How Many Calories in BBQ Ribs?

bbq spare ribs
A typical serving size of BBQ ribs is 3 ounces. Depending on the type of rib and sauce used in the preparation, 3 ounces of ribs can be 225 calories up to 400 calories per serving.

How to Calculate Calories in BBQ Ribs

You can calculate calories in BBQ ribs by weight or per rib, depending on the rib type.

Some factors that determine the number of calories include the type of rib, how much fat it contains, whether they are prepared with a mop sauce or glaze and whether they are dipped in sauce after cooking.

How Many Calories in BBQ Pork Spare Ribs

BBQ pork spare ribs are sometimes referred to as ”spares” or ”side ribs.”Generally, there are 10 – 13 ribs in a full rack, while half a rack has 5 – 6 ribs.

A half rack of ribs weighing around 12 ounces has 549 calories.

A typical BBQ sauce served with pork spare ribs adds 35 calories per tablespoon.

Pork spare ribs are among the most popular types of ribs. Many pork enthusiasts often refer to spare ribs when they don’t specify the type.

One of their distinctive features is that they’re straighter and flatter compared to baby back ribs. Many people believe that these ribs boast richer and more flavorful meat than baby backs.

Nutritional Data for Pork Spare Ribs (per 104g)

Saturated Fat7.4g

How Many Calories in BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Half a rack (or 242g) of BBQ baby back ribs has 668 calories.

A typical BBQ sauce for this preparation adds 56 calories per tablespoon as it tends to be high in sugar.

A notable attribute about BBQ baby back ribs is that they’re shorter and curvier than spare ribs. They have a higher amount of fat and bone with less meat between the bones than other types of ribs.

To get the best out of your baby’s back ribs, cook them low and slow in the oven or on the grill.

Nutritional Data for BBQ Baby Back Ribs (per 121g)

Saturated Fat8g

How Many Calories in St. Louis Style Ribs

A half rack of ribs will have around 450 calories. A full rack of ribs with 13 ribs has 900 calories. St. Louis Style ribs aren’t typically served with sauce.

St. Louis-style ribs consist of meat, some rib bone, and a narrow part of the backbone. These ribs got their name from how meatpackers in St. Louis used to cut the ribs.

Fundamentally, they’re almost the same as spare ribs. The only difference is that they’re cut and trimmed into a rectangular shape.

Nutritional Data for St. Louis Style Ribs (per 113g)

Saturated Fat3.5g

How Many Calories in BBQ Beef Short Ribs

One serving size or a half rack of short ribs is 471 calories.

BBQ beef short ribs are also called fancy cut ribs, braising ribs, barbecue ribs, or ”English cut” ribs.

These are the meatiest of all cow ribs. They feature the lower part of the animal’s ribcage, close to the breastbone and towards the belly.

They get their name ”short ribs” because typically, they’re cut shorter than the other ribs (approximately 2 – 3 inches long). You can cook them in a smoker or on the grill, but the most common way is by braising them.

This beefy cut is ideal for soups, chilis, and stews.

Nutritional Data for BBQ Beef Short Ribs (per 100g)

Saturated Fat2.56g

How Many Calories in BBQ Boneless Ribs

A half cup of meat or 100g has 238 calories without sauce.

BBQ boneless ribs are unique in appearance as they are the only boneless type. Although occasionally they might have a ”bone” in them, it isn’t a rib bone but part of the shoulder blade or scapula.

Since they’re cut from the pig’s shoulder area, specifically the shoulder blade’s fatty and muscular section close to the loin, it is best to cook them slow and low for tender results.

Consisting of lean meat layered with flavorful fat, BBQ boneless ribs aren’t technically ribs. They’re ”ribs” due to their similar texture and profile.

Nutritional Data for BBQ Boneless Ribs (per 100g)

Saturated Fat4.47g

How Many Calories in a Single BBQ Rib

On average, a single rib weighs slightly more than one ounce and has around 125 calories. The calories will vary depending on how large the rib is, whether the meat is pork or beef and if it is served with sauce or without.

How Many Calories in Homemade BBQ Sauce

Store-bought barbecue sauce typically has 50 to 80 calories per tablespoon while most homemade BBQ sauce has 17 to 40 calories per tablespoon.

Adding barbecue sauce to ribs adds extra calories. One of the best ways to control the calories, carbohydrates, and fat content in an added sauce is to make your own!

Here are a few recommended BBQ sauces you can make at home for fewer calories without compromising flavor.

Lower Sugar BBQ Sauce

Want to skip adding extra carbs? This delicious homemade BBQ sauce contains just 30 calories per serving and can be made in less than 15 minutes.

Simple Low-Calorie BBQ Sauce

This homemade BBQ Sauce is kid-friendly and only has 17 calories per serving!

BBQ sauce in white ramekin with spoon dipping into the sauce
BBQ sauce in white ramekin with spoon

How to Make BBQ Ribs Healthier and Lower in Calories

Cooking BBQ ribs in barbeque sauce can add hundreds of calories due to carbohydrates and unhealthy amounts of salt. Keep your BBQ ribs healthier by braising them or using a homemade sauce that gives you control not only of the sugar content but also seasonings that impact flavor without unhealthy salt.

Braise your ribs in a mixture of red wine and low-sodium chicken stock for a lighter option that is still heavy on flavor. Alternatively, you can use a blend of freshly grated ginger, sake, and low-sodium soy sauce. Cooking your ribs with mushrooms and hearty veggies such as parsnips or carrots can also make a healthy meal.

Avoid consuming excess fat on ribs and reduce the total fat and cholesterol by limiting your serving size.

BBQ ribs feature significant amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium.

Health Benefits of BBQ Ribs

  • Protein – Ribs are rich in protein and supply amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue.
  • Zinc and Iron – Ribs have a significant amount of zinc and iron, two nutrients that boost immunity and help supply tissues and cells with oxygen by carrying it in the bloodstream.
  • Vitamins D and B-12 – A serving of BBQ ribs includes vitamins D and B-12. The former helps the body use calcium efficiently, making it vital for solid teeth and bones. The latter maintains a healthy nervous system.


Kevin started grilling, smoking, and cooking at a young age learning from his uncle, a retired chef. He also enjoyed helping his dad turn burgers, steaks, sausages, and ribs into flavorful, tasty, and spicy meals for the family. Over the years, he’s become known as the ‘’grill guy’’ for friend and family get-togethers.

Recent Posts