What Are the Types of Beef Ribs & How Are They Different

What Are the Types of Beef Ribs & How Are They Different

What Are the Types of Beef Ribs & How Are They Different

There are a few types of beef ribs that you might find at the grocery store or your favorite barbecue restaurant. The most common types are baby back ribs, spare ribs, and St. Louis-style ribs. 

But what do these terms mean? How are they different from each other? Keep reading to learn more about the different types of beef ribs!

What Are the Types Of Beef Ribs?

Beef ribs come in two varieties: short ribs and back ribs. Short ribs are taken from the chuck or plate primal cuts, whereas back ribs are obtained from the loin primal cut. These are the most frequent beef rib types that come from, including what we find at grocery stores and order in a restaurant.

So, how are these different from the common beef rib cuts in the grocery stores? Let’s find out.

Short Ribs

The term “short ribs” refers to beef taken from the brisket, chuck, plate, or rib areas of cattle. These types of ribs are usually cut into rectangular or square-shaped slabs. 

Short ribs are one of the tougher types of beef due to the more extensive connective tissues, known as collagen and reticulin, in them. For this reason, they are often braised or stewed to make them more tender and flavorful.

Back Ribs

Back ribs, also called long ribs, are taken from the loin area of cattle. They are smaller and have a higher proportion of flesh to bone than short ribs. Back ribs are more delicate than short ribs because they have less fat and marbling.

They are typically cut into individual rib bones or rib slabs and can be grilled, baked, smoked, or roasted.

What Are The Difference Between The Two Types Of Beef Ribs?

The main difference between the two types of beef ribs is in their shape. Short ribs are shorter and flatter while the back ribs are longer and curved. The other difference is in the amount of meat that is on each type of rib. 

Short ribs will have less meat because they come from the chuck primal which is a tougher section of the cow. Back ribs, on the other hand, will have more meat as they come from the loin primal which is a more tender section. However, these two types of ribs are still relatively tough cuts of meat.

What Are The Different Variations Of Beef Ribs?

What Are The Different Variations Of Beef Ribs?

The variation of beef ribs that you commonly find and know of such as spare ribs, baby back ribs, etc. came from the main two types of beef ribs mentioned above. These beef ribs will depend on where they are cut from and how they are prepared. 

Unlike pork ribs, beef ribs are rarely sold as an entire rack. One reason is because of its size which is why it is cut in a variety of ways. That being said, it is important to know the different types (subcategories) of short ribs or back ribs.

So, we made a list of the most common variation of beef ribs, depending on how they’re cut:

  • Plate short ribs

These are the most common type of short ribs. The ribs are harvested from the cow’s chest below the brisket. The fat content of plate short ribs helps to let the moisture stay without drying out the meat, especially when smoking.

  • Chuck short ribs

As you can probably guess, these ribs are cut from the chuck area. This section is located at the shoulder of the cow and is a tougher area. Chuck short ribs will have more connective tissue than plate short ribs.

  • Back ribs

Back ribs come from the loin area which is located in the cow’s back. This section is more tender than other areas and that is why you’ll find more meat on the back ribs.

How Beef Ribs Are Cut?

There are different ways in which short ribs are cut. The type of cut will affect the shape of the rib as well as the cooking time. Here’s a list that you can use as your guide:

  1. English-style

These are cut perpendicular to the bone and will have a rectangular shape. This is the most common way that short ribs are cut.

  1. Flanken-style

These are cut across the bone and will have a thinner, elongated shape. Because they are thinner, they will cook faster than English-style short ribs.

  1. Boneless

As the name suggests, these ribs have had the bones removed. This makes them easier to eat but they can dry out more easily during cooking.

  1. Untrimmed

As the name suggests, this cut just means that the ribs haven’t been trimmed of any fat. This isn’t commonly likely to find in grocery stores, but you can buy untrimmed beef cuts from a butcher.

  1. Trimmed

These ribs have had the fat trimmed off. This makes them less fatty but can also make them dry out more easily.

  1. Riblets  

These are the smallest pieces of short ribs and are usually only sold by the pound. They can be used for stews or soups.

You should note that these cuts are not exclusive to short ribs. You can find some of these cuts (English-style, boneless, trimmed) for back ribs as well. If you want a particular cut for your beef ribs, you should ask your butcher or the person at the meat counter.

Ready To Make The Best Beef Ribs?

One great way to cook beef ribs is through barbecuing. The intense heat of the grill sears the meat and locks in the juices, making for some delicious ribs. 

Regardless of whichever type of beef ribs you want to grill, you should definitely use our Z Grill BBQ. Available in different models, our Z Grills BBQ can definitely help cook your beef ribs with consistent results. They are versatile and all in one smoker and wood-fired oven.
You can check out and learn more about Z Grill BBQ on our website. It’s definitely going to help you barbecuing beef ribs. Also, we have other products that can help to use from preparation to post-meal here of your beef ribs. Call or chat with us if you have any questions!

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