Think you know the difference? As the former partner in a BBQ restaurant concept, I can honestly say that I have tasted, traveled and tested pork (and beef) ribs in so many states that I could write a travel-log of my journey to find the very best ribs – that includes farms, backyards and shack BBQ joints. What I found is that a great BBQ starts with buying the right cut of ribs.
Baby backs are simply the very top of the pig’s back, which are smaller and often cost more. “Baby” really has nothing to do with the age of pig, but rather its smaller size and weight.
Spareribs are the bottom, or lower section of the rig cage that is closets to the pig’s belly. Because it is near the muscle area, the meat is tougher and fattier than baby backs. Notable, bacon comes from this same area. So what makes spareribs as juicy and tender as baby backs? It’s how you prepare them before you cook them. The skirt flap located on the membrane side needs to be removed as well as the membrane film itself, so the actual rib bones are exposed after trimming.
Overall, the flavor and texture choice is yours. It is kind of like comparing a filet to a ribeye. One has less fat and may not be as juicy as the other – however both are fall-off-the-bone winners in my book.
Perfect Rib Recipe
2-3 slabs of Ribs (I find that Costco sells the best ribs)
Stubbs BBQ Rub and Sauce (visit: http://www.stubbsbbq.com/)
Use this fabulous rub over both sides of the ribs. Let rest covered in the refrigeration for at least 1 hour. Remove and bake in oven at 450 degrees until ribs are pliable (about 1 hour). Using tongs hold the rib slab up and see if it bends easily. The slabs need to be partially cooked before you place them on the grill – but not yet falling off the bone.
Place grill on medium-high and grill until one side is brown, then turn over. Baste the grilled side with your favorite BBQ sauce and continue to cook until the ribs reach a almost fall off the bone stage. Baste the second side just before you pull the ribs off the grill. (Don’t baste too often because the sugar in the BBQ sauce will burn the ribs and cause a lot of smoke).
Let the ribs rest 10 minutes and then slice into quarter sections and serve immediately.