Rib choices

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by rob top, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. rob top

    rob top Newbie

    Today I stopped at my butcher to pick up a Boston butt and saw "tender loin ribs" these where meaty 6lbs racks. I had to get a couple.
    So the question is can someone either point me to a link or break it down for me. Types of ribs and the pros and cons (haha ribs having a con) of each cut
  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There are spare ribs that come from the side area. St. Louis ribs are spare ribs that have been trimmed of excess flaps of meat and bone.

    Baby back ribs come from above the spare ribs and are closer to the spine.

    A lot of folks say that the spare ribs and St. Louis ribs have less fat and more flavor. IMO, this is backwards. I always cook baby backs.

    The ones that I cook are Swifts Premium and I get them at Costco, 3 racks to a Cryovac. They are marked "baby loin back ribs", and I think that they have a little more of the loin meat left on them.

    I am not a butcher and I am waiting for a more professional person to answer this post, but I would make an amatuer guess that what you got may be like the ones that I get or maybe even with more of the loin on them. It will be interesting to get a professional opinion.

    Let's wait and see, Joe
  3. porknpuha

    porknpuha Smoke Blower

    I'm no butcher, but...............


    If we are referring to pork then assumption is as follows.

    The "tenderloin" muscle runs along the inside of the spine so these are highly likely baby back ribs.

    But .......... I would like to see if there is a secret 4th style/cut of pork ribs.
  4. cksteele

    cksteele Smoking Fanatic

     I dont think there are any cons other  then each cut is sized  different. spare ribs  are the biggest  with St Louis  then  backribs. So naturally cooking times vary, but also spare ribs take up more   space on a smoker, so if you have a small smoker  you might wanna go st louis  or baby backs.  if you're doing a large number for lets say a party  if your smoker  is small.

    As for taste  the big difference would be  the breed  of pig ive found  the ribs come from,  if they are from a commercial hog the flavour  will be rather neutral.  but if you go for a pig like a Berkshire or compart duroc  its a more flavourful  pork,  because they have better fat marbling  ive found then  the commercial  pork you get from  a chain grocery stores ,  but they are also more expensive  cuts and might not be available  in all areas.

    also it might be harder to get spare ribs  in your area  not all butchers or stores carry them so you may have to special order them from your butcher whereas  st louis  and baby backs  are generally in every grocery store  and butcher. ive walked into many shops asked if they have spare ribs only to have the people look at me as if i have horns coming out of my head 

    also one thing i keep a close eye on when  buying  ribs   is  how much meat they have on the top of them. If you look at the rack of ribs the meat  side  esp stlouis  or spares  at the grocer  and you see  bones aka  shiners... keep on walking dont buy them,  the butcher  has cut  too much meat off the top  of the ribs. You ideally want at least an 1/8- 1/4 of an inch  of meat covering the bones on the top of the ribs im kinda serious  about that.. ive pissed  off a few butchers  telling them   that they've  cut too much meat off  the  ribs  haha anyhow  hope it helps 

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016

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