Are Spare Ribs The Same As St. Louis, Short, Country Style, Or Baby Back Ribs?


As you fire up your grill for some outdoor barbeque you undoubtedly have thought about what kind of meat to prepare. Ribs sounded like a good option with their meaty and flavorful taste. 

It seems there are so many to choose from and maybe you don’t even know the difference between them all. You may be wondering, are spare ribs the same as St. Louis ribs, short ribs, country style ribs, or baby back ribs.?

Spare ribs are the same as St. Louis, country style, or baby back ribs in the fact that they are all pork. However some of these are from a different part of the pig. Spare ribs are from the same cut of meat as short ribs except these come from a cow. 

Are Spare Ribs The Same As St. Louis, Short, Country Style, Or Baby Back Ribs?

Alright, so when comparing spare ribs with these other types of ribs we find that they are pork, making them from the same animal as St. Louis, country style and baby back ribs. St louis ribs are the closest to spare ribs while the others are from different cuts of meat. 

Short ribs are beef but made from the same portion of the animal as the spare ribs. So, there are some differences between all of these. 

In this article I will go into more detail about what exactly those differences are.

First let’s talk about the most popular type of rib, spare ribs. Before we begin our comparisons, what are spare ribs? 

Spare ribs are cut from the belly area of the pig and are meaty. Also called “side ribs” or “spares” these are found further down the side of the pig reaching toward the breastbone. 

Other ribs like St. Louis ribs, country style, and baby back ribs are also pork. Short ribs on the other hand are the same piece of meat as spare ribs but are from a cow. 

Since short ribs are from a different animal than spare ribs, we will talk about these first. Although they are the same piece of meat, spare ribs are pork while short ribs are beef. 

Short ribs are the same piece of meat as spare ribs. The difference between the two is how they are cut. Short ribs are cut about 3 inches while spare ribs are cut about 1 inch slice along the bone. The other difference is that spare ribs are pork while short ribs are beef. 

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Are Spare Ribs The Same As St. Louis Ribs?

Ok, on to the “specialty” cut of meat, St. Louis ribs. Originating in the area that its name features, St. Louis ribs are the closest to spare ribs, but presented in a neat and tidy way. 

So, are spare ribs and St. Louis ribs both the same?

St. Louis ribs start off as spare ribs. They are then trimmed down meaning the sternum, cartilage, and rib tips are removed. Once they are a rectangular shape and more uniform in appearance, they are easier to cook and eat. 

Spare ribs and St. Louis ribs are the same thing. The only difference is that St. Louis ribs are a shorter, trimmed up version of spare ribs. 

In the 20th century, meat packers from St. Louis started to cut their meat in this fashion. The meat is the same but the cartilage and gristle have been removed from the St. Louis ribs for a cleaned up cut of meat. 

This means they are presented neater and tidier than regular spare ribs.

Are Spare Ribs The Same As Country Style Ribs?

Country style ribs just sound so comforting, don’t they? I can imagine them with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. Both spare ribs and country style ribs are pork, so, what’s the difference between them?

Country style ribs are pork rib chops that are taken from the shoulder area of the pig. They are similar to spare ribs in taste and texture but are not actually ribs. Country style ribs have a lot more meat on their bones than spare ribs since they are from the shoulder. 

Like I said, country ribs aren’t actually ribs but just taste a lot like them. Country style ribs are really chops and it is said they should be treated as such. 

They have more meat on them while real ribs have more bone. Unlike spare ribs, country style ribs are more meaty and taken from a different part of the pig. 

Spare ribs are from the belly and country style ribs are from the shoulder. They taste similar in flavor and texture but these two cuts of meat are different.

Are Spare Ribs The Same As Baby Back Ribs?

Lastly, we have baby back ribs. Sometimes called “loin back ribs”, these are called baby because of how small they are. When compared to spare ribs, are these two different or the same?

Baby back ribs are taken from the loin of the pig while spare ribs are from the belly area of the animal. They are shorter than spare ribs, that’s why they are called “baby”. Spare ribs have more meat and flavor while baby back ribs feature a lot of lean meat.

Spare ribs are from a different part of the pig than baby back ribs are, making them different. Baby back ribs are taken from the hughets part of the pig’s back and spare ribs are from the pig’s belly. 

They are called “baby” for their small size compared to spare ribs and then “back” because they are found connected to the back. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, all of the ribs mentioned in the first question are different in some way. Spare ribs are the same piece of meat but from a different animal than short ribs. 

Short Ribs are pork just like country- style and baby back ribs but are from a different portion of the pig. And St. Louis ribs are the same but basically trimmed up spare ribs. 

Yet, they all have great flavor and taste. Choose whichever sounds the best to you and enjoy grilling!

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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