How Many Ribs in a Rack? [COMPLETE BEGINNER’S GUIDE]

Ribs are typically sold in bulk in the form of rib racks. Therefore, before purchasing ribs for your next grilling venture, you need to know how many ribs are in a rack. So, how many ribs are in a full rack?     

Generally, there are about 10 to 13 ribs in a pork rack, 9 in a beef rib rack, and 7 to 8 loin ribs in a lamb rack. However, as mentioned here, these numbers will always differ based on the type of animal. The pork rack has the highest number of ribs among the most famous rib racks, while the lamb has the lowest.

This post explains everything you need to know about rib racks.                       

How Many Ribs are in a Full Rack?

A clear understanding of the number of ribs in a full rack will make it easy for you to determine the right amount of ribs to get. It will help if you read on to understand how many ribs are in a full rack.

Also Read: Beef Ribs Vs Pork Ribs: [Top Differences]

Pork Ribs

It is good to understand that pork ribs typically come in various forms. Therefore, when looking for pork ribs to buy, know that you have several options.

Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are cut from a pig’s breastbone. The meat here has a lot of fats and tends to be chewy, not until you cook them at low temperatures and for a long time. It is cheap and available, and each rib produces a reasonable amount of meat.

A full rack of spare ribs has eleven to thirteen ribs, while St. Louis, which is spare ribs trimmed, has ten to thirteen ribs in each rack. The meat trimmed off spare ribs to form St. Louis ribs is contained in the rib tips. They are also referred to as brisket. Rib tips are typically about one to three inches wide, while the brisket is almost a foot long, so you can easily see their difference.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back ribs, also known as back ribs or loin back ribs, are cut from the pig’s upper spinal. Their name “baby back” is because they tend to be smaller than their counterpart, spare ribs. A full rack of baby back ribs contains 15 to 16 ribs, but sometimes you can find such a full rack with fewer ribs.

When comparing baby ribs with spare ribs, you will realize that the latter is tough and fat, but baby ribs are leaner and tender. Thus, they require less cooking time. Sometimes the baby ribs have eight ribs because when carved from the pig, the ribs attached to the shoulder do not come off.

You should remember that baby back, and back ribs always refer to the same thing, the same pork cut. Furthermore, sometimes the number of ribs can be eight, which will still be called a full baby back ribs rack.

Beef Ribs

Beef ribs are people’s favorites, but they are rarely sold in full racks like pork ribs. Why? Because they are huge and measure up to 18 inches long. A cow has 13 ribs on each side, but when it is slaughtered, one side gives nine ribs because some are left behind. The butcher only takes ribs from the middle part and leaves the end ones.

Beef ribs are not cheap, but they are inexpensive compared to other beef cuts because they are made up of more bone than meat. However, they are still most people’s favorites because they have an intense deep beefy flavor than any other beef cut.

Same as pork ribs, these are also availed in two separate sections, which are:

Back Ribs

They are also known as dinosaur ribs, 6 to 8 inches long. Mostly you will find these ribs sold in seven ribs, but the number you get is entire as per the butcher’s cutting method. Hence, you will not find a lot of meat at the end of the bones. Nonetheless, most of the meat is concentrated in the middle.

Beef Short Ribs

These are small and sold in strips with three bones, but they contain a lot of meat. The beef short ribs cut has many names, including flanken-style and BBQ–style short ribs. It is famous for braised dishes. Short ribs bones are flat and with plenty of meat, the only thing distinguishing beef back ribs from short ribs.

Lamb’s Ribs

An entire lamb rack has 7 to 8 ribs, but sometimes you might get less than that depending on how the butcher cuts the meat. Lamb’s ribs are fat and tender, and it is always advisable to trim off the excess fats before cooking them.

How Many Ribs are in a Half Rack       

Like a full rack, the number of ribs you should expect from a half rack differs from animal to animal because of the animal’s size, breed, and even the butchering process.

Pork Ribs

A half rack of pork ribs contains 7 to 8 ribs. There will always be a difference when buying out ribs and dining out pork ribs. The latter will likely give you 3 to 4 pork ribs as a half rack. When buying out, you need to know that ribs come in two forms. So before you buy, ensure you know which one to buy between spare ribs and back ribs.

Beef Ribs

Beef ribs are full of flavor, making them most people’s favorites. A whole beef rack ribs have nine ribs. Therefore a half rack will give you 4 to 5 ribs. As mentioned earlier, beef ribs are less expensive than all other beef cuts.

Further, they are sold in two cuts, just like the pork ribs. Thus, ensure you understand which ones to buy, between back ribs and beef short ribs. The back ribs are always longer but with less meat, while the beef short ribs have plenty of meat between the rib bones. Also, short beef ribs are perfect for barbeque. They are also known as BBQ-style ribs.

Lamb’s Ribs

A half rack of lamb ribs contains 3 to 4 ribs. Remember, lamb ribs are short. Hence enough for only one person. However, you might get more or fewer ribs based on the butchering process. Remember that restaurants always trim off the excess fats from the ribs before preparing, meaning you might get something different at home than at restaurants.     

Cheater Rack

What is a cheater rack? It is a whole rack that has ten or fewer ribs. This typically results from possible damages during the cutting process. The damage will make a buyer think or even consider not getting what a full rack is supposed to give them. Thus, before you take your ribs rack home, ensure you count the ribs so that you get the value for your money.

Full Slab Ribs

Pork ribs are typically sold as slabs. Therefore, this is just a full rack of pork ribs. You should expect 10 to 13 ribs in one full pig ribs slab based on the breed and size. But if you get something less than ten ribs, be sure you are getting a cheater rack for this case.

Final Thoughts

Ribs are the best option when you want to feed your friends or family. Moreover, they can be prepared in many different recipes, giving you the best flavors and tastes. The amount or number of racks you should buy depends on the people you feed. If you have a large group, go for beef ribs because they are large.