Local barbecue kings Mark Coxwell and Rob Goodwin of Butcher Paper BBQ have opened their newest endeavor, Rob’s Ribs! Despite the name, this new barbecue joint will not offer ribs… just kidding. Read on for a Q&A with the pitmasters themselves. Just don’t read if you’re hungry!

AOT: Where did the name Rob’s Ribs come from? 

Mark: Rob’s Ribs started as an idea for a barbecue spot that focused on ribs and chicken. I knew I wanted Rob to be the general manager, but I decided on the name before I approached Rob with the idea because I liked the alliteration of the name and the focus on ribs. I knew that if I was ever afforded to open a restaurant with a built-in brick pit, that was the direction I wanted to go. I had no real intention of expanding so soon, but when I was approached with the opportunity to open in the old Mike and Ed’s building, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

AOT: When can we expect Rob’s Ribs to open?

Rob: As of right now we are shooting to open by mid-April, but that is subject to change. Follow us on social media for the most up-to-date information available. Our hours will be 6 a.m. – 12 a.m. serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a full bar with a late-night menu once we are in full swing. We may initially open with limited hours in the beginning with a plan to expand our hours.

AOT: What types of menu items can we expect?

Rob: We will have multiple options for ribs including pork spare, baby back ribs, and also beef ribs, which are a rarity in the area.

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We’re going to offer brisket made famous by Mark’s original restaurant, Butcher Paper BBQ, now an Opelika staple. It was an item we intended to run as a special at Rob’s Ribs, but as the request for Mark’s brisket poured in from curious and inquisitive patrons of Butcher Paper who live in Auburn, we decided to add it to the menu and offer it daily.

Not only will we have our unique smoked mac and cheese, but we will be offering fried “Mac balls,” unlike anything you’ve ever tried before.

Rob’s Ribs will also have a full bar featuring spirits from the local distillery, John Emerald Distilling Company, and we will have some drink specials to look out for.

With respect to food, we will have items Butcher Paper did not offer. Knowing Alex, our executive chef, he will be itching to introduce something new and delicious before too long.

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AOT: Okay, now our mouths are watering. What about special sauces?

Rob: Our sauces are made from scratch with a broad array of flavor profiles covering the primary sauces made for barbecue across the country. Our sauces are not copied from anyone, rather inspired and fine-tuned to create our own unique accent. Taking this route allows for better pairing with different items. Here is a breakdown of the sauces, their geographical origin of inspiration, and our recommendation for pairing (though when you find your favorite, you may not be interested in our recommendations):

Butcher Paper sauces:

  • Vinegar Sauce: North Carolina - Pork
  • Mustard Sauce: South Carolina - Sausage
  • Sweet Sauce: Kansas - Ribs
  • White Sauce: Alabama - Chicken
  • Spicy Sauce: Alabama - Brisket - Our own concoction which inspired Rob’s Ribs sauce selection

Rob’s Ribs sauces:

  • Mild: Like the spicy, without the spicy
  • Hot: Very similar to Butcher Paper’s spicy sauce
  • Mop: This sauce will have more of a vinegar kick and consistency than the other two 
  • White: Special blend of mayo, vinegar, horseradish, and special seasonings. It has a unique flavor profile of creamy, vinegary, and spicy. 

AOT: Tell us a little about Butcher Paper BBQ, the OG. 

Mark: Butcher Paper began in 2015 with a dream and a borrowed smoker. I had been cooking barbecue for a couple of years at home and decided I wanted to take a chance at making a career out of it. I borrowed a smoker and began serving at concerts, parties, and events. By 2016, I had built my first smoker, affectionately named Riker (after William T. Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation.) I began catering for events and then built the Butcher Paper food truck in 2017. When the building where my commissary was located became vacant, I took yet another chance and opened Butcher Paper in 2018.

The main difference between Butcher Paper and Rob’s Ribs is the smoker style. Butcher Paper uses hand-built tank smokers like you’d see in Texas, whereas Rob’s has a built-in pit, which is the standard for our area. These smokers are very different, and we will utilize the new pit to the fullest extent just as we have our smokers at Butcher Paper.

AOT: Thank you, guys! Anything you’d like to add?

Mark: The goal of Rob’s Ribs is to be a place that is unique to Auburn. Rob, Alex, and I all three have deep ties to Auburn and want to create a space where every member of the community feels welcome and all Auburn natives can be proud.


For more information about Rob’s Ribs, check out their website and follow them on social media for the latest updates. Want to join the team? Stop by the store to pick up an application. Rob’s Ribs is located at 307 North College Street in Auburn.

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