Let’s talk Ribs. What’s your favorite? Pork Spare Ribs? Beef Short Ribs? Back Ribs? No matter your preference, we can all agree that Ribs are delicious! In this piece, we’re going to compare 3 types of beef ribs and their pork counterpart that are a little bit more common.
Firstly, if you’ve not had the chance to enjoy the deliciousness that is beef ribs, we hope that this piece will convince to change that. Who knows, you might become the pro that everyone aspires to be at the cookout. To begin, here are the ribs we’re going to go over: plate short ribs (more commonly known as beef short ribs), chuck short ribs, back ribs, and pork spareribs.
For the most part, pork ribs have been the most popular rib that circulates backyard BBQs/the most seen on BBQ menus. In the past couple of years; however, beef ribs have been making an entrance to the barbecue community. It might be because these typically enormous beef ribs are picture ready or maybe it is because beef ribs are more like brisket on a stick. We have a pretty good theory of why pork ribs, mainly St. Louis Style Ribs became popular and you can read that break down in this Rib Blog, but we don’t really know why beef ribs became so popular, but we’re thankful that they did!
Why does everyone love Beef Ribs?
So as beef ribs gain in popularity, it’s natural to ask why. What is with everyone obsessing over beef ribs lately? Well, we think it’s pretty simple. Beef ribs are delicious and make you feel a little primal when you devour these huge pieces of meat on a prehistoric looking bone. Beef ribs kind of take you back to caveman days a little like a tomahawk steak does. It’s huge and just fun to enjoy!
Beef ribs are packed with flavor because of the nice layers of fat that are marbled throughout the cut. These cuts really only need simple seasonings to bring out the natural flavor of the meat. Next big point: smoke your beef ribs at a low temperature over a long period so that the meat will be extremely tender and easily pulled away from the bone to melt in your mouth.
Let’s talk about the Difference between Beef and Pork Ribs
Pork ribs have been the more popular rib of choice for grillers and smoking enthusiast. Typically speaking, when we talk about smoking ribs, most people automatically picture St. Louis Style Ribs, which are totally delicious in their own right as well. They are fan favorites at backyard barbecues and have become a staple on BBQ menus in many barbecue restaurants. So, their popularity brings the question: What makes beef ribs different from pork ribs? Well, the short answer is that they share similarities but they are literally 2 different types of meat. In addition to one just being beef and the other pork, they have a pretty clear distinction. Beef ribs typically have much more meat on them and are much larger in size. This should come as no surprise since a cow is much larger than a pig.
In addition to the larger size and meat that can be found on beef ribs over their pork rib counterpart, beef ribs also tend to be more marbled in fat than pork ribs. This makes the finished beef rib a little bit more unctuous with gelatinous fat being rendered down during the slow smoking process. This makes the beef ribs, like we said before, a little bit more like brisket on a stick. Additionally, beef back ribs do tend to be a little more like a rendered steak when cooked properly.
Next, let’s talk the Different Types of Beef Ribs
Essentially, there are three main cuts of beef ribs worth talking about:
- Plate Short Ribs
These are most commonly known as beef short ribs. These are the beef ribs that you can guarantee barbecue pit masters dream about. They are the huge beef ribs that truly give you the caveman aesthetic on the grill or smoker. These ribs can be a whole foot long sometimes! The meat on this cut (when cooked right) can be just as tender and mouthwatering as brisket. Plate short ribs (beef short ribs) are the ribs that you can most commonly see being added to menus at the best barbecue spots in Texas.
- Chuck Short Ribs
Chuck Short Ribs are similar to the previously mentioned plate short ribs (beef short ribs). While the chuck short rib is still very meaty, they do have a slightly smaller bone. Since this cut is a little bit smaller than the plate short rib (beef short rib), it can be more commonly found in supermarkets. These ribs have a rectangular mass of meat on top of the bone and can sometimes be cut so that the meat is taken from the bone and cut into smaller sections or strips.
- Back Ribs
Back ribs are very different from the 2 previously mentioned cuts. The way back ribs differ from beef short ribs or chuck short ribs is that they come from a totally different part of the cow. Back ribs, you guessed it, come from much higher on the back of the cow. This cut is essentially the ribs that you would find on a prime rib roast. Now, prime rib is a relatively expensive cut of meat, so it isn’t much of a surprise that butchers try to keep as much of the meat on the roast as possible. This means that it’s common to find beef back ribs with less meat on the bones. The meat on this cut will be mostly found between the bones because butchers’ attempts to save the size of prime rib roasts. So typically, plate and chuck ribs will have more meat than beef back ribs.
So, there you have it, your break down of the best beef ribs being added to BBQ menus everywhere. You can watch this video of Roland Dickey Jr and Chef Phil break down Beef ribs and Short Ribs as well. Feel free to explore our YouTube channel for more pro tips and insight into the smoking and grilling community. We hope that you enjoy the Barbecue at Home recipes for the various types of ribs enough to share some of your mouthwatering pictures with us. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook and tag us in some of your photos! #athomepitmaster