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souroull 01-09-2013 11:17 AM

Primitive question from a novice!
First post, hi guys! Out of the countless topics i've read over time on various forums , guess what, you guys stand out so i decided to finally sign up and start picking on your brain! :) :clap2:

I've only been smoking for the past 6 months or so, and had about a dozen smokes so far, some successful, some failed.

I wanted to start over and review my strategy so that i can finally end up to something consistent, so here goes basic question number 1... how much meat should be covering the bone?

I've had ribs that had an inch or more meat covering the bone, down to a whole slab of shiners, both with varied results.

So the question is, how much meat should a slab of bbacks and spares have directly on top of the bone? Half an inch? Just covering it? something in between?

Yellowhair42 01-09-2013 11:31 AM

However much when they come out of the package.

Offthehook 01-09-2013 11:34 AM

Having found most places sell the ribs that look like shiners, I try to find meaty looking ones with some fat that I trim. With that being said, I have had good luck with Costco (California) baby backs that are cryovacced and have had worse luck with local grocery stores to the point where I dont buy them. I believe the Costco ones are Swift brand which might be found elsewhere.

Pappy 01-09-2013 11:40 AM

I don't understand the question.
Are you talking about raw when you buy them or after they are cooked?

Thickness varies from rib to rib.

souroull 01-09-2013 12:24 PM

I'm talking raw, and for the amount of meat directly above the bone.

I've been searching around the net for days unable to find the answer to a very simple question. I know for a fact that the bone shouldn't be bare (aka shiners), but then again, ideally, how much meat should be covering the bone? (thickness).

"meaty" and "like they come out of the box" don't really help me as pre-packed is not an option around here, it's a matter of telling the butcher please cut it so that there's THAT much meat covering the bones...

That much = how much? :)

Anybody got a pre-cut/pre-packed slab to take a look?

Untraceable 01-09-2013 12:29 PM

maybe 1/2" would be huge. 1" your talking Iowa loinbacks. wrong kind of muscle group for ribs when that much meat is left on

Gnaws on Pigs 01-09-2013 12:46 PM

There isn't any magic measurement, I cook 'em like I get 'em. Depends on the size of the pig as much as anything else I guess. Whatever is left on there after the side meat is taken off is what you get. If I'm starting with a whole wild hog, same thing. I never trim any meat off, just cook what's there after the side meat and ribs are seperated.

unfoundfred 01-09-2013 12:48 PM

It really depends on the pig. I took a pig butchery class and when it came time to cut out the ribs, the pig had a natural seam that was followed that separated it from the belly meat. The pig determines the thickness of the rib meat, not the butcher.

You can get a good idea in this video (starting around the 2:45 mark):

Bludawg 01-09-2013 01:35 PM

If you was a Woman would you want a Thin bone or a Thick meaty one? Size matters, I rest My case!

souroull 01-09-2013 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by Untraceable (Post 2322665)
maybe 1/2" would be huge. 1" your talking Iowa loinbacks. wrong kind of muscle group for ribs when that much meat is left on

Ah we're getting somewhere! :)

Nice video by the way, i've seen countless but this one is probably the best one yet.

I understand about the natural seam and everything, but i can't visualize it as i've never actually cut one, nor i've ever seen one properly trimmed before, or maybe i have but had no clue, hence why i'm trying to be so specific.

Each hog will be diffeent, yes and sorry for trying to be so specific, but even if we account for big variation between results, if you were to tell me that it should be roughly between 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick, then i'd be happy, as right now, i don't even know where to start :)

landarc 01-09-2013 04:02 PM

In truth, you are looking for a specific answer that does not exist. Simple as that. Here is a different take.

Loin back ribs/baby back ribs - traditional thickness, are separated along the seam of meat, between the loin and the thin layer of meat over the rib bones. This layer of meat is typically 1/4" to 1/2" over the highest part of the bone.

Loin back ribs/baby back ribs - extra thick, the seam is ignored and the ribs are separated with the loin strip being removed and the remaining meat left on the rib bones. These will be anywhere from 1/2" to 1-1/4" of meat over the bone.

Spare ribs, again, there is a natural seam, that separates the meat on the rib from the larger cut of meat above the bone. If separated at that seam, which is almost never the case, you end up with around 1/2 inch of meat over the bone. Most often it is cut closer to maximize meat and minimize ribs waste.

BobM 01-09-2013 04:26 PM

You have to take what you can get and cook them the best you can.

Sent from my Android phone.

Gnaws on Pigs 01-09-2013 04:31 PM

I guess what we're all saying is that none of us have probably ever specified a thickness of meat when buying ribs, we just buy them and cook them.

Birdie 01-09-2013 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by Gnaws on Pigs (Post 2322910)
I guess what we're all saying is that none of us have probably ever specified a thickness of meat when buying ribs, we just buy them and cook them.

Yes that's probably true. I butcher my own hogs once a year and as my dad has said plenty of times of its not on one piece its on the other so don't worry about it.
For what you are asking its just your choice if they give you that option, how much do you want within reason.
When I cut out the ribs I can tell when I'm getting to close to the bone but other than that it is what it is when it's done.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Xparent Blue Tapatalk 2

souroull 01-09-2013 04:59 PM

Alright then. I'm unfortunate enough to get ribs in the package looking like so:


My only hope is to have a butcher cut me some the way i want them, hence me asking.

From the countless pics i've seen online, 1/2 inch sounds a lot so i'll try 1/4 next time, or at least something with some bone coverage, even if it's minimal.

Thanks for the input guys

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