With the success of the Reverse Seared Pork Steaks I decided to try the method with country style ribs. These meaty hunks lend themselves nicely to this process as they are not as thin as pork steaks and can handle extensive periods of smoke without drying out. The process is fairly simple but extremely satisfying…
I started with nine country style ribs that I marinaded overnight in Cherry Coke Zero. It’s kind of a long story as to why I had Cherry Coke Zero and would’ve preferred just Cherry Coke for this but I was going for the cherry more than the coke. And both are very acidic so they act as great tenderizers. After an all night bath in the Coke I patted the country style ribs dry with paper towels and placed them on a large cutting board:
I then applied some smoked salt and granulated garlic from Penzey’s before adding Dad’s go to rub which is essentially Raichlen’s KC Sweet and Smoky Rub. The reason for the salt is Dad told me he went light on the salt in the last batch he made for me.
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup paprika
¼ cup seasoned salt
¼ cup smoked salt or hickory-smoked salt
¼ cup onion salt
¼ cup celery salt
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cayenne pepper
This recipe makes enough rub for about 100 country style ribs. We always make extra to keep it on hand.
Now with country style ribs you can’t just hit the top and the bottom with rub. You have to hit it on all four sides:
What I recommend is hitting the ribs on top and two sides on the cutting board and then putting the top side down on the grill and seasoning the bottom. You will save a ton of rub that way. If you do all four sides on the cutting board the bottom side will leave a bunch of rub stuck to the board and you will have to reapply.
I set up the grill for indirect grilling. Coals on the right, and ribs on the left underneath the chimney on my offset smoker. Why put the ribs under the chimney? Because of the coals and smoke wood are under the chimney the smoke will go straight out rather than across your meat and impart that amazing flavor and smoke ring:
Since I used the Cherry Coke Zero for the marinade, I went with that theme and used cherry wood chunks for my smoke. If you don’t have access to cherry wood, check this extensive list of woods and what foods they are best paired with and find something you have locally.
The grill was set at 250 for what I expected to be a two hour smoke before searing:
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the flowers next to my grill were doing great:
I went inside and was talking to some people online about what a wonderful day to grill I was experiencing when I looked out the window and saw everything had changed in less than 20 minutes:
The sky was dark, the wind was howling and I had to scramble. But all is good. What’s a garage for other than storing cars and junk? Why grilling of course:
At one hour I checked the reverse seared country style ribs and added another chunk of cherry:
As you can see in the background on the left it was raining. After sitting on the porch with my 2 year old for a little while watching it pour he started singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider. I explained what a water spout was and pointed to one of ours. So of course he wanted to go play with the spout. His mom wasn’t home to nix that idea so I said, “go for it.” For the first time in his life he played in the rain. Do you think he enjoyed himself?
Back to the reverse seared country style ribs. One hour and 45 minutes on the grill and they were close to being ready for the sear but not quite. I used the thumb test to check for doneness which can be used on more than steaks. They were still a little spongy, so I left them on, but they were looking good, and as you can see the sun was back out:
After two hours they were ready for the second part of reverse sear:
All I did was get a quick char of the ribs directly over the flames on all sides to form a flavor crust. But for some reason I didn’t get a pic of that. Sorry.
After the quick sear they got a slathering of BBQ sauce by dunking them into a pot of sauce one at a time:
The BBQ sauce was what I had on hand, Sweet Baby Rays, doctored with some brown sugar, honey, minced garlic, chili powder and a little dried mustard. Use whatever sauce you prefer. I put the ribs back on the side with no heat and closed the lid to caramelize the sauce. After 15 minutes I gave them another bath of sauce and another 15 minutes in the grill. Here is the final product, what do you think of my reverse seared country style ribs?
Juicy with a nice smoke ring. Layers of flavor from the marinade, to the smoke ring, to the flavor crust, to the BBQ sauce. Awesome.
If you have any questions about the the reverse seared country style ribs above, simply leave a comment below or email me.
Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grilling pictures, share grilling recipes or join the general grilling conversation. You can keep up with us on Twitter@GrillinFool (no S).
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup paprika
- ¼ cup seasoned salt
- ¼ cup smoked salt or hickory-smoked salt
- ¼ cup onion salt
- ¼ cup celery salt
- 2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Country style ribs
- salt to taste
- ⅓ cup rub
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- Combine all the ingredients and mix together completely and set aside (makes enough for more than 4 of these recipes)
- Salt all four sides of the ribs plus the ends
- Slather with with the rub
- Set up the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with charcoal and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Target temperature inside the grill is 250
- Place the ribs on the side with no heat and close the lid
- After approximately 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat and heat of your grill, place the ribs over the heat and get a quick char on all four sides (forget the ends)
- Then pull off the grill, dunk in the BBQ sauce and place on the side with no heat and close the lid to caramelize the sauce
- After 15 minutes, give them another BBQ sauce bath and close the lid for another 15 minutes
- Remove from the heat, let rest for a couple minutes and serve