Why Do Ribs Taste So Good?

The Science Behind Ribs Flavor: Why Do Ribs Taste So Good?

If you were to poll a group of Americans on what is the ultimate American classic cuisine, most of them would probably answer ribs.

Ribs are an American classic that many people love for their flavor and tender texture. Ribs also referred to as barbecue pork or beef ribs, are marinated rib cuts roasted until tender and full of barbecue goodness.

They’re also a great source of protein and iron served with different barbecue sauces on the side. Over the years, this dish has become a staple for American BBQ and has become universally loved all over the world.

Whether you are an American or are just a tourist paying a visit to the land of liberty, this sticky finger-licking dish is surely for you! This America’s favorite food is so good one wonder what makes ribs so delicious?

Ribs Are an American Classic – A Brief History

The history of ribs in America began in the 19th century when various communities organized occasional large assemblies. During these events, the farmers in the community gathered pigs and slaughtered them to feed a large number of people. The whole body of the pig was placed in a barbecue pit and cooked until tender.

As technology developed and meatpacking became a thriving industry in the US, pork meat has become widely available in many states.

However, due to the limited size of the barrels used to transport meats, meatpackers were forced to leave large cuts of meat like spareribs behind.

This practice resulted in the excessive amount of spareribs that meatpackers have to store and dispose of. One common way of disposing of spareribs was giving them away to people for free.

In the 20th century, the US became more urbanized and barbecued meats were spotted on many streets and crowded places. Eventually, the cooks and sellers of street barbecues put up restaurants and the American classic ribs were later popularized by these establishments.

High-end restaurants and ordinary American Citizens also began cooking and serving this dish after world war II.

Today, rib cuts are among the most in-demand meat in the US along with brisket and sausage. Ribs barbecues have also become a part of the national identity of many Americans.

This cuisine has become a part of each household gathering and party. Different families have also developed their recipes for the said dish.

How Are American Ribs Made?

Through the years, home chefs and restaurants have made their versions of the American ribs recipe and ways of cooking. Such as wet or slow cooking method like braising and using slow cookers!

Some restaurants would slow-cook the meat first before roasting or add secret sauces to make the meat extra tasty.

There are also bunches of recipes that you can follow on the internet. But if you don’t have time for that, don’t worry because we will share with you a basic way of making this classic American cuisine.

The first thing you will need to do is prepare the spareribs and spices.

The spices you will need are garlic salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, ketchup, white vinegar, white sugar, celery salt, chili powder, dry mustard, and paprika.

After you’ve cleaned and prepared these ingredients, preheat your oven or grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Season the ribs with salt and set them aside. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir. Next, place the ribs in a roasting pan and marinade them with your barbecue sauce.

Then, cook the marinated meat in your oven or grill with a lid basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. Roast for 90 minutes or more until the meat is tender and easily falls off the bone. Finally, serve and enjoy with some cold beer!

You can check out Its complete recipe ( ingredients and instructions ) from allrecipes.com

What Makes Ribs So Delicious?

There is a myth that goes ribs are exceptionally delicious because of the bone. While this myth may sound true, the truth is the bones don’t play a role in the savor of the meat.

It is all the meat between the bones that give this American classic dish its mouthwatering and irresistible flavor.

The meat in between the bones is packed with connective tissues that can gelatinize and transform into a tasty and juicy treat. The fat marbling from this meat also adds flavor to the entire dish and is often sucked and eaten.

Unlike meat, the bone exterior does not dissolve when it gets into contact with heat so it can’t give the meat added savor. The only tasty part of the bone is the yellow marrow inside which melts in your mouth when eaten and certainly makes your eating experience more enjoyable.

So in-short there are two main reasons why ribs taste so good. First, they contain a lot of collagen, which gives them a chewy texture.

Second, they contain a good ratio of tender muscles, connecting tissues and fat that can gelatinize and become sweet and succulent giving meat its characteristic flavor.

Find Out Which Cuts Make The Best Ribs.

Ribs come in different cuts that are widely available in many leading supermarkets and meat dealers. All kinds of rib cuts are suitable for barbecue but some people may have their personal preferences.

To give you a better understanding of rib cuts, here are the different types of cuts and their descriptions.

Baby Back Ribs

This rib cut comes from where the rib and spine meet after the loin muscle is removed. The name of this cut is also the term used for upper ribs because they are relatively short compared to spareribs.

Other names for baby back ribs are pork loin back ribs and loin and back ribs. It is said so because Baby backs are cut from the lower part of the loin area of the pig.

These are the most popular rib cut as they tend to be the leanest and most tender compared to other cuts. On the downside, this cut is more expensive than others.


