Ribs need to be cooked low and slow
What it is: It's pig on a stick! They start at the spine, and just like a human being, wrap all the way around to the breast bone. It's rare to see a whole rib section; usually it's divided into parts:
- The baby back ribs are the curved bones along the spine and they're about 5-6in long.
- The center cut is from the bones that run down the side of the animal.
- Spare ribs include the softer, cartilage-heavy rib tips that connect to the bottom of the center cut.
- When the tips are removed from the rest of the ribs, it's called the St. Louis cut.
These are all great on the grill, though they are fatty. But that fat is unctuous, that's flavor. That's ribs, folks! If you don't like fat, don't buy ribs.
Grill it up: Cook them over indirect heat at a low temp with a little smoke. A good number to shoot for is around 225 degrees. You want to melt that connective tissue, which can become really tough if you cook your ribs too hot and fast. Leave 'em on the grill for about three to four hours for baby back, and five to six for spares, which can take a little longer because they have a little more meat on top of the bone. Don't let them shrink much. You don't want to see the bones protruding!