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St Louis Ribs Vs Baby Back Ribs – What Is the Difference?

St Louis Ribs Vs Baby Back Ribs – What Is the Difference?

Last Updated on 20th August 2021 by

We like our ribs no matter how they are prepared, but we definitely have our favourites. We love the physicality of ribs. You can’t exactly eat them with a fork- you could, but you wouldn’t get all the meat off. We like the fact the fact that eating ribs is its own kind of experience, like eating corn on the cob. You have to pick them up in your hands to properly enjoy them.

We also love how tender and juicy the meat is. There isn’t a lot of strenuous chewing involved, and the succulent meat comes off the bone easily when the ribs are prepared properly. We like all kinds of ribs, and we like thinking about how different kinds compared to one another.

That’s what we are doing here- comparing baby back ribs vs St. Louis ribs. Both of them have their serious fans, which is significant since ribs are one of those foods that has gathered an intense culture around it. People will buy t-shirts advertising their favourite rib eateries and wear those proudly wherever they go. People save out the bibs that some restaurants give them to keep their shirt clean while eating.

Having ribs is a special occasion for some people, and they cherish those times when they get to sit down and enjoy some well made ribs. We do as well, and today we are celebrating two kinds of ribs and comparing what makes them different and why both of them have their fans. In the battle of St Louis ribs vs baby back, which one comes out on top?

What Are St Louis Ribs?

St Louis ribs come from the belly side of the pig. Once the belly has been removed, the butcher has easy access to the ribs from the underside of the pig. These ribs have a lot of connective tissue and tough cartilage attached to them that is usually removed by cutting down the surrounding tissue. These are a fairly flat rib type, and they have a lot of fat on them. That extra fat makes them sweet and flavourful, but not a very healthy option.

What Are Baby Back Ribs?

Do baby back ribs come from baby pigs? In the comparison of baby back ribs vs St Louis, that could be a deal breaker for some people.

However, that’s not the case. These ribs come from full grown pigs, and it doesn’t make sense to take meat off a baby pig. The cuts would simply be too small.

Baby back ribs get their name because they are smaller than the other types of ribs. They are baby sized in comparison. These ribs come from the upper part of the rib cage, where the spine and ribs meet after the loins are taken out of the way.

Baby back ribs are often barbecued, and there are a variety of barbecue sauces that can be used with them- hickory, smoked, spicy, and more. For the best flavour, to bring out that true baby back rib flavour, the ribs are prepared with kosher salt.

What Makes Them Different?

Comparing St Louis style ribs vs baby back, the most apparent visual difference is the shape. St Louis ribs are flatter and straighter, whereas the baby back ribs are curved and shorter.

Because the St Louis ribs are kind of flat, they are easier to brown and get just right on the grill. They can cook more evenly, which is a plus in our book. They also have a more succulent and fattier characteristic. The fat is bursting with flavour, but there is meat there as well.

Baby back ribs vs St Louis ribs give you a contest of fat versus meat. The baby back ribs are meaty and that makes them easier to marinate in any kind of sauce and still taste great. You have to be more selective with the St Louis ribs. That meaty rib is heartier and will fill you up faster, plus it is leaner and healthier for you. If you are looking to watch your figure and stick with a diet while still enjoying some delicious ribs, then the baby back ribs are the right choice.

Back Ribs Vs Baby Back Ribs

When we compare back ribs to baby back ribs, the obvious difference is the size of the ribs. Those baby back ribs are called baby back because of how small they are. They come from the same place as the back ribs, but they are the smaller ones. That’s less meat for you, but they can be a bit tenderer and juicier, so they have their advantages.

Pork Spare Ribs VS Baby Back Ribs

What about pork spare ribs? Where do they fit into all of this battle of the ribs and how do they differ from the other ribs we have talked about so far?

Spare ribs are just another name for St Louis ribs, so they are the flatter, longer ribs with more food on them. Compared to the shorter, curvier baby back ribs, the spare ribs seem big enough that you will have food to spare.

When you compare spare vs baby back ribs, you can see the difference, even though they are both ribs. They both have a similar taste and texture to them, but the baby back ribs are going to be a bit tougher and meatier. The spare ribs are fatter and have more natural flavour.

Which Is Better for Grilling?

One way we want to compare baby back ribs vs St Louis is how they grill. Now, the St Louis or spare ribs are easier to cook because of how flat they are. They rest nicely on the grill, so cooking is pretty simple. They are a little easier to brush too because of their shape.

Baby back ribs take more work because of their covered design, but you can always lay them on their side, if you want. What the baby back ribs have going for them is that they won’t burn as easily since they are mostly meat and little fat. A lot of people are looking for a hearty meat when they grill out, something to scratch that hunger itch, and baby back ribs are definitely more filling than St Louis ribs.

You can use the same sauces and rubs for both of them, so in that regard, the baby back ribs vs St Louis ribs debate is a simple none. But St Louis ribs have more flavour. So, you don’t have to use as much marinade or as much rub. They contain plenty of fat, which is rich in flavour and won’t require as much seasoning.

Are you debating on St Louis ribs vs baby back for your next cookout? Now that you know how they compare to one another, you may have a little less trouble deciding. Either way, though, you get to enjoy tasty ribs.


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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!