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Baby Backs vs. Spare Ribs vs. St. Louis style ribs what's the best and best bang for the buck

HarleyDougHarleyDoug Posts: 69
edited November 2011 in EggHead Forum
OK guys & gals would like some opinions  -- I've done baby backs but no spare or St. Louis style ribs

Thanks much,


  • I am not a fan of spare.  It is just my personal preference though.  Baby B's are more expensive, but I like the texture and the taste better.  All in all, it is Pork, so you can't go wrong!

    Paul Go there. I write it.
  • thanks Paul - I'm thinking the same appreciate other thoughts 
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    BB fan here as well, just seems like a better meat to bone ratio.

  • bb are best but costly. I do a lot of St Louis style.
    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • I just did st louis style spares the other day.  Bought them from costco and trimmed myself.  I'm not expert but I thought I did a pretty good job trimming them up myself.

    The problem I had was that I had HUGE amounts of meat that was cut off to mack the 'racks'.  I think part of this was costco truly leaving everything on, but I didn't know what to do with the trimmings.  I tried cooking two of the larger pieces along with the ribs, but they didn't turn out well (very fatty / cartilegey?) and bad flavor / texture.

    All in all, I think the savings/lb ended up costing me more than if I had bought BBs in the first place since so much was wasted.

    Just my opinion tho', and I have to say that the flavor of the actual ribs was very good, just maybe not worth the effort.
  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    I've gotta say here, I love Baby Backs but the 2nd time I made ribs on the Egg the store with the best prices had only one rack of baby back, so instead of driving across town and paying more, I bought one spare rib rack and one baby back.

    I still spent 6 hours doing the 3.2.1 method, and...I hated the spare ribs just like I knew I would.  If I paid myself for the 6 hours of cooking at the rate I charge the hospital, the price for my time cooking makes the price difference between baby backs and spare ribs look ridiculous.

    My point is, if you are going to take your time to cook a meal, think about the money you spend as almost negligible to the amount of time and work you put into the cook.

  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    I agree trying to save on meat is not worth it we don't shop for the cheapest meat rather go to butcher we trust and if we pay a little more that's o.k. by me.  We use to eat out at least 3 times a week, we might eat out twice a month now so we are still ahead of the game $ wise.

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,950
    Start Egg

    Sharp knife + rack of spares + 5 minutes = St. Louis style ribs + rib tips + bones for broth.

    Rub, put on Egg. Come back 5 - 6 hours later. More meat than BBs at half the price.

    Alternatively, start Egg, rub whole rack, place on Egg and come back in 6 hours. Plan on leftovers.
  • If anyone makes stews with pork or hash or Brunswick, you can save the cuts for that. Cook when you do the regular ribs and pull the meat. Use it right awy or freeze it for later use

    Paul Go there. I write it.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    i cook spares for us, b-backs for the guests.  guests expect b-backs because frankly most folks don't know anything other than what commercials on tv tell them.

    when i got the BGE i had no idea the differences.

    i find a good slab of spares to be meatier, and more forgiving to cook.  i trim them to st. loius style, and either throw the trimmings right on with them (gives the equivalent almost of brisket's 'burnt ends'), or i stockpile the extra meat for making sausages.  i find them cheaper than conventional loin backs, and we just prefer them.

    that said, loin backs cook up well, and are always a big hit. 

    drawing lines in the sand over one being 'better' than the other seems a little foolish.  chevy vs. ford
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
    edited November 2011

    Stike quote-"I find a good slab of spares to be meatier, and more forgiving to cook."

    These are the two main advantages I see, I would say over 90% competition cooks turn in spares just for reason(s) alone.  If you know how to cook them...there is nothing better than a sweet pork spare rib. IMO



    from SANTA CLARA, CA

  • Thanks everyone I really appreciate the "input"
  • I've done both and had the best result with spares.  Either way you can't go wrong.  

