This might seem like a strange question to some but how many ribs do you think are in a rack? No one seems to have the answer to that since no one counts. As soon as a full rack is served on the dinner table, everyone just digs in and forgets such a detail. But should you be even asking in the first place?
You should. Not just to add to your general knowledge of food but also be aware whether the butcher shop or BBQ restaurant isn’t cheating you off of the number of ribs they should be serving you.
So, how many ribs in a rack? There isn’t a single correct answer to this. What you’re asking should be more specific since the number of ribs depends on what type of meat you want. Are you asking about pork ribs, beef ribs, or lamb ribs? With this guide, you’ll be able to distinguish between the different type of ribs and how much there are in a rack.
How Many Ribs In A Rack
There are different types of ribs to look out for. When you’re purchasing a full rack of whatever type of ribs you want, it’s best to know how many ribs you should be expecting. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:
1. Pork Ribs
Pork ribs are the most common types of ribs for barbecuing. They are also cheaper than most meats. But just because they’re affordable does not mean they do not taste as good as the rest. When smoked or barbecued, pork ribs can taste juicy, tender and very tasty.
There are 3 types of pork ribs: spare ribs, baby back ribs, and St. Louis style ribs.
- Spare Ribs
Spare ribs are taken from the belly of the pig. These are found in the bottom part of the ribs and larger compared to the rest of the parts.
There are approximately around 11 to 13 ribs in a rack. Sometimes if the ribs get damaged, you’ll get a minimum of 8 ribs in a rack. Don’t expect to get much meat from spare ribs as well since they contain more bone than meat.
- Baby Back Ribs
The first thing we’d like to mention is that baby back ribs are not taken from the ribs of baby pigs. It's found in a pig’s loins. When the loin section is removed from the pig, what’s left of it are the back ribs.
So, how many ribs in a rack of baby back ribs? There are around 10 to 13 ribs in a rack that can feed up to 2 people.
- St. Louis Style Ribs
St. Louis style ribs are just the flatter version of baby back ribs and contain more fat. They’re cut in rectangles rather than triangles. In a rack, you’ll get about 10-13 ribs, just like the baby back ribs.
2. Beef Ribs
Beef ribs are known to have two types: short ribs and back ribs. It’s a little pricey than pork ribs but the taste is worth every penny.
13 bones making up the ribs. But it’s difficult to find a full rack in grocery stores so expect to buy them already packaged in no more than nine ribs in a rack.
- Short Ribs
Short ribs are known to have more meat than back ribs. This is because it’s found in the lower part of the beef cattle near the chest.
This type of ribs is also small and short. Stores sell these in 3 bone ribs in a rack.
- Back Ribs
Beef ribs are what’s left when you take the rib eye part away. Since most meat is kept with the rib eye cut, only a small portion of the meat remains for back ribs.
You can find 7 back ribs in a strip though this varies depending on the butcher cutting up the rib roast. Beef back ribs are best smoked and slow-cooked on the grill. However, roasting them via the oven will not produce juicy results as compared to the pork ribs.
3. Lamb Ribs
Lamb ribs are the simplest type of meat ribs since you don’t have to be concerned for certain parts.
On average, you can get 8 ribs in a rack. On some occasions, you may get nine or a minimum of 6.
How Many Rack of Ribs Per Person?
Preparing ribs for a party can be quite difficult since you’re not sure how many ribs are you expecting a person to eat. Well, to make this simple, you only need about 4 ribs per person.
Do remember that this does not apply to every barbecue party. If you’re only having ribs at the party, then your guests might eat more than just 4 ribs per person. But if you have other food such as sides, burgers, and hotdogs, then your guests might feel too full to eat more than 4 ribs.
A half rack of ribs may be enough for two people. But always plan accordingly when you decide in having ribs and other dishes for a party. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests and leave so many leftovers, or make a huge mistake and just feed them with only one dish and end up having hungry guests by the end of the night.
All the types of ribs mentioned above provide juicy, tender, and delicious meats when smoked or grilled so there’s no right or wrong answer on which types of ribs should you choose. The only things you need to consider is your budget and how to cook them.
This guide should solve all your questions about what to expect when buying ribs for that backyard barbecue party you’ve been planning. This is why knowing how many ribs in a rack is important. By knowing this detail, you wouldn’t be tricked into receiving a less number of ribs than what you should be getting.