Difference between Pork and Beef Ribs

In the United States, both pork and beef ribs are used for barbeques, but there are some differences between the two, which we will explore in the following article.


Pork vs Beef Ribs
Basted spare pork ribs barbecued on an outdoor grill

Pork ribs can be cut from various parts of the animal. There are two distinct kinds of pork ribs: baby ribs (originating in the top of the rib cage), and spare ribs ( taken from the part of the animal below the back ribs). Between these, baby ribs are considered meatier.

We offer you a simple sweet & sour pork ribs traditional Chinese recipe:


  • 2 lb pork ribs
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons cooking wine
  • Star anise
  • 2 cups water
  • Cooking oil
  • Ginger
  • Spring onion


  1. Cut the ribs into small chunks. Put them in a pan; add water so it covers the meat, and put a pan on a medium heated stove. Cook the ribs for approximately 7 minutes. After that, take the ribs chunks out with a spoon or Chinese wooden sticks.
  2. Take another pot, add the cooking oil. Add the sugar. Stir the mixture and cook it for approximately 5 minutes at high heat. The sugar has to reach a golden brown color. Add the pork ribs to the oil / sugar mixture. Fry for 10 minutes at high heat, while stirring.
  3. After 10 minutes, pour the soy sauce over the meat. Sprinkle the salt evenly and add star anise. Pour in 2 cups of water. Cover the pan with a lid and leave the dish cooking for 30 minutes at medium low heat.
  4. Take a bowl and put 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons vinegar into it. Stir the mixture thoroughly. Add the mixture to the ribs. Cook for 10 minutes more at high heat. Add ginger and spring onion.

Your sweet and sour pork ribs are ready!

Beef Cuts scheme
Beef Cuts scheme, with rib section indicated in yellow

Beef ribs are bone-in cuts of meat that come from what is known as a prime cut (meat separated from the carcass of a cow, usually indicating the prime quality cuts). In the United States, beef ribs are sometimes referred to as “ribeye cowboy steak” or “cowboy cut.”

You can easily make juicy, delicious BBQ beef ribs in an oven. Here’s the recipe:


  • 3 pounds beef ribs, washes, dried and chopped
  • Liquid smoke flavoring
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • BBQ sauce
  • Spice mixture (to taste)
  • Parsley


  1. Place chopped beef ribs onto an oven pan evenly. Sprinkle liquid smoke. Pour extra virgin olive oil over the meat. Massage the oil into the ribs.
  2. Add spice mixture on top of the ribs. Add more oil over the spiced ribs, so that the spices are more evenly distributed both in the bones and in the meat. Then cover the ribs and refrigerate them for 1-2 hours.
  3. Take out the ribs pieces. Put a layer of foil on the bottom of an oven pan. Put ribs onto the foil. It is best to put them in one row. Fold the foil on each side. Add another layer of oil on top of the ribs. Wrap the foil layers around the meat tight so it is packaged well.
  4. Put the oven pan into an oven and bake it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 and ½ hours.
  5. After the beef ribs are ready, take the pan out of the oven, and brush them with any BBQ sauce you prefer. After that, you can broil the dish on low until the sauce is sticky. After that, add parsley on top of the ribs.

Your homemade BBQ beef ribs are ready!

Pork Ribs vs Beef Ribs

What is the difference between Pork Ribs and Beef Ribs?

In the United States, for barbeques, pork ribs are used almost exclusively. You will hardly find beef ribs barbecued in the traditional American restaurant. However, in the states where Korean cuisine is present, there are beef ribs barbequed, because Koreans traditionally use these in their recipes.

pork ribs on a plate
Barbecue country style pork ribs on a plate

Even though the taste and the texture of the ribs depends on the way they are cooked, beef ribs are considered more delicious, and juicy, than pork ribs; the latter easily get over-dried if not cooked carefully and slowly.

Raw beef ribs
Raw beef ribs ready to be barbecued

Comparison chart

Pork Ribs Beef Ribs
Are used more often for barbeque in the United States Are used less often for barbeque in the United States
Are normally not used for Korean barbeque Are used for Korean barbeque
Are often drier Are more fatty