Critique Raw baby back ribs

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A lot of people don't like photos of raw meat, which explains why the thread's title mentions that these ribs are raw.

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A white reflector above the scene was lit from below by two flashlights on the right side. (None of the light from those two devices was falling directly on the subject. Using only indirect light ensured that there would be no or little glare.) A third flashlight's long, diffused light built into its handle was fitted with a salmon gel. That third flashlight in the front lit the meat in the front and the edge of the meat in the rear.

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10 focus-bracketed images at Nikon step size 3 were stacked in Helicon Focus using its default settings.

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Those are the meatiest baby backs I've ever seen.
I almost thought they were St. Louis.
I actually don't know with great certainty whether baby back ribs or St. Louis ribs are best. When I did some research on the Internet a few years ago, I found some highly contradictory information and opinion about that. I also asked my butcher, who I respect, and he said he has his opinion but it's only his opinion. The consensus that I found was that baby back ribs have more meat but are less tender. But if I had looked longer and harder, I might have found a different consensus. Indeed, when I stopped looking for more information, I added the following note to my recipe partly as a reminder relating to my wife's disdain for fat:

"Baby back ribs have more meat and less fat than St. Louis ribs. For those who would opt for the tenderness of St. Louis ribs, that is not a concern because the slow cooking in the tent of aluminum foil keeps the meat moist and very tender."
 
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I agree that the fat to meat ratio on the baby backs is much better.
With St. Louis I remove the membrane before cooking, once cooked I placed them in a sealed aluminum tray and bake in the oven for 2-4 hours at 200-225 degrees, usually 4. Falling off the bone and the majority of the fat and collagen is gone. To me, in doing this it seems like a lot more meat than baby backs. I'll usually cook 10-15 slabs of ribs at one time. Cook and then place in the oven at low temp. I then cut each slab in half place in a one gallon plastic bag and freeze. If I have unexpected visitors I just take some out of the freezer, microwave, apply BBQ sauce and you have a great and quick appetizer. I've never tried this process on baby backs but i think I will now that I have seen yours. There is a forum sponsored by the Bradley Smoker company I've found very helpful for ribs and brisket. I live about 70 miles from the Farmer Johns plant. Since I live so close to it just about every store I would shop at I'm pretty much guaranteed they came from there. That might have a lot to do with not seeing meatier baby backs here.
 
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I placed them in a sealed aluminum tray and bake in the oven for 2-4 hours at 200-225 degrees, usually 4.
I usually cook the ribs 4 hours that way but that's the only cooking that gets done, not the first process you use. The last time I cooked them, I didn't look up the recipe and misremembered that it was only 3 hours. There was a noticeable difference because the meat wasn't as tender and wasn't falling off the bones.
 
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If St. Louis ribs have more meat, that would be a disappointment. That's because in the last year my wife and I decided that three baby back ribs per person is too much for us, that we need to cut back to two (not that we've done it yet). If St. Louis ribs have more meat, we would have to cut back to only one per person and I definitely wouldn't like that. :D
 
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I usually cook the ribs 4 hours that way but that's the only cooking that gets done, not the first process you use. The last time I cooked them, I didn't look up the recipe and misremembered that it was only 3 hours. There was a noticeable difference because the meat wasn't as tender and wasn't falling off the bones.
The actual cooking process doesn't take that long at all.
I check them with a meat thermometer.
I wouldn't want to eat them that way.
Just too chewy.
The second process takes care of that.
Have to be careful with it as I have had some come out falling off the bone much too easily.
Just need to check them periodically when using the low heat.
 
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From our experience St. Louis style ribs have little more meat but also quite a bit more fat, which is the reason many feel, when cooked low and slow, that they also have more flavor. The St Louis slab is larger than slab of baby backs and much flatter. Baby back slabs tend to be smaller with curved bones and also tend to be leaner and more tender. The tenderness and leanness and suitability for grilling is one of the reasons they tend to command a higher price.

In both cases when cooked low and slow they make wonderful BBQ. We normally smoke our ribs using either hickory or cherry wood. In both cases will remove silver skin on the underside and then add our rub. Ribs go on the smoker ar 225 for 2 hours if Babybacks and 3 hours for St Louis, occasionally spritzing with apple juice. Will then take the ribs and wrap in foil after slathering with butter, honey and brown sugar. After 2 hours will unwrap apply BBQ sauce and smoke additional hour to rebuild some of that bark. Will check doneness with a bend test (bend but not break).

Will usually smoke 3-4 racks at a time. Wife and I will go through 1 rack (1/2 ea) of St Louis style or about 1 1/2 of baby backs. The rest get cut into 1/2 racks vacum sealed and frozen. Our smoker is a pellet grill which takes the hassle out of fire management. Not quite as heavy smoke flavor which we like, but can easily set it for 14hr Brisket, 10hr Pork butt or the 4-5 hour ribs. We also do reverse sear steaks quite often , smoking low 200-215 for 30 minutes then a high seer at over 800 for 30-45 sec per side.
 
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I have had some come out falling off the bone much too easily.
My wife would love it if there was no bone on the plate, so it's not possible in our household that the meat would fall off the bone too easily.

