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The Great Rib Debate

How do you eat your ribs? It’s the question that has divided cookouts and family reunions for decades.

When it comes to ribs, the most common argument that arises is whether to eat them sauced or unsauced. But when it comes to an ideal rib, there are more factors to take into account. While we argue that all ribs will turn out delicious if cooked on a Memphis, consider all your options the next time you make ribs.

Pork ribs are the most popular type of ribs because of their higher fat content, which makes for a more flavorful, juicier rib. When selecting a cut at your butcher, you’ll be faced with choosing between spare rib or baby back. Here’s what you need to know about both:

tamarind spare ribs   Grilled Korean Short Ribs  Award-Winning Ribs on the Memphis Wood Fire Grill   BBQ Ribs Made With Pellet Grill

 

Regions

Four distinct regions throughout the United States have staked their claim on the cuts, methods, and flavors that make a perfect rack of ribs.

  1. In the Carolinas, pitmasters prefer to BBQ mostly pork, paired with a tangy, vinegar-y flavor profile.
  2. Memphis style BBQ values both dry and wet ribs but combines both a tomato and vinegar base when using sauce.
  3. Kansas City BBQ is sure to be the boss of sauce. Favoring flavors of sweet and spice, KC-style BBQ doesn’t shy away from a wet rack of ribs.
  4. Texas BBQ cooks with bolder flavors, smoking beef, mutton or pork over mesquite and brushing the meat with thick molasses-style sauce.

Baby Back

Baby back ribs come from the top part of the pig’s ribs, which have the most meat and take less time to cook. This makes them the most popular ribs in the United States. While there is more meat on a baby back, they also have a lower fat content which determines the flavor and texture of the ribs.

Rub or sauce? You’ll typically find that baby backs are sauced to enhance the taste. Try our BBQ sauce recipe on these ribs.

Spare ribs

Spare ribs come from the bottom portion of the pig’s ribs. They have longer bones, but less meat than the baby back. Spare ribs also have a higher fat content which lends itself to a low and slow cooking method, in order to render out the fat and increase the flavor.

Rub or sauce? Because of the high fat and slow cook, your spare ribs will turn out very tender and juicy. If you’re eager to ditch the sauce and try a dry rub, we recommend doing so on a spare rib.  See our rub recipe here.

How to cook perfect spare ribs

To cook delicious spare ribs on the Memphis, take your time and go for low and slow. Set your Memphis to smoke at 200 degrees F for about 5 hours, or until the internal temperature is 185.

How do I know when they are ready?

Test to make sure they are ready by lifting the rack with your tongs on one side and letting the rack curve in the middle. If the ribs start to separate in the middle, then they are ready to eat!

No matter which ribs you cook, or how you cook them – we guarantee they will turn out great on the Memphis. Enjoy!