Ribs 101: Your guide to choosing the perfect cut!
This article was written by Nicole Varella from our sister site, Asia 361.
Ask me how I like my ribs and my reply used to be the same – sweet, smoky, and slightly crisp. Words like Baby Back, Spare, St. Louis, and Iberico were as good as a foreign language to me. All that changed at Morganfield’s ribs masterclass last week, where I learnt there’s more to ribs besides being the most heavenly food on earth!
Dishing up more than 150,000 pounds of their famous Sticky Bones every year, Morganfield’s takes their ribs very seriously. It’s time for you to meet your meat!
1.Why are ribs so yummy?
Yes, ribs are truly the food of the gods, and here’s why:
Rib bones are surrounded by a protein called collagen, which can partially turn to gelatin when heated at the right temperature. Don’t mistake gelatinized collagen for fat – it’s the pure essence of meat, and it’s why ribs taste so rich, chewy, and juicy!
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Ribs contain a lot more connective tissue and fat than other parts of a pig, and are hence especially tender and tasty.
2. Do Baby Back ribs come from baby pigs?
Nope, these ribs get their name because they’re smaller than Spare ribs. In fact, the different types of ribs all come from the same pig – it’s just a matter of how they’re cut.Baby Back ribs are cut from the loin (or the back) of the pig. As such, these ribs have tender, lean meat, and less fat content, making them good for the health-conscious! Due to the lower fat content, they are also slightly less flavourful than…
3. Spare ribs!
Unlike what their name suggests, Spare ribs are not leftovers or ‘extras’. Cut from the belly of the pig, Spare ribs are in fact a bigger, meatier, and fattier rib, making them a favourite amongst chefs and diners. Each bite is absolutely tender and bursting with flavour!
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Morganfield’s signature Sticky Bones ribs are made with specially-selected Spare ribs which come directly from Spain. Combine sweet, sticky sauce and tender fall-off-the-bone meat and you’ve got a match made in heaven!
4. St. Louis-style
St. Louis ribs are a popular choice among meat lovers. They are almost the same as Spare ribs, except with the rib tips (made out of hard breastbone and chewy cartilage) removed. At Morganfield’s, however, St. Louis style Sticky Bones are slightly different, as the restaurant chooses not to cut away the ribs tips since they are closer to the belly and hence more heavily marbled and tasty.
4. Feeling fancy? Go for Iberico!
This premium breed of special black pigs, found only in Spain, are world-renowned for producing the very best pork. Iberico pigs are raised with a lot of freedom to roam around, a relaxed lifestyle, and are fed on a diet that consists of a lot of acorns. This results in especially, tender, juicy meat, with a unique flavour that’s irresistible!
Whether Baby Back, Spare, St. Louis, or Iberico, there’s one thing we can agree upon – all ribs are delicious!