The Great Beef Ribs vs. Pork Ribs BBQ Debate

Sunday, July 31st, 2022
ribs. BBQ in Amarillo

Everyone who loves barbeque can agree that ribs are delicious, and despite their messiness, they’re fun to eat. There are several ways ribs can be cooked and dressed, so it’s unlikely every rib experience you have will be the same. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ribs, but the question is, beef or pork?


If you’ve ever seen a cow and a pig, you can guess that beef ribs are almost always bigger than pork ribs. Beef ribs are sometimes so big that they are called dinosaur ribs. Depending on the cut, a single beef rib might be 8 to 12 inches long and could weigh up to 2 or more pounds.

Pork ribs are measured in ounces and the bones are usually only a few inches long. However, a rack of pork ribs could be close to the length of a rack of beef ribs. It all depends on how the butcher trims them.


Have you ever heard of umami? Most describe it as the taste of protein, and the fifth taste, next to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Americans love steak, pot roast, and other beef dishes like ribs, because of their umami. So, if you want to know what beef ribs taste like in comparison to pork ribs, the answer is umami. They are meaty and savory, both qualities associated with beef.

On the other hand, pork has a milder flavor, and is kind of sweet. The flavor is similar to pork chops. Because pork ribs don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, they are like a blank canvas for any sauces, seasonings, or spices you want to experiment with.


When comparing the fat content of beef ribs and pork ribs, remember that the meat and fat content will vary between different breeds and different animals. It also depends on how the meat is cut. Beef ribs are a lot bigger than pork, and have more meat on the bone, but also more fat. The fat-to-meat ratio in a beef rib is pretty even, but because the rib has a lot of meat, that means there is quite a bit of fat as well. Pork ribs are meatier than they are fat, but the bones are smaller, so there is less meat than a beef rib overall.


Beef ribs are usually cooked for a longer period of time than pork ribs, so they tend to have a more tender texture. The added fat and connective tissue helps give beef short ribs the perfect texture and makes them juicy.

Pork ribs have less fat content and are less dense than beef short ribs, so they have a different texture. The connective tissue and fat from the pork ribs make them more moist than beef ribs, but still not as tender. Don’t worry though! When cooked correctly with low-and-slow cooking methods, they will be just as juicy and delicious!


When it comes to barbeque ribs (and BBQ in general), everyone has their own opinion. Some states like Texas swear by beef ribs, which are often smoked over a mix of oak and hickory wood for several hours, and infused with a robust, smoky flavor. The meat is usually rubbed with a simple mix of salt, black pepper, and occasionally cayenne, allowing the natural flavor of the beef to truly shine.

Other states like both South and North Carolina prefer pork ribs. In North Carolina, pork ribs are traditionally slathered in a tangy vinegar-based sauce that seeps into the meat, providing a mouthwatering kick. This, combined with the slow, low-temperature cooking process, deeply infuses the ribs with a distinctive smoky flavor and a tenderness that’s irresistible.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Both beef and pork ribs are delicious, so experiment with different recipes and find out what you like best!


Now that you know the difference between beef ribs and pork ribs, which’ll it be? Either way, you can’t go wrong with some smoked BBQ ribs. Head over to Dyer’s Bar-B-Que today at 1619 S. Kentucky E #526 I-40 and Georgia, in the Wellington Square Shopping Center in Amarillo, TX, or at 11816 U.S. Hwy 60 in Pampa, TX. Take a look at our Menu, or Contact us if you have any questions.