What to do with spare rib trimmings

Last Updated on: 23rd April 2023, 02:04 am

Spare ribs are an excellent choice of ribs that can be used for BBQ, but you may end up with a pile of spare rib trimmings.

Most newbies get confused about what to do with spare rib trimmings.

In this article we are going to explain all the stuff related to this question.

Let’s get started.

Why do they call them spare ribs?

Spare ribs are not referred to as such because they are extra or useless, but rather because of the cooking method.

In ancient times, they were roasted on spears, which led to their being called spare ribs.

They are just as delicious as the other meats from other parts.

Spare ribs are present in the lower half of the rib cage.

These are present near the belly.

While the baby back ribs are present in the top half of the rib cage near the spine, The spare ribs are larger in size than baby back ribs.

Types of spare rib trimmings

Spare ribs can’t be cooked in their primary form because they contain cartilage and stiff meat within them.

Therefore, they are trimmed to remove the cartilage from them and separate the better parts of meat known as racks.

To do so, ribs are trimmed and any stiff or cartilaginous parts are removed.

It results in the production of leftovers from ribs known as “spare rib trimmings.

” The spare rib trimmings can be of two types depending on their texture.

Flat meat

It is a part of spare ribs’ trimmings but still useful for delicious recipes.

It is also a part of the meat present on the back and sides of the spare ribs.

It is softer than spare ribs and cooks pretty fast.

It is equally effective and tasty as the ribs.

Ribs bone

Rib bone is the cartilaginous or boney part of the meat that is tougher than the flat meat trimmings.

It’s produced when flat meat is removed from the spare rib trimmings.

Although it contains cartilage, it can still be useful if cooked carefully.

What to do with spare ribs trimming

Spare rib trimmings are of two types, which differ from each other in texture.

Both of these types are used for different recipes.

You shouldn’t throw away the trimmings because they are still useful if cooked properly.

The cartilaginous part of the ribs bone or ribs tip cannot be cooked directly because the outer part will burn while the inner part will remain uncooked at high temperatures.

So these are smoked at a low temperature so that the meat should fall off.

Flat meat is equally useful as trimmed racks of meat, but it’s just named differently.

Furthermore, it also requires less time for cooking than spare ribs.

They can also be ground to produce sausage and meat balls.

The trimmings are smoked.

Smoking the trimming is usually done for rib bones because they contain cartilage, but it is equally effective for flat meat.

When the rib bone is smoked or grilled for a specific time, the meat is separated from the bone and falls off.

You can simply put your rib trimmings along with the racks of meat that have been trimmed out for grilling.

But you need to be careful about the cooking temperature because the trimmings are soft and often cooked earlier than spare ribs.

To cook ribs on the bone along with the rack, you should consider getting involved in the process too frequently to avoid the stiffening of trimmings.

The best way is to cook them separately and keep checking the internal temperature frequently.

Most of the pitmasters like to cook them at 200-250 F for 1-2 hours to get the best results.

But you should use an accurate thermometer and keep checking the temperature after every 20 minutes.

When the internal temperature reaches 145 F, it means the ribs are cooked completely.

Making sausage

Spare rib trimmings are also used in the preparation of sausages.

It is pretty easy and doesn’t require any expertise.

Sausage can only be prepared from flat meat because rib bones contain cartilage, which can affect the texture of sausage.

You can follow this step-by-step guide to make sausage from spare rib trimmings.

  • First of all, you will have to select a tender part of spare rib trimmings that is suitable to be used in sausage. It should not contain any cartilage in its texture.
    Usually, pitmasters use flat meat trimmings for preparing sausage.
  • After you have selected the spare rib trimmings, you should make sure to clean them from any leftovers.
    As they are trimmed as an extra part, they might contain cartilage, blood clots, and other stuff that should be cleaned.
  • After you have removed any leftovers from the flat meat, you should consider cutting them into smaller chunks. It’s done to fit the trimmings into a grinder for easy grinding.
  • You can decide the size of the chunks, but they should preferably be smaller for easy grinding.
    After you have chopped the trimmings into smaller pieces, you can then move to grinding them in a grinder.
    The thickness of grinding plates can vary depending on the stiffness of the meat.
  • The trimmings should be ground for a while until the meat is finely ground.
    You need to make sure that the meat should not have any larger chunks of meat or cartilage so that it shouldn’t affect the texture of the sausage.
  • Once the grinding is done, you are done with it and can move on to other steps of making sausage just like with regular meat.
    Although spare rib trimmings can be used to make sausage, they can’t compete with sausage made from good quality meat.

Used along with pizza

Spare rib trimmings can also be used in the preparation of pizza.

Both types of spare rib trimmings can be used in pizza, but flat meat trimmings are better because they are soft in texture and don’t contain any cartilage.

If you want to use rib bones for pizza toppings, then you will have to grill them before placing them on the pizza.

When rib bones are grilled for some time, the meat is shredded from their surface, which can be used as a pizza topping.

Using flat meat as a pizza topping is easier than using rib bones because it doesn’t require the separation of cartilage.

You can simply fry them with different flavors or simply peppers and salt to add flavor, and then use them as a topping without any further hustle.

Store the trimming

In the end, if you are not interested in cooking the trimmings on the spot, you may consider storing them for later use.

It can be a huge relief when you are busy cooking the ribs and don’t want to start cooking another batch of trimmings.

The trimmings should be stored in a vacuum-sealed bag to keep them in good condition for a longer time.

You should make sure the bags are completely sealed because air can lead to spontaneous generation and generation of different insects.

The spare rib trimmings are soft in texture and can’t be stored at room temperature for a long time.

So it is better to store them in the freezer.

Flat meat stored in the freezer lasts for 6–12 months, while rib bones can be stored in the freezer for 4–5 months.

What is difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs?

Pitmasters divide ribs into different types, which can be difficult for beginners to understand.

These types are differentiated on the basis of their position in the rib cage and their texture.

Spare ribs and baby back ribs are also different from each other because of their position.

Spare ribs are found in the lower half of the rib cage near the belly.

These are larger than baby back ribs and require more time for cooking.

These are not extra ribs; rather, they are named such because, in ancient times, they were cooked on spears.

Baby back ribs are another type of rib that is most commonly used in barbecue.

These are not only found in baby pigs, but they are present in all pigs.

They are present in the upper half of the rib cage and are smaller in size than spare ribs.


Spare ribs Trimmings should not be treated as a waste product or leftovers.

They are also useful, but they just separate from rack meat because they require less time for cooking than rack.

You should consider storing them if you are not interested in cooking them at the moment.

if you enjoyed this article then dont forget to read our article on How to hang snack sticks in a smoker

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