How many calories are in 4 ounces of boneless pork ribs?

Pork ribs are a popular choice for barbecue and other cooked meat dishes. Ribs can be prepared with the bones in or boneless, and the calorie content varies slightly between the two. For those watching their calorie intake, it’s important to know the calorie count of rib portions. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the calorie content of 4 ounces of boneless pork ribs.

What Are Pork Ribs?

Pork ribs come from the rib section of a pig. There are different cuts of ribs, including spare ribs, baby back ribs, country-style ribs, and St. Louis-style ribs. Ribs may be sold with the bones in or with the bones removed (boneless).

Boneless pork ribs have had the bones removed before being packaged and sold. This makes them easier to portion and cook. It also reduces the overall weight since the bones are removed.

Many barbecue restaurants and recipes call for pork ribs because of their rich, meaty flavor. The fat content helps keep the ribs moist and tender as they cook.

Nutrition Profile of Pork Ribs

The exact nutrition information for pork ribs can vary depending on the cut and whether they are enhanced with a salt solution. However, in general pork ribs are high in protein, fat, and calories.

According to the USDA, a 3 oz serving of pork spare ribs (bone-in) contains:[1]

– Calories: 262
– Total fat: 18 g
– Saturated fat: 6 g
– Protein: 19 g
– Cholesterol: 76 mg
– Sodium: 189 mg

Pork ribs are a good source of B vitamins including thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. They also provide minerals like zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and iron.

However, ribs are high in saturated fat so they should be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet. The calorie count quickly adds up, especially when ribs are served with sugary barbecue sauce.

Calories in 4 Ounces of Boneless Pork Ribs

Since boneless ribs do not contain bones, they will have a different nutrition profile than bone-in spare ribs. Let’s take a look at the calories and macros in a 4 ounce serving:

– Calories: 349
– Total fat: 24g
– Saturated fat: 8g
– Protein: 25g
– Carbohydrates: 0g

A 4 ounce serving of boneless pork rib provides 349 calories. There are 0 carbohydrates since meat does not contain carbs.

The majority of calories come from fat (24g total fat, 8g saturated fat). This represents 68% of the calories from fat.

There are also 25g of protein per serving. Protein accounts for about 28% of the calorie content.

Compared to a lean protein like chicken breast, boneless pork ribs provide more calories and fat per serving. Chicken breast has around 140 calories and 1-2g fat per 4 oz serving.

Daily Calorie Needs

To determine if 349 calories per 4 ounces of ribs fits into your diet, you need to consider your total daily calorie needs.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, here are the recommended daily calorie intakes:[2]

– Men
– Ages 19-30: 2,400-2,600 calories
– Ages 31-50: 2,200-2,400 calories
– Women
– Ages 19-30: 1,800-2,000 calories
– Ages 31-50: 1,800 calories

However, individuals may require more or less calories depending on their age, size, activity level, and health status.

If you eat 2,000 calories per day, here is how 4 ounces of boneless pork ribs would fit into your daily intake:

– 349 calories from ribs
– That’s 17% of a 2,000 calorie diet
– Leaves 1,651 calories for other foods and beverages

As you can see, the rib serving provides a significant portion of calories and fat for the day. Balance the rest of your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Also pay attention to portion sizes if you are having ribs as part of a larger meal. It’s easy to overdo it on ribs, cornbread, baked beans, coleslaw, and other flavorful barbecue foods.

Comparing Calories to Other Protein Sources

Here’s how the calories in 4 ounces of boneless pork ribs compare to other high protein foods:[3]

Food Serving Size Calories Fat (g) Protein (g)
Skinless chicken breast 4 oz 140 1 28
Sirloin steak 4 oz 206 12 25
Salmon 4 oz 216 12 22
Pork tenderloin 4 oz 160 4 25
Boneless pork ribs 4 oz 349 24 25

As you can see, boneless pork ribs provide more calories and fat than other types of lean protein. Chicken breast has the lowest calorie and fat count.

Sirloin steak has a similar protein amount as ribs but over 100 fewer calories per serving. Pork tenderloin is also leaner compared to ribs.

