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View Full Version : Contrast BB's and St Louis cut Spares


Lake Dogs
09-11-2009, 06:53 AM
I grew up eating spare ribs cooked BADLY, so no surprise that growing up
I thought I hated ribs. In my early 20's, with some serious arm twisting,
I tried a decent rack of baby backs, and thought to myself "I dont hate
ribs afterall". It was many years later that I was invited to judge a MIM
contest and was then I learned that heaven on earth could be delivered
via. a baby back rib. WOW. I've been hooked ever since.

The few spare ribs that I've had along the way were botched and were not
St Louis cut. All were the old grill-em in 20 minutes variety.

Could someone that really knows ribs and enjoys ribs contrast a properly
cooked BB and a St Louis cut Spare?

thirdeye
09-11-2009, 07:21 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2010/DSC08464a.jpg

Spares are my favorite ribs. When properly cooked, I think they have a more pronounced pork flavor than loin ribs. In part, this comes from the longer cook time used and the higher fat content of the meat. To me it's kind of like the difference in flavor between a pork chop and a (shoulder) pork steak. If you cook the whole slab, you get the advantage of getting a little texture change as you eat your way toward the the brisket end of each rib (which is my favorite end)

Because of their weight and leanness, BB's are easier to cook and of course take less time than belly ribs. Trimming a slab of spares into a St Louis rack is no big deal, plus it gives you some excellent snackin' when you are cooking. When I do trim them I try to get the strip for myself.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2011/DSC08475a.jpg

J_Don
09-11-2009, 08:13 AM
I have to agree with thirdeye on this one. The only thing I haven't done is try to learn how to trim the spares into St Louis style. I usually find them cut that way in the markets if I'm lucky. I've been reading and studying the pron so I guess it's about time to try my hand at it. Wish me luck.

Arlin_MacRae
09-11-2009, 08:17 AM
BB's used to be my favorite pork rib. Then I learned to cut and cook St. Louis-Style spares... Spares tend to be a little more greasy because of that extra fat content, and that makes it harder for me to eat my weight in them, but cooked properly...mmmm.

thirdeye
09-11-2009, 09:08 AM
I have to agree with thirdeye on this one. The only thing I haven't done is try to learn how to trim the spares into St Louis style. I usually find them cut that way in the markets if I'm lucky. I've been reading and studying the pron so I guess it's about time to try my hand at it. Wish me luck.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbeque/2153d794.jpg


By the time you trim your second slab, you will be a pro. There is a flap of meat on the bone side that gets cut off too.

firecracker jack
09-11-2009, 10:49 AM
Ok, so this threads got me thinking. Baby-backs have been my favorite for a few years now, but I keep hearing that the spares have more flavor. I'll have to do some thread searching to find some more info on properly prepaired and properly cooked st. louis style ribs....Gonna be a pretty hard argument to win me over though....Especially if I can consistantly purchase the same baby-backs I bought for last weekends cook(21 slabs). The meat was at least an inch thick in places, and had a fat content that kept them super moist and yummy throughout. All for 2.68lb....I'm still in heaven.

firecrackerjack

Bbq Bubba
09-11-2009, 10:51 AM
I get the same in spares for $1.49. Try em!Ok, so this threads got me thinking. Baby-backs have been my favorite for a few years now, but I keep hearing that the spares have more flavor. I'll have to do some thread searching to find some more info on properly prepaired and properly cooked st. louis style ribs....Gonna be a pretty hard argument to win me over though....Especially if I can consistantly purchase the same baby-backs I bought for last weekends cook(21 slabs). The meat was at least an inch thick in places, and had a fat content that kept them super moist and yummy throughout. All for 2.68lb....I'm still in heaven.

firecrackerjack

jeffjenkins1
09-11-2009, 10:56 AM
I like spares better, and I get the tips left over for beans or braise with sour kraut.

Jeff

firecracker jack
09-11-2009, 10:57 AM
I get the same in spares for $1.49. Try em!

My mouth's droolin', and I'm dang near at the store already!!!.....Next time I do some ribs I'll give them another try...:mrgreen:

firecrackerjack

pdxRandy
09-11-2009, 12:05 PM
First ~thirdeye.....great pictures.:eusa_clap

Okay dumbassed question number one.

So what is the deal on cutting down a rack of ribs. What is being trimmed off (yea I see in thirdeye's photos what it looks like) but what is in that part that you don't care for :?: Why do it :?:

82muchhomework
09-11-2009, 12:15 PM
First ~thirdeye.....great pictures.:eusa_clap

Okay dumbassed question number one.

So what is the deal on cutting down a rack of ribs. What is being trimmed off (yea I see in thirdeye's photos what it looks like) but what is in that part that you don't care for :?: Why do it :?:

I am no expert, someone else will be able to give you the biology technical stuff. However, a long long time ago, before bag phones, I tried to cook up a rack of spares untrimmed. What I learned is that the meat that is normally removed is:
(a) off the bones so it does not eat or look like traditionally known 'ribs'
(b) of different thickness so it cooks much faster and ends up way over done by the time the 'ribs' are tender
(c) is a different texture of meat

My experience tells me that for the same reason different cuts of meat need to be cooked differently and are prepared differently even if they are right next to each other inside the animal (think brisket flat and point), spares need to be trimmed to get the BEST cook for both the ribs and the trimmings.

