Baby Back Rib - Meat Question (buying the right type)

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jun 29, 2016
Bolivar, Ohio

Smoking weekend coming up.  :)

I've got a question about the Baby backs that I've been buying.

It seems to me that the cuts of meat that I'm getting from the store have a type of 'cut' to them that's different than what I get in a restaurant.

Let me explain.

If you take the full length of a single rack and lay it with the meat side up, it seems to me like there's a whole lot more meat thickness on the top of the rack than what there should be.

Although at first, I thought this was a good thing, here's what it's like.

When the ribs are done, and falling off the bone, if you cut the ribs into single bone sections and lay them flat on their sides, it almost looks like a pork chop instead of a rib, because there's so much meat.

And the meat is more like a drier, leaner meat than the juicy meat on the normal part of the ribs.

I hope that makes sense.

For sure, I'm paying more because they weigh more, and they take longer to cook.

In addition, although I'm guessing that some will say "what are you complaining about?  You're getting a whole lot more mea!", it's not the same.

Can anyone explain to me what's happening, and if there's a special way I should be asking for Baby Backs?  It sounds stupid for me to ask the butcher to cut off the meat, there's too much on it, but in reality, there is.  :)

One more thing.

I've only smoked Baby Backs. 

Any thought that if I tried the other style - I don't even know what they're called - that might be better?

Finally, the good news is, thanks to reading and getting advice here, I am now able to put on the table the best smoked/grilled ribs ever.  Everyone loves them.


What you might have are loin backs.  Seems like they have a large piece of the loin attached which is a very lean cut in comparison to the ribs.  I have had that similar experience where the ribs were thick with loin meat on top and ate more like a pork chop, rather than a tender juicy rib.  This can be especially problematic because loin meat cooked to as high an internal temperature can dry out where for the rib meat, that IT is absolutely necessary to break down the meat.  

Not sure if you foiled or not, but doing a 2-2-1 or some variation where they spend time in the foil will definitely help tenderize the whole rack of ribs.  If that still doesn't help, you can ask your butcher to trim more loin meat off of them.
I found this old thread that I started about the same issue.  I have since learned about the whole loin meat issue:

As far as your other question, St. Louis ribs or spare ribs (same cut, just butchered differently) might be what you are looking for as the rarely have any lean meat attached to them since they are attached to and cut off the pork belly which is the opposite of lean.  That might be what you are looking for.
I have gotten ribs like that too. And I usually do a little trimming on the top.

There is a layer of fat & silver skin below some of the meat on the top.

I usually trim down to just below the silver skin.

I really like baby loin back ribs and that's all I do anymore. I buy Swifts premium at Costco. There are 3 racks in a cryovac and the membrane is usually already removed. Yes, there is more of the loin meat on these, but I don't cook ribs to suck bones. I like meat. As for your texture, I smoke at 260-275* without any foil for about 3 hours until I get a good bend. Then I sauce/glaze them twice at 15 minutes each time. They come out very moist with a slight tug. All of my friends and family have raved about my ribs.

IMO, I think you are over cooking the meat trying to get FOTB and this dries the ribs out.

Good luck and good smoking. Give this a try, Joe. :grilling_smilie:
I did learn when butchering about the loin meat left on the rib. It all depends on who is cutting it. I trim my loins off leaving very little on the rib portion. Either was they are still good..... Just have to watch your times / ribs. Trim if needed 
Good!  Thanks for the info.

Funny thing, the ribs I'm talking about are from Costco, the exact kind that Joe referred to.  3 to a pack, in cryopack.  They look like a good quality, but like Joe said, they do have more meat on them.

Thanks for the help, now I know. 

I'll say one thing.  For the quality of the pack from Costco, you can't beat the price.  I don't remember what I paid, but I remember looking at the price in disbelief. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads