How Many Ribs In A Rack? Everything You Need To Know About Ribs

If you’re checking out this article, you might have a burning question that you’ve been embarrassed to ask. Don’t worry: I was wondering the same thing just a few weeks ago!

How many ribs in a rack? How many ribs in half a rack? Is it always the same?

These things might seem trivial if you’ve never prepared a rack of ribs at home, but it’s good to know what to expect when you are ordering or cooking ribs. After all, no one wants to get ripped off when they make their purchases!

I’ve found out what we need to know about ribs and how many to expect in a rack. Keep reading to find out!


How Many Ribs Are In A Rack?

A full rack of beef ribs should, in theory, have 13 ribs. This is what is inside of a cow, and that is a full rack - no matter what any restaurant tells you!

That being said, racks are cut in different ways depending on the restaurant, the producer, or the cattle ranch that they come from. In many cases, beef ribs 2 through 10 are cut as the “full rack” because the other ribs are too large, too fatty, or something else. For pork cuts, the first two ribs are usually left as they are attached to the shoulder.

It is possible to get a “full rack” of 13 or 14 ribs, but it’s unlikely that you will find this when eating out or purchasing meat at the store. The best you will find (and a true full rack for beef) would be 12 bones in the rack - the small posterior bone is always removed when the meat is prepared.

When it comes to pork, a “full rack” is more likely to be between 8 and 13 ribs. This depends on how many ribs are damaged, and in most cases, the number of ribs ends up being around eight.

Does Every Type Of Meat Have The Same Number Of Ribs In A Rack?

As you’ve already seen, they do not! There is a common misconception that all mammals have the same number of ribs on a rack, but that’s not the case. Every animal has its own rib count, and each animal is also prepared differently, so you can’t expect things to be equal.

Here’s a general breakdown of how many pairs of ribs are expected with different types of meat:

  • Beef: 13
  • Pork: 13 to 17
  • Lamb: 13 to 14

As you can see, the number of ribs is not always regular between different animals. Depending on how a particular piece of meat is prepared, the number of ribs might differ even more than this list suggests. Everything when it comes to ribs is relative!

So, How Do I Order Ribs?

Whether you are ordering ribs to prepare at home from a butcher or you want to enjoy a rack at a BBQ joint, the only way to know what you are going to get when dealing with ribs is to ask!

Any good butcher or restaurant will be able to tell you how many ribs they consider to be a full rack, half rack, or another amount. Often, you’ll hear of things referred to as a slab, which is usually a pork rack up to 14 ribs, but again - everything is relative.

Don’t be afraid to ask how many ribs to expect when ordering. If anything, this shows that you are knowledgeable about what you will be eating, which will gain you some extra respect!

How Many Ribs Should I Serve Per Person?

This question depends on what you are serving along with the ribs, but it’s safe to say that you will want to prepare three or four ribs per person.

When eating a meal with other dishes (such as at a cookout or home dinner), the average number of ribs that most people will eat is three ribs. If you make four per person, you’ll be sure to not run out during dinner!

If you have kids or big eaters, you may want to adjust this number appropriately to ensure that you’re not stuck with too many leftovers or not enough foods. Generally speaking, however, between three and four ribs per person is probably a good amount to serve.

What Are Some Beginner Rib Recipes I Can Try?

Now that you’ve learned what to expect from a rack of ribs, I’d like to share a few video tutorials with you. Even as a beginner to the world of ribs, these are recipes that anyone is capable of following! Choose the recipe that appeals to you most and give it a try!


Basic Barbecue Ribs

This first recipe will take how through how to prepare barbecue ribs. It doesn’t take much work, but check the video out to be sure you have the right idea.


Ribs In The Oven

Not everyone wants to grill their ribs, and that’s totally okay. It’s possible to cook great ribs in your oven at home. All it takes is time, a pan, and some bbq sauce:


Oven Baked Barbecue From Emeril

Another great option when going for oven baked ribs is to follow this recipe from Emeril. You might not think “ribs” when you think of Emeril, but this recipe is fantastic.

Get The Rack Going!

Now that you know what to expect from a rack of ribs (12 bones!), it’s time to enjoy your rack or half rack. Remember that it’s always good to ask the restaurant what they consider a full rack of ribs before ordering so that you don’t overpay for something you aren’t happy with. After all, that’s the only way to know!


Are you preparing a rack of ribs? What are you going to do with them? Let me know in the comments; I love hearing about other people’s cooking excursions when I can!

Sophia Gardner

I'm Sophia, food blogger, dog lover, homemade cooking and travel passion. I really hope you enjoy my blog, i'll do my best to share great recipes, healthy living tips and just general 'food' thoughts!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments
%d bloggers like this: