Barbecue: Know your cuts of pork

You can debate wet versus dry and apple wood versus hickory till the cows come home, but you can’t have barbecue without the meat. Callie, Boston butt, St. Louis-cut ribs – all those different cuts can befuddle the best of us. Here’s a bit of pork nomenclature to help you navigate the butcher shop.

Baby back ribs: The most tender and the leanest cut of ribs is that nestled beneath the loin muscle near the animal’s back. Baby backs have a greater meat-to-bone ratio than St. Louis-cut ribs and the curvature of the bone is more pronounced.

Spareribs: Spareribs are cut from the end of baby back ribs, further down the side of the hog. While there is typically more bone than meat in a slab of spareribs, the bones and connective tissue make that meat awfully flavorful.

St. Louis-cut ribs: A flat rectangular slab, also known as a barbecue cut, is achieved by removing the rib tip section from a slab of spareribs.

Rib tips: Strips containing cartilage and soft bone that are cut from the lower end of spareribs when cutting a slab of St. Louis-style ribs.

Butt: Boston butt, pork butt, shoulder butt, shoulder roast, country roast – call it what you will, this cut, from the top of the shoulder socket to the spine, is a weave of muscles, fat, sinew, connective tissue and bone. It falls apart easily when cooked, making it the most popular cut for pulled pork.

Picnic or callie: The upper part of the foreleg, from the shoulder socket to the elbow. The picnic is a good choice for making pulled pork thanks to its fattiness. That extra fat provides flavor and juiciness without drying out the meat during low-and-slow cooking.

Snout: That fat-filled hog meat from the nose and cheek area makes for some crispy, greasy, downright delicious snoots.