Spareribs are a common rib cut used for barbecues, This cut is taken from the belly side of the rib cage under the back ribs above the breastbone. Spareribs are flat, almost rectangular, and have less meat.

However, they contain more fat which makes them extra flavorful.

Spareribs are very popular with consumers because they are easy to cook and serve. They also tend to be less expensive than other cuts of pork.

Spareribs are the next best cut after Baby Back Ribs. Despite being tougher and fatter than the aforementioned cut, spareribs are much more flavorful. Spareribs are also cheaper.

St. Louis Cut

St. Louis cuts are spareribs that are trimmed making their appearance neater when they are on the plate. This rib cut’s taste is almost the same as spareribs however they don’t contain cartilage.

Rib Tips

Rib tips are the short, meaty parts of the rib found on the lower end of the spareribs right in the middle of the sternum and the ribs. Rib tips do not have bones and are used to be discarded but nowadays, it has become an important rib cut for American barbecue.

Spices That Work Best With Ribs

To make sure your ribs taste as good as possible, use the right seasonings. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect rub:

• Start by choosing a spice mix that complements the flavor of the meat. If you’re using a dry rub, try adding a little liquid smoke to give it more flavor.

• Try different combinations of herbs and spices. You might find that rosemary works well with beef, while thyme pairs better with lamb.

• Add a touch of sweetness to complement the savory flavors. A simple sprinkle of brown sugar will do just fine.

The spices you use to season and marinade ribs with can make or break your dish’s savor. Therefore, it is important to choose spices that can upgrade the taste of your dish and not ruin its taste.

We understand that knowing how spices work is not for everyone so we made the hard work and researched all the spices that work best with this American signature cuisine.

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a spice from dry ground garlic. It can be used to season meat, vegetables, soups, and even snacks like popcorn and fries. Using garlic powder can make any dish extra savory and appealing.

Additionally, garlic powder may give you health benefits similar to eating fresh garlic.


The cumin spice is from the seed of the leafy plant that also has the name cumin. Adding cumin to your food can give it a rich and earthy taste with a hint of citrus.

It also has a subtle spicy taste that is slightly spicier than paprika. Many chefs all over the world use cumin to add depth to many dishes. Apart from barbecues, this spice can also be used for soups and stews.

Black pepper

Black pepper is a staple in many kitchens that can be used with almost all food. This spice is from the fruit of a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae.

The fruit is known as peppercorns and is dried to make it suitable to use in cooking.

It can be used as a whole or ground. Black pepper adds depth and some spice to your roasted dishes and can also add bitter notes and pungency making the dish’s taste richer


If you like your roasted dish to have a vibrant color, paprika is a great spice choice for you. This spice has a sweet pepper taste that doesn’t taste spicy.

It can add vibrant colors to any dish and can also be used as a garnish. Paprika is a spice that is sourced mostly in Hungary and sold at a cheap price in many groceries across the US.

Dry Mustard

Dry mustard is dry ground mustard seeds that are used in many sauces, salad dressings, meats, and more. This spice is also known as English mustard and mustard powder.

Adding dry mustard to your cuisine can add a distinct tangy taste with hints of earthy and bitter savor.

Chili powder

Are you a fan of spicy foods? If yes, then this spice is for you. From its name, chili powder is a spice derived from chili peppers. Some chili powder products may also contain other spices.

It gives any dish heat and pungent taste that is certainly addicting.

Onion powder

If you like the taste of onions, then onion powder is a great spice to add to your barbecue dry rub. This spice is from the onion that is dehydrated and powdered.

It can be used to bring out the savor of different dishes without overpowering them. It is great to use for avoiding the moisture of fresh onions and the onion slices that can easily get burned during cooking.

Ultimately, onion powder gives food a sweet-savory relish that is certainly delightful.


Before you protest why we think cinnamon is a great spice for your barbecue, hear us out first. Cinnamon is a powerful spice that is widely available in many stores.

This spice can give any food a sweet and woody flavor with a subtle spicy taste almost similar to cloves. This upgrades your food’s flavor profile.

Discover how to cook them perfectly every time.

To make sure you get the most out of your rib recipe, follow these tips:

• Cook them at a low temperature for as long as possible. This will help tenderize the meat and keep it moist.

• Don’t overcook them. If you do, the meat will dry out and lose its flavor.

• Make sure to use a thermometer when cooking ribs. You’ll need to monitor the internal temperature of the meat until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

• And for extra flavor look for high-quality sauces made with fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, and other vegetables.

• Then, add a bit of salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors.

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