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Spares...To trim or not to trim?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have smoked plenty of baby backs but never spare ribs. Costco had a good deal on them and I love to try new things, so guess what I'm doing this weekend. This has probably been covered somewhere before, but I looked and didn't really see it anywhere. Does it make any difference in trimming spare ribs into St. Louis style ribs. Kind of looks to me that when you trim them, you basically have baby backs so what is the point. If you do trim them, what do you do with the trimmings? I have watched video of trimming and it looks like some good meat being trimmed off.
I am sure I will get some very strong opinions for doing it both ways. Let me know why you think your way is best. I promise I will post some pics this weekend.

P.S. I also bought some beef baby back ribs.... but that is another weekend.
post #2 of 17
I have alway trimed, the trimings make great snacks they sim to finish a little fast the the ribs and your right they are a meal in themselfs.
post #3 of 17
I've cooked spare untrimmed and trimmed. I think the trimming makes for easier cooking because the ribs are the same size the entire length of the rack. As for what to do with the trimmings? Cook 'em and eat 'em. You can also add some of the skirt meat, trimmings, to a batch of beans. Adds a nice chew to the legumes. In mho, spare ribs are too fatty so I'll stick to the luscious Baby Backs. Did nine racks this past weekend.
post #4 of 17
Well.... the "trimmings" will be 50 percent of the total weight of the spares. (rounded off figure). I smoke them also using the 3-2-1- method. The St. Louis portion of the rack is better suited for the 2-2-1 method (babyback method)since that portion is flat or thinner kinda like babybacks. To me, the difference is that the spares are a little fattier than the babybacks ...especially the "extra parts" you get when cutting spares St. Louis style. Definitely smoke up the extra parts. There is A LOT of meat there. You can always use the extra parts to season beans, rice dishes, etc. But in the end.....it's all Good Eats!
post #5 of 17
Some like them trimmed some don't I do both ways depends on how big a hurry I'm in. Try both ways and see which you prefer
post #6 of 17
I prefer the spare ribs to the baby back (pork fat is gooooood), and I always trim. But the only reason I trim is because the trimmings make me a nice snack while I'm cooking....and if I'm cooking, I'm snacking.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

I also love snacks. What do you do? Rub the whole thing, then trim before going on the smoker. Do you just throw the trimmings on the smoker? or do you eventually foil it like ribs.

Love to know some tricks.
post #8 of 17
Norrell, I always trim, then rub. I trim and remove the membrane on back, then I rub all the trimmings along with the ribs. As far as foiling...it really depends on the size of the trimmings.

No two slabs are the same, so if I have a particular thick piece of trim, then I may foil it, but usually I don't foil the trimmings since I'm the only one eating them. Also, I don't always foil my ribs either. To me, it kind of depends on the looks of the rack and also what else I have on at the time.

For instance, if I'm also doing a butt or shoulder or brisket, and want to limit the amount I'm opening the door, I'll foil. If I don't care about the door, then I won't, I'll just make sure I spray them often.

Kind of long winded....but lots of variables for me to consider.
post #9 of 17
Norrell, I do both, depending on the prep time I feel like putting in. Sometimes whole, sometimes trimmed. When I trim, I save the trimmings and freeze them in vac bags. I often use them by pulling the meat and adding it to baked beans. I always rub the trimmings too, as you can never have too much flavor.
post #10 of 17
What he said. I have two full untrimmed racks sitting w/rub for the morning. I do find time to remove the membrane.
post #11 of 17
I learned alot from this thread...THANKS!
post #12 of 17
I like to trim the st. louis style and pull the membrane. What I like to do with that big slab you cut off is cover in mustard and rub just like the ribs and then, do the 3 hour on the smoker and then foil like the rest and when it is time to take the ribs off and unwrap them, I leave the slab I trimmed of in the foil and sometimes , depending on time, leave them in the oven a few more hours, or take them out of the oven and throw them in the frig. Anyway, get a small casserole dish and open the foil and pour those delicious juices into the casserole dish and then throw the slabs in there and cover tight with foil and put back in the oven on 250 for 2 - 3 hours, let cool off and then take a couple forks and pull it all apart, making sure you get those pieces of cartilage out, and then you got some good pulled pork for sammies.

thats just what I do
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I have two racks of spares for this weekend. I think I will trim one and leave one whole. Like I said, I will post some pics when the time comes.

Again, many thanks.
post #14 of 17
Presentation looks a lot better with st.louis cut/trim.

Cook the trimmed meat along side the ribs, only takes about 1.5 hours at 225, put in foil for an hour with some broth, or sauce, or apple juice, etc. back in smoker another hour or two.

Another thing I do with the parts that have mostly cartilage, is put in a pot with some wine, bit of garlic, carrot, celery, onion, some seasoning, and simmer to make a stock. Use your imagination from there.

I use em, in baked beans, make hash/potatoes, just heat for breakfast, etc. The parts that get over cooked, my dog loves.
post #15 of 17

Trim them

Both. You don't want your guests to get that crappy bony side do you? I found it's great for making a pork stock.

Trim then pull the membrane. Smoke the bony trimmings a couple of hours then put them in a crock pot overnight covered with water on lo. In the morning strain, (reserve the stock) remove the bones from the meat and toss in a large can of baked beans and a bunch of diced onions, place on low for 8 hours and wait.

The boneless lean flap by the membrane you can just eat after smoking.

post #16 of 17
Living half way (about) between KC and St Louis, I kinda mix the two. I trim them down, but not full St Louis style, where they are rectangular; I think it takes too much meat away from the rib. I just remove the flap and trim about half of the brisket so that everything cooks evenly. If you leave them untrimmed, you may find that the tip of the brisket is slightly overcooked.

I put all of the trimmings (rubbed overnight) in a foil pan. Fill the pan with beer just to cover. Cook along side your ribs and stir about about 30-40 minutes. When the meat hits 190-200, pull them. After they have rested, chop and mix in some sweet Q sauce (sweet baby ray's, Blues Hog, and so on). Serve on a bun with some coleslaw. Enjoy!
post #17 of 17
It's all in the "FEEL"!!!
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