Baby Back vs St. Louis Ribs: Choose the Superior

In this article you will learn the difference in taste, cooking methods and temperatures of baby back vs St. Louis ribs
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 18, 2023
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There’s a good chance that you’ve eaten ribs in your life. But what kind of ribs did you eat? And what kind of ribs will you make in the future? When it comes to deciding between baby back vs. St Louis ribs, it can be hard to know which will be better. While both types of ribs come from the pig, they originate from different areas. Furthermore, baby back ribs have less fat content but more meat content. There’s a tradeoff when it comes to meat versus flavor. We’ll dive into these two scrumptious types of ribs, and we apologize in advance if you end up feeling pretty hungry when you get through our article.

What are baby back ribs

Baby Back vs St. Louis Ribs: Choose the SuperiorPerhaps some of the most popular pork ribs, baby back ribs feature meat that is located between the spin and the spare ribs. The bones are curved and a bit on the short side but offer meat between the bones as well as on top of them. They have plenty of meat on each bone but not a lot of fat content.

What are St. Louis ribs

Baby Back vs St. Louis Ribs: Choose the SuperiorWhile not as popular, St. Louis ribs are still an excellent choice. The meat is found in the belly side of a pig’s rib cage, just above the breast bone. The ribs are a bit longer, and while they don’t have as much meat on them, they do have a higher fat content which translates into leaner meat.

Difference between baby back and St. Louis ribs

Let’s get into the differences between these two types of meat so you can better decide which is best for dinner.

Best cooked in…

The really nice aspect of baby back and St. Louis ribs is that their cooking process is quite similar. You can definitely grill them, and there are plenty of amazing grills on the market, including some from quality brands such as Coleman and Chargrill.

An alternative to grilling is to use a smoker. This will infuse your meat with a wonderful smokey flavor. We recommend an all-purpose smoker, such as the Z Grills 550A. With almost 600 square inches of grilling surface, you can produce enough ribs for the whole neighborhood. If you’re not sure about what type of wood to use in your smoker, this handy guide to wood types will help you decide.Baby Back vs St. Louis Ribs: Choose the Superior

Meat content

Baby back ribs are popular because of their high meat content. They feature meat both between the ribs and on top of them, so you will have plenty to bite into.

Meanwhile, St. Louis ribs don’t have as much meat on them. They still have meat between the bones but a lot less on top.


While both baby back ribs and St. Louis ribs will provide you with that quintessential rib taste, you will notice a difference between them. St. Louis ribs have a higher fat content. When cooked properly, this fat will dissolve and provide a leaner, juicier, and more tender taste.

As for other types of flavor, it really comes down to how you cook your ribs. Marinades, seasonings, and sauces will all directly impact flavor.


More meat means more money. While you get more meat with baby back ribs, you also need to pay a premium price. Baby back ribs can be up to double the cost of St. Louis ribs. It’s always best to look for supermarket sales and stock up on ribs when they are available.

You can also check out online realtors, such as Snake River Farms, which has premium baby back ribs and other meats available for order.

Best recipe for baby back ribs

When it comes to baby back ribs, it’s all about the sauce. We recommend a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. To create it, add brown sugar, ketchup, a bit of chili sauce, and spices of your choice.

Once your baby back ribs are off the barbecue, you can add a liberal amount of your sauce. Then, provide some heavy-duty napkins and dive in.

Watch the following video to learn how to make the most amazing baby back ribs:

Best recipe for St. Louis ribs

For St. Louis ribs, you can try making a spice rub. Combine sea salt, paprika, Brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground coriander.

Once combined, rub the spice mix onto your ribs before placing them on the barbecue. You’ll get a tasty, slightly blackened delight.

This video will show how to make St. Louis ribs taste delicious:

Final thoughts

Hopefully, your mouth isn’t watering too much after this article. When it comes down to it, you can’t go wrong with either type of ribs. While baby back ribs do have more meat on them, they are also more expensive. Furthermore, there are plenty of people who prefer the more tender taste of St. Louis ribs. For those still deciding between baby back vs St Louis ribs, our recommendation is to dive in and go for an epic taste test.

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