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Why do Some Folks Knock Baby Backs?

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  • pkadare
    Club Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 894
    • Bobcaygeon, Ontario
    • My gear:
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    Why do Some Folks Knock Baby Backs?

    I've seen lots of folks on the intertubes (not exclusively here) knock baby backs. A lot of the disparagement seems to revolve around a lack of meat when compared with side ribs. Personally, I love both equally. Our 2 grocery stores frequently get cryovacced baby backs and when they are on sale, I snap them up. The are mostly packaged by Maple Leaf and I find them to be very meaty. Click image for larger version

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  • smokin fool
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 1683
    • Mississauga, Ont

    We buy them all the time from RCSS or No Frills.
    Mainly for your reasons and you know what you are going to get when you smoke them.
    I find ribs you buy over the counter all over the place while smoking.
    Guess predictable is the word I'm looking for, still gotta do some work but they turn out good every time.


    • pkadare
      pkadare commented
      Editing a comment
      It is kind like Nickelback. Everyone claims to hate them but they move a shit ton of albums. :-)
  • mrteddyprincess
    Club Member
    • Sep 2018
    • 342

    I agree with your assessment. I try to buy baby backs above 3 lbs. In my freezer right now I have both baby backs and whole spare ribs. Both can be amazing!


    • FireMan
      Charter Member
      • Jul 2015
      • 7620
      • Bottom of Winnebago

      I prefer spares maybe cuz of the cost. Just did some baby’s yesterday & my wife, who’s opinion I treasure, said they were the best wibs I’ve ever done. “I want my baby back”, dum, dum, dum, dum.

      PS. Don’t knock any cooker when Fire is involved & any cook when meat is involved. I do like veggies but, let’s not get carried away. It just might take us into that kale thing again.
      Last edited by FireMan; July 18, 2019, 07:11 AM.


      • pkadare
        pkadare commented
        Editing a comment
        I like my kale with a silent "k".

      • bardsleyque
        bardsleyque commented
        Editing a comment
        agree wholeheartedly with (k)ALE!
    • Huskee
      Pit Boss
      • May 2014
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      I like 'em both. The arc on back ribs makes them a bit trickier for how I prep mine, but I like them just the same. I will say though that BIG back ribs ( >3 to 3.5lbs+) are not good, they don't cook up well IMO. Heavier back ribs are meatier,which means there's more loin meat on top, and that layer gets really dry by the time the interior is soft and done. I'd rather have big StL instead.


      • OSB
        OSB commented
        Editing a comment
        2.5 to 3 lb for back ribs and 3.5 to 4 lbs for St Louie's. I'm that picky.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        OSB That is EXACTLY what I do and what I suggest to people when they ask me about buying or smoking ribs!

      • mgaretz
        mgaretz commented
        Editing a comment
        Blasphemy works great on meatier ribs.
    • au4stree
      Former Member
      • Aug 2018
      • 554
      • Birmingham, AL

      For me, I prefer St. Louis cut simply because it is what I'm accustomed to cooking. I slung many a slab of those for competitions and can cook them with my eyes closed, but have no problem with baby backs. I will NEVER turn away a pork rib from anyone, except maybe my father in law(he can't cook).


      • JeffJ
        Charter Member
        • Feb 2015
        • 2405
        • Michigan
        • Jeff

        I prefer St Louis but baby backs are fine.


        • Craigar
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          • Steve R.
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 2276
            • Elizabethtown, KY
            • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Ranch Kettle w/ Guru adapter.

            It's not the lack of meat that makes me not like BBR's as much. I find that a lot of them, especially the ones marketed as "extra meaty", have too much lean loin meat left on them to increase the weight. I trim most of that off, just for my own preference, but I hate paying for loin meat that I don't want to eat. Beyond that, I prefer the straighter bones and more consistent thickness of spare ribs.

            Having said all of that, I will happily eat baby backs or spares, because... hey, ribs!


            • Mosca
              Charter Member
              • Oct 2014
              • 3300
              • PA
              • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

              People always make this kind of thing into an either-or choice. But if someone offered me ribs, I wouldn’t be all like, “Oh, I don’t know. What are they? Regular spares, or baby backs? Because I’m pretty picky about that stuff.”

              I think it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Obviously bbs are smaller... but they are also meatier, because they are being cut that way. That affects time and temp. Also, bbs are lighter meat. They have a milder flavor. Full spares are thicker now, too, but not like bbs. Full spares are stronger flavored, as well. And, just as important, baby backs cost more. Thanks, Chili’s, because there’s no reason for them to cost more. There is a 1:1 correspondence between racks of spares and racks of baby backs in this world.

              I used to go 100% for the baby backs. Now I go almost always for the spares. I prefer the taste, and the fact that they are a lot cheaper and you get a larger rack for less money puts it over the top. Add in the flap meat and the tips when buying center cut, and I’m all in. But I’ll buy baby backs if I need to fit several racks on the LBGE, like for when company comes over, because laying out full racks makes a nice presentation.


              • Spinaker
                • Nov 2014
                • 10535
                • Land of Tonka
                • John "J R"
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                Like most, I like them both. However, I do prefer to cook St. Louis Style Ribs. SLSRs are more uniform in shape and they don't have that chunk of loin meat on top.

                All that being said, I will cook and eat both!


                • texastweeter
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2017
                  • 2880
                  • Republic of Texas

                  I prefer spare or St.Lewis cut due to the extra fat on them. I personally think they taste better.


                  • crazytown3
                    Club Member
                    • Jul 2019
                    • 180
                    • Stansbury Park, UT USA
                    • Weber Performer (AH) - Black
                      Weber Smokey Mountain 18
                      ThermaPen Classic - Red

                    I prefer St. Louis cuts, but would never, ever turn down baby backs, especially when I get a pack of them from Costco as a Father's Day gift.


                    • pjlstrat
                      Club Member
                      • May 2019
                      • 396
                      • Massachusetts
                      • Grills
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                      For me it’s a matter of what I’m doing . If it’s just for me and my family definitely spares . If I’m having one or two other families over for ribs then spares again . But if I’m supplying ribs to a potluck where there’s hundreds of other dishes I like to go with the baby backs because it’s not as much food per bone .

                      Me I like them both equally well


                      • Troutman
                        Club Member
                        • Aug 2017
                        • 7198

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                        I love them both but for different reasons. And unlike my esteemed colleague Mr. Huskee, I go out of my way to order the baby backs with the loin meat attached. They get treated just like a bone in loin roast, which is essentially the same thing. Here's an example of one of my loin roasts cut into thick chops;

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                        ...and some baby backs with full loin I get from Matador Prime Meats out of Dallas....

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                        Totally different cut from spares or St. Louis cut. Cooked different and taste different. But again, I like the whole pig, ain't no part that I don't


                        • Craigar
                          Craigar commented
                          Editing a comment
                          JimLinebarger Probably air brushed.

                        • Troutman
                          Troutman commented
                          Editing a comment
                          All BooBirds are invited to the house to partake in the real deal. Just got another batch from Matador last week.

                        • au4stree
                          au4stree commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Troutman, there’s an old place in town, their marquee says, “from the rooter to the tooter”. Seems like that’s your jam.



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