When you think about a juicy rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs, your first thoughts probably don't turn to health and nutrition. Ribs are indulgent. They're fatty, meaty, and the center of barbecues and special events.
And yet, a rack of ribs doesn't have to be the once-in-a-blue-moon sort of meal it once was. Our knowledge about nutrition is forever developing and we now understand that getting down on ribs on a regular old weekday may not be so unhealthy after all.
Calories in Rack of Ribs
Here are the basics when it comes to a rack of pork ribs:
- A complete rack of ribs typically weighs about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds and consists of 10 to 13 ribs measuring about 3 to 6 inches long each. A half rack, on the other hand, weighs anywhere between 12 to 16 ounces and has about 5 to 6 ribs on the rack.
- That full rack of ribs contains around 1,100 calories. Of course, that's normally not what you're eating in one sitting, but that's the general amount.
- Out those 1,100 calories, approximately 550 come from fat, with about 55 total grams of fat.
- When it comes to protein, ribs have a very high protein count, weighing in at about 252 grams of high-quality protein on every full rack.
Healthy Fats in a Rack of Ribs
It may come as a surprise that a rack of ribs' calories can actually come from good healthy fats that our bodies need to produce energy. For decades, American society has been terrified of animal fat consumption and saturated fats. But the reality is, saturated fat isn't what's destroying our health.
"We've been eating animal fat for millions of years with extremely low if not absent heart disease rates," says Dr. Anthony Gustin. "Heart disease rates have skyrocketed over the last 100 years while saturated fat consumption has gone down."
So what's the problem? First, big food companies took out the fat and replaced it with sugar. And second, the quality of the majority of animal fat we consume has diminished drastically. Our animals no longer consume the healthy grasses and organic matter they once did. They're fed harmful industrial feed, injected with growth hormones, and their fat becomes void of so many vital nutrients.
The only way to get those high levels of nutrients and healthy fats, rather than empty calories, is by consuming quality proteins that are raised and fed properly and intentionally. That means grass-fed beef, pigs that roam and snack on natural grasses and acorns, and animals that aren't loaded up with hormones.
Carbs in a Rack of Ribs
Like most meats, a rack of ribs is incredibly low in carbs and fiber; it's all protein and fat. So as long as you're not slathering on that sticky sweet barbecue sauce all the time, ribs (especially nutrient-dense Ibérico pork ribs like St. Louis Ribs or a 4-Rib Rack) are ideal for keeping carbs to a minimum.
Try adding flavor with a dry rub instead of sweet bottled sauces. Rubs offer tons of natural smoky flavor without the excess carbs. Use a mixture of paprika, celery salt, black pepper, onion, powder, and salt for example, and add in your own favorite spices. You can also whip up your own sauce or bold marinade, which gives you more control over the ingredients.
Rack of Ribs Recipes
There are endless recipes when it comes to digging into a rack of ribs. Use fresh herbs like basil and rosemary to add lightness and natural depth in a this recipe for an Ibérico Rib Rack with Herbed Crust. Or check out these instructions for an Oven-Cooked Rack of Ribs, and use your own homemade barbecue sauce. We're also really into these Grilled Pork Ribs with garlic and a touch of white wine. You can leave the dipping sauce out of the equation to keep the carbs to a minimum.
Shop Ibérico Pork Ribs
No matter how you choose to cook your rack of ribs, it's a delicious way to get some seriously high-packed protein and healthy fat energy into your diet. And when you go Ibérico, there's definitely no reason to be counting those calories. It's just high-quality fat (and low carb) from humanely-raised animals that are eating exactly what nature intended them to eat.
It's time to add ribs to your plate. Check out the St. Louis Rib Rack in the BBQ Master Grilling Box Shop, or order an Ibérico Pork Box to try your hand at the 4-Rib Rack. And if you want it all, go a-la-carte and stock your fridge with ribs so you can throw them into the weekly rotation whenever you want that extra Ibérico protein boost.