How Many Ribs In A Half Rack (Don’t Get Cheated!)

Sharing is caring!

Planning a barbecue, dinner, and wondering how many ribs are in a half-rack?

If you eat out, you would not be happy to order a full rack and get a half rack. Right? 

Or maybe you’re planning a party and need to know how much to buy to feed your guests.

It can vary between each animal, so we have broken it down into sections for each one.
That way you’ll know exactly how many ribs are in a half-rack.


How Many Ribs Are in A Half Rack?

Keep in mind that the number of ribs in a rack is different from the number of ribs an animal has.

And this is so because of the butchering process, breed, and size of the animal.

Below is we look at each animal in detail.


Pork Ribs

Like other animals, the number of ribs in a rack of pork ribs depends on the butchering process.

And since a pig has 15 to 16 ribs per rack, it’s safe to say that a half-rack consists of 7 to 8 ribs.

If you plan to buy your ribs from the store, count them and make sure you get the correct number. But when it comes to dining out in a restaurant, the servings may vary between  3 to 4 ribs in a half rack. 

If planning to host guests or eat out, you should understand that ribs come in 2 forms. 

And when you go out shopping for your cut of meat, you also need to know the type of ribs to buy and also choose between. There is spare ribs and back ribs.

Spare Ribs

Spare ribs come from the breast bone. They are chewy, fatty, and require more time to cook under low heat to tenderize them.

The good news is they are inexpensive and have lots of meat per rib. An average spare rib rack can yield 11 to 13 ribs. But if trimmed down like St. Louis style ribs, they produce 10 to 13 ribs. As you can see in my picture above I like to use a rib rub recipe that ensures I lock in a lot of flavor

To cook trimmed rib tips, marinate and cook for a long time to avoid chewy and tough meat.

Baby Back Ribs

Back ribs are lean, tender, and more delicious than spare ribs. And they are sliced from the spine region of the carcass.

They are sometimes known as loin back ribs, and they take less time cooking.

During the butchering process, back ribs are left in the shoulder area and are more in number than those in the lower section. It’s, therefore, possible to get 15 or 16 ribs in a rack of back ribs.

Keep in mind that back ribs and a rack of baby back ribs are the same cut of pork. The only difference is that baby back ribs are small than spare ribs.

Beef Ribs

Beef ribs are tasty and full of flavor. They have 13 rib bones on either side because some are left behind during the butchering process.

A full rack of beef ribs has 9 ribs, thus a half-rack consists of 4 to 5 ribs.

Beef ribs are less expensive than other cuts of meat and contain more bone per pound of beef.

However, they taste great and have a bold flavor. They also sell in 2 separate cuts like pork ribs.

The ribs in the back are known as dinosaur ribs and measure 6 to 8 inches. 

On the other hand, beef short ribs consist of 3 bones and have lots of meat between the bones. Beef short ribs are also known as “Flanken-style” short ribs or BBQ-style ribs.

Short ribs have flat bones with some meat on the top and are also known as short plate ribs.

I usually smoke my ribs on a pellet grill, as it allows me to automate the whole cooking process, no fire poking for me.

Lamb Ribs

A rack of lamb rib chop consists of 16 slender ribs. That said, a full rack of lamb has 7 to 8 ribs.

And a half-rack has 3 to 4 ribs enough for maybe one person if you count shrinkage during the cooking process.

Remember that restaurants trim away excess fat and meat from the ribs. The trimming of the meat away from the bone is known as ‘french’ the rib chop. 

Therefore if you buy lamb chops, you may get more or less depending on the butchering process.

What Is A “Cheater Rack?”

A “cheater rack”, refers to a rack that contains ten or fewer ribs.

If a rack of ribs yields below ten ribs, it’s because of damage during the butchering process.

And this damage causes the consumer to believe they are not getting a full rack of ribs.

Therefore you should count the ribs you receive upon purchase. Always get what to pay for and not less than that.

How Many Ribs Per Person?

You should serve adult guests with 3/4 pound to 1 pound of pork ribs.

You should serve adult guests with 3/4 pound to 1 pound of pork ribs. To know the serving sizes note down the number of ribs in a full rack. And then count the number you receive in a half-rack.

If you’re dining out, you should expect a serving of 3 to 8 ribs in a half rack.

Take Away

Ribs are a great choice to serve family and friends.

They go well with other food like potato salad, coleslaw, or roast vegetables.

My Favorite Rib Recipes

Pork Country Style Rib Burnt Ends

Smoked Baby Back Ribs On Pit Boss Pellet Grill

Smoked Ribeye Steak Beef Ribs

Sweet Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Pit Boss Ribs Recipe

There is no clear-cut answer on how many ribs are in a half rack. The number of ribs you receive depends on the breed and size of the animal.

Ribs are a great choice to serve family and friends. And they go well with other food like potato salad, coleslaw or roast vegetables.

Remember to count when buying your racks of ribs and compare the prices.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *