Where to Buy Beef Ribs: The Best Places to Find Delicious Beef Ribs

Beef ribs can be one of the most flavorful and satisfying cuts of meat when cooked properly. Their popularity has grown thanks to barbecue competitions and restaurants putting unique spins on beef rib dishes. But you may be wondering – where can I buy good quality beef ribs? This article covers the best places to find high quality beef ribs to enjoy at home.

Types of Beef Ribs

There are a few different cuts of ribs that come from a cow:

  • Short Ribs – Cut from the rib primal. Can have bone in or be boneless. Require long, slow cooking to become tender.

  • Back Ribs – Cut from the loin close to the backbone. Also called loin ribs. Contain more meat than short ribs.

  • Country-Style Ribs – Boneless ribs cut from the chuck. Well-marbled and tasty but not actually ribs.

  • Dino Ribs – From the plate primal. Similar shape to country-style ribs but with a bone.

For barbecue and grilling, bone-in back ribs and short ribs are the most popular. Back ribs are most common while short ribs are found more at high-end butcher shops. Country-style ribs are convenient but lack the true rib bone experience.

Where to Buy Beef Ribs

Here are some of the best places to find high quality beef ribs:

Butcher Shops and Meat Markets

Traditional butcher shops and meat markets are a top choice for buying quality beef ribs. A knowledgeable butcher can guide you on the different cuts and likely have access to premium selections like Wagyu or dry aged ribs. You can also get them to slice ribs to your desired thickness.

Some top local butcher shops specialize in high quality beef ribs. Check reviews and talk to the butcher to find one in your area. Many also sell online and ship nationwide. Expect to pay more for these premium rib offerings.

Warehouse Clubs

Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s sell big packs of back ribs at reasonable prices. However, the quality can be inconsistent compared to a local butcher. Inspect packages closely and try to find cryovac-sealed slabs vs ribs sitting in juice which reduces shelf life.

Grocery Stores

Larger full-service grocery stores will have a selection of beef ribs, typically back ribs. Call ahead to check availability and pricing. Inspect packages closely – avoid any with dry edges or discoloration. Grocery store ribs can be a budget option but may lack the quality of other sources.

Online Butcher Boxes and Delivery

Online companies like Porter Road, Snake River Farms, and Rastelli’s ship high quality beef including ribs nationwide. The ribs arrive vacuum sealed and well packaged. Choose the grade and quantity you want. Boxes with mixed cuts are another way to try premium ribs.

Direct from Meat Processing Facilities

Some meat processing facilities sell beef ribs and other products directly to the public from their warehouses. They offer boxes, combos, and custom orders of beef ribs. This eliminates retailer markup but means you need to buy in larger quantity.

Restaurant Suppliers

Restaurant supply companies like Sysco and US Foods have ribs available, but usually cater to business accounts only. Some will sell to the general public if you meet order minimums and have storage space for bulk packs. Quality can vary.

Direct from Ranches and Farms

Going straight to the source is an option if you live near beef ranches and farms. They only sell certain cuts or times of year, so call around to farms near you. You can find grass-fed, Wagyu, and other specialty ribs if any farms raise those near you. Expect to buy a larger quantity.

Order Online for Pickup or Delivery

Many of the above options allow you to order ribs online for pickup or local delivery. This is convenient if you want specific cuts, grades, or quantities without the hassle of an online butcher box. Use online ordering for your local warehouse club, grocery store, butcher shop, or other beef rib sellers in your area.

What to Look for When Buying Beef Ribs

Keep these tips in mind when purchasing beef ribs:

  • Look for bright red lean meat and white fat marbling on the ribs
  • Seek thicker, meatier ribs – at least 1/2 inch of meat between bones
  • Avoid dry, brown spots or discoloration
  • Inspect for an exterior membrane if still attached
  • Fresh ribs don’t have an odor – avoid funky, sour, or ammonia scents
  • Packaging should be cold to the touch without leaking juices
  • Check dates and only buy what you plan to cook soon

Talk to your butcher or seller and ask questions on sourcing, grade, aging, etc. if buying from a specialty shop.

How Much to Buy?

Beef rib slabs are sold by weight, with average sizing:

  • Short ribs: 4 bone slabs, 4-5 lbs
  • Back ribs: 2-4 bone slabs, 2.5-4 lbs
  • Individual ribs may be cut if you don’t need a whole slab

Estimate 1/2 pound of beef ribs per person if they are the main dish or 1/4 pound per person for appetizers. It’s better to have leftovers than run short for guests.

Buy your ribs as close to when you plan on cooking them as possible for highest quality. Cook refrigerated ribs within 4 days and frozen within 4-6 months. Thaw frozen ribs 1-2 days in the fridge before cooking.

Preparing and Cooking Your Beef Ribs

The preparation method depends on the specific cut and your preferences:

  • Remove membrane for more tender, easier to eat ribs
  • Season heavily with salt, pepper, other dry rubs
  • Marinate for added flavor – keep acidic ingredients like wine under 4 hours
  • Smoke low and slow at 225-275°F until tender, 4-6 hours
  • Oven roast low at 275-300°F, cover with foil to braise
  • Grill over indirect heat, finishing directly for char and caramelization
  • Braise in liquid on stove top or in the oven

No matter how you cook them, beef ribs need lower heat and ample time to become tender and pull flavor from the bones. The results are incredibly juicy, fall-off-the-bone meat with finger-licking good flavors.

Enjoy Delicious Beef Ribs at Home

Beef ribs might seem intimidating to cook, but with the right prep and methods, you can enjoy tender, irresistible ribs. Seek out high quality ribs from the many sources that sell them. Pay attention to characteristics like marbling, color, and packaging when buying. Then prepare using your desired smoking, grilling, braising, or roasting techniques. In a few hours, you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate beefy feast to share for any occasion.

What are Beef Ribs and What are the Different Styles | The Bearded Butchers


Why are beef ribs hard to find?

Short beef ribs are easy to find at the butcher counter; however, full beef ribs are a bit more elusive. Not only is this because the portion sizes can be a bit comical, but it’s also due to the fact that they’re expensive.

What are beef ribs called?

Beef ribs come in two varieties: short ribs and back ribs. Short ribs are taken from the chuck or plate primal cuts, whereas back ribs are obtained from the loin primal cut. These are the most frequent beef rib types that come from, including what we find at grocery stores and order in a restaurant.

Does Texas Roadhouse make beef ribs?

The Best Ribs in Town. a closely guarded secret. At Texas Roadhouse, you can get your ribs craving satisfied by opting for the full portion dish of two massive ribs, boldly plated and waiting for you to simply pull apart the tender beef with your fork. Fancy a steak and ribs?

Can you buy cow ribs?

You’ll find a fantastic selection of beef ribs for sale at Tom Hixson of Smithfield, stocking fully British reared, Grain Fed Australian (including halal) as well as USDA grade ribs. Each source has its merits but all produce a top-quality dish.

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