Grilling country-style pork ribs is a tasty way to eat this tender pork cut. These flavorful ribs are best prepared using low and slow cooking methods, which render the meat’s fat, producing a delicious dish.
I learned this pork rib recipe in culinary school years ago, and it has never failed to wow my family and guests. Fortunately, you can also prepare this mouthwatering dish in a few easy steps. Continue reading to find out how to prepare grilled country-style pork ribs.
How to Grill Country-Style Ribs?
- 3 pounds of country-style ribs
- Barbecue sauce
- Barbecue rub (I used SuckleBusters BBQ rub in this recipe)
- Vegetable oil
Start by cutting the ribs. Country ribs are typically longer than a foot, so you’ll need to cut the meat in half to make it easier to handle. Once you’ve cut the ribs, coat them with oil and season them thoroughly with the dry rub.
You have several options for cooking the ribs. You can slow-roast them on a covered gas grill away from direct flames. You can also use a charcoal grill for this purpose. Simply preheat the grill to 275 degrees and cook the ribs away from the direct flame.
Regardless of the method you choose, remember to always cook the country-style rib at a low temperature. This is why I advise you to start cooking the meat with indirect heat, then finish it off on high heat to give it a nice sear.
Allow the meat to cook in these low-temperature conditions for 90 minutes, then turn it over after 90 minutes and brush both sides with your favorite BBQ sauce. I recommend Stubb's BBQ sauce in case you don’t know which to use. Let the meat cook for about four more hours, or until the internal temperature reads at least 145 degrees.
I typically take mine off the grill once it reads 155 degrees because the meat comes out super tender and meaty at this temperature. However, you may not like your country-style ribs this tender, so experiment with different temperature ranges to discover your favorite. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t cook the meat over 170 degrees, or else you risk overcooking the pork.
Step 4: Before taking the meat off the grill, slather it with BBQ sauce and move it to the direct flame to sear for 3 minutes on each side. Pay close attention so the meat doesn’t get too charred.
Step 5: Remember to rest the grilled country-style ribs after grilling so the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Cutting into the meat immediately after you remove it from the grill can cause the meat’s juices to run out, leaving a less juicy cut.
Extra Grilling Tips
- Always preheat the grill before cooking the ribs. Preheating produces a nice sear, which seals in the juices and flavors of the ribs. It also reduces the likelihood of the grilled country-style ribs sticking to the grates.
- Be careful not to overcook or undercook your grilled country-style ribs. Overcooking can cause the ribs to become tough and dry, while undercooking can cause food-borne illnesses because the meat is raw.
- A clean cooker is important for more than just hygiene; it also affects the flavor of the barbecue. A dirty cooker can cause flare-ups and give your ribs a burnt flavor. So, it’s vital to always clean your grill before and after use.
- Some people cook their ribs directly over the heat, which can cause the meat to cook too fast and burn. It’s often better to use a two-zone fire for tender ribs, cooking them away from direct heat and searing them on the hot side before resting the meat.
- Bear in mind that it’s a bad idea to apply barbecue sauce too soon, especially if it’s sugar-based. The sugar can burn, resulting in a charred flavor. For this reason, it’s best to apply sauces closer to the end of the grilling process.
Country-Style Pork Ribs Cooking Temperature
Your grilled country-style ribs will taste differently at different temperatures, from very tender when cooked rare to chewier when well done. Here are the important temperature ranges to cook your ribs at:
- Rare (below 145°F): Rare ribs are exceptionally tender and juicy. You’ll notice a very pink center on rare ribs. The internal temperature for rare ribs is less than 145 degrees, so I generally don’t recommend cooking to this temperature because it is below the USDA recommended temperature.
- Medium-Rare (145°F–150°F): This is my favorite temperature range. Not only is it safer than cooking it rare, but it is also firmer with a meaty bite. Bear in mind that ribs cooked to this temperature look a little pink inside.
- Medium (150°F–155°F): Grilled country-style ribs cooked to medium have no pink hue in the center. I recommend this doneness level for people who haven’t eaten grilled pork. Eating medium-cooked ribs offers a nice balance between tender and chewy.
- Medium-Well (155°F–160°F): You’re entering into dry territory at this temperature. Pork cooked to this temperature tastes chewy with little moisture since the meat’s juices have almost dried up at this point.
- Well Done (160°F+): I don’t recommend cooking well done because of how dry the meat gets.
