Ribs, Ribs, Ribs!
I was never a ribs kind of guy… until I started cooking them myself. Now all I can think about is the next time I’m going to smoke some pork ribs. Pork ribs, in my opinion, are the candy of BBQ. This is because the bite-to-bark ratio is INSANE! Every bite, you not only get to sink your teeth into some soft tender pork meat, but you also get an explosion of flavor from the bark you just spent hours creating. Every bite makes you proud of what you just did.
My Introduction to Spare Ribs
Most people have heard of Baby Back ribs. In fact, it’s almost become a bbq buzzword for restaurant chains. I came across spare ribs in more of a happen stance kind of way. My first cook on my Ugly Drum Smoker was a pork butt. I heard that pork butts were one of the more forgiving cuts of meat and a good starting point. After my first couple a pork butts I decided to branch out. This is when I came across Malcom Reed’s Recipe for Spare Ribs. It was the first video I watched and so it became the guide that I would follow.
The ribs turned out delicious! I was actually surprised. I never liked restaurant ribs, they were either too chewy and/or too smothered in bbq sauce. But, after this first cook I learned that properly cooked pork ribs can be both tender and delicious.
Where on the Pig do Spare Ribs Come From
Amazing Rib’s has a very comprehensive breakdown on the different cuts of pork. Simply put, Spare ribs are located just below the baby back ribs on the ribs. Spare ribs actually compose two different types of cuts: The St. Louis Cut Ribs and Rib Tips. St. Louis Cut Ribshave more fat than the leaner baby back ribs. Because of this, spare ribs/ St. Louis cut ribs are packed with flavor!
Why I Cook Spare Ribs
So why do I cook pork spare ribs as opposed to baby back ribs or even the St. Louis cut ribs? It all comes down to Value. When I buy a rack of Spare Ribs not only am I getting the St. Louis cut of ribs I’m also getting the Rib Tips. The rib tips are an extra piece of meat and cartilage that are located below the St. Louis Cut. When I cook my spare ribs I cut the rib tips off and cook them along side of the ribs. When they are done cooking I pull them apart and separate the cartilage and the meat. The shredded rib tips make small finger food sized pieces with lots of bark! For many of the people, for whom I’ve cooked ribs, this has been their favorite part!
Try Cooking Spare Ribs Yourself!
Go ahead. Cook some yourself! I wouldn’t dare try and give you in-depth instructions on how to do this. Luckily, the BBQ community is all about sharing! I would recommend watching Malcom Reed from Killer Hogs bbq team. He has great instructional videos with play-by-play instructions for how to make some great BBQ. He also has a great BBQ blog you should check out!
Below are pictures from the process that I follow. For more in-depth instructions go ahead and follow the link I posted earlier in this post for Malcom Reed’s Spare Ribs recipe. He’ll take you step-by-step through the cook.