Nothing compares to the rich flavor and meaty texture of well-cooked ribs. These tasty packages arrive in a wide variety of styles perfect as griller or slow-cooker on the smoker.
If you like to ripen with a dried rub or with a rich barbecue sauce you can find an ideal meal on the bone for most occasions.
We’ll discuss various cuts of ribs and how to prepare ribs like a champion pitmaster. No longer will you be in a meaty department and ask what it is like to be country! From St. Louis style spare ribs cut from the breast to baby back ribs from the middle section of pork belly – you are sure to find a perfect match.
As a major part of barbecue and grilling traditions around the globe! Ribs are one of the most popular dishes in various cuisines and on every grill master’s menu.
Let’s go over the different types of ribs including pork, beef, lamb, & venison.
9 Different Types of Ribs Including Pork, Beef, Lamb, & Venison
Types of Pork Ribs
Nowadays pork is considerably softer than it had been in some of the earlier generations. Pork ribs usually have less excess fat than beef ribs and a higher amount of protein per serving. However, they pack a significant wallop of fat relative to other cuttings of pork.
Overall pork ribs are usually the easiest types to prepare for novices. You also can find them all year round in grocery stores. They are ideal for both sweet and savory recipes and can be cooked easily either in smokers, grills, or ovens. You should check your recipe when making your pork ribs with the fat.
Pork ribs can be BBQed, braised, roasted, deep-fried, or stir-fried. These pork ribs also come with a variety of flavors – sweet, peppery, and simple. They often are very easy to prepare because they require little preparation before marinating or baking.
1. Pork Spare Ribs
Spare Ribs are the lowest section of ribs that span the belly towards where they are bound with the sternum. They are flattened and generally measured 6-8.5 inches wide and have a full rack of pork ribs including 11 to 13 ribs. The meat contained in the spare ribs is a bit stiffer and they contain less muscle and a stronger girth to them than back rib muscles do.
Similar to baby back ribs longer braiding or cooking it in a smoker a grill or an oven will leave the meat tender and succulent. Spruce is the name of a breed of animals made of spare rib meat. Spare ribs are generally cooked with low direct heat by smoking or grilling especially to caramelize their natural sugars and tenderize them. There is no doubt that spare ribs are a great cost-effective and flavorful treat.
How to Cook Pork Spare Ribs:
In the raw state pork spare ribs can be stored for three months if left unrefrigerated at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Spare Ribs can be cooked in a variety of ways from grilling and smoking to baking.
The easiest way is to bake it in the oven at 350 degrees F for one hour covered with aluminum foil. Then remove the foil and continue baking it for another 30 minutes or until tender and brown in color. The only seasoning that is needed for this method is a little salt and pepper. Make sure to use lean meat when cooking spare ribs so that they don’t get overly greasy when cooking them.
2. Pork Baby Back Ribs
Pork baby back ribs (also called baby ribs) come from high on the back of the meat where it meets the backbones. It’s the baby back ribs found in boned pork belly rib skews but shaved to create boneless pork loin. The reason is that pork ribs contain very much cartilage and connective tissue that needs time and a little heat to get tender and juicy.
A piece of back ribs normally offers about 8 to 13 ribs. They are typically cut into three to six inches long. You’ll notice they are somewhat curved. This is because they are part of the backbones, which are shaped like an S. With this shape and high-fat content, baby back ribs tend to be fatty with white connective tissue running through them.
For tougher cuts of meat such as pork ribs, slow cooking allows them to get tender without drying out.
How to Cook Pork Baby Back Ribs:
Pork baby back ribs can be cooked using various methods such as roasting, baking, or even steaming. Roasted bone-in baby back ribs take about thirty minutes or more to cook, while pork ribs and other meaty short ribs take only a matter of minutes. But that’s fine because they’re already tender and juicy.
No need to add anything extra if you’ve got the time and patience. Just season it with salt and pepper, keep the oven temperature at 325 degrees F, sprinkle some aromatic herbs on it (leave them for fifteen minutes) then cook your baby back ribs until tender and juicy.
3. Pork “Country Style Ribs”
Country-style pork ribs are pork rib chops from loin meat removed towards the shoulder blade. The rib skeleton includes an enclosed rib joint, and the accompanying meat, as well as an enclosed part of the backbone. Sometimes the country-style pork ribs are taken from the Boston butt, a cross-section of shoulder blade bones.
Sometimes you can see pieces of loin up to the Sirloin ends labeled country-style ribs. The country-style pork ribs are simply long strips of loin muscles that are accompanied along with the meat.
