Baby Back Ribs
Ribs are a favorite at our house. In fact, my family of 2 adults and 4 kids can nearly eat an entire slab during dinner. Everyone is going back for seconds and even thirds! With lots of practice, I have perfected my rice cooker recipe and I know that in an hour and a half, my family can have their favorite meal. My family’s favorite ribs are our baby back ribs. My kiddos love eating meat off the bone even though it can get pretty messy.
Our pork ribs have more meat which keeps everyone coming back for more. Because our pigs live an active lifestyle, they have less fat and more meat. Baby back ribs from pastured pigs are have added benefits on top of being delicious. Our pigs have access to natural forage and plenty of sunshine. Their meat and fat are richer in fat-soluble vitamins like E and D as well as minerals like selenium. Pigs are like humans in the fact that, they make vitamin D in their skin and fat when exposed to sunlight. This means our pork is particularly rich in vitamin D. We need vitamin D and what better way to get it than having a BBQ in the sun with ribs on the menu. Our bodies also need healthy fats to power our brains, so choosing healthy fats in our meats is a great way to add that power in. Ribs are also packed full of protein, which is great fuel for your muscles. In a 3 oz serving or 1 rib worth of meat, there are 24 grams of protein. That is a lot of fuel to help rebuild muscle tissue. As you can see, ribs have some serious benefits to our bodies.
Did you know there are a variety of “rib” meat cuts? It seems that every cut of meat can be called by multiple names. The baby back ribs are cut from the top of the loin and are sometimes referred to as loin ribs or back ribs. This cut is taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs. Baby back ribs have meat between and on top of the bones. They are referred to as baby back ribs, not because they are taken from a baby pig but because they are shorter and meatier than spare ribs.
Spare ribs, also known as St. Louis-Style Spareribs, are the ribs cut from the belly of the pig after the belly is removed. These ribs have the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage removed so the slab has a more rectangular shape. They are much thinner than baby back ribs which make them easier to brown and they also have more fat, which gives extra flavor if cooked properly. Baby back ribs and spare ribs can be interchanged when preparing a recipe but because the spare ribs are larger than the baby back ribs you will need to cook them longer.
Low and slow is a great way to cook any pasture raised meats. Remember to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your meats by using a meat thermometer. This will ensure you do not overcook and dry out these delicious ribs.