How Do Baby Back Ribs and Spare Ribs Compare?

Both baby back and spare ribs are pork ribs that are often braised and slow-cooked to perfection before dishing.

There are, however, considerable distinctions in size, taste, and texture to consider when deciding which to serve for your next dinner.

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know before deciding whether to use baby back ribs or spare ribs.

Difference Between Baby Back and Spare Ribs

The primary distinction between baby back and spare ribs is their hog position, size, and taste. Baby back ribs are smaller, sweeter ribs from the pig’s back, while spare ribs are bigger, harder ribs from the hog’s belly.

Baby back ribs are smaller than spare ribs in size.

Baby back ribs have a sweeter flavor than spare ribs.

Both are excellent when slow-cooked in an oven, smoker, grill, or on the stove.

Both are popular when served at barbecues or outdoor grilling activities, but spare ribs fare better with crowds due to their bigger size.

Baby back ribs are available in racks of 8-13 and are 3-6 inches broad, while spare ribs are available in racks of 11-13 and are 6-8 inches wide.

Baby back ribs are sourced from the back of the hog, whilst spare ribs are sourced from the lower belly area.

Price: Baby back ribs cost more than spare ribs.

Baby Back Ribs vs Spare Ribs Comparison Table

When deciding between spare ribs and baby back ribs, see the chart below.

  Size Flavor Meat Toughness Preparation Method Cook time Location in Hog Price
Baby back ribs Smaller, 3-6 inches with 8-13 ribs in a rack Sweet Tender Braise and slow cook Less, 1.5-2 hours in a 300 degree oven Back of hog Expensive
Spare ribs Larger, 6-8 inches with 11-13 ribs in a rack Less sweet Tough Braise and slow cook More, 2.5-3 hours in a 300 degree oven Belly of hog Less Expensive

Can You Substitute Baby Back for Spare Ribs?

Since both ribs are prepared and cooked identically, baby back ribs may nearly always be substituted for spare ribs. Spare ribs will take somewhat longer to cook, but they are both excellent when slow-cooked in an oven, smoker, barbecue, or slow-cooker.

Spice rubs, marinades, and sauces will enhance the flavor of both baby back and spare ribs. They may also be brazed to add softness and taste to the final product.

Moreover, baby back ribs and spare ribs offer comparable health advantages. They are heavy in fat and calories, yet they include vital elements.

The biggest difference to be noticed when swapping baby back ribs for spare ribs is size. Spare ribs have more meat than baby back ribs, so keep this in mind when buying ribs if you’re going to substitute one for the other.

To acquire the same quantity of meat as spare ribs, you’ll need to purchase at least twice the number of baby back rib racks.

Is it possible to switch pork loin for pork shoulder?

What Are Baby Back Ribs?

Baby back ribs are sourced from the pig’s back, around where the ribs meet the backbone. These ribs are identical to the ribs found in bone-in pork rib loin chops. Its curved look is due to their placement wrapped around the loin.

A rack of baby back ribs typically comprises eight to thirteen ribs, each measuring 3 to 6 inches across. Unlike spare ribs, which often come with brisket attached, these shorter ribs do not generally have additional meats connected to the bottom.

Baby back ribs are typically 2 pounds in weight and offer enough meat for two persons, particularly when served with sides or other meals. If you’re very hungry, one rack may be exactly the thing.

Even the earliest humans were known to adore baby back ribs! This article from describes how we know our forefathers ate ribs as well.

How to Use Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs are easy to make and popular at a variety of functions. These were formerly prohibitively costly, but have grown more cheap in recent years. They are, however, more costly, making them a better option for smaller parties than spare ribs or other less expensive types of beef.

Preparing Baby Back Ribs

You may season baby back ribs with a spice rub, marinate, or sauce before grilling them. You may manufacture your own or buy your favorite brand from the shop.

Assume you’re searching for a straightforward barbeque solution. In such scenario, slathering the ribs in your favorite barbecue sauce before grilling them is a good idea.

Cooking Baby Back Ribs

Slow cooking is the best way to prepare baby back ribs. Common slow cooking techniques include employing a slow cooker’s moisture-rich heat or the dry heat of a smoker or grill. Slow cooking, in any case, is the best technique to make the cartilage surrounding the ribs moist and soft.

These are some basic cooking time and temperature instructions for baby back ribs:

Cook for 1.5-2 hours at 300°F in the oven.

Cook for 5 hours on low in a slow cooker.

Cook for 6 hours at 200°F in a smoker.

3 hours on the grill at 225 degrees

Check on your ribs on a regular basis while they cook. If you use a grill, be careful to rotate them often to achieve equal cooking. To improve the taste, drizzle sauce or marinade over the ribs.

Some folks, particularly when using a smoker or grill, like to cover the ribs in foil for some of the cooking period.

Serving Baby Back Ribs

At most parties, particularly barbecues or other outdoor grilling gatherings, baby back ribs are a crowd-pleaser. Just be sure to provide enough of napkins for your visitors! People like eating them with their hands, so there’s no need to remove them off the bone before serving.

What Are Spare Ribs?

