The hardest part of cooking beef ribs is finding some decent ones to start with. If you are looking for a source to buy some beef ribs then this buying guide has you covered!
Beef ribs are cut and named in a variety of styles so I wanted to give you a quick primer so you will know what to look for when you are shopping.
Quick Primer on Beef Ribs
There are two primary types of beef ribs, Back and Short.
Beef Back Ribs
A slab of beef back ribs will usually have between 5-7 rib bones. Typically most of the meat is cut away from the top of the ribs when the ribeye steaks are being cut. Since this is the area on the steer where ribeye steaks come from these ribs are sometimes called “steak on a stick”.
Beef back ribs are usually sold as either a whole/partial slab or are cut thinly across the bones for “Korean barbecue ribs” (Kalbi). The thin cross cut ribs are also known as “Franken Style Beef Ribs”.
Beef Short Ribs
A slab of beef short ribs will typically have only three or four bones but will have a huge amount of meat. These ribs will come from either the plate or chuck primals on the steer and have a brisket/chuck roast flavor. The combination of the massive amount of meat and the huge bone gets some people to call these “brontosaurus ribs” or “dino bones”
The short ribs are cut several different ways. Common presentations of short ribs are:
- Three or Four Bone Whole Slab
- Single Bone Rib, Texas Style (About 6 inches long)
- Single Bone Rib, English Style (About 3 inches long)
- Thickly Cross Cut Across the Bones
- Bone Removed (Boneless Beef Short Ribs)
Buying Prime Beef Ribs at Costco
As of May, 2019 the price of prime beef short ribs at Costco was $9.99 a pound. They have a “two pack” that costs a little less per pound.
These are really nice ribs and if you have a Costco in your area then you should definitely check them out. The Costco in Baton Rouge does not have these available everyday. I usually see these on the weekend when they have a specialty meat and seafood display.
Buying Wagyu Beef Short Ribs From Snake River Farms
If you are looking for something deluxe then check out the Waygu beef short ribs from Snake River Farms. This is a three bone slab of short ribs from the plate that weighs in at around seven pounds.
These ribs come from American Wagyu which grades out past Prime and into the Japanese BMS grading system.
These short ribs are not cheap but if you want the best that there is then they are what you want.
Buying Pasture Raised Beef Short Ribs From Porter Road
My absolute favorite online butchers are the folks over at Porter Road.
Porter Road is based in Nashville and they only buy cattle from small farms in Tennessee and Kentucky. These are cattle that live their whole lives on pasture and are NEVER in Confined Animal Feed Lots. The butchers at Porter Road are are a first name basis with all the farmers they work with and routinely visit the farms to make sure the animals are being raised the way they ought to be raised.
This beef comes from Red and Black Angus which usually will grade out at the high end of Choice or even Prime. Since these guys only process a couple head of cattle per week in their own facilities the beef does not have a formal USDA grade. It just doesn’t make sense to hire a USDA inspector for such a small operation.
When you buy from Porter Road you are supporting a small business and family farms. Shipping is dirt cheap.
Here are the links to the three types of beef ribs offered by Porter Road:
Short Ribs Cut Cross Bone: This is a three bone cut that’s about two inches thick.
Short Ribs Texas Style: A single bone cut about five inches long.
Buying Beef Back Ribs on Amazon
I am including these ribs for the sake of completion. I do not know a lot about these vendors but thought it might be helpful for the folks who love shopping on Amazon.
The one farm on this list that I am familiar with is Creekstone Farms. Creekstone is a mid sized producer and all of the beef comes from high end Black Angus.