Tutorial on Pork Ribs Cuts

Tutorial on Pork Ribs Cuts


Baby Back Ribs:   The most popular of all pork ribs, Baby Backs are the most lean and tender.  These types of ribs are located at the top part of the rib bone that is connected to the spine (backbone), just below the loin muscle.  The name “Baby” is derived from the fact they are shorter than spare ribs, and “Back”, because they are nearest the backbone.

Butchers make Baby Back Ribs by cutting them where the longest bone is, around 6″ from the spine.  The meat on top of the bones is tender and delicious.  Depending on how they are butchered, Baby Back Rib racks weigh about 1.75-2.5 lbs and will normally have between 10-13 bones per rack.  Baby Backs can be grilled, barbecued, roasted and smoked. They are typical to the northern region of the U.S. and Canada.

Spare Ribs: Rib starts from the end of Baby Back Ribs and extends to the end of the rib bone.  Spare Ribs are bigger with more meat between the bones than the top of the bones
and are a little tougher and fatter, but much richer in flavor.  Spare Ribs average 10-13 bones per rack weighing between 2.5 – 3.5 lbs. They can also be grilled, barbecued, roasted and smoked.

St. Louis Ribs in the St. Louis area who wanted a better rib cut than they were receiving from big meat packers at the time.  St. Louis Ribs, or St. Louis Style Ribs are Spare Ribs with the rib tips cut off where a lot of cartilage and gristle exists with very little meat.  “Pork Ribs, St. Louis Style” officially became an official USDA cut standard NAMP/IMPS #416A in the 1980’s. Spare Ribs and St. Louis Style Spare Ribs are found on grills and smokers in the southern states of the U.S.



Rib Tips   Rib Tips are found at the end tips of the rib bone. They are the by-products of St. Louis Ribs where butchers cut the tips off the end of the ribs into strips with a saw. Even with little meat and a lot of cartilage and gristle, Tips are rich in flavor due to the presence of bone and higher fat content.  People generally either love them or hate them.



Country-Style Ribs   You may be surprised to know that Country-style Ribs are not cut from the rib cage but from the front end of where the Baby Back Ribs are near the shoulder blade.  They are the meatiest variety of ribs and are perfect for those who prefer to use a knife and fork rather than eating with their hands.

Rib Chops & Roasts:  Bones are also used in other types of butcher cuts.  Rib Chops are produced where the loin meat is kept attached to the bone and portion cut into a chop.  The end of the rib bone can also be exposed to create a “French Cut” Rib Chop.  A Crown Roast is created when instead of cutting the loin into chops, it’s formed into a circle and tied to look like a crown.  Crown style roasts are seasonal holiday favorites.




Three Little Pig’s  BBQ Championship Ribs

 Simple No-wrap Memphis dry rib recipe






DIRECTIONS · Heat Smoker 250 degrees using Good-One Natural Lump Charcoal, add 2 chunks of either apple or cherry flavor wood once the charcoal is ready to go. ·Select (4) Slabs of Pork Ribs, Strip membrane off back of each rib to guarantee tenderness. Liberally coat yellow mustard over both sides of the baby back rib, this will act as a tenderizer and a bonding agent for the rub. · Meanwhile, coat both sides of the ribs with the Three Little Pig’s rubs. · Place ribs in a vertical rib rack for 4-5 hours depending on your smoker, ½ ways through the cook rotate the 180 degrees in the rack this will guarantee an even cook. · Once the meat has pulled back from the bones, use a toothpick to check tenderness. · Remove from Rack and place flat on the smoker and apply a light coat of Three Little Pig’s Touch of Cherry rub to finish.



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14 Responses to Tutorial on Pork Ribs Cuts

  1. Veronica says:

    Do ribs have small bones I bought some and the where long and thin with small bones looking like a snake

    • chris says:

      Veronica, depends on what style you get and how the butcher cuts them. Standard USA bought ribs should hva about a 1/4 inch bone width.

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  3. George says:

    When grilling ribs, how much tougher are spare ribs than baby back ribs? Is it practical to grill spare ribs? Thanks.

  4. Sharon says:

    This was an awesome read. Thank you, it really helps the newbies…

  5. Wes says:

    What other cut would you get from where the country slyle ribs come from?

    • chris says:

      Wes, The meat on the button ribs consists of meat that covers each button and connects them together. Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They are meatier than other rib cuts. They contain no rib bones, but instead contain parts of the shoulder blade (scapula).


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  7. Jim McHugh says:

    Thanks for the instruction, LOL I’m happy to know I’ve been doing it correctly for the most part. it’s the finishing that I have trouble with, knowing when to pull them out of the smoker. Too long to dry, not soon enough not melted enough. I promise I will keep practicing until I get it perfect!

    • chris says:

      Use a simple method to test for doneness, I flip the ribs over and use a set of thongs and lift the ribs o see if the meat is seperating from
      the bone. Once I see the bone it is time, they will not be falling off the bone but a good bite not to soft.

  8. Terry Boles says:

    I would like for you to send me some rib tips from a pig let me know how do you do that but it seems I can’t buy them at food Lion anymore


    • chris says:

      Terr, Ribs tips come from the chine bone of the spare ribs, buy a full rack of ribs and split the chine bone off and those are your tips.

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