Riblets vs Ribs: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to ribs, there are two main types: riblets and regular ribs. But what’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look.

The terms riblet and ribs frequently get applied conversely, but these pieces of meat are essentially from different chunks of the animal’s rib.

What is a Riblet?

A riblet is a small, boneless piece of meat that comes from the rib area of a pig. It’s basically a ribeye steak that has been cut into smaller pieces.

Riblets are the cross-cut boneless small pieces of meat found when a ribs rack is trimmed. They are produced when the chunks of beef are cut at the end of the smooth-edged rib bone slabs for easier cooking and a better appearance.

Riblets are usually grilled or baked, and they’re often served as an appetizer or main course. Some people also like to use them in stir-fries or soups.

What is a Rib?

Ribs are the large meaty pieces from the spare ribs’ base enclosing cartilage without bone. Both riblet and ribs are usually easy to cook, perfect appetizers, and cheap for a yard barbecue.

Ribs are usually roasted or grilled, and they’re often served as an entree.

Is It Healthy To Eat Pork Ribs And Riblets?

Pork being red meat is stated to contain a negative reputation as being unhealthy. Pork is also a good source of high-quality protein plus other certain nutrients. When moderately consumed, pork can also make an excellent supplement to a healthy diet. 

What Are Spare Ribs And Baby Back Ribs?

The baby back ribs are found in the parts the ribs get joined to the backbone, below the loin muscle. They tend to be also curved when in contact with the spine. They usually are shorter than spare ribs, making them get termed babies. These ribs tend to be leaner and tender compared to spare ribs. Baby ribs are also typically costlier than spare ribs.

Spare ribs are usually from the end of the baby’s back ribs, plus they are also found around the breast bone in pigs. Spare ribs contain much meat amid bones and are tastier than baby back ribs. Compared to baby back ribs, spare ribs are usually flatter, straighter, and longer.

Using this given information, it is evident that ribs contain more meat than riblets.

What is the Difference Between Riblets and Ribs?

These two terms are usually challenging for many people to distinguish between meat riblets and ribs.

  • Riblets are usually from a ribs full rack when trimmed in meat. Spare ribs are usually cut in halves to make them straight. Riblets are usually flat and short ribs that remain after cutting the curved portion.
  • Rib tips are usually attached to the bottom rung end of the spare ribs. These are the meat I got after trimming the spare ribs. They do not contain any bone. Instead, they tend to have thick cartilage. 

Are Riblets And Ribs From Pork Healthier Than Beef?

The pork riblets and ribs are healthy and mouth-watering when they are not smoked. Lean pork and lean beef are both excellent for the body, but lean pork is stated to cause better health, heart, and less body fat.

Related: How Long To Smoke Ribs at 275?

Which Ribs Have The Least Amount Of Fat In Pork?

The country-style ribs from the shoulder-end chunk of the pork loin contain the least amount of fat. The least amount of fat plus the best chunks of meat for each bone is found there. 

Between Pork And Beef, Which Ribs Are Better?

Indeed, beef ribs are usually fatter and more extensive than pork. Through variation, pork ribs tend to be more versatile as their taste is generally tender due to their fatless content. In addition, it is easier to prepare large chunks of pork than beef.

Are Rib Tips Similar To Burnt Ends?

Rib tips are from pork. These are the small pieces of meat removed from the spare ribs after a more cut is performed. 

Rib tips are dissimilar to burnt ends as burnt ends can apprehend crunchy bark, melted down fat, and smoky to give an inclusively fantastic taste compared to rib tips.

Are Riblets Good?

Yes, riblets are an excellent appetizer or party food when a person does not want to feed on an entire rack of ribs. Excluding the size difference, they are comparable to ribs in cooking recipes and tastes.

Riblets are just as good as regular ribs, if not better. They’re smaller and more tender, so they’re easier to cook and eat. Plus, they have all the same flavors that you love in ribs.

So, if you’re looking for a delicious way to enjoy pork ribs, go for riblets! You won’t be disappointed.

How Long Do Riblets Take To Grill?

The riblets should take about two hours to cook using a lot of heat and three hours while using moderate heat. If you are unsure about the correct heat temperature to use, you should keep checking the riblets after every 30 minutes.

Rotate the fast cooking riblets that are nearby to the heat. Continue this process after every 30 minutes till two hours are over.

Do Ribs Make You Gain Weight?

Ribs are high in fat and calories, so they may cause you to gain weight if you eat them too often. If you’re watching your weight, it’s best to limit your intake of ribs.

Tips On How To Cook Ribs And Riblets On The Grill

Grilled riblets and ribs are the ideal plates for a summertime roast. They can be cooked faster or slow-grilled. It is crucial to remember that they are tender and delicious when cooked over indirect heat.

Fast-Grilling Riblets

  • First, preheat one flank of the grill to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not direct grilling. This is usually most suitable for more formidable chunks of flesh like riblets.
  • Place the riblets on the other side of the grill after it is heated. 
  • Cook the ribs for approximately two hours when the cover is sealed. Keep on frequently rotating them to prevent them from getting burnt. 
  • Using sauce, brush all sides of the riblets after the riblets have cooked for two hours. After mixing the sauce with the riblets, cook them for about 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, coat the riblets with another lamp layer of sauce. Here, you can place the riblets straight overheat and cook them for ten minutes with the cover open. 
  • Check the flesh for doneness. After the sauce turns breakable and frosts, remove the ribs and put them on a platter. 
  • Allow cooked riblets to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. 

