What are "baby back" ribs"

A couple local stores sell Pork ribs. One store has back ribs, spare ribs, rib tips, country style ribs, and a couple other ones. Some of these are store brand, some are packaged by an outside company. Are any of these considered “baby back” ribs? I tried to do a google search and it seems like the “back ribs” they sell fit the description best, but their back ribs don’t seem to be as meaty as described, and there’s no mention on the package whether they come from sows or “market weight hogs” (whatever those are). Can I buy the “back ribs” and truthfully tell my guests that I made “baby back ribs”?

Buy the back ribs. They are the same cut.

This is a decent description of pork ribs.

There are differing story’s about the term Baby Back Ribs.
I have heard that they were originally from a piglet and can not verify that at all.
And added to that I have heard such things as they are only imported because US Law will not allow the slaughter of piglets. Again I can not verify that statement.

This is the only Link I have found that give sensible information about them,
Link 1

Thanks for the replies. The information I’ve found is pretty much the same as in the links you’ve both posted. None of it seems to distinguish “baby back” from “back” ribs, so I’m thinking they’re the same thing. And while the ones they sell here do not have “loin” in the packaging, they seem to fit the baby back descriptions pretty well - there’s not that much meat on them compared to the spare ribs, not much fat either, and they’re curved slightly and tapered towards the end.

A market weight hog is one that’s been quickly grown to a good minimum size for butchering, as opposed to a sow (or boar) that’s older and larger and has been bred. Strictly speaking not all back ribs are baby back, but the ones you’ll find for sale outside specialty markets probably all are.

Basically, the whole rib is a spare rib. Cut some of it off the “outside” edge, and you get St. Louis cut. Cut off some more, and you’re left with the back rib. Prices go up, and IMO flavor goes down, as you remove more from the end nearest the belly.

Won’t someone think of all the babies!

This is my understanding as well.

Spare ribs do not contain the loin section of the rib–at least the whole spares I’ve seen don’t–so they are not “whole ribs.” Spare ribs come from farther away from the spine–a belly cut–and a whole spare includes the rib tips, while a St. Louis cut lops this off for a smaller, more reasonable sized rib.

Here’s a diagram of pig parts. I’ve never seen a rack of spares that didn’t lie relatively flat. Baby backs have a distinct curvature to them, as this is where they curl around to join the spine. I’ve never come across a rack of whole spares that had the loin back ribs still attached–at least not to my knowledge.

My personal preference is towards spare ribs, but spare ribs can be a little trickier and slower to cook than baby backs. Baby backs, being from the loin cut, have leaner meat, and a more loin-like texture and flavor, while spare ribs are a fattier and have a more shoulder-like flavor to them. Actually, my absolute favorite is the rib tip, but those tend to be very bony, so if you don’t like working your way around a lot of bones, it can be a bit of an acquired preference. But they pack the bunch in terms of ribby flavor.

Which part does the McRib come from?

That’s the part left over from the McChicken.