Master Every Type of Ribs: Spareribs, Baby Back, St. Louis Style and More
To us, a slab of ribs is the carnivore’s perfect summer food. Nibbling on them without a fork or knife is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Though they can be cooked in the oven with great results, they’re most often taken outside and fired up until smoky and charred. Plus, buying racks in bulk makes for an easy, crowd-pleasing party dish that goes delectably with an ice-cold beer.
In the spirit of summer, churn out perfectly tender ribs right at home with all the flavor of the smokehouse, with some of our most-popular recipes for all the different types of pork and beef ribs.
Let’s talk spareribs. Meaty, with a good amount of fat, they’re cut from the belly of the pig, from the front of the rib cage. Next time you make ‘em, crack open a can of cola to add a dose of unexpected sweetness to these top-rated Sweet Cola Ribs. After you remove the membrane, give the rack a good dry rub and cook it over indirect heat for serious smoky tenderness. Glaze the ribs in the last few moments of grilling so they reach sweet perfection without burning.
Flatter than other types of ribs, St. Louis-style ribs have a high surface-to-mass ratio, so they’re easier to cook evenly and brown. Bobby Flay took on St. Louis-style ribs in a Throwdown against a famed North Carolina pitmaster, and executed his meaty Smoked Ribs with Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce with a dry rub and a cider vinegar-based mop.
When Tyler Florence was faced with the task of creating the perfect barbecue ribs, he went for baby backs — and he did it without even using a grill. Instead, his recipe for The Ultimate Barbecue Ribs reaches tender, delicious perfection by cooking the ribs at a low temperature in the oven, basting them in homemade barbecue sauce and then broiling them in the final moments until they’re crisped and charred. Follow Tyler’s guide for the perfect oven ribs right here.
Country-style ribs actually aren’t ribs at all. Cut from the shoulder end of the loin, this meaty cut can be cooked like a chop or braised until they’re fall-apart tender, as they are in Anne Burrell’s technique for Braised Country-Style Pork Ribs.
A dinner plate of bone-in short ribs may not spell out “backyard barbecue,” but this cut deserves a spot in our rib roundup thanks to its fall-apart goodness. With nearly 500 top reviews, Anne’s game-changing Beef Short Ribs are blissfully browned and big on flavor.