Beef Ribs vs Pork Ribs: Which is Better?


There are a lot of people who love ribs. There is nothing better than gathering around the grill with family and friends, eating some good food, and enjoying each other’s company. While most people would agree that ribs are delicious no matter what kind they are, there is a big difference between beef ribs and pork ribs.

In this article, we will explore the differences in flavor, texture, appearance, and more to see which rib is really better!

What are Beef Ribs?

Beef ribs are one of the most popular types of rib because they have a very distinct flavor. The meat on beef ribs is extremely flavorful and moist, making them great for any kind of barbecue or grilling recipe you want to make.

While many people love pork ribs too, there is no comparison between what makes these two different kinds of ribs so tasty. Beef ribs are typically much larger than other types of ribs and come from different parts of the cow, such as short ribs or prime cuts like a standing rib roast.

What are Pork Ribs?

Pork ribs tend to be smaller in size when compared to beef ribs and do not have quite as many options for varieties and cuts. However, pork ribs are still extremely delicious and many people enjoy the tender meat that they provide. Pork ribs come from different parts of the pig, including spareribs or baby back ribs.

Where to Find Beef Ribs?

Beef short ribs are often sold at local grocery stores or butchers, however, they may not always be in stock which makes it a good idea to call ahead before going shopping for beef ribs. Some markets and specialty food shops sell dry-aged beef, so make sure to ask if they have a source for beef short ribs if you are looking to get your hands on some of the more delicious cuts.

Beef short ribs are cut into sections with bones attached to each side making them perfect for barbecue-style cooking. Beef ribs are also usually sold in racks rather than by the individual rib, making it easy to either prepare a smaller dinner or cut them up for sharing.

The meat on beef short ribs is extremely tender and juicy which makes them perfect for slow cooking methods like smoking BBQ or braising.

Where to Find Pork Ribs?

Pork spareribs are sold at most grocery stores which makes it easy to get a rack of ribs on the way home from work for dinner during the week. Some butchers and local markets may carry pork spareribs as well, however, you may have trouble finding them depending on where you live.

Pork spareribs are the best ribs for slow cooking methods like smoking BBQ. They tend to be larger than other types of pork rib and have a very distinct flavor that many people love. Pork spareribs also come from different parts of the pig, such as baby back or country style ribs which can make them even more flavorful and moist depending on what you choose.

What is the Difference Between Flavors?

When it comes to flavor, beef ribs tend to be much more intense than pork ribs which can make them either a good or bad choice depending on what you like. Beef short ribs are extremely flavorful with tender meat that many people enjoy while some find themselves preferring slightly milder flavors when they eat their ribs.

Pork ribs are much lighter in flavor and tend to have a slightly sweeter taste which some people prefer when they eat their ribs at home or out for dinner.

What is the Difference in Texture?

Both beef short rib meat and pork spareribs are tender, moist, and delicious but there is definitely a difference between how these two types of rib taste. Beef short ribs are often considered to be juicier than pork spareribs when they are both cooked properly, however, this does depend on what cut of meat you choose and how it is prepared for cooking.

Some people enjoy the slightly drier texture that comes from smoking BBQ with their pork spareribs while others prefer the moist, tender meat on beef short ribs.

What is the Difference in Appearance?

Beef short ribs are large, thick cuts that contain bones attached to each side of the rack. The meat tends to be slightly darker than other types of rib and looks very unique when it comes off the grill or smoker at home.

When it comes to appearance, beef ribs tend to have a bit more fat on them than pork ribs which gives them an overall juicier and softer look that many people really enjoy. Be careful not to overcook this delicious meat though, as it can quickly become tough to eat.

Pork spareribs also taste delicious, however, they are smaller in size when compared with beef ribs and have bones attached to each side of the rack. The meat on pork spareribs is slightly lighter than other types of ribs which may be a turn-off for some people who prefer something more intense in flavor.

How Much Do They Cost?

Beef ribs tend to be more expensive than pork ribs, but the prices vary depending on where you live and what cut of rib you choose. Pork spareribs are usually sold by weight which means that they can range in price from $3-$4 per pound while beef short ribs cost between $5-$9 per pound.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Pork Ribs?

Pork spareribs can be cooked in around 1-1/2 to 2 hours when using indirect heat with coal, however, this will depend on how hot you have the grill set when cooking which is why it’s good to have a meat thermometer on hand.

Pork spareribs are best cooked with the bone side down for around 20-30 minutes before flipping them over and cooking for another 30 minutes without heat directly under the ribs.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Beef Ribs?

It takes a lot of time to cook and smoke beef ribs. Firstly, this has something to do with how big they are in general and also the kind of cut that is used when cooking them.

Beef short ribs take around 3 to 4 hours when using indirect heat and coals, however, this time will vary depending on how hot you have the grill set. Beef short ribs should be cooked bone-side down for 30-40 minutes before flipping them over and cooking another hour and a half with no heat directly under the meat.

Generally, you want to make sure they are falling off the bone tender before removing them from heat. If you don’t cook them long enough then they will not be as tasty and may even be a bit tough to chew.

Beef Ribs vs Pork Ribs: Which is Better?

Both beef short ribs and pork spareribs have a very unique flavor when they are cooked right, but it is up to you which one you prefer when cooking at home. Pork spareribs tend to be slightly sweeter in flavor while beef ribs tend to taste more intense overall which might make the decision easier for some people.

How Many Ribs In A Rack?

Racks of back ribs can be found in any grocery store and come with a minimum of eight bones, but some may also have up to thirteen. A typical commercial rack has ten or more bones that are visible on its surface; however, if you find one without enough meat for your needs then it’s known as “cheater racks”.


So, which is better? Well, that’s completely up to you and your personal preference. Some people like the stronger flavor of beef ribs, while others prefer the softer texture of pork ribs. However, one thing we know for sure – both are delicious!

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.