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Jul 8, 2006 09:03 PM

Are All Spare Ribs Created Equal? [Moved from Home Cooking]

Costco sells spare ribs for $2.19/lb. The "butcher" says they are from Indiana.

A restaurant supply I can access sells spare ribs for $1.69/lb (IIRC). These are from Iowa.

I have purchased spareribs from Henry's (same as Wild Oats, I think) before, and they were quite tasty. These were from Iowa.

Is there a marked difference in the quality of spare ribs in your experience? (I will be purchasing over 20 pounds worth this time for my BBQ.)

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  1. A lot depends on whether they have been frozen and thawed. Costco spareribs are in cryovac, and am reasonable sure they were never frozen. Rather than worry about the quality, go with Costco.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OldTimer

      I almost purchased the Costco ones, but the cryovac'd package said to "sell by July 10th". When I have purchased pork tenderloins in cyrovac packaging at Costco before, they had a much longer shelf life than 2 days (more like 2-3 weeks).

      1. re: Funwithfood

        You could ask for a package with a longer shelf life. We bought a box of ribs from Costco (around 45 lbs) a while back and they got us a freshly shipped box. The ribs were great, we smoked the lot, finishing them in the oven with a homemade sauce. We froze most of them so we ate ribs for a good long time.

    2. I've bought both spare ribs and baby backs at Costco and have never been disappointed. The price is great and the quality excellent.

      1. My friend has purchased a lot of spare ribs over the years for barbeques, and he swears by the Swift brand at Costco. Just to name a few places he's compared with, he says they're meatier than Safeway, Smart n' Final, and a better price value than the local fancy butcher's.

        1. stay away from the imported danish ones, they forgot to put meat on the bones they give you, that's why even in the nyc area they sell for a buck and a half a pound.

          1 Reply
          1. re: byrd

            Danish ribs unlike American ribs are sold on a meat to fat ratio unlike American ribs which are sold purely by weight. Danish ribs should generally be better because of their meat to fat.

          2. i am fortunate that our local food store (single location & employee owned) has a great butcher. I buy there religiously and only once did i swerve and bought from Costco (baby-backs). They were OK, but not close to the quality i bought from the local market. Then I tried the Food Emporium and the quality of these were almost throw-out time.

            So i would say that there is a definitely a difference in quality of ribs, the large supermarket chain almost inedible, Costco were pretty good, but a local high end butcher in a small market was my favorite. If not for the local market I would buy Costco's again.