Tips for buying ribs

Getting so messy is rarely so fun, or delicious, as when you tuck into a rack of ribs. Finger licking, meat slurping, teeth chomping‚ there’s something about ribs that will bring out the inner caveman in just about everyone. But there are so many options to choose from. So which ones are best for the grill? We asked Richard Stephen of Stephen’s Butcher Shop in Port Carling, and here’s what he had to say:

“There are a number of different options for both pork and beef ribs for barbecuing,” Stephen says. “There are pork back ribs—a personal favorite—and side ribs. The back ribs are sometimes called baby back ribs and are much leaner than the side ribs. Back ribs can be quite meaty or less so depending on your preference. When purchasing beef ribs, there are a few choices that one can make. Beef back ribs are similar to the pork in looks but are much larger. These are the rib portion that is cut off of the prime rib. Beef short ribs are often cut thin across the bones, and are marinated. These are often called Miami or Korean Style Ribs.”

Whichever ribs you end up choosing, there are a number of steps Stephen recommends before throwing them on the grill.

1. Remove the membrane

“Always have the butcher remove the inner membrane from the underside of the rib,” Stephen says. This will make the final product more tender and allow the flavors to penetrate both sides of the ribs. It’s a quick job for the butcher, but will save you some time and clean-up at the cottage.

2. Clean them up

“Have the butcher attend to any jagged or broken bones before you buy them,” Stephen suggests. “This will prevent any mishaps during preparation or consumption.”

3. Trim them up

Have the butcher trim any visible excess fat. This will help you avoid flare-ups. You should also make sure the meat distribution is even throughout for uniform cooking. 

4. Cooking is key

“The method of cooking is as important as the product you start with,” Stephen says. “Long and slow, with a good barbecue sauce should make any rib delicious! And if you’re looking for a recipe, this is one we always recommend to our customers.”