What is the Purpose of Baby Backs? Also: Rub Question

  • 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.
I agree, baby backs are far superior when selected right and cooked right.
There are however lots of low quality examples out there so choose carefully.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/winter-baby-backs.323816/

Not every one likes spare ribs or fall off the bone ribs. The link above is how I do baby backs. Done right they are divine! Most the cuts have a large section of loin meat which gets dry above a INT of 150. I trim all the off as it’s just added there to maximize profit. The ribs above are pre trimmed. Baby backs are not as forgiving while cooking as spares either. The above method is what I recommend it’s easy and produces a very nice pork rib. If you want fall off the bone, spares are what you want. We do pulled pork for fall off the bone….

One of my all time fav version of baby backs is when they are cooked to INT of 145-150 on a rack of pork. Here is and example of my last rack of pork.
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/throwdown-leftovers-“parts”.324713/#post-2481244

The best part about smoking your own ribs is you get them the way you want them!
100% on the money. I usually lean towards spares but loaded up on Swaggerty back ribs when on sale locally for $0.99 a lbs. Swaggerty doesn't leave that loin meat on since they grind everything they can to sausage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: civilsmoker
If I want a savory S/P Texas rib, I go whole spares.

But if I want a sweet sticky rib, I go baby backs. They're more of a blank canvas.

And I'm in the same boat with JLinza JLinza , I'm having trouble finding whole spares with any meat on them. They're getting awfully skinny. Don't exactly know what's goin on there.
 
Part of the trouble is there are Loin Back Ribs and Baby Back Ribs even though some people insist that all Loin Back Ribs are Baby Back's. Those folks have it backwards. While they are the same cut of meat they are different in that BB's are the smallest versions of Loin Back's. BB's are the small racks you get at chain restaurants where you can eat the whole rack and Loin Back's are the larger, meatier ribs. I don't buy Loin Back's unless they are 2-3/8lb or larger. I don't buy BB's at all because you are paying for bones instead of meat.
 
I don't buy Loin Back's unless they are 2-3/8lb or larger. I don't buy BB's at all because you are paying for bones instead of meat.

I bought baby backs at Sam's last week. They were 2 paks. Smallest was 7.5 # and they ran up to 10#. As far as size, they were more like St Louis spares.
 
I bought baby backs at Sam's last week. They were 2 paks. Smallest was 7.5 # and they ran up to 10#. As far as size, they were more like St Louis spares.
They were mis-labled. Those were Loin Backs. I told ya people miss used the term. It's up to you to know the difference.

I'd buy the 7.5lb pack if necessary but pass on the bigger packs everytime.
 
They were mis-labled. Those were Loin Backs. I told ya people miss used the term. It's up to you to know the difference.

I'd buy the 7.5lb pack if necessary but pass on the bigger packs everytime.

Yeah, I knew that. But I still call them baby backs. I was just speaking to the size that Sams was selling.
 
I like baby back ribs......baby back, meaning that little hump of loin meat on one side...some cuts more prominent than others. FOTB is for rookies. I like just a bit of chew. (have a few teeth left).
I've never wrapped or spritzed. Ribs always come out flavorful and juicy. Maybe I get lucky...I cook BB ribs at a higher heat...250-275..... I use the tong test at the finish holding half the rack and letting the other half sag....if the bark starts splitting, it's pretty much done. If it breaks in half, I screwed up....if it just bounces, it needs more time. Last 10 minutes is when the sauce comes on.

I've cooked spare ribs...and as others has said, they look skinny and take up more room in the smoker....just more bone imo. STL cut is not really for me.....however STL sauce is a winner.
IMG_20160509_182611265.jpg
IMG_20170219_170817856.jpg
IMG_20170219_171237725.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Smokin Okie
Baby backs are awesome. Where I live, the price for a baby back vs a spare is pretty darn close, definitely within $3 on the total price.

I personally do not like the "extra meaty" stuff, which apparently is the loin cut. Just like a chicken wing, there should be the right amount of bone vs meat ratio. Go for baby backs that look like they may have came from a young pig, without the loin part. Super good.

I typically buy both to be honest. We should be thankful that baby backs are as good as they are. Beef backs on the other hand, have too much rubbery tissue and other stuff where you wind up only eating half (at that) of what you cook.

I also don't like them cooked like Texas Roadhouse does it..."fall off the bone" ribs where it's like eating pulled pork and missing flavor. I cook baby backs exactly the same as spares. At 190F I start probing.

These are what I like:
1710294559560.png


These do not taste as good:
1710294581161.png
 
Last edited:
Another down side to FOTB is they are cooked way past the prime flavor of the meat. Everyone has their preferences but here, we smoke 'em to a clean bite state that preserves the best meat flavor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw
Best bang for my buck are 3 packs of whole untrimmed spares .
20230824_092340.jpg
Trimmed to St. Louis style
20230824_093517.jpg
3 racks trimmed . The hunk on the board got cured and smoked for beans .
The trim on the plate went to grind .
20230824_100258.jpg
The grind went to Italian sausage .
20230825_115519.jpg
Almost no waste from the above .

Single packs get smoked whole .
20200517_175703.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Smokin Okie
Another down side to FOTB is they are cooked way past the prime flavor of the meat. Everyone has their preferences but here, we smoke 'em to a clean bite state that preserves the best meat flavor.
Yeah...I see guys on YouTube just dumping rub after rub ....and then going on about the flavor of their FOTB ribs...when all they are tasting is rub and sauce and not so much the meat flavor.....its a delicate balance...you want it to pop, but also taste and chew that smokey meat.
 
I'll go against the common wisdom here, and admit that I like FOTB ribs every once in a while. Just because they're FTOB doesn't necessarily mean they're mushy. I also like to use rib meat in other dishes like casseroles and mac-n-cheese. Cooking the ribs to the state of FOTB makes removing the meat from the bone a whole lot easier.

Chris
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw
I don't want the meat to fall off when I pick up the rib, but I don't want ribs that still have a lot of meat stuck to them after I give up trying to chew it off.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kevinwi
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Clicky