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View Full Version : Competition: Spares or Baby Backs??


topchefvt52
02-12-2010, 10:25 PM
I'd appreciate feed back from teams or judges as to the following:

Which do you prefer to turn in as a team, or eat as a judge...baby backs or St. Louis Spares?

Reason I asked...I've used a Cookshack 150 for several years, mainly for baby backs on my restaurant menu. I just took delivery of a FEC 100 and introduced St Louis Spares on my menu. The spares I cooked today were great but thin end cooked up faster vs the thicker end. The baby backs were pretty consistent on the Cookshack 150 and I'd assume them to be the same on the FE pellet smoker.

Bottom line, I'm trying to find a happy middle ground for restaurant use while at the same time trying to get a feeling for what the judges prefer at competitions.

Thoughts? Thanks

Bbq Bubba
02-13-2010, 07:33 AM
Spares. More meat & better flavor.

Diva Q
02-13-2010, 07:36 AM
Baby Backs are used by some top competitors . I think as long as you find really nice meaty ribs it doesn't matter whether they are backs or spares

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
02-13-2010, 07:53 AM
Ohhhhh, a FEC 100 cooking ribs less than an hour from me right here in Vermont! PM Sent.:mrgreen:

G$
02-13-2010, 08:19 AM
FWIW, we've got top 4 calls with both Spares and BB.

Never a 1st though. :roll:

Buster Dog BBQ
02-13-2010, 08:21 AM
I like spares for how they fit in the box

topchefvt52
02-13-2010, 08:39 AM
Ohhhhh, a FEC 100 cooking ribs less than an hour from me right here in Vermont! PM Sent.:mrgreen:

Jim I got your PM and sent ya one back.

A buddy of mine who competes at Harpoon every year sells BBQ, Thurs - Sun at the Mobil station right off I 89 in Randolph. He uses a rotisserie stick burner and cranks out some tasty Que.

Hope to see you down at The P&P after the holiday weekend...PM explains.

Jeff_in_KC
02-13-2010, 09:04 AM
Danielle is correct when she says many top teams use babybacks, however our scores went up (and after 4 years, we finally won a rib class in 2009) when we switched over to cooking St. Louis spares.

Just Smokin' Around
02-13-2010, 09:30 AM
.....
Which do you prefer to turn in as a team, or eat as a judge...baby backs or St. Louis Spares? ..... Bottom line, I'm trying to find a happy middle ground for restaurant use while at the same time trying to get a feeling for what the judges prefer at competitions.
Thoughts? Thanks

You have two different 'bottom lines'. In competition, a lot of teams use heavily trimmed St Louis style spares, but they are not looking to sell or make a profit. They can affor to discard the end ribs and only need 6 good ribs. In your restaurant business, you can't afford to throw away a third of the rib. That said, loin back (baby back) ribs are more consistent across the rib. However, I know a lot of good Que joints that use St Louis ribs which is what I prefer.

In competition, we usually use spares.

Alexa RnQ
02-13-2010, 09:41 AM
We've won with both. Unless you're competing in an area where one is heavily favored, judges can still appreciate a perfectly-done rib of either variety.

CivilWarBBQ
02-13-2010, 10:54 AM
I personally prefer spares. It's easier to get qualtiy spares than loin ribs for us, and cheaper.

JD McGee
02-13-2010, 11:13 AM
BB's here...two first place trophy's and a 180...:cool:

MattG
02-13-2010, 12:08 PM
I think spares look better in the box.

dreed
02-13-2010, 12:19 PM
we cook St. Louis spares, have fared well those as a rookie team.

Dana

ClayHill
02-13-2010, 02:28 PM
I perfer meaty loinbacks

tonto1117
02-13-2010, 02:53 PM
Baby Backs are used by some top competitors . I think as long as you find really nice meaty ribs it doesn't matter whether they are backs or spares

I agree also. We have won using both.

ryanositis
02-14-2010, 10:26 AM
At this point, I'm preferring spares.

CajunSmoker
02-14-2010, 12:19 PM
I cook St Louis spares. When I've judged (ARK, LA, MS, TN) I've seen probably 90% spares to 10% baby backs.

DCFIREMANN
02-14-2010, 01:51 PM
We have used baby backs but are going to try spares this year.

Be Safe

THE DAWG

bam
02-14-2010, 02:00 PM
I say go with what you do best. We go with stl. cut spares.

Rookie'48
02-14-2010, 02:35 PM
I prefer spares when cooking at home. When I'm judging, it doesn't matter which cut I get as long as they are meaty! A rib with not much meat on it isn't really much of an entry, is it?

CTSmokehouse
02-14-2010, 04:08 PM
Start with good meaty ribs...then it it is not what you cook Backs, Spares...it is how you cook them...

If you cook them right, the Judges will reward you...

That said, I've got Backs on the Backwoods for my Brother in Law who has Lou Gehrig's and requested a special cook...

Yours in BBQ,

Cliff

Nomanerz
02-14-2010, 04:57 PM
we've gotten calls with both spares and bb's....when we've done badly, it was usually cuz we overcooked the ribs...personally I don't think it matters whether you use st louis cut ribs or babies.

Crash
02-15-2010, 01:30 AM
We started out in '06 using BB's in comps, but exclusively went to St Louis Spares in '08. The change, for our team, has been 100% worth it.

We also use the trimmed rib tips as Peoples Choice samples and each competition rack easily pays for itself twice over.

Best of luck!!

HandsomeSwede
02-15-2010, 09:45 AM
we cook St. Louis spares, have fared well those as a rookie team.

Dana

So Three Men & a Baby Back cooks spares? Go figure? I was wondering what the secret was when you kicked our behinds at the first day of RocCity last year.

RubMeTender
02-15-2010, 09:57 AM
We had our worst finish ever in the Ribs category trying spares. I think if you just get baby backs with straight bones to put in a box they look just as good if not better than spares for presentation. They usually have a more consistent fat content and taste.