Most barbecue restaurants list ribs as an option. But not all ribs are created equal. They are trimmed from different sections of different animals’ rib cages and vary in size and meatiness. Here’s a brief primer to help raise your barbecue IQ.
1. Beef Short Ribs
These Flintstones-esque ribs are currently the “it” bone in the barbecue world. Thick, flavorful beef clings to a short bone harvested from the brisket or rib roast section of a cow. Once cooked low and slow, the highly marbled meat melts in your mouth and certainly all over your hands.
Find them: Cattleack, Smoke, Pecan Lodge, Meat U Anywhere, Big Al’s Smokehouse BBQ
2. Spare Ribs
Carved from the lower breastbone of a hog, the long, narrow rib has a higher proportion of fat on the bone, which translates into a more flavorful bite.
Find them: Cattleack, Pecan Lodge, Peggy Sue BBQ, Lockhart Smokehouse, ONE90
3. Baby Backs
These pork ribs, also referred to as loin back, are carved from the top of the rib cage just below the loin muscle. They are short, curved, and have meat between the bones.
Find them: Peggy Sue BBQ, Lakewood Smokehouse, Lockhart Smokehouse, ONE90
4. St. Louis Style
No, these pork ribs are not imported from Missouri. They are simply a spare rib with a neater trim. The connective tissue and fatty cartilage are removed, and the meat cooks evenly.
Find them: Meat U Anywhere, The Slow Bone, Baby Back Shak