What Are St. Louis-Style Spareribs?

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2018

We explain where they come from and why we prefer them.

A full rack of spareribs contains the brisket bone and surrounding brisket meat and usually weighs about 5 pounds. The brisket bone and meat (which contains tough pieces of cartilage) are often trimmed off to produce a narrower, rectangular rack. These are St. Louis–style spareribs, and each rack weighs 2½ to 3 pounds. We prefer St. Louis–style spareribs in many recipes, including our Chinese-Style Barbecued Spareribs, for three reasons: They fit side by side in the oven or on the grill's cooking grate (larger regular spareribs may not fit), they cook more quickly and evenly than larger racks, and, without the brisket bone section in the way, they are easier to slice and eat.