Q. I love pork ribs. Can you explain the different types of ribs? — Cal from Calcutta
A. I’m sure that there are many people who agree with you, Cal! And yes, there are several styles of ribs that come from a pig carcass. Most people are familiar with baby back ribs. Back ribs come from the loin area of the back and are the smallest ribs because they originate from the backbone on the back of the pig. The difference between a back rib and a baby back rib is size. A rack of baby back ribs should weigh 1¾ pounds or less. A back rib is the exact same cut only larger than 1¾ pound, presumably from a bigger pig. The rest of the ribs that grow along the sides of the pig are called spare ribs. They are quite large and wrap all the way around the pig’s sides. The top of the spare ribs can be cut off into a rectangle, which is then called, a St. Louis-style rib. St. Louis-style ribs are preferred by many barbecue pitmasters as they are thicker and meatier than back ribs. Toward the front of the loin, near the pork butt, is a small but very meaty section that can be cut into country-style ribs. Country-style ribs are very economical and can be prepared in almost any manner.
Are you ready for some ribs now, Cal?
Chef Jeff’s Honey Stung Ribs
4 Pork Back Rib Racks, about 2 pounds each
Combine 1/3 cup of seasoned salt with 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 cup distilled white vinegar
Combine 2 cups honey, 1 cup hot sauce (red hot) and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Set up your smoker for indirect cooking at 250 degrees F with sustained smoke. Using the entire amount of prepared rub, apply it to both sides of the pork ribs. Smoke the ribs for a total of 4½ hours at 250 degrees F. After 2 hours and every 30 minutes thereafter apply the vinegar liberally to moisten and flavor the ribs. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, apply the glaze liberally on both sides of the ribs. Be cautious not to scorch the glaze with its high sugar content. Serve and enjoy with your favorite barbecue side dishes.