5 Different Types of Ribs: Something Besides Babyback!

Dec 5, 2017 | Blog

For us foodies and meat-eaters, ribs can be both a hearty meal as well as a delicacy. The preparations of different types of ribs vary, making for some very unique finger-licking flavors. From barbecue to oven baked, fried or smoked, you can not go wrong with ribs. Our personal favorite is smoking ribs in an electric smoker.

The most common and well-known cut is the so-called baby back ribs, but is that really all the meat industry has to offer? Therefore, let’s take a quick look at the different types of ribs you can get.

Image from amazingribs.com


Different types of ribs:

1. Pork Spareribs

These are ribs found lower, by the belly of the pig. The name “spare” ribs stands to denote the small amount of meat upon the bone. This is because the belly of the pig is used mostly for bacon and that is the prime cut. Therefore, the spare ribs keep only a scarce amount of meat, because it is cut very close to the bone.

How to prepare spareribs?

Given that the cut is so fine, spare ribs do great baked in the oven. They won’t take too much time to bake and the flavor is easily elevated to the next level by using a simple dry rub and some brown sugar for caramelization.

2. St. Louis Style ribs

These ribs are actually from the same cut as spare ribs. The difference is that St. Louis style ribs have a universal rectangular shape. This is achieved by removing the rib tip and the skirt, making them easier to handle and cutting the cooking time significantly.

Image from seriouseats.com

How to prepare St. Louis Style ribs?

You can dry rub them and even divide them into individual ribs to fry in a pan, bake them in the oven, or put the whole rack onto the grill. They pair deliciously with sweet and spicy sauces. Again, these do not have too much flesh on them, so they will cook faster than most other types of ribs. They will take two and a half, up to 3 hours in the oven.

3. Baby Back pork ribs

This is a wonderful cut, which is why it has gained such popularity. Namely, Baby back ribs are taken from the muscle that runs along the back of the pig. This is a rather meaty cut containing high-quality meat.

Image from thekitchn.com

How to prepare Baby Back pork ribs?

Naturally, you can’t go wrong whichever way of cooking you choose. Among the all-time favorite ways is oven baked. Spice it with your favorite mix and wrap in aluminum halfway through the baking process. They will take an hour and a half, up to two hours in the oven.

4. Flanked short ribs

This cut comes from the bottom of the rib cage but is uniquely cut across, containing a number of bones. It is noteworthy that we have now veered away from pork into beef territory. Moreover, from the same area we get English style short ribs, which are cut individually and parallel to the bone. Interestingly, they are tougher and work best braised.

Image from thekitchn.com

How to prepare Flanked short ribs?

Coming from a somewhat more greasy part of the animal, Flanked ribs are most commonly used for soups and stews.

5. Country-style pork ribs

This type of ribs tends to contain the most meat. Most commonly, the cut comes from the shoulder, but sometimes it may also be loin.

Image from nibblemethis.com

How to prepare Country-style pork ribs?

The best preparation varies depending on where the cut comes from, so be sure to ask your butcher if you got shoulder or loin. For instance, the shoulder will benefit more from lower temperatures and a longer cook time. On the other hand, the loin is leaner and will cook faster. Everything else is completely up to your personal taste.

Billy StewartBilly Stewart

Founder of BarbequeSmoked.com

My dad is a true mans man, and has owned a number of grills. Ranging from gas to charcoal. Growing up with him allowed me to see what different types of rubs, spices, brines, etc went into making the best BBQ. Although my dad was a truck driver, and I had a degree in Information Technology I knew that I wanted to do something about grilling and our recipes.  That’s where Barbeque Smoked comes in.


  1. I ve got a question for you. On May 6 2018 I watched an episode of Food Paradise which I don t recall its name or number, but the chef mentioned a different kind of Baby Back Rib, don t know what he called it but it sounded like wineback.It looks like a regular baby back, but it appears a bit smaller and has more meat. He dry rubed them and covered them with brown sugar and rubbed everything into the meat. After 2 hours in the smoker, he brushed them with a apricot glaze. Then he used a hand torch to carmalize the outside. This is from Travel channel. I m unable to locate the episode and I d like to find out more. I ve been smoking for many years but can t identify the meat he used. Thanks in advance for your time and assistance. sincerely Dan

  2. Great Information. Thanks

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with Terry. This is a wonderful reference page and site!

  4. This really helped me figure out what type of ribs to buy. Thank you!


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