Also called ribs, ribs, spikes and tacks, pork ribs are a poor but very tasty cut, obtained from the cost of the animal. Especially in Tuscany, they are known as rosticciana, that is the single-cut pork rib that has ribs not separated from each other. Unlike what happens in Italy, two cuts of ribs (which in English are called ribs) are obtained in the United States from the whole rib: Baby Backs and Spare Ribs. These two cuts in Italy are not well known and it is often difficult to convince the Italian butchers to cut the ribs in a different way from the traditional one. Starting from the spinal bone, where the ribs are smaller and curved, we obtain the Baby Backs cut which is about 12 cm long.
Starting instead from the final cut of the baby backs, up to the attachment of the sternum, we obtain the Spare Ribs cut.
In Italy it is very difficult to get the Baby Backs cut, because usually the butchers tend to leave the arista attached to the spinal ribs and claim that making such a cut would mean “to waste the blood” (sometimes to some foolish who dared to ask the Baby Backs cut was asked to leave the butcher’s shop).
The two American cuts are very different: while the Baby Backs have more meat on the bone and are more tender, the Spare Ribs have more meat between one bone and the other and are richer in fat and connective tissue.
It is obtained by cutting Spare Ribs, by jogging the edges and removing any piece of protruding meat (skirt) on the back, which crosses the slab diagonally.
To cook the ribs to perfection, whether it is a more Italian or a more complex American style, you have to remember two things: the first is to always remove the pleura, or the membrane on the back of the slab that when cooked is very annoying to the bite; the second thing to remember is that the ribs are rich in connective tissue and poor in meat, so you have to be very careful to cook them so that they are not hard and dry.
If you want to cook the ribs so that they are tender and juicy, you must make sure that the collagen melts and the meat reaches a temperature between 93/95 ° C. Especially in the first firings it is advisable to use the foil (that is to wrap the ribs in triple layer of aluminum) adding water or apple vinegar inside the foil.
In short, to cook ribs it takes much more time and patience compared to the classic Italian barbecue, where they are thrown on the fire, blackened and made tough and inedible (and yet many are unable to eat by putting a strain on health dental).