HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Baby Back Ribs

Hi. I'm not sure if there's a definitive answer to this question or not, but here goes. I guess I'm more looking for opinions.

Here's the thing - a local butcher shop has advertised baby back ribs at $1.49 a pound - around here, baby backs typically cost 4 times that. For this sale, though, they're in "10-pound boxes." My husband called them last night, and they said it's in 3-rib pieces. I'm assuming they're frozen - he forgot to ask.

But I have no idea how *many* 3-rib pieces would be in 10 pounds, or even how many 3-rib pieces would be a reasonable serving. It seems like 1 or 2 pieces per person should really suffice, doesn't it? 2 hunks would be like, what, half a rack?

Obviously, I don't have a lot of experience with cooking ribs. :)

Anyway, I'm trying to decide whether I should consider this the deal of the year, and buy a couple of boxes - spring is right around the corner (or so the groundhog said) - it's nearly time to fire up the grill.

Also, I wonder whether the ribs being in pieces would be a bad thing.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Check the country of origin......Danish ribs are often packed and sold in 10# boxes....These ribs are smaller than regular loin back ribs, and have been well trimmed....A lot of bone....a little meat.....I personally walk past them. HTH.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Bob

      you're right, uncle bob, there's not a lot of meat on dem der bones.

      the "three-rib piece" is strange, though. i've just seen them in the racks. i wonder if the pieces are from a bunch of different racks.

      1. re: alkapal

        I think that they may be pack 3 racks to a cyrovaced bag. At least that is the way the large pork producers here in the states pack them.

        1. re: chefj

          Sorry I looked further down the post. Not what i was thinking of at all.

    2. I'd pass.

      Have him check how much salt water has been added in.
      How good can cheap meat be?

      1. Thanks for the information on the Danish ribs - I had no idea. So they'd be more like beef back ribs?

        I'll take a look at them and speak with the butcher myself. I've shopped at this shop before, and they frequently offer very good deals on large packages of meat - but this is definitely not something I've ever seen there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Krislady

          no, the danish ribs are small -- quite the opposite of beef ribs.

          ha ha, look at this thread: http://www.barbecuenews.com/forum/top...

          1. re: alkapal

            Huh. I'll definitely check that, then - though the ad did specifically refer to them as "baby back ribs."

            And regarding the beef ribs - yes, beef ribs are larger than pork, obviously. ;)

            A few years back, though, I picked up beef back ribs - saw them as a "manager's special" or something in the supermarket when I stopped for milk - and when I got home, I did some research (including, but not limed to opening the cryovaced package!) and found out "back ribs" were, essentially, the tops of the rib bones left after cutting the boneless ribeye steaks from them. Good meat, what little there was of it. . . and I suspect the "Danish ribs" may be a similar corresponding cut.

        2. It's apparent there is not a lot of affection for Danish Ribs here, but for the price, I would suggest you try them and decide for yourself.. The whole box will cost you less than one slab out for dinner.....speaking of slabs, I suspect the box actually contains three-six slabs, not three rib sections. From a production standpoint, It just doesn't make sense to package that way for retail or wholesale markets. If they were already prepared, I could possibly understand it, but not in raw state.

          In the link alkapal provided for (barbecuenews), a poster indicates there was a time when Danish ribs were in vogue......and that's very true. They were also considered the best as well. Arguably, Tony Roma's was regarded as the ones who elevated the BBQ rib industry to the masses back in the 70's. During this period, it was when Danish Ribs were regarded as being the best(Danish Pigs are smaller than their American and Canadian cousins). The meat is/was consider slightly leaner and you could pick up a single rib and clean the meat off in one bite and pull. In the ensuing years, the appetites of North America wanted more bang for their buck and the larger North American pigs became in favor. It should be noted, in restaurants that offered the Danish Ribs, they were usually served two racks per order to make up for their size.

          Decades ago, before transportation of imported foods became easier and food products are as readily available as they are today, New Zealand and Australian Lamb were considered the best for their petite size, flavor and taste.... possibly due to their limited availability, or because they were indeed better in the minds of many. Like with the Danish Pigs, the NZ and Australian Lamb is no longer considered the best by many North Americans........times and perceptions change.

          1. Most of the babyback rib racks I buy are between 1.5 and 2 lbs in weight per rack and are usually about 18" in length.

            I could understand 6" mini racks if each slab were to be cut into 3 portions, but they could also be remnants of many racks .

            I'd ask my butcher to look at an opened case as assertain what exactly they are selling. If you're going to end up with 10lbs of something that you cannot or will not eat, then the cost savings is pretty much a moot point.

            jjjrfoodie

            3 Replies
            1. re: jjjrfoodie

              Thank you again for the information - and the history lesson! :)

              I did some additional searching for "Danish ribs" and found other discussion boards where people were very happy with them.

              I will definitely ask for a closer look - I've found the butchers at this shop to be unfailingly friendly and helpful. Unless they're obviously meatless bones, I'll more than likely buy one box - and we shall see.

