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First ribs..which type?

njlnjl Posts: 871
edited May 2012 in Pork
I think I'd like to try doing ribs on the egg.  What's recommended for a first timer?  Baby back, or spares?  Is there any real difference in how they cook?  I assume spares take a little more time.


  • bigguy136bigguy136 Posts: 1,161
    I personally like baby backs. I get them from Sam's Club and very meaty. I have a rib competition in a month and they are doing St. Louis style so I will be practicing on those. It looks like a fair amount of trimming but cooking them should be about the same.

    Big Lake, Minnesota

    2X Large BGE, 1 Mini Max, Stokers, Adjustable Rig

  • Everybody's different. I have cooked both at the same time. My whole family like the Spares better.
  • Phoenix824Phoenix824 Posts: 243
    I have done both.    Both take about the same amount of time.    Spares take more prep so I am now in the baby back camp.     No Sam's close but I assume Wal Mart's are the same because they have great meat on them also.
    Steve Van Wert, Ohio XL BGE
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,323
    Do a rack of each! Then you can tell us!
  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,715
    most folks (predominate female and kid persuasions) like babybacks, sometimes called loin backs, as they are smaller bones and easier to handle.  t ACGP, Inc.
  • magyarmagyar Posts: 18
    To trim or not to trim. When I buy spare ribs, they have a lot of extra meat and fat on them. I usually trim all this off and grind it up for another use. Then pull off the silver skin on the bone side and end up with, I guess, St. Louis style ribs. Question is, do I really need to do this or can I just throw the whole rack, as is, on the BGE. Would appreciate feedback. You can tell I"m a newbee!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    i like spares over back ribs but will cook both, check the cryo package over well for solution added, thats the biggest problem with pork ribs. regular supermarkets mostly repackage solution added ribs under their own label and they dont have to tell you they are solution added, buyer beware
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,231

    As mentioned above, this is one of those questions where the only right answer is the type you at some point give both a run and go from there.  That written, I have become a "spares, trimmed St Louis cut" fan.  More meat, much less cost /# (around $1.50/# cheaper for spares) and easy to trim.  You Tube has several clips that will help you make the trimming quick and easy.  Trimmings are great for smoking and then adding to beans, eating as the cook's treat or chopping and using in ABT's etc-

    You can cook either the same way-and you are correct in that spares will take longer..but more time for adult beverages...wherever you end up you will enjoy. And welcome!

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,658

    Baby backs cost more (per pound), are smaller, more tender and take about an hour less than spares. Spares, I think have more meat and taste better when done right. They can be tough if not done right. I go with spares. Now that I think about it, don't know last time I cooked BBs. Guess I need to do some again and make sure my memory is right.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    I went ahead and bought a pack of St. Luis cut spares today at Costco.  It appears to be 3 racks.  I was a little concerned in the store, and just took them out to the egg to eye-ball it, and I'm pretty sure I can't fit 3 full racks on the cooking grid without overhanging the sides of the egg.  Does everyone (with a LBGE or smaller) just cut each rack in half?  My V/rib rack looks like it's designed to hold 6 half unless I hear otherwise, I think that'll be the plan.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,231
    I have the LBGE and sometimes I have to cut them-no big deal, just eliminates the bend test for doneness-fall back is the tooth-pick test-goes in and out of a meaty part of the rib with no resistance and they are done.  Enjoy-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • brentseebrentsee Posts: 99

    Did spares last weekend trimmed up etc.  Cooked the same way as back ribs.  250 for 4 or so hours.  Their ok but I will stay with back ribs from now on, as spare are too fatty for wife and I. 

    I have LBGE and have cooked full raks of back ribs on the v rack and on the grill without cutting to fit


  • CullumCullum Posts: 215
    If they come is packs of 3, just cut in half and put in v-rack (if your v-rack holds six - which mine does).
  • N.B. DeFoeN.B. DeFoe Posts: 4
    if you do backs be sure to remove the membrane on the inside of the rib.
  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    I've cooked spares before...just not on a grill.  I remove the membrane on any type of pork ribs.
  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    Next question...if I put one of the racks in a ziplock and freeze it, what's the odds of it keeping for several weeks without freezer burning?  I'm afraid if I cook all 3, and the kids won't eat it (they're young and picky) 3 full racks of spares is going to be lunch and dinner for the two of us for a long time.  OTOH, if I took leftovers to work on Tuesday, I'm sure they'd vanish.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,231
    Can't help with the ribs but I have frozen brisket and pulled pork (the usual high volume foods that an empty-nester will foist upon the SWMBO) and eaten down-stream with great flavor.  Cook what you want and let the left-overs sort themselves out.  It will get consumed-guaranteed!
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • Phoenix824Phoenix824 Posts: 243
    If you took ribs to work on tuesday you should have a promotion by wednesday..
    Steve Van Wert, Ohio XL BGE
  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    Ribs are done.  I ate one entire half slab.  My wife tried to, but didn't finish.  4 more half slabs in the fridge now.

  • njlnjl Posts: 871
    Was a little late on that photo :)

    Here's the leftovers:


    They turned out pretty much how I'd expected.  Total cook time at 250F grid for most of the cook was just about 6 hours...which was about what I'd planned for.  They were not fall off the bone tender, but if you sliced them apart, it wasn't hard to bite the meat off them.  If I take leftovers to work, I'm sure they'll disappear before more than a few people know they're there.

    One thing I think I've finally learned:  Using a drip pan made from folded up HDAF isn't such a great idea for cooks that produce a lot of fat drippings.  When I took the ribs off, I wanted to remove the drip pan, open things up, and let the grid and rib rack "get cleaned".  I found that with the amount of fat drippings I'd collected, it was not a simple matter to just reach in and fold/remove the foil without spilling grease, which I did several times.  I eventually got it out and had more than enough fuel left for it to bury the needle (700++F) off the scale on the TelTru after checking on it 30 minutes after opening the vents.  It'll be interesting to see what's left in the fire box tomorrow.
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