How Many Ribs In A Rack: A Griller’s Guide To Serving Sizes

When it comes to exploring the world of food, ribs have to be up there with some of the most succulent and enjoyable foods around.

How Many Ribs In A Rack: A Griller’s Guide To Serving Sizes

It’s good to know all about the food before you attempt making a rib dish yourself. This will help you to understand how long they take to cook, ways of cooking, and even how many ribs there are in a rack.

Because of the varying sizes of ribs in different animals, rack sizes can vary and will often leave consumers confused on how many racks they need to buy before cooking. 

So to help you through this confusion, we’ve got a guide for you on all the ins and outs of ribs and how many ribs there are in a rack.

This will allow you to control your portion sizes easier and will reduce the amount of food waste you produce.

What Different Types Of Animal Ribs Can You Eat?

The first thing you should consider when buying ribs is what kind of animal they come from.

There are three main types of ribs that people eat – beef, pork, and lamb. Lamb and pork are the more common varieties of ribs as they’re usually cheaper than beef variants.

Beef ribs tend to be much pricier because there aren’t so many of them on the market. It’s all about supply and demand!

This means that if you want to make sure that you end up with the best-tasting ribs ever, then you need to ensure that you get the right number of each type that you intend to serve.

The easiest way to do this is by having an idea of what you would like to serve. 

For example, if your family likes to eat large amounts of meat then you may want to go for the larger cuts of pork or lamb ribs.

On the other hand, if your family tends to prefer smaller portions then you could opt for the smaller cuts of beef or pork ribs instead.

What Is The Difference Between Pork And Beef Ribs?

Pork and beef ribs are both very similar in appearance. They are cut from the same area of the animal but come from two separate areas of the body.

Because of the size of the animals, the ribs of course differ in size, which can also affect the pricing of the product that you’re looking to buy.

This also means that the taste and the texture of the ribs will be different, depending on what animal you choose for.

If you were to try and substitute one type of ribs for another you’d quickly find out the difference between beef and pork ribs.

Whereas beef ribs are made from the loin section of the pig (which also makes bacon), pork ribs are made from the shoulder region.

In addition, beef ribs tend to be tougher and less tender than their pork counterparts. However, when cooked correctly, beef ribs can taste just as delicious as the pork variety.

What Do Beef Ribs Taste Like?

Although beef ribs are generally considered to be harder to prepare than their pork counterparts, they actually have a lot going for them.

These are not only tasty, but they are also extremely versatile. In fact, they can be used in a wide range of dishes including grilling, braising, baking, and slow-cooking to name a few.

Beef ribs also take longer to cook than pork ribs. So, if you’re looking to cook a meal for a large group then these might be the better choice.

If you’re cooking at home, though, then a combination of pork and beef ribs is always recommended.

Beef Ribs Texture

The texture of these ribs is usually quite soft and chewy. Although the flavor isn’t too strong, it does, however, have a rich, smoky aroma that comes through during cooking.

Sometimes, when you bite into a piece of beef rib, you’ll notice how hard and tough it feels. This is due to the amount of connective tissue that’s present in the meat.

However, once you remove the bone, the meat becomes slightly softer and chewier.

One of the reasons why you don’t see beef ribs on menus often is because they are quite time-consuming to prepare due to their size.

Also, they require a long period of marinating before being barbecued or oven-roasted.

What Do Pork Ribs Taste Like?

When it comes to pork ribs, there are two main types available. These include baby back ribs and spareribs.

Baby back ribs are much thinner than spareribs, which have a thicker layer of fat around them.

Because of this, baby back ribs are considered more tender and richer in flavor and texture.

The reason behind this is that baby backs are more tender than spareribs. Spareribs, on the other hand, are known for their firmness.

Unlike baby back ribs, these are not normally found in restaurants unless they are prepared using barbecue sauce to make sure that the food isn’t too dry.

Pork Ribs Texture

How Many Ribs In A Rack: A Griller’s Guide To Serving Sizes

As with beef ribs, pork ribs are also quite soft and chewy like their beef counterpart. The texture is quite moist and juicy, which helps to create a nice contrast against the crunchy exterior of the bones, which are discarded.

When eating a piece of pork rib, you’ll often find yourself biting into some fatty bits along with the lean meat because of the high-fat content, however, these bits are easily cut away if you don’t like fatty foods.

This is because the pork rib has a fair bit of fat in it. The fat, unlike the lean meat, doesn’t become greasy when exposed to heat. Instead, it melts away, leaving you with a mouthful of tender meat.

Baby Back Ribs Vs. Spareribs

Spareribs are typically served whole while baby back ribs are commonly sliced lengthwise. When it comes to preparing these ribs, most people use barbecue sauces to give them added flavor.

However, these sauces aren’t as popular among chefs because they tend to turn out rather sweet, rather than balanced.

So, instead of adding extra sugar to the sauce, they prefer to add other ingredients such as spices and herbs to provide a more complex taste.

