Left: Baby Back Ribs. Right: Spareribs
Pork ribs are always a treat, whether cooked indoors or outdoors, but what kinds of ribs should you buy? Let’s take a look at the two most commonly sold types of ribs: baby back ribs and spareribs.
Baby Back Ribs
Back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. The upper ribs are called baby back ribs, but not because they come from a baby pig! They’re only called baby because they are shorter in relation to the bigger spareribs.
Each baby back rib rack averages 10 to 13 curved ribs that are 3 to 6 inches long and weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, which feeds about 2 people.
Baby back ribs are very tender and lean but are in higher demand than spareribs, so they have a higher price tag.
Spareribs are the meaty ribs cut from the belly of the animal after the belly is removed. They are usually trimmed down into the popular Spareribs by cutting away the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage, so the slab is more rectangular in shape.
Spareribs are flatter than baby back ribs, which makes them easier to brown. There is a lot of bone but also a higher amount of fat, making them very flavorful if cooked properly. Each slab usually weighs 2 1/2 pounds or more and feeds about three to four people, although the meatier, the better. Spareribs are cheaper than baby backs ribs.
Cooking Pork Ribs
Both baby back ribs and Spareribs require low, slow cooking time to become nice and tender. They are great for smoking, braising, grilling, or can be cooked in the oven. The ribs also take well to spice rubs and sauces.