Just the opposite is Chinese barbecued ribs. I think they're supposed to be St. Louis ribs but I always use baby back ribs. They're intended to be chewy, which makes for a nice change of pace.

Some of the tastiest ribs I've ever had is a Tuscan-style recipe from Cook's Illustrated that uses no barbecue sauce, only a vinaigrette. It requires bringing the meat to room temperature before cooking, then broiling in a preheated broiler about 5 minutes on each side, then brushing the heated vinaigrette on them. Completely different; an elegant, sophisticated dish.
 
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From our experience St. Louis style ribs have little more meat but also quite a bit more fat, which is the reason many feel, when cooked low and slow, that they also have more flavor. The St Louis slab is larger than slab of baby backs and much flatter. Baby back slabs tend to be smaller with curved bones and also tend to be leaner and more tender. The tenderness and leanness and suitability for grilling is one of the reasons they tend to command a higher price.

In both cases when cooked low and slow they make wonderful BBQ. We normally smoke our ribs using either hickory or cherry wood. In both cases will remove silver skin on the underside and then add our rub. Ribs go on the smoker ar 225 for 2 hours if Babybacks and 3 hours for St Louis, occasionally spritzing with apple juice. Will then take the ribs and wrap in foil after slathering with butter, honey and brown sugar. After 2 hours will unwrap apply BBQ sauce and smoke additional hour to rebuild some of that bark. Will check doneness with a bend test (bend but not break).

Will usually smoke 3-4 racks at a time. Wife and I will go through 1 rack (1/2 ea) of St Louis style or about 1 1/2 of baby backs. The rest get cut into 1/2 racks vacum sealed and frozen. Our smoker is a pellet grill which takes the hassle out of fire management. Not quite as heavy smoke flavor which we like, but can easily set it for 14hr Brisket, 10hr Pork butt or the 4-5 hour ribs. We also do reverse sear steaks quite often , smoking low 200-215 for 30 minutes then a high seer at over 800 for 30-45 sec per side.
John, what method do you use to remove the membrane?
I usually get it started a little then take 1/2 sheet of a paper towel and gently roll it around the paper towel and pull as you go. Kind of resembles rolling a cigar. Doesn't work every time but it's the best way I've found so far. Similar to this except I roll it around the paper towel.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bab...me&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_8UqUX9izGMzb-wSK2Zn4Dw25
 
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If St. Louis ribs have more meat, that would be a disappointment. That's because in the last year my wife and I decided that three baby back ribs per person is too much for us, that we need to cut back to two (not that we've done it yet). If St. Louis ribs have more meat, we would have to cut back to only one per person and I definitely wouldn't like that. :D
Sounds like you are definitely getting some meatier baby backs than me.
The ones we get I can easily eat a half rack.
The video I posted for removing the membrane is a pretty good example of what we are able to get for St Louis.
 
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John, what method do you use to remove the membrane?
I usually get it started a little then take 1/2 sheet of a paper towel and gently roll it around the paper towel and pull as you go. Kind of resembles rolling a cigar. Doesn't work every time but it's the best way I've found so far. Similar to this except I roll it around the paper towel.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bab...me&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_8UqUX9izGMzb-wSK2Zn4Dw25
I just use a paper towel, I’ll lift a corner of the membrane with a butter knife and with the paper towel work a couple fingers under the membrane and the holding it with the paper towel just pull the membrane off.
 
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I just use a paper towel, I’ll lift a corner of the membrane with a butter knife and with the paper towel work a couple fingers under the membrane and the holding it with the paper towel just pull the membrane off.
Thanks.
That's the best method I've found as well.
There's always room for improvement.
 
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Those are the meatiest baby backs I've ever seen.
I actually didn't observe that in the raw meat even after you mentioned it. However, once I cooked and separated the ribs, I couldn't believe the large amount of meat on each rib. I even retrieved the grocery store's packaging from the trash bin to confirm whether the label on the package indicates that they are baby back ribs. The printed Prairie Fresh package indicates that they are Pork Loin Backribs. The label added by the grocery store indicates that they are Pork Loin Backribs Extra Meaty. Both labels insist that they are ribs attached to the back, not the stomach. (Spare ribs and St. Louis ribs are attached to the stomach.)

Normally I would consider the part about being extra meaty nothing short of what I call marketing and merchandising fufu. However, in this case they really were unusually meaty; the merchandising was accurate. My wife and I try to keep the meat portion of our supper to no more than 1/4 pound each. We're used to seeing the meat size that weighs about 1/4 pound and I think each rib had almost 1/4 pound of meat. Considering that we ate two ribs each, I'm confident we ate almost 1/2 pound of meat each.

We made up afterward for eating too much meat by eating chocolate chip cookies for dessert. :eek:
 
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Considering that we're discussing all things ribs, feel free to mention your favorite sauces. I already mentioned the vinaigrette in the Cook's Illustrated recipe. The sauce I most often use is from a 2011 Food & Wine recipe of an Indian barbecue sauce intended for chicken. It's plenty flavorful but light enough that the flavor of the pork (or chicken) penetrates the flavor of the sauce.
 
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