8 Different Types of Ribs

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Smoked Pork Spareribs

8 Different Types of Ribs

Chances are the first or maybe even only type of rib you’ve ever tried is the classic baby back rib. These ribs are one of the most popular type of ribs because they contain a lot of high quality meat and make a perfect option for smoking. In this post we’ll show you the many other types of ribs that exist, not only pork ribs but beef and also even lamb. We’ve found 8 different types of ribs, all with positives and negatives, but all very tasty and definitely worth cooking.

Types of Pork Ribs

The below image is a perfect breakdown of the pig thanks to amazingribs.com. If you look at the top diagram you’ll see where the ribs are situated in the entire body of the pig. The bottom two diagrams show a more detailed look at where each type of rib comes from.

Cuts of Pork Diagram
Cuts of Pork Diagram – Image from amazingribs.com

1. Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs are sometimes known as loin back or just back ribs. They come from fairly high up on the back of the pig. They are actually the same bone that can be found in the bone-in pork rib chops but just don’t have the rest of the loin muscle attached.

Baby back ribs have a slight curvature to them that matches the loin. As they’re from around the loin they are quite lean, very meaty and contain little cartilage.

Preparing Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs – Image from Weber.

How to prepare baby back pork ribs?

Trim any excess fat, peel back the membrane on the bottom of the rack. Season and rub with your favorite rub. Then place in the smoker or in the oven.

These ribs are very versatile and are almost guaranteed to come out great so have a little experiment.


2. Pork Spareribs

Spare ribs are found much lower in the pig, nearer to the belly. These are also quite large ribs and can extend all the way to the front of the animal. As they’re from the belly they tend to be quite fatty. This also means they are probably the least meaty out of all the types.

Spareribs are one of the most common types of pork ribs and despite the low amount of meat the fat content tends to make them one of the most flavorful.

Smoked Pork Spareribs
Smoked Pork Spareribs – Image from howtobbqright.com

How to prepare pork spareribs?

Similar to baby back ribs, a quick trim and rub will see these ready to go. They work great in the smoker or the oven for long periods of time to help the fat melt away to leave a tender a juicy rib. Check out our post on the best meats to smoke to see why these make such great smoking ribs.


3. St. Louis Style Ribs

St. Louis Style ribs are actually from the same part of the rib cage as spareribs. It’s the preparation and technique used to prepare and cook that make them special. St. Louis ribs are therefore quite fatty with little meat, but make a great, flavorful cut.

St Louis Ribs
St. Louis Style Ribs – Image from Serious Eats

How to prepare St. Louis Style ribs?

What’s special about St. Louis Style ribs is that they will be a sparerib rack that has been further trimmed. They are usually cut off squared and flat to remove the brisket bone, sternum and the flap of meat that hangs over the last rib on the rack. This leaves you with a smaller, more manageable and more aesthetically pleasing rack of ribs.


4. Country Style Pork Ribs

Country style ribs are found towards the upper shoulder end of the loin. These ribs have by far the highest meat to bone ratio and will generally need a knife and fork to eat them. You can also get boneless country style ribs that are long strips of loin muscle with the intercostal meat.

Country Style Ribs
Country Style Ribs – Image from Kitchen Dreaming

How to prepare Country Style Pork Ribs?

As there is more meat on country style ribs, it is recommended to cook them lower and longer. A smoker is an obvious great choice, along with a long time in the oven or even a crock pot. Get your butcher to do all the difficult preparing so you’re left with simply adding some flavourings and throwing them on the heat.


Types of Beef Ribs

If you have never tried beef ribs then you’re really missing out. I think beef ribs are probably one of the least known and most under appreciated cuts of meat. They’re super rich, packed full of flavor and are pretty easy to cook.

1. Baby Back Beef Ribs

Beef back ribs are sometimes called dinosaur ribs due to their sheer size and looks. They are the large bones left over from a prime rib roast. They’re usually cut into single rib portions rather than a rack because of how big they are. Despite there not being much meat on these ribs, especially after a long cook, they can come out incredibly tender.

Beef Back Ribs
Beef Back Ribs – Image from Reddit user _Yowie

How to prepare Beef Back Ribs?

We recommend grabbing your favorite rub, getting a strong, smoky wood, and firing up a classic charcoal smoker. If you do it well you’ll be left with a perfect, tender cut of beef with a one of the most pleasing smoke rings ever.


2. Short Ribs

These are from the shoulder and are a rectangular rack of ribs. These are full of collagen and flavorful fat so need a similar treatment as brisket.

How to prepare Beef Short Ribs?

These need to be cooked low and slow. A smoker is the best choice but you can get some wonderful results by wrapping them in foil and putting them in the oven for hours. Braising is also recommended.


3. Flanked Style Ribs

Flanked ribs come from a similar area of the cow to short ribs. They are cut lengthwise across the ribs rather than straight down between the ribs. These contain a lot of mean but you have to deal with multiple bones.

How to prepare Flanked Style Ribs?

These are a little different due to the bone placement. We’d recommend braising or putting straight into a stew. These can get a bit greasy but if cooked for a long time will give you a great meal in return.


Types of Lamb Ribs

There’s only really one type of lamb ribs that are worth talking about. Lamb Riblets.

Lamb Riblets

These are taken from the breast of the animal and contain long narrow bones with a lot of fat and meat. They are generally very small and are seen much more in Asian and middle eastern cuisine. They are best marinated then cooked for a medium to long time.


We hope this has given you a nice introduction the other types of ribs out there, rather than the standard baby back and spare ribs. If you think we’ve missed something worth while or want to know more then please get in contact with us on our Facebook or write a comment down below.

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