Spare ribs originate in the lower ribs and continue across the hog’s belly to where the rib cage meets the sternum. Because of this, they are a flatter, fattier cut of ribs than baby backs or other back ribs.

Spare ribs may have the brisket connected to the bottom of the ribs. The meatier the spare ribs are, the farther down the rib cage they are sliced.

Spare ribs are usually 6-8 inches broad and come in racks of 11-13 ribs. They have harder flesh than racks from the pig’s back. Nonetheless, braising and slow cooking techniques may tenderize them to perfection.

Spare ribs typically weigh roughly 3 pounds each slab and supply more than enough meat for two persons. Although bones account for around half of the weight, spare ribs are greater. These can contain enough meat for a small party to share, particularly if other meal alternatives are available.

How to Use Spare Ribs

Spare ribs include a lot of meat, making them ideal for gatherings or large groups of people. You may save time by using a basic preparation or go for a more intricate technique for a more stunning serve.

Preparing Spare Ribs

Make your own spice rub, marinate, or sauce for your spare ribs. If you are pressed for time, you may buy a ready-made version from a shop.

Spare ribs are adaptable and go well with a range of tastes. They will be soft and tasty as long as they are cooked appropriately.

Cooking Spare Ribs

Spare ribs have more cartilage than other kinds of ribs because they are placed near more active muscles on the hog. This implies that longer cooking periods are required to tenderize the ribs and guarantee that each mouthful is juicy and flavorful.

These are some basic cooking time and temperature instructions for baby back ribs:

Cook for 2.5-3 hours at 300°F in the oven.

Cook for 6 hours on low in a slow cooker.

Cook for 5.5 hours at 250°F in a smoker.

Cook for 1.5-2 hours at 200°F on the grill.

Check your ribs often while they are cooking and turn them every half hour if using a grill. Some individuals choose to cook the ribs in foil for a portion of the time.

Another common way for increasing flavor and softness is to coat or brush your ribs with more sauce or marinade while they cook.

Serving Spare Ribs

Spare ribs, like baby back ribs, are finest when braised and slow-cooked in a smoker, grill, over, or slow-cooker. Cook and braise these ahead of time for a popular meal at your next BBQ. If you haven’t already, try these ribs when you first start experimenting with smoking meats.

Wrapping Up

During barbecues and other outdoor cooking activities, baby back and spare ribs are popular options. You may create your own spice rubs, marinades, and sauces or buy them readymade from your preferred grocery shop.

Slow cooking is required for both baby back ribs and spare ribs to make a tender, juicy dish to present to yourself or your guests. Spare ribs are lengthier and more suited for bigger events, whilst baby back ribs are great for smaller gatherings.

When determining whether to offer baby back ribs or spare ribs at your next gathering, keep the amount of people dining in mind.


Are pork spare ribs as good as baby back ribs?

Both baby back and spare ribs are delectable options, but there are a few essential distinctions to consider. Baby backs are smaller and more delicate than regular back loins. Spare ribs, also known as side ribs, are bigger, tastier, and meatier than baby ribs, with more bone and fat.

Can you substitute baby back ribs for spare ribs?

Since both varieties are prepared in the same manner, you may swap baby back ribs for spare ribs and vice versa. But keep in mind that since baby backs are smaller than spare ribs, you’ll need approximately twice as much to satisfy the same number of people.

What type of ribs are best?

The meatiest and most delicious cut of ribs are St. Louis-style ribs. There is a lot of bone that produces a lot of fat, which gives them a lot of taste and softness.

Which pork ribs have the most meat?

Ribs in the Country Style

This is the meatiest form of ribs, located in front of the baby back ribs, towards the shoulder blade. This cut, however, is not from the ribs and is more akin to a pork chop.

Which is better baby back or St Louis ribs?

Baby back ribs are curved and shorter, while Saint Louis ribs are flatter and straighter. Saint Louis ribs may cook more evenly since they are flatter and simpler to brown and get exactly perfect on the grill. They also have a more luscious and fattier appearance.

How many people does a rack of baby back ribs feed?

Babybacks are pork loin ribs that are less meaty than spare ribs. A rack of baby back ribs will typically include 10 to 13 ribs, enough to serve 1-2 persons.

What are spare ribs vs baby back ribs vs St Louis?

Ribs in the Manner of Louis. A more common moniker for these ribs is “spareribs.” This cut contains more flesh between the bones than baby back ribs. They also contain more fat between the ribs, making them a more savory option.

How many people does a rack of spare ribs feed?

2 racks or 5 or 6 ribs per person. Spare Ribs: 3–4 meals, or 3–4 ribs per person. Pork ribs often come in the following serving sizes: 1-2 serves of baby back ribs or a 1

What kind of ribs do most restaurants use?

Spare ribs, often known as St. Louis style ribs, are classic ribs that originate from the side and rear of a pig. These are the least meaty pig ribs, but they are less expensive than baby backs, which are the most widely utilized rib in restaurants.

What is the number 1 rib?

The first rib is the superior rib of the twelve. It is an unusual rib that serves as an anatomical marker. It is one of the superior thoracic aperture’s boundaries. The ribs are the primary structural component of the thoracic cage, which protects the thoracic organs.

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