Slow–Grilling Riblets

  • The first step is to heat a flank of the grill to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Secondly, position the riblets on the grill bone–flank down. Place them out from the direct source of heat and close the cover. 
  • In slow-grilling, the riblets should cook for about three hours. Here you should cook them uninterrupted as the temperature is moderate. If the riblets close, the heat tends to cook faster, and you should rotate them. Keep performing this after every hour till the three hours are over. 
  • Once the riblets have cooked for three hours, wrap them on a foil when the bones are placed sideways or downwards. Pour a cup of juice or apple cider into the foil with riblets, then fold up the edges of the foil and make a bowl-like design. Allow it to continue heating the grill for about 45b minutes to an hour. The purpose of the juice or apple cider is to keep riblets tender plus add flavor.
  • After the hour is over, remove the foil and place them for another half an hour with the lid closed. 
  • Once they have cooked for half an hour, brush the triplets on both sides with sauce. Perform this again after five minutes. 
  • Place the riblets directly on heat until the sauces have caramelized, and the outer triplets should be crispy. After all those procedures, the riblets should be tender, indicating that the riblets are done.

Cooking With Barbeque Sauce

  • First, warm butter and oil in a big pan over a medium temperature. 
  • Second, after the butter and oil have been heated, add a cup of chopped onion. Stir-fry the onions until they are soft or for about 5 minutes.
  • Third, add about four minced garlic cloves after the onions get frail. Stir-fry garlic until fragrant or for a minute.
  • Add three cups of tomato puree to the mixture of onion and garlic. Then add 2 cups of brown sugar and mix the ingredients till they all combine well. 
  • Add half a cup of Worcestershire sauce. You should add two tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a tablespoon of paprika and chili powder, then mix the ingredients until they are well combined.
  • Heat the sauce for about one and a half hours. Use low temperatures and leave it uncovered to allow the sauce to thicken. Remove the source from the heat after it has thickened and will enable it to cool. Use this sauce to baste the triplets as you grill them. 

How Do You Eat Riblets?

The delectable sauce of riblets might leave you shell-shocked and coated in BBQ seasoning. However, your pleasure does not have to end in an awful mess because you don’t know how to eat your riblets.

When eating slowly and carefully while cleaning yourself and your utensils as you go, you can fully enjoy your ribs and avoid a sticky situation.

Here are some of the ways you should eat riblets and ribs.

Stocking Supplies

  • Ribs and riblets are usually easy to cook and are a good choice for informal gatherings. They’re something people can just grab and eat without a lot of fuss. You should dress comfortably when eating them, in clothes like cotton shirts, denim, and t-shirts. You don’t need to wear special clothes, but you might want to avoid white clothing because it can get messy.
  • You should prepare permeable materials as ribs and riblets frequently fall apart due to their tenderness. Get prepared with clean-up supplies like paper napkins, paper towels, and moist towels. Here you can also put on bibs or even use a detergent pen.
  • Consider using a finger bowl to rinse saucy fingers. This is a miniature bowl filled with water for rinsing fingers. 
  • Riblets are usually delicious, and it’s good to use drinks to wash them down to the stomach. Eat riblets with the desired drinks to avoid bogging down the riblets flavors when eating. 

Eating the Ribs

  • First, you should select your rack and put them on a platter. Secondly, separate the ribs from the rack using a table knife. As the rib meat is tender, this separation does not entail using force. You can also tear the rib from the rack if the riblets tend to be too delicate.
  • Third, hold the segregated rib over the plate if something drops from it. It would be best to have both ends with the thumb, index, and middle fingers. This helps keep the rib reasonably stable.
  • Fourth, begin eating from one edge to the other; the meat on both edges might drop if you first bite into the center. 
  • Fifth, eat the meat in the ribs slowly. There are many reasons why it is good to chew small bites systematically-one is to prevent choking accidents by swallowing bones or large pieces of meat. Ribs are mostly served on public occasions, and it is better to chew small pieces as you bond with other people. In addition, eating ribs moderately help prevent terrible messes. 

Cleaning up

  • Rib leftovers should not be shared with pets or babies. As people can choke on ribs, it can be dangerous for infants and dogs who have not yet adjusted to cautious eating habits. It is ideal for keeping the leftovers preserved in refrigerators. 
  • It is always a good practice to wash hands after eating ribs. It is best if you wash them with water and soap. It is also good to check barbeque sauce stains on your teeth and face; if there are any, floss and clean yourself with water.

If your clothes have accidentally got sauce stains, it is better to get them off using a detergent pen before the stains are set in your clothes. Wash the plates you’re using, as it helps keep the sauce from gelling the leaves.


Riblets are the cross-cut boneless small pieces of meat found when a ribs rack is trimmed, while ribs are the large meaty pieces from the spare ribs’ base enclosing cartilage without bones. Ribs indeed contain more meat than riblets, plus they both differ in size.

Spare ribs are usually cut in halves to make them straight, and riblets are generally flat and short ribs that remain after etching the curved portion.

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.