  • jerrypjerryp Posts: 230
    I like baby backs.  Spare  ribs have a lot of rubbery little pieces that don't seem to break down toward the tips. You can almost always find baby backs on sale for 3.99/pound if you do a little research, so the price difference isn't gonna keep you from making your mortgage for the month.
  • KailasKailas Posts: 146
    Add another Baby Back fan here.  I've done both.  And I don't know where you guys are getting your spares from, but every time I get Baby Backs, they have more meat per rib than the spares did.  That plus the texture, I would always go with BB.  I guess that I have just gotten used to cooking Baby Backs and can't get the spares or St. Louis style down.
  • I have cooked BB's and Spares and I will always cooks spares after doing the 350 dome temp method.  1 hour bone side down, 1 hour bone side up, then start testing the tenderness. Spares come out tender, moist and full of flavor.


    Welcome to the Swamp.....GO GATORS!!!!
  • BobinFlaBobinFla Posts: 363
    edited November 2011

    I am SO glad most of you like loin backs (what's the heck is a Baby back? Something Chili's promotes!) because it keeps the cost of spare ribs down for the rest of us.  Spare ribs have much more flavor.


  • mr toadmr toad Posts: 668
    we love the "baby backs" -

    mr toad
    In dog Beers - I have had only one !
  • I always cook St. Louis style.  I usually buy full spares and cut them myself.  To me, when you cut them to St. Louis style, they become like a large baby back.  Most people that don't know any better think that they are baby backs.  

    I always set the dome temp for 250, and let it warm up while I am prepping the ribs.  Right before I put the ribs on, I take the grate and plate setter out to put my wood chips on.  Then I put everything back in and put the ribs on.  It seems to me that putting the chips on at the last minute gets you more smoke when you put the meat on.  Then it tapers off in about 20 mins or so.  I get a little better flavor that way.  The temp on the egg does cool down after putting the meat on and the chips on.  I leave the vents at the same point that it was at 250 empty, and just let it catch up.  It is always caught up in 30 or 45 mins.  Maybe even less.  I usually plan for a 6 to 7 hour cook although the egg seems to cook them faster than other cookers that I have used.  They are usually done in 5 or 6 hours.  I did have one very thick slab that needed that extra hour last week though.  I double wrap the slabs that are done ( I never cook with them wrapped) and put them in a cooler that I have that is almost exactly the same size as 5 slabs of ribs stacked on top of each other.  They will stay warm for hours.  You want them in a cooler that doesn't leave a lot of space between the ribs and the side of the cooler.

    Sorry my first post is so long, but it is something that I have done a lot.
    Large BGE Decatur, AL
  • thanks much, I'll take your advice - WInn-Dixie had a buy1 get 1 free on baby backs so I'm going to do a couple of racks tomorrow - thanks again
  • rodentrodent Posts: 106
    Save the trimmings and use in "Sunday Italian gravy". Delicious slow cooked in the tomato sauce.
  • have never heard of it - tell me more
  • thanks much, I'll take your advice - WInn-Dixie had a buy1 get 1 free on baby backs so I'm going to do a couple of racks tomorrow - thanks again
    I hate we dont have Winn Dixie here anymore Go there. I write it.
  • rodentrodent Posts: 106
    Italian Sunday gravy


    3 28oz cans Red pack tomato sauce
    1 28 oz can Red pack crushed tomatoes
    1 28 oz can water
    8 pork spare ribs, seperated
    8 sweet or hot Italian sausages Browned & cut in half
    20 meatballs, my recipe to come.
    1 medium onion chopped
    8 cloves garlic minced
    ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    3 Tablespoons dried oregano
    2 Tablespoons dried basil
    1 Tablespoon each salt & pepper
    3 heaping Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
    ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
    1 cup red wine
    1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 bay leaves

    Use the rib trimmings instead of the ribs
  • rodentrodent Posts: 106
    Sorry, instructions for making Italian Sunday gravy
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