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A Butcher's Guide to Ribs

The story: Ribs aren't just for bbq'ing. They can also make your spaghetti sauce (or Sunday Gravy) more flavorful, be your favorite fall off the bone meat out of the smoker, finished with asian soy sauce in the skillet, or even pulled apart with your favorite beer in your slow cooker. Of course... they do make great BBQ! Here's a little more info on the the different cut of ribs from a butcher's perspective. Remember: Get the membrane off if you want fall off the bone ribs, and for an extra crunch, leave it on. Enjoy the recipes and don't be shy about sharing your favorite one too!

Baby Back Ribs: Originally an after thought in the 60's through the 80's in butcher shops. Once so cheap, my dad says, "We only sold them in portions for pork soup and flavorings for sauce". But, like most things in our industry, the trend has changed! When restaurants started featuring ribs on their menu, the more uniform in size and cheaper Baby Back Rib was prefered. Now, even though they are more expensive than the spare ribs, they still are the most popular rib for home grillers. Located on top of the rib portion of the pork loin.

St. Louis Spare Ribs:  Center cut portions of the full spare ribs. These spare ribs are with the sternum bone, cartilage and rib tips removed to create a rectangular-shaped rack. It's shaped made it much easier for the numerous USDA packing houses that were located near the city of St. Louis. A tad thicker than the baby backs, St. Louis are great for smoking and finishing off on the grill. Located on top of the belly (fresh bacon) of the pig.

Full Spare Ribs: Extra meaty with the brisket bone and cartilage still intact. The cheapest of the ribs, as far as price, but definitely full of the most flavor. Their size and bone attached can be difficult to manage, so let your favorite butcher crack that bone for you. Fantastic brined, rubbed, and smoked for 5 hours at 200... then add one strip of bbq sauce down the middle of the rib and wrap in foil and smoke for 1 more hour.
Located on top of the belly (fresh bacon) of the pig. 

Beef Ribs: The baby back of beef. Flavorful like Prime Rib but very boney. I like to bake them in the oven at 225 degrees with salt and pepper with a cup of water, red wine, sliced 1/4 onion and 2 cloves of garlic; covered the whole time for 4 hours. Then grilled with your favorite rub and finished with your favorite bbq sauce. Softens the meat up just right :) Located on top of the Prime Rib Roast.

Oriental Style Beef Ribs: Should be sliced a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick. Can be marinated with a sweet and/or spicy sauce or grilled traditionally like a steak. Great with our buckeye rub!

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