How Many Calories Are In BBQ Ribs?

Whether it’s for a family barbeque, preparing for the big game or just as a midweek treat, there’s not many foods that have a succulent and smoky taste quite like a rack of barbeque ribs.

How Many Calories Are In BBQ Ribs?

We very rarely however will have the ribs on their own since they can come out quite dry with some popular additions including barbecue or honey sauce as well as added spicy seasonings.

These additions do not automatically mean that this fan favorite appetizer is immediately unhealthy however, in fact there is a lot of nutritional value you can gain from eating ribs including plenty of Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D, however because the calories can vary depending on the type of rib and what you add, they are always worth keeping in mind. 

Here is how many calories are normally found in barbeque ribs, and how to incorporate them into a healthy diet.

Do BBQ Ribs Contain Many Calories?

On average, an entire regular rack of retail barbeque pork spare ribs with a hint of sauce covering them are around 415 calories for 100 grams or a single cup while the lean equivalent with the same sauce contains much fewer at 295 calories per rack.

Size also matters when it comes to calorie content, a smaller rack will be 90 calories while a medium sized rack is around 150. 

These are the average calorie counts for regular oven baked or grilled ribs, however if you have a specific type of rib in mind that you want to cook up then the calories can vary quite a bit.

Baby Rack Ribs

Baby rack ribs are known for being small in appearance, but bursting with a sweet and succulent barbeque flavor with each rack often feeding 1 to 2 people.

Because of this, most people will be eating half a rack which is made up of 6 ribs and contains roughly 570 calories, while a full rack contains 1,140.

The primary reason for the high calorie count is simply that rib meat contains a large amount of fat, and with baby rack ribs since there is not much meat to actually eat off the bone, we will often overindulge and consume more. 

Korean BBQ Ribs

Korean BBQ ribs, which usually use a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and even honey in some cases to give it a more sweet and savory taste, contain a few more calories with half a rack of 6 ribs containing 716 calories, though it must be noted that a good amount of these calories come from a combination of sauces, sugars and oil that go into making Korean BBQ ribs.

St Louis BBQ Ribs

St Louis barbeque ribs are quite the crowd pleaser, specifically because they contain a lot of meat on each bone, though this does also mean they contain high levels of fat that also are added into the calorie count.

A half rack of 6 to 7 St Louis ribs on average contains around 550 calories making it healthier than the Korean ribs but still packed full of added ingredients and fat that spike up its calories. 

Lamb BBQ Ribs

Lamb ribs taste quite a bit different to pork ribs due to the branched-chain fatty acids within the lamb that gives them a more grassey and ‘well balanced’ taste where all the flavors are evened out nicely.

Half a rack of lamb ribs, which usually consists of about 8 ribs overall, is not too dissimilar to pork ribs containing 600 calories, though again this is counting only a dash of barbeque sauce being sprinkled on, adding more or other sugars and spices can cause the calorie count to be much higher. 

Are Ribs Considered Healthy?

How Many Calories Are In BBQ Ribs?

While the calorie content in ribs can be quite a lot when trying to fit it into a healthy diet where the calories are shared around evenly, it’s important to always remember that there are a lot of nutritional benefits that come from these smoky appetizers so that they should not be ignored completely. 

First off they are packed full of protein with one single rib containing 24 grams along with ribs containing all the necessary amino acids to rebuild muscle tissue and fuel our muscles.

Ribs also contain high levels of iron and zinc which help boost our immune system tremendously while also helping oxygen travel into the bloodstream. 

How To Fit BBQ Ribs Into A Diet?

When cutting down on calories, it can be a good idea to enjoy ribs as an occasional treat, this could be as a planned meal in the mid-week to keep you going for the days ahead or for a big occasion like a family gathering.

It is also important to make the ribs as healthy as possible while retaining their delicious flavor.

While most half racks contain a similar amount of calories, a lot of these calories are made up from their incredibly high fat content.

Baby rack ribs contain the lowest amount of fat content and therefore most of their calories come from other sources like protein, zinc, iron and any added additions such as seasonings and sauces, so they are definitely the healthiest rib option you can choose. 

Baby rack ribs are also the leanest version which can be made even leaner by cooking them for a decent amount of time in the oven first, this renders down some of the fat and makes them as healthy as possible. 

The spare rib, which comes from the belly of the pig, is the rib to avoid most as it contains the most fat, which is why its calorie count is so high. 


Whichever kind of ribs you choose, they all contain a decent amount of calories so if you do get a sudden craving for these delicious appetizers, try and make them only an occasional meal and opt for choosing the leanest and healthiest ribs possible to avoid consuming too much fat.

Jenna Priestly
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