              Thanks again.

              1. re: Krislady

                Let us know how they turn out. Thanks for posting this.

                1. re: Krislady

                  The only restaurant that I know of today that features Danish Baby Back Ribs on their menu.....is The Carolina Roadhouse in Myrtle Beach. Whenever someone asks me for a recommendation for the area, this is one place I always include and specifically tell them to order the ribs......not once has anyone ever told me I was wrong.

                  http://www.centraarchy.com/pdf/Caroli...

              2. I'd buy 'em. Even if they turned out to be a bust, rib-wise, I could still use them to make wintermelon soup.

                1. Okay, so I picked up the 10-pound box of ribs.

                  They were not Danish ribs - they're a product of the USA - from Idaho specifically, according to the box . They are, in fact, "portions" - what appears to be 2-3 rib sections tossed in a bag and frozen.

                  My husband suggested maybe they're the end pieces - what they cut off to make those exactly evenly-sized packages of Lloyds ribs. Actually, he's probably not far off - I'll bet they're the trimmings from these ribs:

                  http://www.farmlandfoods.com/products...

                  And Mr. Sniffy-Face approves (that's a big furry dog nose there). So we shall see - not sure when we'll cook them, but not before it's too late to go back for more if we like them. But at a buck and a half a pound, I'm sure they'll be worth that, anyway.

                   
                   
                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Krislady

                    i wouldn't wait to cook those ribs. look at all the ice in there! those (I hate to say) have not been stored properly. and the pieces are haphazard. you're probably right about the source.

                    i think i'd use them in a braise with kraut. let's hope mr. sniffy-face likes kraut, too. ;-).

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I have found that even with ice build up or slight freezer burn, it is still is best to brine them for at least 2 hours and up to 6.That not only gets rid of the ice but also allow salt and sugar to get thru some of the cell walls that may be damaged.

                      Dry rub then let sit overnite in the fridge. Then either smoke or throw in a shallow oven pan, cover with foil and roast at 225 for 2 to 2.5 hours.

                      Then toss on the grill or under the broile for 3 minutes each side to crisp up. Slather with warm bbq sauce and voila'. I prefer to smoke using hickory or apple wood when it's warm, but doing in the oven, then glazing with asian, std. bbq, or your sauce of choice in the winter always works for me.

                      The only challenge if doing "low and slow" for smaller sections like this is that the ends like to dry out more than the centers, and since you have a lot more ends now that there are more pieces that could be a problem. Try a batch of a few and see how they come out. If dry, you might find that taking long bamboo skewers and lacing 3 sections together thru the flesh parts making "one" long rib may help prevent drying.

                      Then there's always braising or using them in a more liquid based recipe.

                      Good luck.

                      1. re: jjjrfoodie

                        Before you brine check to make sure how much solution has been used to "enhance" these ribs. They are probably already very salty. I'd be cafeful about how much salt is in the dry rub as well.

                  2. If you are concerned about them being tough or dont have time (I never do) for a lot of brining etc. Ribs are wonderful started in the crockpot and finished on the grill (especially cheap ones!)

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Not yet - we stuffed them back in the freezer until we had time to fuss with them. My husband is wanting to hold on to them until smoking season. :(

                        1. re: Krislady

                          every season is smoking season. ;-).

                          in my humble opinion, those ribs are not improving in the freezer.

                            1. re: ricepad

                              Actually, mine too, but he's determined, so . . .

                              1. re: Krislady

                                Back ribs aren't the best for smoking either. Not enough fat on them.

                                DT

                                1. re: Davwud

                                  There are many restaurants and barbeque enthusiasts who use Back Ribs exclusively in their entry, and participation, into Barbecue Competitions who would disagree......on both counts.

                                  http://www.howtobbqright.com/stlouisv...

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    I know. They'd be wrong though

                                    LOL

                                    DT

                      2. An update on the baby backs (finally!) - we'd shoved them in the freezer until the weather was suitable for grilling, smoking, barbecuing, whatever. My husband and I tentatively agreed that, assuming we could separate the package, he'd have free reign on half the box, and I would on the other half.

                        Well, we had a nice day last week (I'm in upstate NY), and we'd defrosted half the box, so . . .

                        My husband simply rubbed and smoked them (about 5 pounds) - and they were fine. Tender enough, and none the worse for wear, really, especially given that they were $1.50 a pound AND domestic.

                        There was actually plenty of meat on them - one 3-rib portion was plenty enough for me (more than), and perfect for my husband and my (still a growing boy) son - which meant plenty of leftovers. (Heh, growing boy. He's 22 years old and 6'3" - he's probably grown quite enough, actually!)

                        The ribs were still moist, even after they were cold (which, given the fact that they were injected with some sort of saline, is no surprise), and, after a couple of days of the guys' nibbling at them, we trimmed the rest of the bones and added the meat to some red beans and rice - again quite nice.

                        My half, I think I'll go more of an Asian route with them.

                        All in all, though, I'd buy them again.