What are Country Style Ribs and How Do I Grill Them? Excellent questions. First off, they are the meatiest of all the pork ribs. They have more meat than all but the fattest baby back ribs. Second, there are two types of pork that are sold as country style ribs, although one is not a country style rib. The fake ones are cut from the pork shoulder:
True country style ribs are cut from the loin either from the rib end or the sirloin.
Some, not many, butchers sell them in slabs like this:
Most sell them cut into fingers of delicious porcine plunder like so:
They also come boneless but I prefer them bone in as the best are the ones with this little bone:
So what’s the difference? The ones cut from the shoulder that masquerade as country style ribs are full of fat and collagen. In order to make them edible, rather than a gummy wad of pork, they must be cooked to 200 degrees. The true country style ribs need to be grilled like a pork chop and are far healthier. They also cook much, much faster.
Now that we know what they are and the difference between the two, let’s get down to grilling some bonafide country style ribs.
Country style ribs
Your favorite rub
Your favorite BBQ Sauce (I used Stubb’s Sticky Sweet)
I realize there are no amounts in the ingredients list here. This is more about the method than a very detailed recipe. And that method is the reverse sear. What that means is we are going to smoke and then sear the meat at the end rather than the other way around. So let’s get going and I’ll explain why this method is so wonderful.
Season the country style ribs with salt, pepper and your favorite BBQ rub. Then prepare the grill for two zone grilling also known as indirect grilling. What this means is the hot coals go on one side and the meat on the other, with a target temp inside the grill of 300. A couple chunks of smoke wood go on the coals as the country style ribs hit the grill grates on the cool side of the cooker:
Since these are true country style ribs from the loin, they won’t take long to get to about 110 degrees internal temp. You read that right. We have a couple more treatments before these are perfect and up to the proper temp, so don’t over cook them at this point.
Once they hit 110 degrees, slap them over some hot coals and get a little char action on the outside:
If I had seared the meat first, it wouldn’t take on much smoke flavor as the outside skin would be too warm. Once the outside of the meat gets above about 140, it won’t take any smoke flavor. So smoke first, to imbue the meat with that flavor and then sear to get the lovely browning and caramelizing of the proteins, but don’t sear too long. These will be perfect about 145 degrees internal, so don’t sear them all the way there. We still need to sauce them. For the BBQ sauce, I chose Stubb’s Sticky Sweet:
As a father of 4 small children, three of whom love BBQ and the 4th is 8 weeks old, I want the best of both worlds. I want that amazing flavor without the high fructose corn syrup. Stubb’s makes this sauce so deliciously sweet (and sticky) without the HFCS, or any artificial ingredients for that matter, which makes it a mainstay in my pantry.
Now the best part about country style ribs is that the sauce will completely envelop each one. How? Forget the grill brush, just grab a pot and some tongs, fill the pot with the sauce and dunk each country style rib in:
Check out this sauce action!
And just because I got so many great sauce dripping shots, here’s one more:
Now place the Stubb’s sauced country style ribs over on the side with no heat and close the lid. I took the time to throw on some ears of corn over the coals to add an easy side to this recipe:
Leave the lid closed, except when you need to rotate the corn, until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 145-150, and that sauce thickens up and gets extra, extra sticky. It’s already called Stubb’s Sticky Sweet Sauce, remember?!
Time to plate them:
Now we have an answer to our question. What are country style ribs and how do I grill them? They are the meatiest of all the pork ribs, cut from the loin or sirloin of the pig. And to grill them properly is to reverse sear them and slather with an outstanding sauce so there are layers upon layers upon layers of flavor. There’s the rub, then the smoke, then the caramelized proteins, then the sauce. Win, win, win, win, and WIN!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
Stubb’s BBQ Sauce compensated me to use their product in this recipe.
- Country style ribs
- Pepper (optional)
- Your favorite rub
- Your favorite BBQ Sauce (I used Stubb's Sticky Sweet)
- Season the country style ribs with salt, pepper and your favorite rub
- Cook them indirect on the grill which means coals on one side and the meat on the other
- Target temperature inside the grill is 300 degrees
- Throw some smoke wood on the coals and close the lid
- Once the ribs reach about 110 degrees internal temperature, sear them over the hot side and then dunk them in a pot of sauce
- Place them back on the side with no coals to get them to the full 145 degrees they need to get to according to the FDA and to caramelize and thicken that sauce
- Remove from the grill and serve