I love love love RIBS! Growing up in the grocery store watching my Dad cut meat for the meat case, I was fortuate to learn so much about the different cuts of meat!
Here is a little info on the SPARE RIB vs. THE BABY BACK RIB – I prefer the Baby Back rib!
The two types of ribs come from different places on the pig. This seemingly small detail makes all of the difference in the flavor and texture of the ribs.
Spare ribs are the Flintstones of ribs—bigger, tougher and meatier in every way, compared to baby backs. The ribs are cut from the belly of the pig—where bacon comes from. Because they’re so meaty, it takes longer to cook the ribs to the point that the tough and fatty meat breaks down to fall-apart tender. In most supermarkets, spare ribs are trimmed St. Louis-style, with the rib “tips” removed (pictured). This trim makes the racks more attractive, and can helps the ribs cook more evenly. Occasionally, you might run across whole, untrimmed racks of spare ribs. They’re generally a better value because they have more meat, including the tips.
Baby back ribs are cut from the loin section—the place where pork chops come from. If you think about what a bone-in pork chop looks like, a baby back rib is a pork chop with most of the meat (the “loin”) removed. In grocery stores, baby backs may also be labeled “loin back ribs” or “back ribs.” Baby backs are smaller, less fatty, and naturally more tender than spare ribs, which also means they take less time to cook. They’re the most popular rib, partly because they’re neat, compact and easy to eat—practically dainty compared to spare ribs.
After you have selected your particular rack of ribs, it is very important to remove the silverskin or the membrane from the ribs. If you do not do this, the ribs will be tough and the marinade will not be able to do its proper job. To see a picture and get a couple of tips, I’ve posted a link here.
I think that the best way to cook ribs is to first marinade them, this helps break down the tough tissue: Here is a marinade that my Dad has used for years. It is best to let marinade over night; but if you are short on time 3-4 hours is okay.
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
4 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 T. brown sugar
4 T. vegetable oil
1/2 -1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Combine all together and place in a freezer bag along with the ribs ( I like to cut the ribs in portions before doing this.
After you have marinated the ribs, I place the racks on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake them in the oven covered tightly with approx. 2 cups of the marinade on the ribs at 250 D. for about 3 hours. Then move them to the grill and brush with BBQ sauce until they get a good crust on them!
Happy Rib Eating!