If the meat, after being separated from the rib bone is about 1 inch thick, it becomes country-style ribs. Sometimes the boneless country-style ribs are labeled as “resting on the bones”, which meets USDA criteria for labeling.
Boneless country-style ribs are very popular in the southern states of America, and they also come from South Carolina. Country-style ribs are also called pork rib chops without rib tips because they do not include rib tips, and the small end of the backbone is cut off.
Also read: How Much Pulled Pork Per Person?
How to Cook Pork “Country Style Ribs”:
Country-style ribs are often stewed for several hours on a stovetop or baked in an oven at low heat. This can be done in the oven at 250 to 300 degrees F for three or four hours with occasional basting until tender while adding liquid as needed.
Country-style ribs are also often served with a sauce, such as a barbecue or gravy. They can be braised in barbecue sauce or wine, but the flavor of barbecue is usually enhanced by low heat for a long time. Basting occasionally is sufficient to prevent drying. To cook the mustard country-style ribs are usually grilled over charcoal and barbecued.
Sometimes the country-style ribs are smoked before cooking. The pork ribs can be grilled over charcoal, either chopped or whole on a metal grate so that they typically fall apart into smaller pieces. When grilling, it is desirable to have meaty bones because the meat will shrink away from rib bone shape during cooking at temperatures of 200 to 250 F.
4. St. Louis Style Ribs
St. Louis Style Ribs include alternative cuts removing the beef’s bones. This means the rack trimmer is removed from his end. A knot of the side is rarely covered. It produces – in terms of weight – a single rack of St. Louis Style ribs is 3 1/2lb or less.
Preparation is similar to regular ribs with emphasis shifted to trimming cartilage and removing membrane to get more weight out of the Louis Style Ribs.
The weight is called “3 and 2,” which says the rack is 3/2lbs or less than its ribs that weighing 3.5 pounds or 3.2 pounds. They should be described as flat, covered with bone, and large. The number of bones varies from one to five, depending on the butcher and what is being served.
How to Cook St. Louis Style Ribs:
It takes about an hour to prepare them for a conventional smoker, but they can take longer if the smoker temperature does not go above 225 degrees F. There are two ways to cook St. Louis Style Ribs with a standard grill or oven: indirect heat and direct heat.
Indirect Grilling is one of the most popular methods for preparing these Louis Style Ribs, and there are several ways to make it work. With this method, the ribs are placed on a foil-lined baking sheet. The foil is then wrapped around them to make a kind of protective shell that helps keep in the moisture and heat necessary for slow cooking.
A drip pan can be set under them so they do not lose any fat or juices to the ground below.
Types of Beef Ribs
Beef ribs are the perfect cut for BBQ. They’re meaty, tender, and incredibly difficult to mess up if cooked properly on a grill or smoker.
Beef Ribs are one of those cuts of meat that most people don’t know about because they can be really tough and chewy when not prepared correctly. But, these guys have it made in life being such an easy meal to prepare with virtually no risk of anything going wrong!
Because of its size and the fact that it is not an expensive cut, beef ribs are perfect for BBQ because they make big portions. You could get 20-30 people in a single rack of ribs which makes them great if you’re having a bunch of friends around or need to feed a small army!
Beef Ribs can be grilled, smoked, or baked and this guide will walk you through the various methods while teaching you a couple of tricks about cooking beef ribs.
5. Beef Baby Back Ribs
Beef back ribs are typically meaty and very enjoyable to eat. It’s mainly rib bone and fat in practice, with a little fat and cartilage. Meatpackers and butchers aim to keep as little meat on beef ribs as possible as beef ribeye steaks and Prime rib meat are among beef’s most profitable cuts every pound.
Beef-cut rib meat generally ends up on ground beef since they are generally less popular compared with some that come from the primitive rib. The bones here involve the ribeye steaks cured for ribeye and meat from whole carcasses of ribeye.
Baby Back Beef ribs are thin-cut--about 0.75 inches thick--usually from the rib section of the animal. They consist of 4 bones and are very meaty with a lot of cartilage which is good for a slow cooker since it would otherwise get too tough if cooked by other methods.
How to Cook Baby Back Beef Ribs:
To have a tender braise, beef ribs should be slow-cooked at low temperatures, no higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to cook beef ribs is on a charcoal grill over indirect heat. Brush the beef ribs with sauce and put them on the grill for about an hour, turning once after 30 minutes. Then I baste them again with sauce and turn the temperature down to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let them finish cooking-usually another hour.
6. Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs are the meatiest part of the rib primal and as such, are very well marbled with fat. When cooked correctly they can be wonderful lean meat of beef for those who love their flavor but not the fattiness that comes with them; effectively a prime rib roast without the bones and gristle.
Beef short ribs come from the plate primal and are cut into three different categories: English Style Beef Short Ribs, Western Style Beef Short Ribs, and Flanked Style Beef Short Ribs.
How to Cook Beef Short Ribs:
The two easiest ways to prepare beef short ribs are the slow and long way or the quick and hard way.
The slow cooking method is braising them for 2-3 hours at around 250 degrees while quick and hard involves searing the short ribs on all sides in a hot pan then finishing in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, just enough time to get some color before they’re finished cooking.
Both of these methods work but the quick and hard way is better suited for dishes like crock-pot short ribs tacos or kalbi beef ribs.
7. Flanked Style Ribs
Flanked-style ribs are a cut that comes from the rib primal when the loin and brisket primal are separated. The flanked cut is smaller than a full sparerib in terms of weight but can be used similarly to spareribs.
They are meaty because they are closer to the most popular muscles in the steer, the rib, and the loin. They are also more tender than full spareribs because they are from younger animals, where the connective tissue is not as strong.
How to Cook Flanked Style Ribs:
After marinating, the flanked-style ribs can either be roasted or grilled over high heat; cooking times will differ depending on whether you choose roasting or grilling. This type of rib can be cooked on an open grill or in a special roasting bag; either method will produce delicious results, but the ribs should never be baked.
We have a great article on “How to Grill a Steak Perfectly” if you love grilling!
8. Lamb Ribs
Lamb’s ribs are types of meat that you will find in many restaurants. From fine dining to fast food, they are usually the types of ribs that can be prepared quickly and with only a small amount of preparation. There are several types of Lamb Ribs available for those who wish to prepare this type of dish at home.
How to Cook Lamb Ribs:
Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes per pound of meat. Place each rack into a roasting pan that is filled with 2 inches of water. Do not cover the roasting pans with any types of lids or tins/foil.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for an additional 1 hour, or until the meat can be easily removed from bones (if desired). Remove foil once the ribs are done cooking, and brush them with extra virgin olive oil and seasonings of your choice.
Place back into the oven on broil setting for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, keeping a watchful eye on them so they are not burnt.
9. Venison Ribs
Venison ribs or venison back ribs are a relative of pork ribs. They both originate from the part of the deer/elk corresponding to an area near and behind a pig’s front legs. The difference is that venison ribs come from animals such as deer, moose, elk, and antelope (deer are most common), while pork ribs come from hogs.
The meat is tender and lean, and the animal’s muscles do not have to work as hard compared with a four-legged mammal such as a cow, so they contain less fat than beef ribs. In some types of game such as deer, venison ribs can be very tender and can be eaten almost like baby back ribs.
How to Cook Venison Ribs:
To cook Venison ribs properly, you need a slow cooker. Venison should never be grilled, as it has very little fat and will dry out very fast. The best way to cook Venison ribs is slow cooking in a slow cooker on low with just a little water, after coating the Venison with salt, pepper, and brown sugar.
You can also smoke venison ribs for a delicious flavor! Venison does not have the same internal structure as pork or beef, so it does not benefit from being smoke-cooked. Venison ribs will become tough and lose some of their moisture if they are smoked for too long. Very little time is needed to smoke Venison ribs, as 20 minutes with cherry wood chips on a gas or electric smoker should do the job nicely.
Check out 5 Best Vertical Pellet Smokers [Buyers Guide 2021] for a more in-depth review of our favorite smokers!
Best Smoker To Cook Ribs
For more info on pellet grills, check out our article “The Best Pellet Smokers”.
It’s not always easy to know what types of ribs to buy. We hope this article has helped you learn more about the various cuts available, as well as how best to cook ribs in your own kitchen.
Remember that we’re here for you if you have any further questions, we want all our customers cooking like champions! So jump into your nearest grocery store and start experimenting with some new recipes today!
We know that not everyone can make their own BBQ, but if you are in a position to do so, we highly recommend it! You don’t have to be a professional Pitmaster to enjoy high-quality meat. Whether you prefer them smoked or grilled, sauced or dry-rubbed, there’s a cut of a rib out there for you.
Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration and ideas on how to get the most from what can sometimes be a confusing process.
Check out our article 25 Essential Grilling Tips That Will Make You A Grill Master, it’s full of great tips for beginner and master grillers alike to navigate the barbecue world!