Back when I was a country DJ, we used to do something called “the Rossi roundtable”, where a bunch of contestants would win a chance to sit with me and other contestants eating ribs at the Colorado Café in Watchung.

Phoenominal ribs. Meat that would just fall off the bone right into your mouth.

So with that in mind, and knowing how any good rib cook worth his salt would feel about his (or her) ribs; where in Jersey do you find the best ones; and in which part: North, Central, or South Jersey?

According to this:

Dewey Johnson has made old-fashioned pit-cooked pork ribs for 62 of his 77 years.
“I had to do it, I was the oldest boy in the family,” he says of his clan, which held reunions where 100 to 150 people turned out to eat kettle-fried fish and barbecued chicken.

But most of all the family came out to eat racks and racks of ribs.

He’s been at it professionally for the past 17 years at his on-the-way-to-the-shore location, Uncle Dewey’s Outdoor BBQ Pavilion in Mizpah, at mile marker 40 on Route 40.

A retired textile workers union official, he grew up right next door to where he built his “retirement” business.

His pit can handle 96 slabs at a time and still have room for cooking the rest of his menu.

Not too far away, Doug Henri, 58, who grew up in Willingboro, smokes baby back ribs at Henri’s “Hotts” Barbeque, 1003 Black Horse Pike in Folsom, another route-to-the-shore roadway.

Henri, who gave cooking a shot after retiring from a career in law enforcement in Florida said…“My father loved doing ribs and I liked hanging out in the kitchen with my mom and grandmom,” Cooking had started as a hobby, morphed into catering and soon became a restaurant.

Johnson and Henri are willing to share cooking tips — up to a point — but neither wants to disclose the details of his sauces.

Johnson makes his own barbecue sauces in two styles — one sweet and one based on vinegar — 25 gallons at a time, from mostly fresh ingredients. Each batch takes about half a day to concoct and, given his time investment, he’s holding tight to those formulations.

Henri also makes two sauces, one sweet — “That’s what everyone wants” — and the other a vinegar-based sauce that isn’t as popular, except among folks avoiding gluten.

But here’s the thing: The sauce is secondary, applied at the end, after both men’s ribs are finished and off the fire. So it’s easy to either buy or concoct your own sauce to suit your own tastes.

I was always told that the rub’s the thing, followed by how you barbeque them and the type of charcoal you use.

I remember there was this place somewhere down around Atco where some friends of mine at the time took my wife and I to, which they swore made the best ribs in Jersey.

The guy there, as I remember, was doing it as a hobby.

The place was a threadbare as you can imagine, but the ribs?

Out of this world.

So who has Jersey’s best, and which region can boast having the best.

Where do you find the best ribs in Jersey?