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Drive-thru Gourmet

Boston Market bones up on its menu with tasty new baby back ribs

Boston Market bones up on its menu with tasty new baby back ribs

Drive-Thru Gourmet - Boston Market half ribs
These new ribs come brushed with Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Barbecue Sauce. Photo courtesy of Boston Market

This week, I reached out for a rack of baby back ribs — the Cadillac of ribs, as my Phoenix tennis buddy Hank Hughes calls them — at the spinning chicken shack, Boston Market, with 450 restaurants ‘cross the U.S. How good are these baby backs? Perfectly fine, most places, maybe not Houston, where you can find an old-school barbecue joint where they smoke ribs onsite for a thousand hours. Subway had the same deal when it debuted BBQ brisket sandwiches. No problem, except here.

Here’s the Boston Market baby back breakdown: seasoned ribs brushed with Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Barbecue Sauce. You know how we appreciate recognized brand names. I use Sweet Baby Ray’s at home. Total weight: 13 ounces (for a half rack). Calories: 857. Fat grams: 64. Carbs: 23g. Dietary fiber: zip. Protein: 42 grams. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $10.99, or $13.49 including two sides. Might I suggest the garlic dill new potatoes and sweet corn? I like the sides at Boston Market more than the offerings at typical bbq joints.

If you’re not familiar with pig anatomy, baby backs are ribs close to the back bone, while regular spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs are farther down the side. Baby backs are smaller than spare ribs, but leaner and, for my money, better tasting. And by my money, I mean they’re more expensive than spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs.

Here’s one consideration: with baby backs, about half the serving is bone. So unless you’re cutting weight for your next MMA fight, it will take a whole rack to send you out the door patting your full belly.  A whole rack, with no sides, is $13.99. The best deal may be a half-rack of baby backs, quarter-chicken, and two sides for $15.49. All prices, of course, are subject to your local Boston Market.

It’s a funny thing, but I once had a prince of poultry tell me that in 25 years, city kids may not realize that chickens and pigs and cows have bones out on the farm. Between Chick-fil-A and Popeyes chicken sandwiches, burger barns and McDonald’s McNuggets and McRibs, bones will be a thing that Grandpa mutters about at dinner — chicken bones and his own.

Fun fact about Boston Market: the restaurants debuted in 1985 as Boston Chicken. Ten years after (old rock group that played Woodstock), Boston Chicken introduced more meats, like baby back ribs for example, and changed its name to Boston Market. 

Here’s another one. Boston Market is based in Golden, Colorado, same place as Coors beer. I see no reason ever to cross city limits. 


Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.