Buying pork ribs isn’t a walk in the park. If you don’t buy pork often, you might find yourself baffled when you read about the different cuts of meat.
Do you like your ribs lean or fatty? What are you going to use the ribs for? What size of meat do you want? These are just some of the questions that you need to answer
Afraid that you will look ignorant? No need to worry! We got you covered! Keep on reading and we’ll talk about spareribs vs baby back ribs. These are two common cuts of pork, so it pays to know their differences and similarities.
What You Should Know About Spareribs
Let’s start by talking about spareribs. It is also known as side ribs. This is derived from the belly section of the pig, which is the same part from where bacon is from. It is the part that remains after bacon is taken out, which is why it is called spareribs.
A full slab of this rib part has eleven ribs. In most cases, when you buy spareribs, it still comes attached with the costal cartilage, flap, and sternum. If the latter is removed, this is now called the St. Louis cut.
Spareribs have straighter, flatter, and longer bones compared to what you will usually find in baby back ribs. It usually has more bone compared to meat, so this is the cheaper option.
Normally, the average weight is three pounds, which can feed two people.
What You Should Know About Baby Back Ribs
Now, let’s talk about baby back ribs. Also called baby backs or loin ribs, they are derived from the back part of the pig. This is the part that runs along the spine, which is where the pork chops are from.
Baby back ribs are often more expensive compared to spareribs. This is because it contains more pork loin still attached to the bone. This is as against spareribs when a lot of the meat has already been taken out to be used for bacon.
A slab of baby back ribs has eight ribs. This is smaller than a normal slab of spareribs, but there is more pork loin, which is perhaps why it is more expensive.
The normal weight is two pounds, and it can normally feed one person.
Choosing Spareribs and Baby Back Ribs
While there are differences between spareribs vs baby back ribs, the considerations when buying the meat will be the same.
One of the most important is the meat coverage, which will also dictate value for money. Logically, you should choose one that comes with more meat compared to bones.
You should also avoid shiners. This is a term that refers to slabs where the meat is cut too close to the bone. There is a tendency that the meat will fall off the rack when cooking, which will ruin its presentation.
If possible, avoid buying frozen ribs. You won’t have a clear picture of the meat to bone ratio and this can also affect the quality. It is always best to choose fresh meat.
The color of the ribs is another important consideration when you are buying meat. It should be light and must look fresh. If it looks too dark or aged, reject the meat. This can also be an indication that the meat will be tough when cooked.
How to Cook Spareribs and Baby Back Ribs
Before we conclude this short article, let’s talk about some of the best ways to cook these two ribs. They may have differences but cooking them will be the same. Personal preferences will also be crucial in choosing the cooking methods and flavorings that you will use for the pork ribs.
The most popular way of cooking spareribs and baby back ribs is through grilling. One of the most important is the dry rub, which will dictate much of the flavor of the meat. Herbs, spices, sugar, salt, and pepper are commonly used. The fat outside the ribs will melt on the grill, and it will be more flavorful because of the dry rub that you will be using.
Also, when grilling pork ribs, do it on the cool zone of the grill. It is also a good practice to brush it with sauce on the top. Do not wait for grilling to be finished. Do it while grilling and the flavors will cling better. However, be careful with sauces. A little goes a long way. Especially if you have premium meat, it is the flavor of the meat that should stand out and not the taste of the sauce.
Before you start cooking, make sure that you oil the grill. This will lubricate the surface, which will prevent the meat from sticking to the grate. Also, make sure that the grill is clean. Dirt can ruin the flavor of your ribs. Not to mention, it is unhygienic!
While you are grilling the ribs, make sure to keep an eye on your meat. It will be good if you have a food thermometer so that you can check the heat depending on what a specific recipe requires. Also, avoid turning the meat every now and then. Wait for one side to fully cook before you turn it.
When you are flipping the ribs, use tongs. Some people use fork, but this is one practice that you need to avoid. Using fork will poke the meat, and in turn, this can also result in the loss of flavor.
By now, we hope that the difference between spareribs vs baby back ribs is clearer. While they are both from the ribs of pork, they are from different parts. Spareribs are from the belly while baby back ribs are from the spine. Spareribs will weigh approximately three pounds while a baby back ribs will be two pounds on average. There will be more meat in baby back ribs, which is also what makes it more expensive compared to the price of spareribs.