Types of Ribs

By Georgia Freedman

Published on August 1, 2009

Ribs are some of the most flavorful cuts on an animal. While tender pork baby backs are our choice for our Soy Sauce-Marinated Ribs, various rib cuts suit different recipes and cooking styles. Here's a guide to our favorite options.

1. Pork Spare Ribs This inexpensive cut comes from around the belly of the pig. Because belly meat is prized for bacon, spareribs are cut as close to the bone as possible.

2. St. Louis-Style Ribs These ribs, used in barbecue, are pork spareribs with a uniform, rectangular shape thanks to the removal of the end portion, or rib tip, and the skirt, a flap of meat attached to the bone side.

3. Baby Back Pork Ribs Baby backs are taken from around the loin, the muscle that runs along the pig's back on either side of the spine, for a leaner cut that cooks rapidly.

4**. English-Style Beef Short Ribs** Relatively tough beef short ribs, taken from the bottom of the rib cage, work best braised, as in the Hawaiian Cowboy Beef Stew. The ones known as English style are cut parallel to the bone and separated from one another.

5. Flanken-Cut Beef Short Ribs This cut, used in eastern European Jewish soups and stews, comes from the same part of the steer as English-style ribs, but it's cut across the ribs into a thin slab containing several bones.

6. Country-Style Pork Ribs These, the meatiest of ribs, come either from the loin, in which case they cook quickly, or, more often, from near the shoulder, which means they're tougher and benefit from low, slow cooking.

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