Reviewed by: Mike Nasi (Austin, Texas)
Beef Ribs - 9.85
I may be too emotionally connected to give an unbiased assessment of the ribs, but I have long been convinced (like 20 years long) that Iron Works has the best beef ribs within the City Limits of Austin (and competes well state-wide). My emotional connection originates from the fact that I have been eating there for two decades and the sheer size of their ribs brings a manly-man smile to my face. It is like stepping into a Flintstones cartoon and sitting down with Fred and Barney to chow down on some kind of dinosaur leg. Simply awesome. Beyond the size, it is the texture of their ribs and the fact that they don't try to do too much to spice or flavor them. It is all meat, baby. And if you like the way quality beef tastes, you will like these ribs. In fact, I would probably rank them close to a "10" if it weren't for the fact that, sometimes, I feel like I am eating a pot roast on a stick because they can come off as "too straightforward" if you know what I mean. That is quickly solved by their sauce, which I generally try to steer clear of when eating BBQ.
Sides - 8.15
I jump to sides because, other than a couple of samples of other folks' plates, I don't ever remember eating any other meat than beef ribs. As for the sides, they have standard quality beans/slaw/potato salad and some decent green beans. Nothing special, but worth plate real estate to balance out the meal.
Overall - 9.25
Because Iron Work is another rare downtown quality BBQ joint, I give them points for location. Although they have some patio seating and I have had some good meals out there, the view of Waller Creek can be a bit scary depending upon how many diapers, beer cans, and milk cartons you can see on the banks of the creek. I cannot give a fair assessment of Iron Works on food because I never order anything but their beef ribs because they are better than any other place in Austin City Limits. I also don't think they can compete with the experience at Lambert's (although they are cheaper, so I don't hold that against them too much).