How Many Ribs in a Rack? All You Need to Know

The GrillingDad Answer: The number of ribs in a rack of ribs depends on the types of ribs you buy. Pork ribs usually have 10-13 ribs per rack, while beef ribs have 9-12 ribs per rack. Lamb ribs are smaller, with only 7-8 ribs per pack.

Making ribs for your next family gathering? Then you’ll need to know how many are in a rack so you can purchase and prepare the right amount to keep everyone fed!

Let’s learn more about how many ribs are in a rack and how you can cook them to perfection on your grill.

a half rack of ribs with BBQ sauce

Types of Ribs

When it comes to ribs, there are a variety of types, each with its own unique flavor and texture.

Pork Ribs

Pork ribs are one of the most popular types of ribs. They come in two main varieties: spare ribs and baby back ribs. Spare ribs are larger and meatier, while baby back ribs are smaller and more tender.

When it comes to serving sizes, a full rack of pork ribs usually contains 10 to 13 ribs. However, the number of ribs in a rack can vary depending on the size of the animal and how the butcher cuts the meat.

Beef Ribs

Beef ribs are another popular type of rib. They come in two main varieties: beef short ribs and back ribs. Beef short ribs are cut from the plate section of the cow and are typically shorter and meatier than back ribs.

Back ribs, on the other hand, are cut from the rib section of the cow and are much larger, often weighing up to 10 pounds.

A full rack of beef ribs usually contains between 9 to 12 ribs, depending on how the butcher chops them.

Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs are a less common type of rib, but they’re still worth trying. They come in two main varieties: lamb rib chops and lamb spare ribs. Lamb rib chops are small and tender, while lamb spare ribs are larger and meatier.

A full rack of lamb usually contains 7 to 8 loin rib chops.

Confused about the different names of ribs? Check out our guide Baby Back Ribs vs Spare Ribs (What’s the Difference?)

These are just the most popular types of ribs, to learn about more head over to our 9 Types of Ribs article.

How Many Ribs in a Rack?

Full Rack

A full rack of ribs can vary depending on the animal and cut. Generally, a full rack of pork ribs will contain anywhere from 10 to 13 ribs. On the other hand, a full rack of beef ribs usually has 9 ribs, while a full rack of lamb consists of 7 or 8 loin rib chops.

However, it’s important to note that the number of ribs can vary depending on the breed of animal and the discretion of the butcher.

Half Rack

If you’re by yourself or just with a partner, a half rack of ribs might be more reasonable. A half rack of pork ribs will typically contain 5 to 6 ribs, while a half rack of beef ribs will have 4 to 5 ribs. A half rack of lamb will consist of 3 to 4 loin rib chops.

2 racks of ribs on the grill

How Many Ribs Per Person?

If you’re serving ribs as part of a larger meal, you may want to know how many individual ribs to serve per person. A reasonable serving size is typically 3 to 4 ribs per person for a full meal. However, if you’re serving ribs as an appetizer or side dish, you may want to plan for 1 to 2 ribs per person.

Serving Sizes

When it comes to serving ribs, it’s important to keep in mind that the weight of the rack can vary depending on the animal and cut. Most butchers charge for ribs based on weight, so it’s a good idea to ask your butcher for the weight of the rack before purchasing. This will help you plan for the appropriate number of servings.

Remember, just because a rack has 13 ribs, doesn’t mean it will have a lot of meat—that’s why you focus on the weight!

Serving Ribs

When serving ribs, it’s important to keep in mind that they can be messy. Providing wet wipes or napkins can be a good idea to help your guests clean up after enjoying their ribs. Additionally, serving ribs with a side of coleslaw or a refreshing drink can help balance out the richness of the meat.

The Different Rib Cuts Explained

When it comes to ribs, there are different cuts to choose from. Each cut has its own unique characteristics in terms of flavor, texture, and meatiness.

St. Louis Cut

St. Louis Ribs are a popular cut of pork ribs that are trimmed from the spare ribs. They are meatier than baby back ribs and have a higher fat content, which makes them more flavorful. St. Louis Ribs have a rectangular shape, and the cartilage and sternum bone are removed to create a more uniform rack.

Center Cut

Center Cut ribs are also known as loin back ribs or baby back ribs. They are cut from the top of the rib cage, near the spine. This cut is leaner than St. Louis Ribs and has a more tender texture. Center Cut ribs are shorter and curved, with a slight arch.

Cheater Rack

A Cheater Rack is a variation of ribs that is made by cutting a full rack of ribs in half. This results in two smaller racks that are easier to handle and cook. Cheater Racks are a great option for those who are short on time or don’t have a large enough grill or smoker to accommodate a full rack of ribs. They are also a good option for those who prefer smaller portions.


Flanken-Style ribs are a variation of beef ribs that are cut across the bone, resulting in a thin, flat strip of meat with several small bones. They are typically marinated and grilled or broiled. Flanken-Style ribs are popular in Korean cuisine and are often served with a sweet and savory marinade.

Rib StyleMeat TypeFlavor Profile
St. Louis StylePorkRich, savory
Cheater RackPork or beefSmaller portions
Flanken-StyleBeefSweet and savory marinade
Center CutPorkLean and Tender
FlapPorkRich and Fatty

Bought your ribs and ready to cook? Then head over to our guide How to Cook Ribs on the Grill (5 Easy Steps) or our recipe 321 Ribs.

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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