Photograph by Ryan Kurtz
This is not your typical rib shack. The Northern Kentucky institution, run for 50 years by Bill Melton, closed in 2010 only to rise, Phoenix-like, in April 2013. The atmosphere is more white-tablecloth than picnic and the small smokehouse in the parking lot lets you preview your dinner upon arrival. Hefty racks hang over an oak and cherry wood fire, basking in flavor. Just before being finished in the oven, the ribs are painted with a coat of the sweet tomato-based sauce (a secret recipe, natch). Juicy without being fatty, and substantial without being tough, these ribs are bound for the winner’s circle. Don’t bother with the sandwiches—all arrive on industrial Kaiser buns that wound up soggy. Instead, pair your ribs with the half smoked chicken. Tucked under crisped skin, the succulent meat is enhanced by the subtle clove and allspice in the secret sauce. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
3300 Madison Pike, Ft. Wright, (859) 360-2222, waltshitchingpost.com