Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook Them

In this post, we explain what differentiates short and back ribs and their varieties, and the best ways to cook both.
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: September 06, 2023
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People all over the world are increasingly becoming beef rib fans. This can be traced back to different types of beef ribs becoming peoples’ favorites, as opposed to pork ribs which had all the traction. Beef ribs are a pack of interconnective tissue which is located close to the rib eye. Their texture also makes them perfect for low and slow cooking. For people with previous rib knowledge, you may be wondering what differentiates beef from pork. Well, for starters, the large size of beef ribs clearer that problem up. Going to get yourself some ribs can be a little tricky because there are so many different types of beef ribs. Here, I’ll break down some of these types so you will have a top-tier understanding of what differentiates these rib variations. Also, it’ll open you up to being able to identify your favorite kind of rib and just focus squarely on enjoying it.

Short Ribs

Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook ThemShort ribs are becoming one of the most used types of beef for most outdoor activities. This is no ordinary feat, it is due to a large amount of meat that covers the bony part of the rib. Also, short ribs are special because of how they are cut. They are obtained from the lower parts of the first fifth rib steer. Another part that is used as a short rib is cut from the ventral part between the sixth to the tenth rib. The meat from this region is usually as large as 2 inches of meat which covers the bones. This applies to the different types of beef short ribs.

Most times, people are confused about how to identify short ribs. This is valid due to the different parts short ribs can be gotten from and also how they come in different sizes. On this point, short ribs are usually gotten from the steer. The steer is large, as such, short ribs are cut from either front of the lower part.

The front of the steer has the chunk short ribs, while the lower cut is called the plate short rib, or, as popularly known ”loaded beef rib.”

Short Ribs Varieties

The short rib has grown greatly popular and is the first choice of ribs for many people. It is only expected that there exist several varieties of this well-loved meat. The varieties of short ribs are based on the different styles in which short ribs can be chopped. They are also built on the use of ribs. Depending on if the rib is to be used for barbeque or smoking, the beef is usually more. However, in the case of grilling, thinner types of beef are mostly preferred. Some of the most popular types of beef rib cuts include:

  • English Cut

Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook Them

This can be considered the most used variety of short ribs. The English style involves the meat being cut between the ribs. This further leads to a thick piece of meat on top of the bones. They can vary in size, but generally, they can be as long as 3 inches and as wide as 7 inches. This makes the English cut perfect if your goal is barbecuing or smoking.

  • Flanken Cut

Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook Them

The flanken style of short ribs is significantly different from the English style. The resulting meat here is usually much thinner. Their size is usually about half an inch thick which is cut with pieces of bone in it.

  • Untrimmed Cut

This is quite identical to the English cut of short ribs. The difference here is that the resulting meat is cut without a layer of fat, as opposed to that of the English cut which comes with a layer of fat.

  • Riblet Cut

This style of cut is close to the English style cut also except that the bones here have been cut apart one after the other. The resulting meat has short bone pieces with thick layers of meat on top.

  • Boneless Cut

Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook Them

The boneless cut is just as the name implies. Here, all the bones in the piece of meat are removed. The result is a thick piece of meat about an inch or two thick with a length of around 7 inches.

Short Ribs Cuts

Short ribs are always identifiable because of the specific way they are usually cut. These cuts are based on the points at which the butcher takes the meat. If you have beef first-hand experience, this will come as no surprise to you. However, for most people that don’t know this, short ribs are cut from the steer. The steer is a large part of the rib area where beef is gotten. Its large size means it has different points with meat. Short ribs are either the plate short ribs or church short ribs. The cut from the lower part of the rib cage is where the plate short ribs are gotten. It is usually hard to find this type of cut at stores. As such, the butchery is most likely your best bet to get this. You can also find some beef chuck short ribs here. The other type is the chuck short rib. This cut is gotten from right under the chuck which is on top of the brisket and shank. They are equally as meaty as the plate short rib but mostly smaller in size.

Back Ribs

Types of Beef Ribs and How to Cook Them

Back ribs are not in any way less than short ribs they are the exact preference of a large number of people. This type of rib is cut from the top section of the steer, at the back of the shoulder. Back ribs are the result of removing the prime rib from the bones. The prime rib is a costly cut because most of the ribs will remain in the roast with just a small portion left on the rib bones. A factor that differentiates back ribs from most of the others is that most of the meat will stay between the bones. They also cook faster than other types of ribs. They can be used in a large variety of situations including grilling or making use of indirect heat.

Why Pick Beef Ribs?

Beef ribs open you up to a variety of meat options. They are not limited to just a particular size or kind. This gives them an edge over most of the other types of ribs which have a specific size and use. Beef ribs can apply to a long list of situations including outdoor events or a home-cooked dinner meal. Also, beef ribs do not require any specialized type of cut. They are available at grocery stores at the perfect size and cut already. If you’re new to enjoying ribs, you are assured that you can never go wrong with choosing to stick to beef ribs. Another upside to choosing beef ribs is the availability of a large variety of types.

Best Ways to Cook

To get the best out of your ribs, you will need to cook them according to the type of rib.

  • Plate short ribs

These are some of the largest of the types of ribs. They are usually about a foot long. Cooking this kind is not complicated. All you need to do is cook it at a reduced temperature such that the fat is reduced without drying the meat out completely. With a dab of salt and pepper, this meat will taste great. Check out some of these great grills.

  • Chuck short ribs

These types of ribs are similar to plate short ribs, with the only difference being smaller bones being present. To cook this, you have to employ the Asian style by marinating it before grilling it over direct heat. The chuck short ribs can also be cooked on a smoker as they will come out just as great.

  • Back ribs

This type of rib is much smaller than the others. This means they may require a different approach. The best way to make them taste great is to cook them indirectly on the grill. You can also add a little wooden smoke. However, it won’t make a major difference in the outcome. At this point, if you don’t own a grill, you should probably learn about them. Here are some top-tier grills.

Regardless of the type of ribs, you’re cooking, adding some barbecue sauce takes it to the next level for your taste buds. If you don’t know any barbecue sauce, you should try the Mr Spice sauce out.

Final Thoughts

It is beyond obvious that there exists a large variety of types of beef ribs and their cuts in the rib community to choose from. This proves that it comes as no surprise that so many people in the world love ribs. It is only normal that most people would be confused on what are the different types of beef ribs to get and how to make them. However, after reading this piece, hopefully, you will have a clearer picture of what kind of ribs would be perfect for you, and also how to make those ribs.

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