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See also: spare-rib and spare rib


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Spareribs grilling on a barbecue

Alternative forms[edit]


Probably borrowed from Low German ribbesper, from Middle Low German ribbespêr (spare-ribs), from ribbe (rib) + sper (spear; spit). The word was transposed, with the first element becoming confused with English spare due to folk-etymology. Compare also English ribspare (rare, modern uses dialectal).



sparerib (plural spareribs)

  1. A cut of meat including the rib bones.
    • 1976, Ruth Berolzheimer, editor, Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, new rev. edition, Chicago, Ill.: Culinary Arts Institute, →ISBN, page 384:
      SPARERIBS AND SAUERKRAUT [] Place sauerkraut in greased baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Brown spareribs under broiler heat, season and place on sauerkraut.
    • 2009, Teresa M. Chen, A Tradition of Soup: Flavors from China's Pearl River Delta, Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, →ISBN, page 134:
      Winter Melon, Pearl Barley, and Sparerib Soup [] Place spareribs, chicken giblets, scallops along with their soaking liquid, pearl barley, orange peel, ginger, and winter melon in a large pot along with 4 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
    • 2011, Darwin Porter; Danforth Prince, Frommer's Portable Savannah, Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 65:
      Spareribs and barbecue sandwiches star on the menu.
    • 2012, Ardie A. Davis; Paul Kirk, America's Best Ribs, Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel Publishing, →ISBN, page 4:
      Texans will want lightly seasoned (with salt and pepper) or unseasoned slow-smoked dry ribs with barbecue sauce or hot sauce on the side – and given their druthers, spareribs will be preferred over baby backs. [] A full slab of pork spareribs should have about 12 rib bones.
    • 2012, Ray Lampe, Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings: Irresistible Recipes for the Grill, Stovetop, and Oven, San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books, →ISBN, page 18:
      Pork spare ribs are the original ribs. They come from the side of the hog and are part rib bone, part cartilage from the sternum of the hog. Historically, the side ribs weren't a desirable part of the hog and were left for the hired help to eat, thus the term "spare."
    • 2014, Bob Oros, Center of the Plate: Comprehensive Course includes Little Known Industry Secrets, [Raleigh, N.C.]: Lulu, →ISBN, page 46:
      The difference between a St. Louis rib and a spare rib is simply the fact that the end and the breast bone have been cut off. With the breast bone cut off it can be easily sliced between the bones.