When you shop for grilling meats and poultry, keep in mind excess fat on a grill is the major cause of grease fires.
In addition to being dangerous, grilled meats cook too quickly and in the case of pork, can be underdone or even raw on the inside.
When this kind of meat is underdone, it can cause trichinellosis, also called trichinosis if the meat of the animal is infected with trichinella worm. Inspect pork meat carefully and choose the leanest rack possible.
The Best Type of Knife for Trimming a Rib Rack
Chefs of renown agree that the knife used for trimming should always be sharp and kept that way.
Ribs can be purchased as a full rack you can be sliced pre or post grilling or purchase pre-sliced from a butcher.
If there is any fat remaining on either of these, the knife used for trimming should be made of precision forged, high carbon steel with at least a 2.75 inch blade and a durable, comfortable handle.
Check whether it has a finger guard and full bolster for safety while in use. It’s also important to note whether your trimming knife is dishwasher safe or requires special cleaning instructions.
How to Choose a Rib Rack
Depending on the breed, the average side of pig has 15 to 16 ribs. Two or three are usually left on the shoulder after it is separated from the loin.
However, when you shop for a rib rack it will have a minimum of eight unless some have already been trimmed away. Larger racks can include up to 13.
Know Your Cuts of Meat
There is a difference between “spare” and “baby back” ribs. Baby Backs come from the upper and lower areas of the spine and rib cage. These are a little smaller in size. It is important to know Baby Backs have more meat than their spare counterpart.
A spare Rib rack comes from the belly and is less meaty than Baby Backs. Spare rib racks offer a better blend of meat and fat. Some believe it is fat that adds flavor while others prefer a lean pork rack.
Preparation and Trimming
Whether you choose to slice your own rib rack or grill them whole, you will still need to remove fat deposits found most often on the upper side of each rib.
With the spare type, the underside is usually mostly bone. There may also be a bit of gristle or cartilage found on the rib tips. This should be trimmed.
Steps to Trim a Rib Rack
Place the rib rack underside facing upward on a cutting board. You’ll notice the rib rack has a thick meaty “skirt” at the bottom of the rack. You may wish to use a long, sharp slicing knife to cut through this and set it aside. Some individuals prefer to barbecue the skirt after it has been sliced or use it for soups or other purposes.
If the rib rack has not had the end bone removed, use the slicing knife to remove it and used later for soup or stock.
What remains after the skirt is sliced away is a bit of fat on a rib rack that should be trimmed away with the trimming knife.
Once fat and gristle is trimmed away, notice the sections between each rib bone. This is where you begin to slice each rib if you plan to grill them separately. If not, you can leave the rib rack whole for grilling and slice it after grilling is complete.
Ready to Grill
Some grilling chefs prefer to parboil a rib rack with a quarter cup of red wine vinegar for faster grilling.
Others place the raw rack or each individual rib directly on the grill. For extra flavor and tenderness before grilling, marinate in a spicy, herb infused marinade before brushing with barbecue sauce.