After all, bbq is all about getting the BEST cook and flavor for a specific piece of meat, even if best takes all day to do and years of perfecting one's technique.

Hope that helps

thirdeye
09-11-2009, 12:29 PM
First ~thirdeye.....great pictures.:eusa_clap

Okay dumbassed question number one.

So what is the deal on cutting down a rack of ribs. What is being trimmed off (yea I see in thirdeye's photos what it looks like) but what is in that part that you don't care for :?: Why do it :?:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/BDS/1f1724ff.jpg


A full slab takes a little more patience to cook correctly because they are not a uniform width or thickness. I actually prefer to cook them whole, partly to show off and also because the full length rib is a treat to serve. They can be 6 or 7 inches long.

The part that is cut off to make a St Louis rack is the lower portion, and is called the strip or brisket. It has a series of small bones that are softer like cartilage is. Some folks just don't like fooling with those little bones, but like I mentioned ..... the meat in the strip is delicious and my favorite part. (of course I like barbecued neck bones too)

The small end is usually cut away too just to square up the St Louis rack.

There is some loose meat on the backside called the flap, and it cooks too fast, so it is removed (even when cooking whole slabs) and just cooked on the side.

Bentley
09-11-2009, 04:25 PM
Ok, so this threads got me thinking. Baby-backs have been my favorite for a few years now, but I keep hearing that the spares have more flavor.


Well then let me be the one to tell you they dont.

I agree spares have more fat and in general I subscribe to the more fat the more flavor, not in the case of BB vs Spares. To me BB's have much more flavor.

And as far as BB being eaiser to cook, I would disagree, lost less forgiving than a Spare rib and smaller window for accuracy!

The_Kapn
09-11-2009, 04:51 PM
I cook both for home and Comp.
Depends on the QUALITY of the ribs I can find at the time.

A poor quality slab of either type will be surpassed by a quality slab of the other.

Amount of meat, fat, with or without enhancement, size, and other variables make up the final quality.

Then, you have to cook them the way you personally like them.

Cook them both till you either like them both or pick one over the other.

It is all good to eat while you are testing :smile:

TIM

big brother smoke
09-11-2009, 05:02 PM
I need everyone to stop comparing the two and enjoy their individual attributes. Sometimes I want spares, sometimes I want BBs. It just depends!

Bentley
09-11-2009, 05:12 PM
I need everyone to stop comparing the two and enjoy their individual attributes. Sometimes I want spares, sometimes I want BBs. It just depends!


OK, if you say so...Have you been to a real Chinanese restaurant yet?

big brother smoke
09-11-2009, 05:16 PM
OK, if you say so...Have you been to a real Chinanese restaurant yet?

I do not think I have ever been to Chinanese restaurant. What's that? :tongue:

Muzzlebrake
09-11-2009, 06:21 PM
I'm a babyback fan if for no other reason than I have found them much easier to prep. The whole "porkier" taste can be debated forever its going to depend on your palette I guess. As far as the cost comparison, I have always felt that after you trim off all of that extra on the spares, you're paying about the same.

Hugh Jorgan
09-11-2009, 06:54 PM
I like spares waaaaaaaayyyy better. IMO they have a different, not so much a better flavor just different. I like it better though. I never trim them. I like the long ribs.

landarc
09-11-2009, 08:11 PM
I think it is easier to get good baby backs, at least it seems like that to me. I happen to like the rib ends on the full rack. I have found that I have to remove the flap to get a good cook, it just cooks too fast and gets dry while the rest is still not ready. I agree with BBS that there are benefits to both. My preference is spares, but, I have never turned down a good BB rib.

Saiko
09-11-2009, 08:17 PM
I love em both but prefer a St. Louis cut spare to BBs. More fat, and you just can't beat pork fat. Why do you think bacon smells so good? :-D

BIG ALAN
09-11-2009, 11:25 PM
Buy spares at a whole lot less than a butcher trimmed St. Louis. De-flap 'em, cut 'em parallel. Rub all pieces including the trim, and snack after 1-1 1/2 hrs smoke time while the remaining ribs finish. Any good BBQ book should have a drawing of how to cut.

seattlepitboss
09-11-2009, 11:37 PM
I like spareribs too. Only thing is, I am wondering what the real cost per pound for the St. Louis cut is. You buy the whole sparerib and then cut away what - 30%? 40%?
I'm wondering if it makes more sense to just pay an extra buck a pound and get the St. Louis cut. Of course, you don't get all the rib tips either that way ..

seattlepitboss

NorthwestBBQ
09-11-2009, 11:44 PM
Buy spares at a whole lot less than a butcher trimmed St. Louis. De-flap 'em, cut 'em parallel. Rub all pieces including the trim, and snack after 1-1 1/2 hrs smoke time while the remaining ribs finish. Any good BBQ book should have a drawing of how to cut.

Amen my bretheren.

jsimonson0
09-12-2009, 03:38 AM
I get the same in spares for $1.49. Try em!

And I'm getting rib bellys for $1.29/lb these days locally. Trim most of the fat layer away and you get some big honkin' ribs to feast on...

countyliner
09-12-2009, 04:48 AM
I feel that you get so much more for your money with whole slabs of spares.

I cook the flaps along with the ribs and pass them out as nibblers while the ribs keep going. This keeps the wife (and company) happy instead of rushing me to get the ribs done. Also, I cut the tips into smaller pieces and smoke them to use in beans, greens, etc.