is a special hickory-smoked sauce. The ribs are painstakingly rubbed and basted with the sauce until it gets to the rich artery-clogging goodness we all crave. Pair that with their seasoned chunky, golden fries, ranch beans and fresh coleslaw, and the star-spangled banner goes a-wavin’.
Book a table | Address: #02/03-01 HPL House, 50 Cuscaden Road | Opening hours: Tue–Thu & Sun 11am–1am; Fri, Sat & Mon 11am–2am
Jerry’s Barbecue & Grill
Slow-smoked Memphis ribs with special BBQ sauce
In-keeping with the Memphis barbecue tradition, only hickory-treated wood is used in the slow, smoking process used to produce the tender, moist, flavourful rack Jerry’s Barbecue & Grill is known for. Even better, the smoked ribs are dressed (not slathered) with Jerry’s special barbeque sauce — a generous heap of sauce that magically enhances instead of overshadowing the ribs. Choose between a half slab ($21.95) and full slab ($32.95) — both are served with crisp fat fries and vegetables. For the same price, you can get the whole American hog, plus chicken, with the Ribs and Chicken combo ($32.95). The accompanying corn was a little mushy at our time of visit, but that’s not what you’re really here for.
Jerry’s Barbecue & Grill | Address: 92 Club Street | Tel: 63234550 | Opening hours: Daily noon–10pm
|For sweeter celebrations: 5 American-style pancakes|
The ribs at Smokey's BBQ & Grill | Photo: Smokey's BBQ & Grill
Smokey’s BBQ & Grill
Ribs so comforting, you don't need an air ticket home
If you’re looking for a no-frills, fuss-free dining experience with only good food on the menu, Smokey’s BBQ & Grill is for you. Marinated by a secret dry rub that is tangy but not overwhelmingly so, the fresh baby back rib meat (half slab $26; full slab $37) soak up the special homemade BBQ sauce like a sponge. These perfectly-barbecued ribs are different from the rest on this list, the meat doesn't just drop off the bone, it’s requires just a nibble. The sides are also must-haves: hand-cut fries that are crisp on the outside, and holds an almost molten texture, while the coleslaw is a refreshing complement to the rich ribs. Like at home, portions are massive here.
Book a table | Address: 73 Joo Chiat Place | Tel: 63456914 | Opening hours: Daily 4.30-11pm
Cult-followed ribs with four signature sauces
Tony Roma’s has been a bastion of American food in Singapore since 1972. It’s no surprise that their baked-then-grilled ribs have gained a cult following: the baby back slab (half $24.90; regular $34.90; full $38.90) is chunky, meaty and juicy, yet tender. Don’t waste your time on the sides — the accompanying mash was dry and the slaw a little too salty during our last meal. Instead, jump straight into the St Louis Rib Sampler (lower ribs, half $22.90; regular $32.90; full $36.90) — your choice of size served with three different sauces — the Carolina Honeys, Tony Roma’s Red Hots and Maker’s Mark Bourbon BBQ.
Tony Roma’s | Address: #B1-021 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard | Tel: 63379055 | Opening hours: Mon–Fri 11.30am–10pm; Sat & Sun 11.30am–11pm
CRITIC'S PICK Morganfield's
Good ribs, even its bones are edible
There’s fall-off-the-bone and there’s fall-right-off-the bone. That – in essence – sums up the signature dish (Sticky Bones, half $26.90; full $39.90) at this American-style joint which originated in Malaysia and opened up in Singapore in 2012. The pork ribs are slow-cooked and smoked. They are then braised for four hours before being chilled. A quick char-broil completes the cooking process. The resulting meat is bordering on being too tender, the cartilage takes on a gelatinous quality and the bone is soft enough to chew on (if you’re into that sort of thing). In short, superb. Like most American–style joints, the atmosphere is relaxed and boisterous. Piped blues music from the 1950s and 60s pipes completes the experience.
Morganfield’s | Address: 1 Vista Exchange Green #02-23 The Star Vista | Tel: 66694 3635 | Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10:30pm, Fri 11am-12am