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Thread: Spare rib prep

  1. #1
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    Jul 2018

    Spare rib prep

    I am wondering what trimming/prep is done to spare ribs prior to cooking. I know a lot remove the membrane but there seems to be a lot of cartaliage and fat towards the wider end of the ribs. Ribs were USDA certified so I'm assuming they were quality. Maybe I'm just a baby back guy but it seemed like a lot of work to get to the meat.... my second question is brisket price, I Cooked my first brisket labor day and it came out great but I paid almost nine dollars a pound from a local butcher. It being my first brisket I had no idea how high that was, I've seen usda prime whole briskets from local Sam's for 50 bucks for 14 pounds. I'm assuming cooked properly these should be just as tasty? I know the butcher can tell you where the meats sourced etc but does it make that big a difference in terms of quality and taste?

  2. #2
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    May 2011
    GTA, Canada
    Only for the ribs:

    Depending on how the store packed them, you may need to cut the breast bone from the ribs themselves (if there are two "parts" in the package, this was done for you). All the cartilage, you leave it in place. They will be at the "fat" end of the rack. Impossible to remove and prob don't want to. You'll find that the meat in that end (surrounded by the cartilage) is the tenderest of the whole rack. I save that for ME when I do them. I think what is called St Louis cut have the breast bone cut off already.

    Nothing else to do. You've got the membrane off and the breast bone separated. Cut any excess fat you see off the meat side but don't do it going "into" the meat. It'll fall apart if you do. It'll mostly melt away anyways.

    This is why most folks buy b.b. (less prep, easier to eat) BUT spares have more flavour IMO.

    The breast bone is in the top part of the first pic, 50% of that top piece to the right is breast bone. I wouldn't normally cut the tail end (bottom left of first pic) off. All meat no bone, no cartilage.

    Others will chime in on the brisket issue.
    Last edited by Len Dennis; 09-08-2018 at 05:32 AM.
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  3. #3
    TVWBB All-Star Lew Newby's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Deltona, FL
    Len did great on the ribs so I'll talk Brisket. I recently bought a select grade Brisket at Walmart for $3.47/lb.. It came out great As far as knowing the source I don't do Brisket enough to get into the finer details. I just want a good looking and flexible Brisket. The Sams Club price is better than what I got because it's Prime and that should be better than select. I will repeat - I'm not an expert.
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  4. #4
    TVWBB Wizard
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    Jul 2014
    Louisville, KY
    Couple of things on the brisket as well. Butcher shop versus grocery/Sams Club type store. This one gets to personal preference. Butcher shop is always going to be more expensive. Arguably, the meat might be high quality, but you have to decide if it's worth the price difference. It's the same way with steaks. Sams Club or Kroger might sell Ribeyes for $8.99 per lb. Butcher shop might be $14.99 for Ribeye. you have to decide if it's worth it for you.

    Back to brisket specifically. You'll see different grades, Prime, Choice and Select. Each has a different price point with Prime being the highest cost. THEN, you have two different brisket cuts so to speak. Trimmed brisket flats and whole packer briskets. Trimmed flats will have much less fat and almost none of the brisket "point". Trimmed flats are much higher price per lb than whole packer briskets which have a whole lot of fat on them as they are untrimmed. Here too, it's personal preference. Some prefer trimmed flats as they don't want to pay for fat and it's less work to prep them. Others would rather pay less per lb overall, regardless of whether they trim the fat (perhaps 20-30% of the weight) or leave all the fat on. The whole packer does have the "point" on it though, which is a wonderfully delicious part of the brisket and is what you use to make "burnt ends" if you want.
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  5. #5
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    Aug 2017
    Kansas city
    When I cook Spare ribs . The only thing I do is remove the membrane. There are a lot of folks that don't even do that.

    Around my area Brisket goes somewhere around 7 dollars a pound when it's cheapest. Your 14 pounder for 50 comes out to 3.57. I don't believe I have ever seen it that cheap. But if it were me I would buy it. It't bound to be worth that.

  6. #6
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Jim Lampe's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Raymond, Wisconsin
    Costco sells Prime brisket at $3.879 to $3.99lb
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  7. #7
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Prescott Valley, Arizona
    We only cook one Brisket a year and that's on smoke day because it's just the two of us. We just finished it off on Labor day by making burnt ends with the point. As Jim said you can get great prime brisket at Costco for around $3.99lb and it's excellent.
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  8. #8
    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Montgomery, IL
    Yep, and to add to Len's most excellent post I'll add this>
    And please save the trimmings, the flap or skirt ( when smoked ) makes a good snack or add them chopped to beans or stew.
    The rib-tips are really tasty, very common cut in the mid-west and are the most popular BBQ item in Chicago's south side.

    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

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