Are Applebee’s Baby Back Ribs Beef or Pork? Solving the Mystery Behind This Tasty Treat

Applebee’s is one of America’s favorite casual dining restaurants, with locations across the nation serving up appetizing entrees, burgers, salads, and more. But when it comes to their meat offerings, one dish often causes confusion: the baby back ribs. These tender, saucy ribs are a customer favorite, but many diners find themselves wondering, are Applebee’s baby back ribs made of beef or pork?

As a longtime Applebee’s enthusiast myself, I fully understand this uncertainty. With so many rib varieties out there from beef back ribs to short ribs, it can be tricky to discern exactly what type of rib you’re eating, especially when doused in lip-smacking barbecue sauce.

Well, after some detective work, I’m here to clear up the pork vs beef debate once and for all when it comes to Applebee’s famous ribs Keep reading for the inside scoop on what gives these ribs their signature tenderness, flavoring, and more.

A Close Look at Baby Back Ribs

Before determining whether Applebee’s baby back ribs come from beef or pork it helps to understand exactly what baby back ribs are.

Baby back ribs come from the top part of a pork ribcage, right beneath the loin. They’re called “baby” because they’re smaller and more tender than spare ribs, which come from the belly side. Baby backs have a light marbling of fat and connective tissue that keeps them juicy and flavorful when cooked.

Beef ribs, on the other hand, come from the upper rib section of a steer. They tend to be larger and tougher than pork ribs, with more fat marbling throughout. This makes them ideal for slow roasting or grilling until the fat renders and the meat gets fall-off-the-bone tender.

So from the names alone, you can start to guess that Applebee’s baby back ribs likely come from pork, not beef. The “baby back” terminology is a pork rib thing. But let’s keep exploring to seal the deal.

The Proof is in the Meat: Applebee’s Ribs are Pork

After looking over the Applebee’s menu and nutritional information online, I’m now 100% positive their baby back ribs are made of pork, not beef.

First, the menu description reads “Fall-off-the-bone tender baby back pork ribs…” so they straight up tell you it’s pork right there!

Additionally, the nutritional data shows Applebee’s baby back rib entree has a relatively low calorie and fat content compared to beef ribs. A full rack clocks in around 640 calories, 24g fat. Typical beef ribs would have nearly double the fat and caloric content!

Finally, the price point makes sense for pork. Beef ribs tend to be pricier than pork based on market value. Applebee’s charges an affordable rate for a full rack of their ribs, aligning with pork rib pricing.

So mystery solved – Applebee’s signature baby back ribs are absolutely pork-based. But what gives them that craveable taste and texture we all know and love?

How Applebee’s Prepares Their Famous Pork Ribs

Applebee’s doesn’t just take any old slab of pork ribs and plop them on your plate. They’ve perfected a special preparation method for ribs that are sweet, saucy, and fall-off-the-bone tender every time. Here’s how they do it:

Low and Slow Cooking Method

Applebee’s ribs are smoked low and slow to break down the connective tissues in the pork. This gives them tenderness ribs that come cleanly off the bone with each bite.


Before smoking, the ribs are parboiled to help tenderize the meat and seal in the natural juices. This prevents them from drying out.

Secret Spice Rub

A signature spice rub adds a blast of flavor and forms a savory crust on the ribs as they cook. It’s applied before smoking and helps form that crisp, caramelized outer layer.

Sweet and Savory BBQ Sauce

No rack of ribs is complete without a generous slathering of barbecue sauce. Applebee’s coats their ribs in a homemade BBQ sauce that has the perfect blend of sticky sweetness and smoky flavor.

Char-Grilling Finish

Right before serving, the parboiled, smoked, and sauced ribs are finished for a few minutes over a hot char-grill. This adds extra flavor from the fire while firming up the exterior.

With this detailed process and precise execution, it’s no wonder Applebee’s pork ribs have been a crowd-pleaser for over 30 years!

Pairing Sides and Sauces for the Ultimate Rib Experience

So now that your craving for Applebee’s baby back ribs is official, let’s talk about how to optimize your rib eating experience. Here are my pro tips:

Choose Your Sauce Wisely

Applebee’s serves their ribs with three sauce options. For ultimate flavor, I suggest:

  • Classic BBQ – this original sauce packs the perfect punch of smoky, honeyed and tangy notes. An American classic!

  • Spicy Texas BBQ – feeling adventurous? This zesty, chili-laced sauce will set your tastebuds on fire.

  • Honey BBQ – craving something sweet? This sauce infused with honey will give your ribs a delectable caramelized flavor.

Load Up On Sides

Don’t forget to complete your ribs with some fixings! Good side pairings include:

  • Cole Slaw – cool, crunchy slaw helps balance the richness.

  • Corn on the Cob – the sweetness of corn complements the ribs.

  • Baked Potato – potato, bacon and cheese is a hearty complement.

  • French Fries – crunchy, salty fries are a no-brainer pairing.

Enjoy Over Multiple Rounds

Applebee’s serves their ribs in both half-rack and full-rack portions. If you can’t decide between sides, order a half-rack first along with two sides. You can always order more ribs later if you have room left!

Are Applebee’s riblets real ribs?


Are baby back ribs pork or beef?

Baby back ribs are also referred to as pork back ribs, come from the back of the pig near the backbone. Baby back ribs are smaller than spare ribs, and contrary to popular belief, are not cut from baby pigs, they’re just smaller.

What type of ribs does Applebee’s use?

“Riblets” is Applebee’s branded name for button ribs or rib tips (as they are called at Walmart), which is a short cut trimmed from the back end of pork spareribs, packed with lots of connective tissue.

Is a rack of ribs pork or beef?

A rack of ribs will have a minimum of 8 ribs, but can also include up to 13 depending on the butcher and how it was prepared. Butchers will call it a “cheater rack” if it contains less than 10 ribs. In general, a rack of ribs is 10-13 ribs in a full pork rack, 9 in a full beef rack, and 7 or 8 in a lamb rack.

Are short ribs beef or pork?

Are Short Ribs Beef or Pork? Traditionally, short ribs are a cut of beef, but you can also purchase bison short ribs. Short ribs comprise the lower 3 to 6 inches of a cow’s rib cage near its breastbone. Pigs don’t have short ribs.

What is a baby back rib?

Baby back ribs are sandwiched between the shoulders and the loin on the pig. The pork loin is one of the leaner cuts of pork making baby back ribs the tenderest cuts of pork you can find. What are pork spare ribs? Pork spare ribs are the meatiest of pork ribs. They are taken from the rib cage of pork carcasses that are less than two years old.

Can baby back ribs be grilled?

Spare ribs, like baby backs, can be grilled or smoked with excellent results. The difference between the two is that baby back ribs are taken from higher up on the rib cage while Spare ribs are cut right below beef ribs. They are pork spare ribs, or beef ribs, depending on what cut you buy. What animal do baby back ribs come from?

Are baby back ribs beef or pork?

Beef ribs are more tender than pork ribs, but pork baby back ribs have a richer flavor. You can tell if ribs are beef or pork by looking at their shape. Pork ribs are square, with square tips. Beef ribs are rectangular, with rounded tips. What are baby back ribs? They are the meaty ribs that come from the upper part of the pork loin.

Can you eat baby back ribs?

However, because baby back ribs can be consumed in one mouthful, they are kept for convenience and ease of service in restaurants. It is considered part of the loin section, which also includes pork chops. Like other forms of pork, baby back ribs are very versatile and can be used in soups, stews, or just grilled.

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