No need to visit Jurassic Park because we’ve got a big old set of smoked dinosaur ribs right here! If you want the best ribs of your life then you don’t need to look any further, dinosaur ribs are the ribs for you. They’re big, they’re meaty, and they’re full of smoky spicy and crunchy flavor in every bite. We used both Dan-O’s Chipotle and Crunchy on these bad boys to give a flavor experience that is out of this world, but you can experiment with your own favorite Dan-O’s all you want. If you’re worried about the sriracha being too much heat, then you can swap it out for plain yellow mustard. You can find some insight into why we use mustard rubs on smoked meats on our 3-2-1 ribs recipe.
You may be asking yourself what are dinosaur ribs anyways? To answer that, we need to talk about primal cuts, and the 3 types of beef ribs: Chuck, Plate, and Short ribs. These various ribs are located in 3 different primal muscle sections: The rib, chuck, and plate to be specific. To start, primal cuts are just the way meat is processed. We’ve touched on different primal cuts in the past but for beef the major ones are round, loin, rib and chuck. Minor primal beef cuts are plate, brisket, and foreshank. Pretty simple stuff, but you can reference our handy dandy primal cut chart below.
Now on to the good stuff, and we’re going to start with beef back ribs. First of all, they’re not short ribs. They’re rather flat and come in a long rack much like pork ribs. You can expect them to be about 6-8 inches long for most cases. They’re removed from the top side of the rib primal, and the rib primal is also the area that prime rib and ribeyes come from. An easy way to remember that these cuts come from the rib is because they all have ribs in the name! Compared to other ribs, back ribs yield the least amount of meat but they’re still a great cut for flavor.
Next, we have short ribs. Short ribs can be sourced from 3 different primals: Plate (belly), the rib (side and back), or chuck (shoulder). The full subprimal cut of rib bones from the rib to the plate primals are known at the butcher cut 123. These include ribs 6 through 10. They’re decent sized, pretty standard ribs. Delicious, and abundant.
But finally we have plate short ribs, or dinosaur ribs. When we separate the rib primal from the plate primal section, we assign them different numbers. With the plate short ribs being 123A. Plate short ribs are the holy grail of ribs. They’re big, they’re meaty, and they’re mouthwatering when prepared properly. They’re cut straight from the belly of the cow which lends them to being well marbled. The one thing about dinosaur ribs is that they can be hard to find, but if you make friends with a butcher and are specific in wanting to cut 123A then you can most likely score some!