Now that warm weather has arrived, it’s time to dust off that grill that has been taking up space in your garage and put it to some use. Instead of going for the same old boring hot dogs and burgers, why not stir things up a bit by making delicious and juicy pork ribs? Before you go to your local supermarket or butcher shop, learn what are spare ribs, what are baby back ribs and the differences between them.
After the belly of the pig is removed, spare ribs are the meaty ribs that are cut away. Most frequently, they are cut into what is known as St. Louis-style ribs, which are more rectangular in shape because the cartilage and breastbone are sliced off. Because they are flat, they are easy to brown. Their high-fat content makes them extra flavorful although they do contain more bones than other types of ribs. Each slab feeds three or four people and usually weighs over two pounds.
BABY BACK RIBS
Also known as loin ribs, back ribs, and pork loin back ribs, baby back ribs are a costlier alternative to St. Louis-style spare ribs. Although their name might make you think that they come from a very young pig, their diminutive title comes from the fact that they are shorter than spare ribs. Baby backs come from the place where the rib meets the pig’s spine after the loin has been removed. Each curved rack has an average of 10 to 13 ribs that are 3 to 6 inches long. If you’re really hungry, you can probably polish off a rack by yourself, but you should probably be able to share with your dinner companion if you’re serving your ribs with some yummy side dishes.
Now that you understand what are spare ribs and baby back ribs, it’s time for the fun part. Buy enough to serve yourself and your hungry group of friends, then give your ribs some time to cook. Whether you smoke them, braise them, grill them or make them in the oven, they are most delicious when cooked slowly at low temperatures. They also lend themselves to rubs and sauces both sweet and savory. The bottom line is that nothing says summer like a heaping platter of hot, juicy ribs. Make some today, and you’ll be the hit of the neighborhood.
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