Some people love the taste of ribs but are turned off by the meat to bone ratio. If the ribs are not meaty it might take a whole lot of work for a little bit of meat. Those people would like more meat with their bones, so to speak. If you fall into this boat do not despair. If you love the taste of ribs but don’t mind a little bone with your meat then the country style rib is just what the cardiologist ordered.
The country style rib is cut farther down the shoulder form where we get pork shoulder/butt/Boston butt/pork shoulder butt (all of which are the exact same thing) or, if you are from the midwest, where we get the pork steak from. If you have no idea what a pork steak is, then by all means you have to click here to read about the king of cheap and easy Midwest BBQ. The reason I point out where the country style rib comes from is to show that it is very similar in fat content (which is high) of that of a pork steak or the cut we get pulled pork from. That means it is hard to dry them out and makes them uniquely tender at the same time. Excellent thing to grill for the beginner out there.
For this grilling recipe my dad took the reigns and cooked one of his classic grill staples. I’ll pass it off to him to do the rest of the write up…
What makes these ribs unique is the meat-to-bone ratio is much greater than spare ribs but it seems the baby back ribs I’ve done lately rival the country-style in the amount of available meat. This cut is offered by many stores in both bone-in and boneless fashion. Over the years we have come to the conclusion that the bone-in version is more tender and moist than boneless. These just happen to be Mimi’s favorite ribs.
Preparation: The country style ribs were placed in a shallow pan to minimize the mess while applying spices and rub:
First all four sides of the ribs were lightly dusted with granulated garlic. That was not an error. Generally, country style ribs have four sides. Next a sweet and smoky rub was applied as seen in this post. Please feel free to substitute your favorite rub:
The country style ribs were placed in the fridge for a few hours. The ribs were then removed from the fridge about 45 minutes prior to grilling to come up to room temperature. The garlic and rub may be applied the day before to allow the seasonings to really marry the meat. We suggest you do whatever fits your schedule and the result should be just fine.
Smoking Wood: Pecan chunks, not chips and not soaked:
Recent results with pecan used on beef brisket were a huge hit with guests so why not give it a try on pork? Usually I prefer cherry first, then apple, but it was time to experiment with a different flavor. I believe you’ll be satisfied with the results of these and many other smoking wood choices available but let you taste buds tell the story. Please see this post to see close to 50 different woods and such that can be used to smoke meat as well as what each pairs well with
The old Char-Broil was set for indirect grilling method – coals on the left and ribs on the right. Coincidentally the breeze was blowing in a similar direction that day and since the old grill is far from air-tight why not take advantage of Mother Nature to push a little smoke and heat in the direction of the meat?
On a side note, if you are still using lighter fluid, please stop. You need to let that stuff burn off for about 45 minutes or more so it doesn’t get into the food. A chimney like the one above can be found at just about any grocery or hardware store and even on Amazon. They last years and only need some newspaper to get a roaring fire in 20 minutes.
Back to the grilling. Here we have the country style ribs on the right and our fire on the left.
Pecan chunks were added and the lid closed.
Temperature was estimated at 250-275 degrees as I still don’t have a functioning thermometer on this grill. The Original Grillin’ Fool delivered a thermometer to me a couple of weeks later so I won’t have any future excuse for not providing this information. I expect him to give me some grief about this so you may see an editor’s note pop onto the screen about now.
***Editor’s note ~ yes, dad, not everyone has an 18 year old Char-Broil, and thus their cooking conditions will likely be different, so they need a little bit more than, “well, I threw them there ribs on da’ pit fo’ bout 2 hars and they was real good when I et ’em!!” We need to be a little more quantitative here. We can’t teach feel. That has to be learned through practice. OK that’s enough ranting, back to the grilling recipe***
Here’s a photo ½ hour in and the grilled country style ribs are beginning to brown. Notice a nice even distribution of smoke:
Then another an hour in (90 minutes on the grill at this point) and they are looking good and about ready to glaze with barbecue sauce:
By the way, the tongs in the above picture are the preferred tongs of the Grillin’ Fools. You can find them a lot of places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or you can see them here on Amazon.
Back to the barbecue sauce, a pot was prepared using Grillin’ Foolette Tracy’s guarded recipe since Mimi prefers her country-style ribs with barbecue sauce. We’ll try some sauced and some naked with just rub and smoke flavor.
The barbecue sauce was applied after and hour and a half which allowed it to glaze and caramelize over the next 30 minutes. And the best way to sauce these is not with a brush. Simply submerge each and every one entirely in the barbecue sauce pot:
The ribs were placed in a pan to keep warm because Mimi’s potato dish required more time to finish. Imagine that! I was actually ahead of schedule for a change!
Note: the grilled country style ribs were never turned during the grilling process.
***Editor’s note ~ while this makes for low maintenance grilling it may not always be a good thing to not flip, rotate, reposition whatever you are grilling. If one spot is hotter than another it may require some adjustments. Let your grill dictate any adjustments that need to be made.***
Pan-grilled asparagus accompanied this dinner. We will address the asparagus in a future post, but here is a teaser pic:
If you wish you could do more veggies on the grill and you need one of these grill pans. I found this one on Amazon.
While not grilled, here’s Mimi’s potato recipe, simple and delicious:
In a 5 quart pot place 5 lbs. of red potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks. Then add 1-lb. of Velveeta, 1 medium onion chopped, 1/3 lb. bacon chopped. Then dot with butter or margarine.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes testing for doneness:
***Editors note ~ Mmmmmm bacon.***
Wine pairing: Inspired by a recent Wine Spectator issue featuring affordable Zinfandel’s for grilled meat my limited wine rack contained a Buehler’s Zinfandel featured in the article:
The end result was a simple delicious meal with a lot of grilled flavor in the ribs and asparagus along with the stick-to-the-ribs potato dish which has long been a family favorite. Debate still continues whether the barbecue sauced ribs were better than the rub-only ribs. Try for yourself and you be the judge.
If you have any questions about grilled country style ribs, feel free to comment below or email me.