How Many Calories Are in Pork Ribs? (Facts to Consider)

Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: December 1, 2023

As a dedicated carnivore, I have eaten my fair share of pork ribs. However, pork ribs are not a lean cut of meat, which is why it’s highly recommended to eat only enough portions.

Due to their nature, I found it challenging to approximate the total calories in pork ribs. To do away with the confusion, I consulted with my butcher and my dietician to be sure of how many calories are found in pork ribs and other nutrition facts.

Read on to learn more about my findings.

Quick Summary

  • A pork rib contains 125 calories before adding any sauces or rubs.
  • A 1/2 rack of ribs can have 1,800 calories.
  • Barbecued pork spareribs are high in fat, cholesterol, and protein.

Calories In Pork Ribs

Top view of cooked pork ribs on a wooden board

There is no getting around the fact that pork ribs are not a low-calorie cut of meat. A four-pound rack of barbecued pork spareribs can be over 3,500 calories between the meat, fat, and sauces.

But to compare apples to apples, let's look at the calories in a single pork rib bone. The average rib weighs a little more than an ounce and contains 125 calories.

Note that this calorie count is for the rib alone and does not include any sauces or rubs that you might add.

Also, recognize that very few people only eat a single rib. Given that a serving size of meat is considered to be 3 ounces, a serving of spareribs will have 375 calories.

However, here are additional facts you may want to consider when looking at calories in pork ribs:

  • A gram of pork contains 4 calories
  • 1 oz of boneless pork ribs contain 60 calories
  • Pork side ribs contain 668 calories
  • 4 oz of loin pork ribs contain 250 calories
  • 110g of fried pork ribs contain 211 calories
  • 100g of boiled pork ribs contain 227 calories
  • 4 oz of baby pork ribs contain 240 calories

Net Carbs, Fat, And Protein In Pork Ribs

Pork ribs have a significant amount of fat marbling throughout the muscle meat. This fat helps keep the pork spareribs moist and flavorful as they cook. The single rib I described above has 11 grams of total fat, of which 3.2 grams is saturated fat.

That means there are 97 calories from fat and 27 calories from saturated fat which can raise cholesterol.

From the carnivore perspective, pork spareribs bring 7.3 grams of protein per rib bone. This means you can get nearly 22 grams of protein in a three-ounce serving of pork ribs and 88 calories from the protein.

Further, a 3-ounce serving size has 0 g of net carbs except those found in the sauce. The sauce’s ingredient calories vary depending on what type of sauce you use.

Nutrition Facts

Close up shot of cooked pork ribs

Pork ribs are a good source of B vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6 - with over 10% of the recommended daily value.

These nutrients are essential for energy metabolism and help keep our nervous system functioning correctly.

Pork spareribs also contain minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Finally, ribs are a great way to get your daily value of riboflavin - a critical nutrient for metabolizing food [1].

That said, portions of this food do not contain much selenium, sodium, vitamin C, or fiber.

Alternatives

Given the caloric and fat content of pork spareribs, you might be feeling a little discouraged about eating them. But there are lean cuts of pork that can still provide the flavor you crave.

For example, a three-ounce serving size of pork tenderloin has just 122 calories and 3 grams of fat [2]. This cut is taken from the muscle that runs along the pig's back - a very lean part of the hog.

"Barbecue" originated with French-speaking pirates, who called their Caribbean pork feast "de barbe et queue." Translated, it means "from beard to tail," reflecting the fact that the hog could be consumed from head to toe."

- National Pork Board

Another option is shifting to another type of meat like beef short ribs.

This food has slightly more calories and has more total fat than its pork counterpart, but you get significantly more meat along each rib bone.

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FAQs

Are Pork Ribs Unhealthy to Eat?

No, pork ribs are not unhealthy. However, they are a relatively high-calorie and high-fat cut of meat. If you are trying to watch your calorie or fat intake, you should moderate your consumption of spareribs.

Are Pork Ribs Good for Weight Loss?

No,  pork ribs are not good for weight loss. As mentioned above, they are relatively high in calories from fat. If you are trying to lose weight, you should focus on leaner cuts of meat and vegetables.

Why Are Pork Ribs So High in Calories?

Ribs are high in calories because they contain a high percentage of fat. The fat helps give spareribs their texture and flavor, but it also adds a significant amount of calories to the food.


References:

  1. https://pork.org/nutrition/pork-nutrition/
  2. https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts/168250/wt1
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About the author

Iva Carter
Associate Editor
Iva Carter is a FBP certified foodie and influencer who loves to share delicious yet quick dinner recipes. When she's not in the kitchen concocting meaty delights, you'll find her playing with her dog, Sylvie.
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