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Best ribs in Honolulu

Ed Morita goes on a quest to find the best ribs. Find out which spot made his top pick

Posted November 30, 2010 by Ed Morita

Honolulu's best ribs (1 of 11)

Honolulu's best ribs

By Ed Morita

With the triumphant return of the McRib at McDonald's, I got a hankering for barbecue ribs. But although there are hundreds of Honolulu restaurants with "BBQ" in their names, most don't serve real barbecue.

Whether it's Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina or Texas-style, good barbecue has three primary qualities — a smoky flavor from cooking with wood chips or sometimes charcoal; a great sauce; and fall-of-the-bone tenderness from slow cooking over indirect heat. With this in mind, I went on a quest to find the barbecue in town.


  1. Melissa808
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Daaaang, Ed! I’ve been waiting for this gallery to come out. How much were Joe Aloha’s ribs? I’ve been meaning to go there since the Quiksilver party, but now I guess I gotta wait some more because they’re gonna be crowded after this. Sad face.

  2. Ynaku
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Oh man *drool*

  3. NeilYamamoto
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Ed, you should also try Molly’s Smokehouse in Wahiawa… and my own smoked ribs… (I no goin’ charge you fo’ review mine) :o)

  4. Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    @Livefyre User and I were sitting in the Livefyre office just DROOLING over these pictures. Goodness gracious those ribs look amazing.

  5. 808marv
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    @Melissa808 Yeah I’ve been meaning to try Joe Aloha’s too ever since I saw a review of it on the Tasty Island blog but never got around to it yet. Like you said the secret’s out now. 7 bucks for those ribs is a bargain!

  6. Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Never had ribs for breakfast before… hmmmm Great post, Ed!

  7. DianeSeo
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Yeah, I was sold on those Joe Aloha’s ribs. I always see the truck, but there’s always a line at lunch, so I’ve never stopped by.

  8. Tutu
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Thank you for performing this much-needed community service and conducting such rigorous research. We will be putting your conclusions to good use.

  9. M
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Howzit Ed!
    I love BBQ ribs! I got to check out Joe Aloha catering.

  10. Melissa808
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 5:17 am

    @JMattHicks @Livefyre User I’m sad that I didn’t get to tag along with Ed on this quest. Sad face yet again.

  11. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    @NeilYamamoto I’ll be sure to give it a try and add it to the list if it’s up to snuff which from what I hear they are.

  12. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

    @Melissa808 7 dollah make you hollah! Comes with choice of sides and a phenomenal chicken noodle soup.

  13. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:45 am

    @M The coolest thing is if you get a chance to look in the smoker.

  14. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

    @Tutu Glad to have been a service.

  15. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:52 am

    @DianeSeo Stop by some time. you won’t regret it.

  16. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

    @johngarcia Well, technically, breakfast is the first meal of the day, so just sleep in until noon, and you’re lunch becomes breakfast.

  17. edmorita
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

    @Ynaku Agreed!

  18. nonstopmari
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:26 am

    u make ribs look sooo good. will have to try joe aloha’s. hoping the ribs will join carnitas and shoyu pork as one of my all-time fave ways to eat pork.

  19. macnut
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:34 am

    To a lot of BBQ purists, true BBQ is tender but does not fall of the bone. They call that overcooked. To me, so long as they are low and slow with a nice pink smoke ring and smoky taste (I prefer heavy smoke), I’m in heaven. Mahalo for making me all hungry ;)

  20. 808marv
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Has anyone tried the ribs at Pacific Soul? I will eventually, if I ever get past wanting the fried chicken and waffles lol. I was sitting in there yesterday with the sweet smell of BBQ sauce coming from another table as I was eating my kalbi tacos and wondered what their ribs must be like.

  21. Melissa808
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    @808marv Yes, I have:

  22. 808marv
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    @Melissa808 Holy fast response! Great review and pics of Pacific Soul, thanks. The ribs sound worth a try. Glad they were “fixed” for you!

  23. turkeyboy808
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    can’t wait to try them all!!

  24. harrycovair
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Ooohhh, fuud prom! I still like Molly’s, out in Wahiawa. I’ve driven from town to her place just to get some Ribs and Brisket. Smoked flavor and a very good sauce to accompany the meat.


About Ed Morita

Ed Morita spent more than a decade working as a pastry chef at some of the country's premiere resorts and restaurants, including the Halekulani Hotel, The Greenbrier Resort & Spa in West Virginia, Bay Harbor Yacht Club in Michigan and Longhi’s Restaurant in Honolulu. After a near-career-ending injury forced him out of the kitchen, he embarked on a new career as a food writer, photographer and blogger for Metromix Honolulu and Nonstop Honolulu (, where he now writes the Baker's Hours blog. He's also entered the realm of politics, serving as the photography captain for the Abercrombie for Governor campaign in 2010, then becoming Gov. Abercrombie's official photographer until 2012 when he became the Social Media Director for the Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate campaign. He's excited and honored to be the official blogger for the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. You can follow Ed's adventures online at

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