If you’re a fan of Applebee’s, you’ve probably heard of their famous baby back ribs. But have you ever wondered if they’re made from beef or pork?
The answer may surprise you.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of pork ribs and how they’re prepared, as well as the history of Applebee’s and their signature dish.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about Applebee’s baby back ribs.
Are Applebee’s Baby Back Ribs Beef Or Pork?
Applebee’s baby back ribs are made from pork. Specifically, they are cuts of pork taken from the upper portion of the rib cage that connects to the spine. These ribs tend to have shorter bones and leaner meat compared to spare ribs, which are typically fattier and have juicier meat.
Applebee’s has two rib choices on their menu: the baby back ribs, which are the signature dish, and the wood-fired ribs, which are spare ribs. Both of these rib types are pork meat. The baby back ribs are short and meaty, while the spare ribs are longer and meaty as well.
To make riblets, which were also a signature dish at Applebee’s, you would need to cut the baby back ribs into smaller pieces. However, Applebee’s riblets were actually button ribs that are obtained from the chink of meat that runs down the spine. Button ribs are flat, circular-shaped bones found towards the loin’s sirloin end. Because they aren’t obtained from the rib cage, they aren’t actually ribs.
The Different Types Of Pork Ribs
There are four main types of pork ribs: spareribs, St. Louis-style ribs, country-style ribs, and baby back ribs. Each type has its own unique characteristics and is best suited for different recipes and cooking methods.
Spareribs are the most common type of pork rib and are cut from the belly of the pig. They have a higher fat content and are larger than other rib cuts, making them ideal for slow cooking methods like smoking or braising.
St. Louis-style ribs are a variation of spareribs that have been trimmed down to a more uniform size and shape. They are perfect for grilling or baking and are preferred on the competition circuit due to their neat and tidy appearance.
Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the pork loin and are meatier than other rib cuts. They can be bone-in or boneless and are great for grilling or roasting.
Baby back ribs, also known as loin back ribs, are cut from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs. They are smaller in size and have a leaner meat-to-bone ratio, making them perfect for quick cooking methods like grilling or broiling.
When choosing pork ribs at the store, look for fresh ribs with a decent coverage of meat over the bones and a good meat-to-fat ratio. Consider how you’ll be using them before deciding on the type of ribs you want. Whether you’re making a stew or hosting a backyard barbecue, there’s a type of pork rib that’s perfect for your recipe.
How Pork Ribs Are Prepared
Before cooking pork ribs, it’s important to know what to look for when buying them. When shopping for ribs, choose ones that have an even layer of meat across the ribs. Avoid slabs with exposed ribs, known as “shiners,” and look for meat with a light pink pale color and even marbling across the ribs. Avoid purchasing ribs that are “enhanced,” meaning they have an added solution of 10-15 percent of their weight.
Once you have purchased your ribs, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. Start by laying the ribs out on a cutting board meat side up and inspecting them. Use a sharp knife to trim off any dangling meat, excess fat, loose rib bones on the ends, and any silver skin you might see.
Next, turn the ribs over to remove the membrane covering the rib bones. Insert a dull butter knife on top of a rib bone on the small end of the rack and push the knife upwards to loosen the membrane. With a paper towel, grab the membrane and slowly pull it toward the opposite end of the rack. If the membrane tears, repeat until all of it is off. Trim off any loose fat or membrane.
With the ribs already meat side down, apply your favorite rub generously across the bones and all edges of the rack. Turn the rack of ribs over and repeat on this side, making sure all surfaces are covered.
Pork ribs can be cooked inside a smoker or a lidded barbecue that is set up for 2-zone, indirect cooking. The racks are typically seasoned with a spice rub before slowly cooking inside the smoker or barbecue with some wood to add extra smoke flavor. After a couple of hours, the ribs can be wrapped to keep moisture in and help them finish cooking. They are then typically glazed or served with a dipping sauce.
When cooking pork ribs, it’s important to use a thermometer to ensure that they reach an internal temperature of 195° F to 203° F for optimal taste and texture. If the bones peek out and they probe easily at 195° F, pull them off the grill. If the probe is still tight or no bones are peaking out, let them go to 203° F and then pull them off. The meat should keep its shape after biting into it; if it falls off the bone, it’s overcooked and has a mushy texture—not ideal for any occasion.
The History Of Applebee’s And Their Signature Dish
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar restaurant chain is an American company that was founded in 1980 by Bill and T.J. Palmer in Atlanta, Georgia. The concept of the restaurant chain focuses on casual dining with mainstream American dishes such as salads, chicken, pasta, burgers, and their signature dish – baby back ribs. Applebee’s quickly grew in popularity and became the largest casual dining restaurant chain in the world.
The baby back ribs became a signature dish at Applebee’s in the 1990s. The ribs are slow-cooked to perfection and basted with a tangy barbecue sauce. The dish gained immense popularity and was even featured in a popular jingle that went “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back ribs”. This jingle became a cultural phenomenon and is still remembered by many today.
In 2007, IHOP Corp. bought the Applebee’s chain and decided to franchise it. This meant that the restaurants were sold to local owners throughout the country, who paid Applebee’s to use the company name on their restaurants. The local owners paid Applebee’s a percentage of the profits from the restaurants.
Today, Applebee’s still serves their signature baby back ribs along with other pork and beef dishes. They continue to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into their menu and have a whole page devoted to items under 600 calories. They also feature a full-service bar that regularly introduces new drinks.
The Secret To Applebee’s Baby Back Ribs’ Delicious Flavor
The secret to Applebee’s baby back ribs’ delicious flavor lies in the preparation and sauce. Unlike some recipes that call for boiling the meat, Applebee’s chefs score the bone side of the ribs with a sharp knife and coat the meat with a hickory dry rub. The dry rub is made from a blend of spices that include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
After applying the dry rub, the ribs are grilled on a char broiler for about 10 minutes. This process imparts a smoky flavor to the meat that is essential to the dish’s taste. Once grilled, the ribs are then steamed in a sealed pan in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1.5 hours. This cooking method ensures that the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
The final step to creating Applebee’s baby back ribs is to coat them with their signature BBQ sauce. The sauce is a classic BBQ blend made with tart cider vinegar, sweet brown sugar, and a tomato ketchup base. The sauce is thick and sticky, which helps it cling to the meat and gives it a rich, tangy flavor.
Other Popular Menu Items At Applebee’s
Aside from their famous baby back ribs, Applebee’s also offers a variety of other popular menu items. One of their most popular dishes is the Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp, which features juicy grilled chicken and succulent shrimp glazed in a sweet and spicy bourbon sauce. Another favorite is the Oriental Chicken Salad, which is a fresh and healthy salad topped with crispy chicken, almonds, and crunchy noodles in a tangy Oriental vinaigrette.
If you’re looking for something hearty and filling, Applebee’s also offers a range of delicious steaks. Their signature steak is the 8 oz. USDA Choice Top Sirloin, which is seasoned and grilled to perfection. For those who want something a little more indulgent, the Ribeye Steak is a juicy and flavorful choice that is sure to satisfy any meat lover.
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, Applebee’s has plenty of options as well. Their Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is a classic favorite, while the Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken is a fresh and tasty option that is perfect for summer. Vegetarians will also be pleased to know that Applebee’s offers several meatless options, including the Southwest Black Bean Burger and the Three Cheese Penne Pasta.
No matter what you’re in the mood for, Applebee’s has something delicious to offer. With their extensive menu of American classics and hearty comfort food, it’s no wonder why they are such a popular dining destination for families and friends alike.