Pork ribs are a favorite meat for BBQ cooking. In the United States, spare ribs, or spareribs, is the term used to describe pork ribs that come from the lower section of a pig’s side. Picture yourself on all fours and note where your ribs would be. The pig’s spareribs are in the same place your ribs are.
How did this pork cut get its name? There are a couple of theories about this. One is that it’s a derivation of the word “spearrib,” because the ribs were often cooked on a spear over a fire. The other theory is that “spare” came from the fact that the meat on the bones is spare – not in large abundance. It’s true that spareribs don’t have a lot of flesh on them, and some folks say that eating them is just a good excuse to eat tasty barbecue sauce.
I think the small amount of meat, along with the long bone, is one reason people like spare ribs so much. Just think – each section of meat has its own little “handle.” Also, in the opinion of many cooks and many eaters, the meat from spareribs is actually tastier than that from baby back ribs.
A side of spare ribs is called a “slab.” A slab of ribs contains a minimum of eleven rib bones. Spareribs are usually purchased as whole slabs, although some stores and markets offer them for sale as individual bones and attached meat.
To learn how to prepeare spareribs for cooking, watch the above video.