baby back ribs vs spare ribs
Food Guides

Baby Back Ribs Vs Spare Ribs: What’s The REAL Difference?

Don’t you just love the sound of fall and all the wonderful spices that come along with it? Well, fall brings football season and BBQ. One of the BBQ staples is baby back ribs vs spare ribs. Whether you have decided to cook them on your grill or you are getting ready for a holiday party, learning about these two types of ribs may help guide your decision about which one you’re going to cook.

What are Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs?

There are two types of ribs – spare and baby back.

Spare ribs are the larger, meatier ribs that come from the lower section of the rib cage.

It comes from the breast section of pork or beef. They come from the part that is below the pork belly and above the hock. A full rack of spare ribs includes 13 bones and usually weighs between two and four pounds. When you purchase spare ribs at a restaurant or butcher shop, they will be cut into two or three sections before cooking in order to make them more manageable.

Baby back ribs are smaller and more tender, coming from the upper section of the rib cage near the spine.

It can be prepared in a number of ways, including smoked, grilled, boiled, and baked. They can be served with a variety of sauces, including tomato-based barbecue sauce. They are often eaten at a restaurant as an appetizer or part of an entrée.

It can be found in most grocery stores, especially around the holidays. They’re also known as loin ribs. Both types of ribs can be cooked in the oven, on the grill, or even in a slow cooker.

The Difference Between Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs

Pork ribs are a delicious dish, perfect for any occasion. If you are planning on making back ribs, you need to know the difference between baby back ribs and spare ribs.


The first difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs is size. Baby back rib is smaller than spare ribs.

size-of-baby-back ribs-vs-spare-ribs

A baby back rib is part of the loin muscle and usually weighs between 1-2 pounds. Because of its smaller size, it’s also known as a “loin” or “back” rib. A spare rib, on the other hand, is part of the side muscle and usually weighs between 3-4 pounds. That extra weight accounts for its name (spare means extra) but also makes it more cumbersome to cook.

The Price

The second difference is price. Back ribs are more expensive than spare ribs because they are considered a premium cut of meat.

Spare ribs come from a part of the pig that has more muscle and fat, which means it tastes richer than baby backs. Baby back rib prices are much higher per pound because they contain less fat and muscle and therefore offer less meat per pound of product. The price difference will vary widely depending on where you shop.


The third difference is shape. Baby back ribs are curved, while spare ribs are straighter.

This curvature gives back ribs their distinctive look and makes them easier to grip with your hands. Spare ribs are straighter because they come from a different part of the pig.


The fourth difference is cooking. Back ribs cook faster than spare ribs.

This difference is due to the fact that back ribs are smaller and have less meat on them. The extra muscle and fat on a spare rib mean it takes longer to cook through. That said, both types of ribs can be cooked in a number of ways, so it’s really up to you how you want to prepare them.


The fifth difference is flavor. Back ribs have a sweeter flavor than spare ribs.

This sweetness comes from the fact that they are leaner than spare ribs. Because they contain less fat, back ribs don’t have as much of a smoky taste as spare ribs. Both types of ribs are delicious, but it’s up to you to decide which type you prefer.

The Meat Content

The final difference between these two cuts is simply how much meat you can get out of each one—if you need a smaller portion for just one or two people, go for loin ribs; if you’re feeding a crowd, Spare Ribs will provide more than enough meat for everyone.

The-Meat-Content-of-baby-back-ribs-vs-spare ribs

So, which type of ribs should you choose? It really depends on your taste preference. If you want a more meaty, fatty rib, go for spare ribs. If you want a leaner, more delicate rib, go for baby back rib. Cooking time is also a consideration – if you want to cook your ribs quickly. Otherwise, spare ribs are a good choice.

Spare Ribs vs Baby Back Ribs, Which is Better?

In general, baby back ribs are considered to be the better option, as they are more tender and have a more delicate flavor. Spare ribs can be a bit tougher, but they are still a popular choice for barbecuing.

In fact, people who have never tasted both might be surprised to find out that there is not much of a difference between the two. The truth is that this comes down to personal preference and nothing more. It really just depends on what you like more.

How to Cook Them?

Cook with Spare Ribs

There are many different ways to cook spare ribs, but oven-roasting is one of the easiest methods. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the rack in the middle position. Place the spare ribs on a baking sheet, meaty side up, and brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the ribs are cooked through.

With Baby Back Ribs

Loin ribs can also be cooked in the oven, but they usually require a shorter cooking time than spare ribs. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the rack in the middle position. Place the back ribs on a baking sheet, meaty side up, and brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce. Bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes, or until the ribs are cooked through.

Recipes for Both Types of Rib

There are many recipes for baby back ribs, and they all seem to be pretty similar. First, you need to make a rub for the ribs. This can include salt, pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, and other spices. Then, you need to cook the ribs in the oven for a few hours until they are nice and tender. The final step is to sauce the ribs and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Spare ribs are a bit different. You still need to make a rub for them, but you also need to add some barbecue sauce. You can cook them in the oven or on the grill. They usually take a bit longer to cook than back ribs.


Though the terminology can be confusing, spare ribs vs baby back ribs are really just two different types of pork ribs. And to be frank, they aren’t so different when it comes down to it. While they’re both delicious and full of flavor, we believe that back ribs are the superior option. That said, each recipe that we tried produced amazing results, so let the debate begin. You might just have to try these recipes for yourself to find out which one you prefer.

Matt Cowan

Matt Cowan is a bartender at Saved By The Max. He graduated from Arizona State University and has been bartending for about 20 years now, starting when he was just thirteen!

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