Rt 38 BBQ

Are Ribs Beef or Pork?

Hey Pitmaster! Are ribs beef or pork?

Hey Flatlander! They’re both!

There are also alligator ribs, venison, and pretty much anything with a ribcage. But for the purpose of this blog, we’ll stick with the original question.

Now, you may ask yourself, which is better when it comes to ribs?

We’re here to tell you that, no matter what your preference, both are delicious!

Ribs are classic comfort food. A food that a war was fought over, (well, kinda…Read about the Pig War of 1859 here; https://www.ranker.com/list/foods-that-started-conflicts/laura-allan).

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the differences between pork and beef ribs, as well as give you a few tips on how to season them perfectly every time.

Pork ribs are typically meatier and juicier than beef ribs. They’re also a bit leaner, which means they can be tougher if not cooked properly. Beef ribs tend to be fattier, but the muscle structure makes the meat easier to eat. If you’re looking for flavor, pork ribs will usually have a bit more due to the higher fat content.

Addressing pork ribs first: what’s the difference between St. Louis style (baby back ribs) and pork loin ribs? Pork loin ribs come from the whole loin muscle, while St. Louis style ribs are cut from the rib primal and have a bone-in section and a meatier flap on top. Pork loin ribs are leaner and less fatty than baby back ribs they’re almost as lean as beef ribs! That said, they require more attention when cooking to ensure they don’t dry out.


Baby back pork ribs also give us those things-of-beauty, rib tips! These little nuggets of meat are incredibly tender and delicious, but they’re also the fattiest part of the rib.

Now let’s move on to beef ribs…these often come from the chuck primal (shoulder) and contain a fair amount of marbling, making them juicy and flavorful. They’re not as lean as pork loin ribs, but they pack a wallop of flavor. 

Short ribs and back ribs (also called plate ribs), are cut from the chuck primal and have more fat marbled throughout, making them incredibly tender when cooked properly. Braising is the method of choice for me but hibachi grilling or Korean BBQ style also compliment these deliciously decadent morsels of meat. 
Back ribs come from the rib primal near the loin and are leaner, begging for fast flame grilling over hardwood charcoal. You’ll enjoy gnawing on a dino-sized rib bone, stripping every trace of tissue from it like a ravenous piranha. 
Seasonings for each are as varied as the stars in the sky. From “necked” to what-the ****-did-I-just-eat?!!!?! What do you like? I’ve eaten some fabulous racks of pork ribs that were only seasoned with the smoke of the wood. 

it may help to think you it in this light; pork ribs and meat are sweeter meat and slicker fat. Seasoning needs to compliment that profile so the flavor of the meat is not overpowered by the intensity of the spice blend.

Think of multiple layers of tastes, starting bright and ending dark. A journey that entices you to take the next bite. This is how I have fashioned the taste profile for all of my cooking since 1979. Over forty years of full-range flavor. 

Beef and beef ribs are different. More sinewy and a greasier feel to the fat. Beef does well with sea salt and black pepper only but also stands up to spicy heat and savory herbs. Don’t be afraid to heat things up with cayenne, fresh chilies, and garlic cloves studded into the flesh. Be sensitive to the palate of others. Not everyone enjoys a three-alarm fire in their mouths and guts. 

When you over season, it takes away from the dining experience as the spices attack the taste buds, dulling them and reducing your pleasure from being able to taste everything on your plate. When in doubt, go light and let people add their salt, pepper, and hot sauce or spices to taste. 
And now you know. Whether pork or beef, dry-rubbed or wet-mopped, slow-smoked with hickory wood, or grilled over mesquite charcoal, ribs are the perfect food for any occasion. As a matter of fact, I’m gonna tear into a rack of St. Louis beauties as soon as I finish writing.
When it comes to cooking ribs, there are two main methods: smoking or grilling. Smoking is the best way to cook pork ribs, as it gives them a nice smoky flavor that goes well with the sweet and savory sauce. Grilling is better for beef ribs, as it gives them a crispy outer crust and juicy interior. No matter which type of rib you prefer, we recommend using one of our delicious BBQ sauces for the perfect finishing touch!

What’s your favorite type of rib? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re ever in the area, come on in for the best ribs around! Get you some of our delicious beef brisket or burnt ends too, while you’re at it. Nobody likes a spoilsport.

Do you have a preferred method for cooking ribs? Which should you choose? Tell us about your preferred method or ask a question, the ol’ Pitmaster will be glad to exchange information and intends to blog about those methods in the near future.

Stop by Rt 38 BBQ today and give us a try! You won’t be disappointed.

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