Pork ribs are well-known around the barbecue grill as well as the dinner table and have been for over a century. Prior to the 1900s, ribs were tossed in the trash (or to the dogs) because butchers could not fit the spareribs in the barrels they used back then. The earliest barbecue ribs are thought to have started when farmers had pig roasts, where the whole pig was roasted on a spit.
Although most people think of pork ribs when they think of ribs, you cannot forget the other fine meats available. Beef ribs are almost as popular as pork and then there are lamb, venison, and even buffalo. Other lesser-used meats include kangaroo, alpaca, llama, gator, and bison as well as ostrich and goat. But no matter what kind of meat you use, you always strive for that fall-off-the-bone tenderness.
The Trick to Tender Ribs
The tricks to making the meat fall off the bone are time and moisture. Because meat (muscle) is held on the bone by connective tissues like ligaments, tendons, and collagen, cooking the meat to 150 degrees in some kind of liquid is important. The slower the better, unless you are using a pressure cooker or instant pot.
The Four Types of Pork Ribs
Another important way to ensure you get the best ribs is to know what type of ribs to get. There are four kinds of pork ribs. Baby back ribs are not from baby pigs. They are a section of back ribs that come from where the ribs and spine meet. Spareribs are the most common and come from the lower ribs under the pig.
St. Louis style ribs are thicker and meatier with the brisket bone removed. They got the name from a specific way the meat packing plants in St. Louis, Missouri cut their meat. Country style ribs are more like pork chops than ribs and have more meat than ribs. They actually come from the shoulder blade rather than the ribs.
Our Top 3 Fall-Off-Bone Ribs Recipes
Whether you are making pork, beef, or some other type of ribs, the recipes are usually quite similar. The typical rib recipe is to cook the ribs in some kind of liquid like barbecue sauce or beer until the collagen breaks down enough to release the meat from the bones. Here are our top three fall-off-the-bone ribs recipes.
Instant Pot Short Ribs
This instant pot short ribs recipe is a shortcut to those tender ribs that usually take three to eight hours to make, depending on the method you use. With the instant pot, the time is cut because the pressure makes the liquid much hotter and seals it inside to create steam. The boiling temperature is raised from 212 degrees to 250 degrees to cook everything faster.
The secret to this recipe though, is soaking the ribs in the wine. It is best to soak them for at least 30 minutes but overnight is even better. Then, pat them dry, rub them with the seasonings, and sear them before cooking them in the instant pot for 90 minutes. Alternatively, barbecue sauce or some other sauce can be used instead of the wine.
Oven Barbecue Ribs
If you would rather use your oven to cook your ribs, this oven barbecue ribs recipe is a fantastic way to get mouthwatering ribs that fall off the bone. By removing the membrane from the ribs, it makes the juicy meat even more tender and easier to eat. To cook these, all you need to do is rub them with a dry rub mixture and bake them in foil.
After 2 ½ hours of baking, remove the ribs and brush them with barbecue sauce. You can use homemade or your favorite store-bought brand. Then broil them uncovered for five to 10 minutes before serving. You will love this recipe and it is so easy, you only spend a few minutes preparing before the oven does all the work for you.
Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs
Short ribs are the cut of beef taken from the rib area of the short portion with varying thicknesses of meat. For this delectable slow cooker Asian short ribs recipe, you need five pounds of meat cut crosswise into two-inch pieces. Flavored with chili peppers, ginger, onions, and fresh garlic and cooked for seven to eight hours in a slow cooker, these will surely be your favorite ribs recipe once you make it.
Alongside a bowl of mashed potatoes or laid on a bed of rice, this makes a complete meal that only takes you a few minutes to prepare. Then just drop it in the crock pot and let it cook all day, so the meat just falls off the bone. If you need your food to cook faster, turn the cooker up to high and it can be done in about four hours.