The Rib Trader
2710 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
If your not careful you could easily drive by The Rib Trader. The Rib Trader is tucked away on Chapman Avenue between a grocery store and a fishing tackle store. Taking the time find The Rib Trader will be worth it if you are looking for good BBQ at average prices. My only gripe is the interior design of the place, it reminds of an old theme restaurant from the 70s. It has an island theme to it that is old and tried. The staff was great and very attentive.
My daughter, as usual, order the child's cheese burger. My son ordered the half rack of beef ribs. My wife and I ordered the Trader Feast for two. This feast included onion rings to start, a large plate with baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, beef ribs, BBQ chicken, shrimp and fries. It also came with sides of BBQ beans and coleslaw. With drinks this entire meal was about $76.
Each meal got an order of corn bread to start. The corn bread was moist and sweet with a glaze of what I think was honey on top. The corn bread was still warm which melted the butter that is was served with to make a damn good start to the meal. The onion rings came out and they were served with BBQ sauce for dipping. The rings themselves had a nice crunchy outside that stuck to the onions. The onions were cooked but not soggy so the onion still had some bite to them. A very well done onion rings is always impressive to me, a good start overall.
What a shocker, the second week in a row I did not have to persuade my daughter to eat her food. She munched the burger down and continued with some fries. Then finished with the fruit. I asked if the burger was good and she simply nodded and tried to mumble yes with a mouth full of food.
My son grabbed his first rib by the bone and started eating almost as soon as the plate was placed in front of him. My son said the beef ribs were tasty, but the BBQ sauce was a bit too spicy for him. He did tear up his plate of food though, only leaving four beef bones behind plus some more from trying a couple ribs from feast my wife and I ordered.
I started the feast off with the baby back ribs since they were on top. These ribs were meaty and tender. There were five of these ribs served on this ginormous plate of food. The next rib on my attack list were St. Louis ribs which again had five on the plate. These ribs were a little less meaty but still tender. Both ribs had a nice chard taste to them that helped the BBQ sauce come through really nicely. I then went after some BBQ chicken. The dark meat on this chicken was moist but the white meat was dry. You can overcome the dryness of the white meat with a quick dunk in the extra BBQ sauce. Lastly I picked up a beef rib and start gnawing on that but the beef was not nearly as tender as the pork. The beef ribs had a very pronounced smokey flavor to them and they did require a bit of tearing to get the meat from the bone. It appeared to me that the same BBQ sauce was used on all the meat. This BBQ sauce started sweet and ended with some heat. After a meal of ribs and chicken my lips did burn slightly but nothing a chili head would even notice. My wife said the shrimp were good and the fries were nothing special. The side of orders were almost forgotten about because of the sheer amount of food that was in front us but they too were nothing special.
The Rib Trader treated my family well. The food was good, the portions were large but not too large and the prices were reasonable for a BBQ joint. Was this the best BBQ I have ever had? The answer would be no. Was this the worst BBQ I ever had? The answer would also be no. The BBQ at The Rib Trader is good, down the middle of the road kind of food. There were aspects of the meal that really stood out, like the baby back ribs, but then there were also some not so good parts, like the sides and the fries. I did end up leaving The Rib Trader happy but honestly not sure if is a restaurant I would actual return to simply because I think I can get a better whole meal somewhere else. If you do make it to The Rib Trader I would have to recommend you get the baby back ribs as those were easily the best ribs of the night.