Difference Between Short Ribs and Spare Ribs

By: | Updated: Dec-11, 2022
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Do you like to eat? There is a lot of meRibs n the barbecue table during the summer and you have to choose which one is best for your taste. But when it comes to ribs, there are people who are confused about the difference between short ribs and spare ribs.

Summary Table

Short Ribs Spare Ribs
 Cook time: usually about 1 hour  Cook time: usually about 2-2.5 hours
The texture is soft and tender  The texture is crunchy and chewy
 Stronger flavor and more expensive  Mild flavor and less expensive

Difference Between Short Ribs and Spare Ribs

Ribs are a type of meat that has a long history in the barbecue industry. The first time ribs were used as food was actually during the 18th century.

In those days, people from Great Britain ate pork spare ribs, but it was not until later that they started to make use of other types of meat.

But what makes short ribs different with spare ribs? In this article, we will go over the differences between these two types of ribs and give you a little insight.

What are Short Ribs?

Short ribs are located on the shoulder area of a pig. They are separated from each other by cartilage, which gives them their shape and structure. In addition to that, the meat on the short ribs is very soft, giving them a tender texture.

It is usually easier to cook short ribs than spare ribs. In addition, the meat is more tender and juicy. You can cook it with low or medium heat, which makes it ideal to use during summer.

The flavor of it is also very strong. Due to the fact that they are located on the shoulder area, they have a lot of fat and connective tissue which makes them very tender and juicy.

So, if you want a meat that is very tender, juicy and rich in flavor, short ribs are the right choice for you.

What are Spare Ribs?

In short, spare ribs are also located on the shoulder area of a pig. However, they are not as meaty and tender as short ribs. The meat is very tough and has a strong flavor.

Spare ribs have a lot of connective tissue which makes them more melting and easier to chew than short ribs. The right temperature to cook them is medium heat, since they are very tender and juicy.

However, they don’t need as much time to cook. The most important thing is to cook them slowly because they are very fragile and you can break them easily. Do not take shortcuts when cooking them!

Difference Between Short Ribs and Spare Ribs

How are They Related?

Short ribs are very similar to spare ribs. They come from the same area of a pig and are separated by cartilage. Short ribs are also much more tender than spare ribs due to their location on the shoulder area.

On top of that, both of them have a lot of fat and connective tissue. This gives them a tender texture. Even though they are different, they are still very similar, so you can easily cook short ribs or spare ribs.

In addition to that, they both have a strong flavor due to the long time they spend in the smoker. They are both very good for barbecuing during summer, but there is one difference between them: short ribs require less time to cook than spare ribs.

Besides that, both types of ribs have a characteristic hump on top of them and it is usually filled with meat, fat and connective tissue. So to sum it all up, both of these types of ribs are very similar and you can easily cook them without any problems.

What are the Differences?

If you are still confused about the difference between short ribs and spare ribs, here are a summary of the main differences:

Cook Time

Short ribs need less time to cook than spare ribs. In fact, you only have to cook them for about 1 hour. Even though this is enough to make them tender, it can still be too little time for some people.

Meanwhile, spare ribs need 2-2.5 hours to cook. This is a little longer than the time needed for short ribs, but it is still very manageable and you can do it without any problems.

The texture of short ribs is very soft and tender. They are not very chewy, but still have a good bite to it. On the other hand, spare ribs are much more crunchy and chewy due to their location on the shoulder area.

Short ribs are more suitable for summer barbecue, since they are more tender and juicy. Meanwhile, spare ribs are more suitable for winter barbecue, since they are chewier and more crispy.


Both of these types of ribs have a strong flavor. However, the flavor of short rib is much stronger than spare ribs due to its location on the shoulder area. You can choose between them depending on your taste.

If you like it more flavorful, then definitely choose short ribs or you will not be able to enjoy barbecue. If you prefer something more mild and tender, then spare ribs are the best option for you.


The price of short ribs is much higher than that of spare ribs. This can make it seem like a better choice since they are more expensive.

But if you want to save money on your barbecue, then there is no reason to choose short ribs over spare ribs. Make sure you compare the price of both types of ribs before you buy them.

Serving Size

Short ribs have a much higher serving size than spare ribs. In fact, you can eat at least 4 short ribs in one sitting if they are served with enough sauce and vegetables.

Meanwhile, spare ribs only need 2-3 short ribs to make a full meal. You can count the number of people in your barbecue party and decide which type of ribs you want to serve so you can fit all of them into the dish.

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