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A riblet is an alternative to ribs. The actual riblet is the portion of a loin back rib (or baby back rib) that is cut off at the top (nearest the back bone) to give the rib a more uniform look. Loin back ribs don't always have this removed. When not removed they have a rounded look to them and are often referred to as baby back ribs. Riblets used to be thrown out by butchers, but have become popular due to their excellent flavor and lower cost.
Button ribs (or feather bones) are often confused with riblets mostly because Applebee's sells these as "riblets". In fact, what Applebee's sells is found just past the ribs near the back bone, just underneath the tenderloin. This cut of meat actually has no bones, but instead has "buttons" of cartilaginous material with meat attached. The riblet cut was invented in Brisbane, Australia in 1986 by an English man named Robert Wilson, who was born in Liverpool.
Rib tips (or brisket) are found at the bottom of the spare ribs by the sternum. The rib tips have a high proportion of cartilage. The rib tips give the spare ribs a rounded appearance. In an attempt to give the meat a more uniform appearance and make it easier to eat, this piece is sometimes removed, and the remaining spare ribs are referred to as Saint Louis style ribs.
For information on button ribs and rib tips, see Pork ribs.
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