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spare rib question


Fire Starter
Joined Aug 3, 2010
Hey all

I know that when one does the St. Louis style spare ribs, one cuts off a lot of the meat and just cooks it and eats it as a snack. But is it okay to just put it in the smoker the way it is? Will that affect the tenderness/flavor of the ribs in a bad way?


Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jul 23, 2008
You can certainly leave the rack as you like it; the one thing I would do is to peel off the membrane off the back of the ribs, it isn't very tasty.    But, it's your choice whether you separate the sparerib from the brisket or not.  Lessee if I can find some pics to demonstrate:

whole slab of ribs: here's some I did for 4th of July;  left whole, briskets not removed - had a bunch of people to feed!


a couple racks done alittle over a month before


Now, here's some I did in my Cabela's drum smoker where I had to split the rack, then separated the prisket sections off of each 



then slice the ribs into individual riblets:

(you can see that the smokehouse does a much more even job at cooking them than did the Cabela's vertical, but that smoker did a great job for several years and now lives on at one of my son's house!).

The brisket sections contain more cartilage and fat layers and are for less critical diners who don't necessarily demand competition-quality riblets;.... they're satisfied with a slab o'meat, fat and bone you can gnaw on, get BBQ sauce all over your lips and grin when done!  Definitely not for lean cuisine'rs.  I honestly help out with the latter as well as the former myself, somebody's got to do it, huh?!


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Pops hit it right on the head. I always separate mine because I don't like eating those little cartilage pieces that are on the tips.


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 12, 2009

I would listen to Pops for he is one of the best here. But I would do just like he says just pull off the membrane on the undersde of the ribs. It's easy too. Now then smoke them and see for yourself how good they are. That's the way I have been smoking them for years. Everyone around here love them that way too.


Fire Starter
Joined Jul 28, 2010
This was good info,,, thanks guys! You have made me hungry. Guess i better drag out the smoker pretty quick.


Fire Starter
Joined Jul 28, 2010
Follow up - i smoked my first rack of ribs on Sunday. It turned out great. I appreciate the help understanding the trimming of the brisket piece. They turned out great and i cannot wait to do them again. As a matter of fact a couple of us are taking out buses out camping tomorrow and i am bringing my smoker. Going to do ribs on Friday and a turkey on Saturday. I did them 3-2-1 and used some butter and brown sugar for the foil time, with a light brushing of sauce at the end.

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