Nevertheless, some chefs do still opt to serve them with barbecue sauces to suit their customers’ preferences.

How Many Beef Ribs In A Rack?

If you’re wondering how many servings you can get from one rack of beef ribs, then you should know that this depends on the size of your serving plate.

For example, if you buy a large serving plate, then you can expect to be able to fit at least 3 pieces of ribs in each serving. If you go for medium-sized plates, then you can expect between 2 and 4 pieces per serving.

You can always double up on the number of servings by simply buying another rack of ribs. It’s best to choose a larger size serving plate so that you can try new things.

You may even want to consider getting different sizes of serving plates depending on how many guests you plan to invite over.

How Many Ribs Do Cows Have?

Cows naturally only have four pairs of ribs. This means that you’re unlikely to see any larger amounts in the same portion of ribs when purchasing beef ribs.

They come in various sizes, but the average adult human being will eat about 6 pieces.

In addition, the size of the ribs varies based on the type of cow and its diet. Some cattle are fed grasses and other plants, whereas others are given feed made of grains.

As a result, the sizes of the cows and therefore, the ribs, vary from animal to animal. A healthy cow will more than likely have larger ribs than unhealthy forms of the animal.

How Many Pork Ribs In A Rack?

Pork ribs are generally sold either as spareribs or baby back ribs. Spareribs are usually wider than baby back ribs, making them easier to handle.

Baby backs, on the other hand, are much thinner than spares and are very easy to slice. These thin slices make them ideal for barbecuing.

The width of the ribs varies according to the breed of pig, and the age of the animals. Pigs raised for meat are kept under close supervision to ensure that they grow quickly enough for slaughtering.

As a result, their growth rate tends to be faster than pigs who are bred for reproduction purposes.

How Many Ribs Do Pigs Have?

A typical pig has 12 pairs of ribs. Of course, not all pigs have the same amount; however, this is the average number found in every single pig.

The ribs are located along the backbone of the animal, which makes them difficult to reach.

Once again, it’s important to note that larger, healthier pigs will have larger ribs compared to unhealthy animals and will make for a nicer meal.

How Many Ribs Per Person?

How Many Ribs In A Rack: A Griller’s Guide To Serving Sizes

When thinking about how many rib portions you need to cook for yourself, it’s important to remember that each person needs a certain amount of food.

Most people would require between 3 and 5 rib portions to fill themselves up. 

However, there are also those people who don’t like eating this much meat because they think it’s too fatty.

For these individuals, their requirement is smaller and would only require two rib portions per meal. Topped with fries, potatoes, and vegetables, these ribs can be more filling than you think.

It’s also important to keep in mind that children tend to consume more food than adults, and therefore, they require more calories. One serving of ribs fits well into most kids’ diets.

What’s The Best Way To Cook Ribs?

Slow Cooking

Cooking time for pork ribs varies greatly, depending on the size of the individual portion.

When cooking these types of cuts, it is recommended to cook them slowly at low temperatures for longer periods to preserve nutrients and to ensure that taste isn’t lost in the cooking process.

As a general rule, the larger the cut of meat, the longer it takes to cook. This is because large cuts contain more connective tissue, which helps retain moisture during the cooking process.

Since most people use slow cookers to prepare food, it’s best to follow this method of cooking.


Ribs are also popularly grilled. Although grilling does not require special equipment, it requires skill and patience to successfully grill ribs.

The main problem faced while grilling ribs is keeping them moist. Grilling involves high heat, which causes proteins within the rib meat to denature. This results in dryness and loss of flavor.

To keep your ribs juicy, it’s necessary to marinate them before grilling. Ingredients such as soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, and spices can be used to enhance the flavors of the meat.

You should always start with a dry rub, then add sauces and seasonings after the meat has been cooked.


For some people, smoking is an excellent way to enjoy smoked foods. It adds a unique flavor to meats like beef brisket, ham hocks, chicken, and different forms of ribs.

However, you need to smoke these items for a long period of time to allow the meat to absorb the smoky aroma and flavor.

When cooking fresh pork ribs, it’s best to smoke them for two hours. During this time, the ribs must be turned regularly so that they don’t burn. Afterward, the ribs can be stored in a refrigerator until they’re ready to eat.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, using these tips will help you choose the right type of ribs for you and your family. Once you’ve chosen your preferred method of cooking, you’ll have no trouble preparing delicious meals.

Follow these simple steps when choosing your favorite ribs recipe and you’ll surely be satisfied.

Because beef ribs tend to be larger than pork ribs, you’re bound to need a smaller number of these ribs compared to a rack of pork ribs.

Due to pork ribs usually being more tender and softer than beef ribs, they can be a lot easier to eat but contain more fat content, which can go well with other features like potato salad, fries, or vegetables.

You need to try for yourself, so go and get some ribs and fire up that grill. Your next meal awaits you!

John Rinder
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