Food Network named the best ribs in each state. Iowa's winner is just a short drive away.
BBQ pitmaster Phil Johnson shares what to look for when selecting ribs, steak and chicken. USA TODAY
Barbecue in Iowa isn't hard to find. And with almost 24 million pigs in Iowa, that's about 7.5 pigs per person in the state.
One could say, "Iowa has reached 'peak pig.'"
Meanwhile, in the Des Moines area, we have plenty of places to go for good "Q" to satisfy our cravings.
And a barbecue restaurant located about 30 minutes to the east was recently named as having the best ribs in the state by Food Network. Moo's BBQ at 1220 W. 18th Street S in Newton was chosen for Iowa.
"Owned and operated by Jeremy Biondi, Moo's BBQ, in Newton, is one of the most-sought-after spots for ribs in the entire state," Food Network wrote. "Customers rave about everything from the beef brisket to the pulled pork, but it's the smoked ribs, that fall off the bone, that sell out on the regular."
Moo's smokes its PrairieFresh Midwestern St. Louis-style ribs using cherry and hickory wood. That's after the ribs have been rubbed with Norwalk's own Big Guns Mr. Rub Flavor Enhancer seasoning blend. Moo's also adds its own secret spices to the base rub.
The ribs are smoked for about four or five hours until the tender meat comes away from the bone. Ribs are sold by the half or full rack.
On Saturdays, Moo's features a rib special - $19.95 for a full rack with two sides ($4 off regular price) until sold out.
And they do sell out.
"We normally smoke about fifty racks of ribs on Saturday mornings," Biondi said. "We do sell out because I can only smoke so much in a day."
Moo's BBQ opened in 2014 in downtown Newton on West Second Street. Moo's opened its second — and current — location closer to I-80 in 2016. After seven months, Biondi closed the downtown location and put all of his focus on the new one.
Last year, the Iowa Pork Producers Association announced Moo's BBQ as having the best pulled pork sandwich in the state, winning its 2018 Pulled Pork Madness contest.
Moo's BBQ, Burgers & Catering
Location: 1220 W. 18th St. S, Newton