5 Different Types of Pork Ribs & How to Prepare Them

Types Of Pork Ribs
Photo: jesspryles.com

Most people who occasionally cook pork ribs at home are aware of the classic baby back rib. This type is most popular and have the largest amount of high-quality meat which also makes it a perfect option for smoking.

While this is the conventional option, there are other types of pork ribs you can be used in every day to occasional cooking. This is what we are going to discuss in this post. Let’s check them out:

Types of Pork Ribs

Basically, these types vary with meat taken from different parts of the pig. With all these varieties, the cooking time and technique also varies.

To cook them efficiently, you need to know about the thickness of these parts and techniques used for cooking them.

1. Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Baby back, also known as lion back ribs comes from the highest part of pig’s back. It is also directly connected to the pig’s backbone.

Please note that the name “Baby” has nothing to do with the piglets. It is so named because this part is smaller than the spare ribs and the word “back” comes from the backbone of the animal.

The part is leaner and mostly comes in a size of 3 – 6 inches in length and have amazing tenderness. Baby Back is also called white meat of the ribs part. They have a unique bend at the top where the ribs meet the spine.

How to Prepare Baby Back Ribs?

One can smoke the baby back ribs. You should start by removing the extra fats by peeling the membrane on the bottom.

Then, season it and place in the smoker. Due to the versatility of these ribs, you can be experimental with them.

You have to cook them for 3 – 4-hours on 225°F – 250°F temperature.

2. Spare Ribs

Spare Ribs

The spare ribs are on the downside of the pig and reaches the animal’s breastbone.

Other than spare ribs, these are also referred to as “Side Rib” and very popular among buyers.

Most people who unknowingly purchase ribs without specifying the type gets the side ribs.

These are flat and straight and have a marrow of bones at one end from where they are cut from the baby back ribs.

On the other end, there is usually a slab of meat with some gristle and cartilage. These are usually long and have a width of up to 8-inches.

Although it totally depends on personal preferences, but some people consider that among all the types, this part is the most flavorful and rich.

How to Prepare Spare Ribs?

The preparation method of spare ribs is the same as the baby back. However, they do demand more cooking time of up to 6-hours at 225°F – 250°F.

Low flame cooking will make the meat succulent and tender.

3. St. Louis Style Ribs

St. Louis Style Ribs
Photo: thespruceeats.com

So, when you trim the spare ribs a little more, you get St. Louis Style ribs. These don’t have a separate position in the animal’s body.

Since it is cut from spare ribs only, the taste is pretty much the same. However, there is no cartilage and gristle on the bottom.

This type was so named after St. Louis started cutting the spare meat in the mid-20th century. While there are no specific dimensions of the meat classified, it is still bigger than baby back ribs and smaller than the spare ribs.

Also, these are not readily sold in supermarkets and you can buy spare ribs, trim them and use as St. Louis Style ribs.

How to Prepare St. Louis Style Ribs?

The cooking method remains the same and you can smoke the ribs for 5 – 6 hours on low temperature of 225°F – 250°F.

4. Rib Tips

Rib Tips
Photo: nothinglikebbq.com

Rib tips are basically the most tender part of the pig and has a mammoth of fats and marbling since it is in proximity to the belly. Well, there are a lot of small bones in this part that can be a bit troublesome while eating.

Rib tips are trimmed from spare ribs when you are making St. Louis cut. These are separated from the lower end of the spare ribs and are 8 – 12-inches long and up to 3-inches wide.

While serving, they are usually cut into 2-inches width and served as bike-size small chunks.

How To Prepare Rib Tips?

Well, you know that these are derived from the spare ribs, so the cooking temperature of 225°F – 250°F remains the same.

But since these are not as thick as other types, the cooking time is between 2 – 3-hours.

5. Country Side Ribs

Country Side Ribs
Photo: yodersmokers.com

The countryside ribs are not taken from any specific body part of the pig, but they are cut from the front end of baby back ribs close to the shoulders.

Basically, these are chops in a small bite-size. The good thing is that there is a lot of meat and fewer bones.

How to Prepare Country Side Ribs?

This cut will have to very well brined, and you have to cook it on low and slow flame. You should also reverse sear the countryside ribs.


It is essential to smoke different parts of ribs according to specific timings. Also, the cut of different types is in different lengths.

We hope that you will find these types useful and will up your game of smoking ribs.