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What are the best ribs with the most meat?

Ribs are a classic BBQ food that are loved by meat eaters everywhere. When eating ribs, most people want ones that are fall-off-the-bone tender with plenty of meat on the bones. There are many different types of ribs to choose from, including pork ribs, beef ribs, and lamb ribs. So which ribs have the most meat that is tender and juicy when cooked? Let’s explore the different rib options and see which ones come out on top for meatiness.

Pork Ribs

Pork ribs are a very popular choice for barbecuing. There are a few different cuts of pork ribs:

Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs come from the upper ribcage near the spine and are shorter and meatier than spare ribs. They have a curved shape with lots of lean meat between the bones. Baby back ribs tend to be the most tender and juicy type of pork rib.

St. Louis Style Ribs

St. Louis ribs are spare ribs that are trimmed into a rectangular rack. The brisket bone and skirt are removed, making St. Louis ribs meatier than spare ribs. They have good marbling and tenderness.

Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are taken from the belly side of the pig near the bacon. They are long and narrow with a good amount of meat between the bones. However, spare ribs tend to be fattier than other pork rib cuts.

Overall, baby back ribs win for the pork ribs with the most meat. Their shorter compact shape means more meat per bone.

Beef Ribs

There are a few different beef rib options:

Short Ribs

Beef short ribs contain a lot of connective tissue so they must be braised or smoked slowly to break down the collagen. The meat can be tough if not cooked properly.

Back Ribs

Back ribs are cut from the rib primal near the spine. They contain less meat than short ribs but have a nice beefy flavor when cooked.

Dinosaur or Brontosaurus Ribs

Dinosaur ribs come from the large rib primal further from the spine. They contain long bones surrounded by juicy, flavorful meat. Dinosaur ribs are definitely the beef ribs with the most meat.

Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs come from young sheep and contain a good meat to bone ratio. Since the ribs are smaller than pork or beef ribs, each bone is still meaty and tender when cooked. Lamb ribs are a great option for those who want a mild flavored rib with plenty of meat.

Best Meaty Ribs by Cooking Method

The cooking method can also impact which ribs end up the meatiest.


For grilling, baby back ribs are the best since their shape allows them to cook evenly over direct heat. The meat remains moist and tender.


When smoking ribs for hours, beef dinosaur ribs shine. Their huge meaty bones absorb that delicious smoky flavor.


For braised ribs, opt for beef short ribs or lamb ribs. The moist cooking environment makes their meat super tender and juicy.

Rib Meat Nutrition

When choosing the most meaty ribs, you also get nutritional benefits:


Ribs contain lots of protein needed for muscle growth and recovery.

Rib Type Protein (grams per 3 oz serving)
Pork Baby Back Ribs 21g
Beef Dinosaur Ribs 25g
Lamb Ribs 22g


The heme iron found in meat is easily absorbed by the body. Ribs provide an excellent source of iron.

Rib Type Iron % Daily Value (per 3 oz serving)
Pork Spare Ribs 10%
Beef Short Ribs 15%


Zinc supports the immune system and cell growth. Ribs are a particularly good source of this mineral.

Rib Type Zinc % Daily Value (per 3 oz serving)
Lamb Ribs 25%
Pork Baby Back Ribs 15%

Best Methods for Cooking Meaty Ribs

To get the most out of your ribs, use these top cooking methods:


Smoking ribs at a low temperature over wood chips infuses amazing flavor. Use a rub on the ribs first to create a tasty crust. Smoke for 4-6 hours until tender.


Braising ribs in a flavorful liquid like broth, wine, or barbecue sauce breaks down the meat. Braise for 2-3 hours in a 300°F oven or on the stovetop.


Quickly sear ribs over direct high heat first to get nice grill marks. Then move them to indirect heat at a lower temp to finish cooking for 1-2 hours.

Pressure Cooking

A pressure cooker like the Instant Pot cooks ribs fast. They become fall-off-the-bone tender in 30-40 minutes.

Best Barbecue Sauces for Ribs

No ribs are complete without a stellar barbecue sauce! Look for sauces with these tasty features:

Sweet and Spicy

The combo of sweet and spicy flavors balances out the richness of the ribs. molasses, brown sugar, peppers, chili powder.


Tomatoes add great depth, brightness, and tang to sauces.

Smoky and Bold

Look for sauces with robust smoky flavor from spices, chipotles, bacon, and smoked paprika.

Sticky and Thick

The best sauces adhere nicely to the ribs. They contain tomatoes, molasses, maple syrup, etc.


If you’re looking for the ultimate meaty ribs, go for pork baby back or beef dinosaur ribs. Their high ratio of meat to bone means you get the most with each bite. Use low and slow cooking methods like smoking or braising to fully tenderize the meat. And don’t forget a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce to add that final touch of flavor! With the right cut, cooking method, and sauce, you’ll have some incredibly tender, juicy and meaty ribs to enjoy.