Types of Pork Ribs Explained

There is the pork, beef, and lamb meaning we have different types of ribs so, in this guide, you will have the types of pork ribs explained to you.

The types of ribs are not limited to the ones mentioned above as we still have the wild games ribs amongst many others.

Types of Pork Ribs Explained

But, amongst the types of ribs we have, pork is the most popular of them all and, an interesting fact about all this is that we still have different types of pork ribs.

So, in this guide, we will be looking into the various types of pork ribs and also their differences.

Types of Pork Ribs

You should know as it’s a very important piece of information that not all pork ribs are made equally.

And, the mistake many people make is that they are not aware of the fact that there are many types of pork rib cuts.

Having the knowledge and understanding of the different types of pork ribs and how the cut differs is something that will improve your barbecue game and help you become an expert in the art of cooking ribs.

The meat on the bone of the different types of pork ribs varies and so is the shape they come in.

Some pork ribs are best compatible for smoking and cooking low and slow compared to others.

So, simply put, every rib cut possesses some special qualities and dissimilarities which will all be included in this guide.

The 4 Main Types of Pork Ribs

As mentioned above, there are various types of pork ribs but, I will be discussing the 4 main types of pork ribs that you have a higher chance of getting at your local butcher or in a supermarket.

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The 4 main types of pork ribs that we will be discussing in this guide include;

  • Spare ribs
  • Baby back ribs or loin ribs
  • St. Louis ribs
  • Rib tips

You can differentiate the different types of pork ribs by the way they are trimmed and also by the particular part they have been cut from.

And, as said earlier, not pork ribs are equal and you should know for sure that the way to prepare and cook them will differ.

Spare Ribs

The first on my list here is the spare ribs which is one of the types of pork ribs that is gotten from the side of a pig, right after the baby’s back ribs.

Reaching down to the breastbone of a pig is what is commonly referred to as “spares” or “side ribs”.

How to Differentiate Spare Ribs

Bone – The spares are quite flatter and straighter in comparison to the baby back ribs.

Marrow – The spares have visible marrow at one end.

Cartilage – The spares have their cartilage on the opposite end of the rib.

Flavor – In comparison to other types of pork ribs, spare ribs are the richest and the most delicious.

Baby Back Ribs or Loin Ribs

Baby back ribs are given their name because they are the smallest compared to other rib cuts.

And, they can be found at the very front of the rib cage. They are also commonly referred to as “back pork ribs” or “loin back ribs” as they are connected to the backbone of a pig.

How to Differentiate Baby Back Ribs

Length – It is normally 3 inches to 6 inches for the length of the baby back ribs which always bend at the point the rib joins the spine.

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Softness – In comparison to the spare ribs, the baby back ribs are softer.

St. Louis Style Ribs

Generally, St. Louis cut ribs are spare ribs, all you just need to do is to trim them a little bit more.

This cut is neat and it is particularly used in competition circuits, compared to the spares, St. Louis cut ribs have much more meat although lesser cartilage especially after it has been trimmed off.

How to Differentiate St. Louis Ribs

Length – in comparison with the baby backs, St. Louis cut is longer although shorter compared to full spares.

Availability – This cut is not something you can just find at any butcher or in any supermarket because it is regarded as a “specialty” item.

Rib Tips

The small bones and cartilage that are linking the front ribs to the breastbone are known as “Rib tips”.

To get the rib tips, all you need to do is cut up St. Louis ribs and slice the tips from the lower ends.

The rib tips are also commonly referred to as the brisket of the pork and most times, they are confused for the riblets although the riblets are not ribs in any way.

Generally, the ribs are regarded as waste but, fortunately, they are coming back into the rib world slowly.

How to Differentiate a Rib Tip

Length – The length of a rib tip is around 8 inches to 12 inches long and it is 3 inches wide for its width.

Texture – As a result of the presence of the cartilage in tips, they are mostly more crispy.

Other Types of Pork Ribs

Below will be some other types of pork ribs as I have mentioned and explained the 4 main types of pork ribs.

  • Kansas City Styles Ribs – Compared to the St. Louis style, it is not closely trimmed although it is similar to the St. Louis style.
  • Riblets – This has been briefly talked about above, they are created when you take a full chunk of ribs and slice them to only half their lengths.
    Riblets are ideal for appetizers or to be given to kids because they are made in smaller pieces.
  • Button Ribs – They are mostly mistaken for rib tips and they are gotten from the side of the spine of pigs. Button ribs are thin strips of meat and bone.
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Conclusion on Types of Pork Ribs Explained

The best skill to have in the world of barbecue is to be able to smoke some killer pork ribs.

And, if you are about to learn how to cook classic pork ribs, you will find numerous information about it everywhere.

But, the best way to be an expert in the world of barbecue is that knowledge goes with practicality.

You are not to only know how to perfectly cook pork ribs in but, to also practicalize till you become perfect at it.

And, since you’ve read through to the end, this will be the wrap-up of this guide on the types of pork ribs explained.

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