Know Your Pork Ribs
Planning on cooking up a pork rib feast this weekend? Before you do, make sure you’re using the right cut of ribs! Check out all the different cuts available and their best cooking methods here!
Pork Loin Ribs come from high on the back of the pig where the rib cage meets the backbone. They’re slightly curved as they wrap around the loin, and usually offer 9-11 ribs. Also known as Aussie Ribs, they are typically shorter, leaner and more uniform in shape than Spare Ribs – making them perfect for menu’s offering full or half racks. Derived from such a tender muscle group, they can be cooked for as little as 1.5 – 2 hrs and are perfect for BBQ style braising.
Same cut as above, but with much greater meat coverage as 10mm- 15mm of the loin is left attached to the ribs during boning. This produces ribs with full meat coverage well suited to traditional American style low and slow smoking due to the yielding benefits. Sometimes called Baby Back Ribs, they typically attract higher prices as the loin is sacrificed during boning.
Spare Ribs come from the lower section of the rib cage, extending around the belly to where the ribs join the sternum. They are flatter than Loin Ribs, typically 6 inches at the longest end tapering to 4 inches. A full rack features 9-11 ribs with more meat between the bones when compared with Loin Racks. Spare Ribs are derived from a tougher muscle group which gives the meat greater marbling and more flavour, but requires longer cook times – braise for 2-2.5hrs
St Louis are the same cut as Spare Ribs with the rib tip retained to give a more consistent and universal shape. The rib tip is a small flap of meat from where the Spare Ribs meet the breast bone which contains some small bone and cartilage fragments. If you’re looking for a meatier belly rib with uniform width across the rack, this is the one for you
These Riblets are produced by cutting a rack of ribs into 2-4 inch pieces. This cut is taken from the first 3-4 ribs directly below the neck bone, and typically includes one layer of marbled meat from the collar on top. The marbling from the collar meat produces a very tender cut with plenty of flavour. Perfect for those smaller menu portions, as a steak topper or even an entrée.
The Riblets are the same as above with an additional 10-15mm of shoulder meat left intact. The marbling from the collar and shoulder meat produces a very tender cut with the extra meat coverage making it perfect for traditional American style low and slow smoking. Cut into fingers to show off the extra meat coverage on the plate.