When planning meals, consider substituting ribs for a leaner protein some of the time. Or, have smaller portions of ribs alongside lower calorie side dish options.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Pork Ribs

If you want to enjoy tasty ribs but reduce the calorie count, here are some tips:

– Remove the outer fat layer and skin before cooking. This can trim away excess saturated fat.

– Choose leaner rib cuts like back ribs or country-style ribs. They have less marbling than spare ribs.

– Skip the oil when cooking. Roast or grill ribs on a rack so the fat drips away.

– Go easy on high-calorie sauces and glazes. Opt for lighter mop sauces versus thick, sugary-sweet barbecue sauces.

– Portion ribs sparingly and fill up on lower calorie sides like coleslaw, corn on the cob, beans, roasted vegetables, or a big green salad.

– Eat ribs only occasionally and have them in smaller portions when you do. Balance with other lean proteins during the week.

Cooking Methods

How you cook pork ribs also impacts their final calorie content. Here is how the common cooking methods compare:


Grilling ribs allows the fat to drip away while cooking. Use a spray oil rather than coating ribs in oil before grilling. Go easy on sugar-based barbecue sauce.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 300-350 calories


Roast ribs in the oven on a wire rack lined sheet pan. Cook at a high temp (425°F) to promote fat rendering. Baste with sauce at the end.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 300-350 calories


Braising ribs requires some liquid like broth, beer, juice or water. Leaner cuts are best for braising. Discard cooking liquid after.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 300-350 calories

Air Fried

Air frying uses little to no oil. The circulating heat crisps up ribs nicely. Use a small amount of barbecue sauce.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 275 calories

Slow Cooked

Slow cooking breaks down connective tissue in tougher cuts. Skim away surface fat before serving.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 300-350 calories

Deep Fried

Frying ribs adds a lot of extra calories from the oil. Opt for other cooking methods to reduce calories.

Calories per 4 oz serving: Around 400 calories

Calories in Pork Ribs from Restaurants

When dining out, ribs can end up being significantly higher in calories than home cooked versions. Restaurant ribs are often basted with oil and sugar-laden barbecue sauce. Portions also tend to be larger at restaurants.

Here are some examples of calories in pork rib entrees from popular chains:[4]

Restaurant Dish Serving Size Calories
Chili’s Baby Back Ribs (half rack) 17 oz 1,280
Outback Ribs on the Barbie 9 ribs 1,330
Applebee’s House Sirloin & Ribs 10 oz ribs 1,210
Famous Dave’s Baby Back Rib Dinner Half rack 730

As you can see, full restaurant rib entrees often add up to over 1,000 calories. To lighten them up:

– Ask for sauce on the side and use sparingly
– Share a rib platter with a dining partner
– Take home leftovers instead of overeating
– Pair with lower calorie side dishes like broccoli instead of fries

Cooking Boneless Pork Ribs at Home

To control portions, calories, and ingredients – make ribs at home. Here is an easy oven baked recipe:

– 1.5 lbs boneless pork ribs
– 2 Tbsp brown sugar
– 2 Tbsp chili powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
2. Mix together brown sugar, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl.
3. Pat pork ribs dry and rub them all over with the spice mixture.
4. Arrange ribs on the rack. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove ribs from oven and brush with a light coating of barbecue sauce.
6. Bake for 15-20 more minutes until browned and sauce caramelizes.
7. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing into portions.

For a 1/4 rack portion (about 4 ounces) this recipe comes to around 250 calories per serving. Pair with roasted broccoli, corn on the cob, coleslaw, beans, or potato salad.


Boneless pork ribs can fit into a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. A 4 ounce serving provides about 350 calories, 25g protein, and 24g fat.

Compare that to other protein sources and aim for leaner choices like chicken breast some of the time. Or, reduce rib portions and bulk up on non-starchy veggies and other low calorie sides.

When dining out, share ribs, take home leftovers, and choose healthier side dishes to offset the higher calorie count.

At home, bake or grill ribs using little added fat. Control portions and serve them alongside lighter sides for a better calorie balance.

As an occasional treat, enjoy the finger-licking flavor of pork ribs while practicing portion control for a healthy lifestyle. With smart choices, you can savor ribs without going overboard on calories.

Leave a Comment