Last updated November 3, 2019
There are a few different cuts of beef ribs out there, but do you know what’s what from what? I didn’t used to, so I thought I would share this quick tutorial with you to help you cook the meatiest, beefiest ribs.
There are three main types of ribs: back ribs, chuck short ribs and plate short ribs.
Beef Back Ribs
Beef back ribs are pretty common in the grocery store, and fairly inexpensive. But in my experience, they yield the least amount of meat. I used to cook these and wonder why I they didn’t look like the sexy, beefy ribs shot on instagram. Then, I realized, these weren’t the cuts people were using. Go ahead and cue them up if you’d like, they still taste great, but I prefer the next two guys.
Chuck Short Ribs
Living in Las Vegas, short ribs are on just about every menu. The Las Vegas Strip chefs are no fools. They know these ribs are perfectly marbled with fat and muscle, resulting in a tender, flavorful meal.
These ribs are cut from the chuck (the front shoulder of the cow), and are usually about three inches long. You can find them with or without bones. The thicker cut short ribs should be cooked slow and low over indirect heat. The thinner flanken-cut ribs can be grilled hot and fast over direct heat.
We always take flanken-cut (or Korean-style) short ribs on camping trips because they cook up fast over the campfire. They’re like beef bacon.
Plate Short Ribs
Plate short ribs (the dinosaur pictured at the top of this post) are the king of the cow. They are the meatiest, beefiest ribs of the bunch. A trio of ribs easily weighs in at 5 pounds. They’re cut from the belly of the cow and have gorgeous marbling.
Although a little more difficult to find, they’re worth the effort. I recommend making friends with your local butcher. If they don’t stock them regularly, they can probably special order them for you.
These dinosaur bones have the tenderness and meatiness of the point end of a brisket, but they’re on a stick. How yabba dabba doo delicious is that?
Beef plate short ribs are the meatiest, beefiest ribs you can get. They’re like brisket on a stick. Smoke them slow and low with our sweet and smoky garlic rub and drizzle with vinaigrette.