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Differance between side and back ribs

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ok I did BB ribs and they were out of this world using the 2,2,1 method.

I did side ribs last weekend and they were good, but didn't hold a torch to the BBs. I used the 3,2,1 for the side, and I felt they turnd out not as tender as the BBs with a lot more tug to them.

what is the difference between the two in tearms of the cut of meat? is one a naturaly more tender cut or what?

post #2 of 7
This is what I come up with when I google "Side Ribs". Enjoy.

post #3 of 7
Here's a really simple explanation which I believe is close. Baby backs and spare ribs all come from the same place. The ribs run from the spine around and down to the breast bone. the rib cage is cut horizontally about 6 or so inches from the spine, from one end to the other. The pieces from the top are baby backs, the pieces from the bottom are spares. There's actually more to it but that'll do.

Basically, there are several differences. Backs tend to be more tender, and carry less fat. "Side", or spare ribs, have a bit more tooth to them but have much more flavor, and are usually considerably less expensive.

That being said, it isn't hard to cook spares so that they are falling off the bone, so one ought to be able to cook them so they are easily as tender as back ribs. Personally, I think baby backs are a waste of money, and are as popular as they are mostly because of all of the Chili's restaurant advertising we've been subject to all these years.

It's like comparing beef tenderloin to chuck - the tenderloin is much more tender, but has hardly any flavor when compared to chuck. And chuck can be cooked pretty tender.
post #4 of 7
A 2.5 lb. rack of BB @ $3.99/lb(the best price I can get locally) and a 4.5 lb rack of spares @ $1.99/lb(again my best price) are only a buck different, a price I'll pay for less prep- my spares always get a St. Louis trim- if I'm cooking for guests. That said, I agree with mgwerks that spares are much more flavorful.

What size were the spares you cooked? Were they trimmed or full size? Lately my local meat market has been gettig 5 to 5.5 lb untrimmed spares which have got to be from huge, old hogs and I thought the meat was tough and lousy tasting.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
they were about 8" wide at the widest and about 18" long full size, I haven't trimmed any ribs I have done yet.

I find the BBribs have more meat than the sides and while my wife and I liked both types we thought the BBribs had more flavore.. we still have about 6 more packs of sides to cook, they were on sale for 1.00/lb so I bought 16 slabs, so we'll see how the next one turns out. I think if it is the same, the wife will only let me do BBs

here I can get BB for about $0.50 to $1.00 a lb more, with more meat to bone ratio, less prep (no silver skin on the BBribs we get) it is almost worth it as getting the silver skins of the last sides I did was a PITA icon_mrgreen.gif

so aside from the extra hour of smoking do people do anything different when they cook sides compared to backs? say a different rub, different brasing liquid? ect

post #6 of 7
no nothing different cept the time... which is just a guideline, you may wish to change the times as you see fit too end up with what you want.

i personally like bb's myself and if i can get on sale will get a case and save even more. when i do spares, i trim mine st louis style, and smoke all the trimmings as well, snack for cook as the smaller pieces are done sooner. the rest of the trimmngs after smoking i save for adding to baked beans etc... clean the meat off the cartilage and vac pac for future use.
post #7 of 7
Now I have smoked both sets of ribs and I like the baby back also. Now I wouldn't pass by a good deal on some spares but I do like them also but the BB are usually a little more meaty and tender but the way I smoke the spares they are really good to. Everyone else seemed to have given you the difference between the two racks of ribs.
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