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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trimming Spare Ribs

You've probably seen our article on Back Ribs vs Spare Ribs.  Now we're going to go a bit more in-depth about how to properly trim spare ribs.  Yeah, it's a bit of a process, but its result is delicious smoked meat.  So worth it.

Spare ribs are gigantic.  When you look at the underside, you can see the parallel rib bones, plus a weird looking flap of meat that cover some of them, plus a whole bunch of meat at the top.  That meat at the top makes up the rib tips.

If you buy pre-trimmed St. Louis cut spare ribs, you'll notice that it's fairly even looking and rectangular... not so different from back ribs, right?  Well, we at Sizzle Grove want to teach you how to do that at home.  We recommend buying the whole spare rib package so that, even after you trim down the ribs, you still have those delicious rib tips to throw on the smoker when you're done, either the next day or for a midnight snack.  And that weird looking flap... yeah, that's good stuff too.
Spare ribs untrimmed (left) / St. Louis cut with trimmed ends (right)


1. First off, cut away that flap and set it to the side.

2. Remove any excessive chunks of fat from the ribs.  Spare ribs have a lot of fat on them, which actually keeps them from drying out during the cooking process, but you'll see that there may be some excessive bits literally hanging from the ribs.

3. Cut off the meaty rib tip section at the top.  Cut this piece away from the parallel rib bones, leaving a little bit of slack on these bones in order to make a fairly evenly rectangular cut.
*The rib tip section is large and meaty, and you don't want to throw it out.  It's delicious for putting on the smoker later, or at the same time if your smoker is large enough.  Just cut it up into square-ish pieces.

4. Finally, we recommend removing the silverskin - the thin membrane on the underside.  Insert a knife under the membrane to loosen.  Then, with a paper towel, grip the membrane and pull it off.  This may be tough to do with spare ribs, and you may have to go at it for a few minutes, but get off as much as you can.

Once you've gotten this down, you can try our spare rib recipes, such as Sizzle Grove Mustard Marinaded Spare Ribs, or start making your own awesome ribs.  Don't forget to tell us how you did!  Send your photos, recipes, and questions to

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.