What You Need For Cooking Ribs

What You Need For Cooking Ribs

Ribs come in all shapes, sizes, and types making them the perfect choice to feed the family or a group of friends. Here on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi near Memphis, pork ribs are king, but in the lone star state, beef ribs reign supreme. No matter what kind of rib you choose to cook, there are a few universal tips that will help you bring your BBQ game to the next level.

Picking Your Ribs

All ribs are not created equal. The first thing you want to watch out for is the quantity of meat on each rib. Meat is usually sold by the pound, so you want to make sure that the ribs you’re picking are covered in meat, and aren’t relying on the weight of the bone to make them expensive. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the slabs you’re buying aren’t what are commonly referred to as “shiners.” That is, slabs that haven’t been cut too close to the bone. If the meat doesn’t have much to hold on to during cooking, it’ll fall off before it’s finished cooking.

Look For Fresh, Not Frozen

We’re not saying that frozen proteins don’t have their merits. If you’re buying a lot of meat all at once, it’s likely expected that you’re going to end up freezing slabs to meet your demand. However, fresh is always better, in our opinion. Unfortunately, the only true way to know if meat hasn’t been frozen before it gets to you is to visit a local butcher shop, which not everyone has access to. Either way, the fresher the meat, the tastier the product.


Color can tell you a lot about the quality of meat. When looking for pork ribs, look for meat that is pink in hue, not gray, and especially not green! If you’re after a beef rib, you want to look for meat that’s either a nice natural red or even a reddish-purple. If your beef has gone gray or looks dried out, you probably need to try again. No matter the type of meat you’re looking for, make sure that it has a good ratio of fat to meat because fat is flavor.

Watch Out For Too Much Liquid

As with other proteins, look out for too much liquid in the packaging. Commonly called “purge,” it’s normal to expect the meat to release a moderate amount of liquid. However, if it seems like there’s an unusual amount of liquid to meat ratio, that definitely points to being in storage for too long, or even being improperly stored.


Most pork and beef will have a slight odor after being sealed in plastic, especially if they’re in cryovac packaging. That smell is normal. If you’re concerned, give the meat a rinse and pat it down, then sniff it again.

Choices, Choices

You can get ribs from a variety of different animals, and in our opinion, they’re all delicious. Most commonly, you see ribs of either the pork or beef variety. Even those two proteins include a variety of different styles of rib to choose from.
  • Baby Back Ribs (Beef & Pork)
  • Country Style Pork Ribs
  • St. Louis Style
  • Pork Spareribs
  • Flanked Style
  • Short ribs
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ribs. So pick your recipe and determine which kind of rib is best for your application.

Smoke, Seasoning, & Sauce

The beauty of BBQ is that there are so many different variables you can change in and out and get equally as delicious and surprising results. When working with ribs, we recommend trying out different types of wood to find your favorite. And don’t be shy with the seasoning and sauces. Meats like these stand up to big, bold flavors like any of ourKiller Hogs sauces and BBQ rubs.

Some Of Our Top Recipes For Ribs

Want to see how we do it up? Check out these killer rib recipes.

Our Tools

Looking for more great tools, rubs, and accessories for cooking ribs? Check out these items!

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