How to Prepare and Trim Pork Ribs - Backyard Boss
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How to Prepare and Trim Pork Ribs

When you shop for grilling meats and poultry, keep in mind excess fat on a grill is the major cause of grease fires.

In addition to being dangerous, grilled meats cook too quickly and in the case of pork, can be underdone or even raw on the inside.

When this kind of meat is underdone, it can cause trichinellosis, also called trichinosis if the meat of the animal is infected with trichinella worm. Inspect pork meat carefully and choose the leanest rack possible.

The Best Type of Knife for Trimming a Rack Of Ribs

A sharp butcher blue knife
Image Credits: Savernake Knives on Unsplash

Chefs of renown agree that the knife used for trimming should always be sharp and kept that way.

Ribs can be purchased as a full rack you can be sliced pre or post-grilling or purchase pre-sliced from a butcher.

If there is any fat remaining on either of these, the sharp knife used for trimming should be made of precision forged, high carbon steel with at least a 2.75-inch blade and a durable, comfortable handle.

    KEPEAK Boning Knife

KEPEAK Boning Knife
    This six-inch boning knife is perfect for deboning, filleting, skinning, trimming, and butterflyig meat.

Check whether it has a finger guard and full bolster for safety while in use. It’s also important to note whether your trimming knife is dishwasher safe or requires special cleaning instructions.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Trim Pork Ribs

Step One: Choose a Rib Rack

A butcher with a butcher knife and ribs
Image Credits: Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

Depending on the breed, the average side of the pig has 15 to 16 ribs. Two or three are usually left on the shoulder after it is separated from the loin.

However, when you shop for a rib rack it will have a minimum of eight unless some have already been trimmed away. Larger racks can include up to 13.

There is a difference between “spare” and “baby back” ribs. Baby Backs come from the upper and lower areas of the spine and rib cage. These are a little smaller in size. It is important to know Baby Backs have more meat than their spare counterpart.

A spare Rib rack comes from the belly and is less meaty than Baby Backs. Spare rib racks offer a better blend of meat and fat. Some believe it is fat that adds flavor while others prefer a lean pork rack.

Step Two: Prepare Your Ribs

Meat and knifes on the wooden board
Image Credits: Andrew Haimerl (andrewnef) on Unsplash

Whether you choose to slice your own rib rack or grill them whole, you will still need to remove fat deposits found most often on the upper side of each rib.

With the spare type, the underside is usually mostly bone. There may also be a bit of gristle or cartilage found on the rib tips. This should be trimmed.

Step Three: Trim Your Rib Rack

Ribs in front of the flames
Image Credits: Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

Place the rib rack underside facing upward on a cutting board. You’ll notice the rib rack has a thick meaty “skirt” at the bottom of the rack. You may wish to use a long, sharp slicing knife to cut through this and set it aside. Some individuals prefer to barbecue the skirt after it has been sliced or use it for soups or other purposes.

If the rib rack has not had the end bone removed, use the slicing knife to remove it and use it later for soup or stock.

What remains after the skirt is sliced away is a bit of fat on a rib rack that should be trimmed away with the trimming knife.

Once fat and gristle are trimmed away, notice the sections between each rib bone. This is where you begin to slice each rib if you plan to grill them separately. If not, you can leave the rib rack whole for grilling and slice it after grilling is complete.

Step Four: Grill Your Ribs

A man grilling ribs on a grill
Image Credits: Z Grills Australia – on Unsplash

Some grilling chefs prefer to parboil a rib rack with a quarter cup of red wine vinegar for faster grilling.

Others place the raw rack or each individual rib directly on the grill. For extra flavor and tenderness before grilling, marinate in a spicy, herb-infused marinade before brushing with barbecue sauce.

If you want to learn more on how to master the cooking process of your grill ribs, go ahead and check our articles for Asian-Style Ribs and BBQ Ribs tips and tricks.

To Wrap Up

To prepare the tastiest ribs on the grill, there are many rules you have to follow. Before you rub and grill your ribs, you have to first trim them. It might seem like a difficult task, but if you follow our guidelines it won’t cause you any trouble. Remember that tasty ribs equal well-trimmed ribs!