The exact time it takes to reach these temperatures will depend on the size of the pork meat and your grill’s temperature. That’s why it’s crucial to cook to temperature and not time. I recommend buying an instant-read thermometer and a grill surface thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat and the grill.
What Are Country-Style Pork Ribs?
Country-style pork ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin, close to the pork shoulder.
These cuts have more flesh and cost less than regular pork ribs. Contrary to what you might think, country-style ribs don’t have actual rib bones. But they may have a portion of the shoulder blade on some occasions.
These delicious pork cuts are laced with fat and require low and slow cooking methods to unlock their special flavor. Cooking at a low temperature prevents the meat from becoming burned on the outside and raw on the inside, as well as from overcooking.
How to Store Leftover Country-Style Pork Ribs?
Your grilled country-style pork ribs will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for 3 months. Simply wrap the cooked ribs in cling film and store them in an airtight container. The cling film provides more protection against moisture.
How to Reheat Country-Style Ribs?
To reheat your ribs, simply microwave them for 5 minutes at medium-high and remove them when the temperature reads 165 degrees.
Another way to reheat your country-style ribs is in a hot skillet. Drizzle oil on the pan and reheat both sides for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan once the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Expert tip: If your country-style pork ribs are frozen, thaw them in the refrigerator the night before. The meat should be thawed completely the following morning and ready for reheating. I don’t recommend reheating the frozen meat, or else it won’t cook through.
Best Grill for Country Style Pork Ribs
Fortunately, you can use different types of grills to make country-style pork ribs. Here are three of the best to choose from:
1. Pellet Grill
I love using a pellet grill more than any other grill because of the smokiness and ease of use. In fact, I use a Traeger grill for most of my barbecue dishes. All you have to do on a pellet grill is set the temperature to 275 degrees, get your timer and thermometer, and let the grill work its magic. You can even try different types of pellets on a pellet grill for more unique flavors.
2. Charcoal Grill
A charcoal grill imparts a delicious smoky flavor to your meat. This grill should be your go-to if you want authentic smoky pork. However, bear in mind that controlling the grill’s temperatures can be a challenge. You’ll need to stoke the flame regularly to keep it burning at the right temperature. So be prepared to put in some effort. Luckily, the final results will be worth all that work.
3. Gas Grill
From experience, a gas grill is also easy to use. This grill is not as expensive as a pellet grill, making it a reasonable alternative. A gas grill keeps the temperature stable when grilling so you don’t have to frequently check the pork. Remember to turn off half the gas burners and grill on away from the direct flame.
Best Dishes to Serve with Country Style Ribs
Grilled country-style ribs can be paired with a variety of side and main dishes. Here are some of my favorite dishes to eat with my grilled pork ribs:
- Coleslaw: Coleslaw adds a light and creamy flavor that complements the strong flavors of the pork ribs. You can use the regular coleslaw mix or add more ingredients.
- Mashed potatoes: I love eating these ribs with mashed potatoes because of how tasty and filling it is. The mashed potatoes give the meal a smooth and fluffy base to complement the flavor of the ribs.
- Rice: Rice is a delicious starchy dish to eat with country-style ribs. Just serve the rice at the side of the dish and enjoy the juicy flavors of the ribs.
- Baked beans: Baked beans uplift the flavors of most pork cuts, and country-style ribs are no different. This side combines nicely with the smoky and crispy mouthfeel of this dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I Brine My Pork Ribs?
Consider brining your pork if you want to infuse it with even more moisture. However, brining the meat increases the preparation time as you have to leave it in a brine for a day. That said, I absolutely love the juiciness of brined pork ribs, so I brine the meat when I have more time. If you decide to go with brining, just keep in mind that you’ll need to tweak the recipe ingredients to accommodate the extra moisture and flavor that the brining adds.
2. Can I Cook Pork Ribs in a Slow Cooker?
As you probably know by now, boneless country-style ribs are an excellent cut to slow cook. That means you can also prepare this delicious cut in a slow cooker. Rub barbecue sauce and a dash of salt and black pepper on the ribs, Then, cook the meat until it is at least 145 degrees. Finish off the meat in a 350-degree oven to give the meat a crunchy sear.
Making grilled country-style pork ribs is that easy! Chop, season, and grill the meat and voila. Grilled pork ribs taste delicious with other dishes so you can eat them with other tasty sides. Don’t be scared to use different spices and rub brands. Simply follow these easy cooking instructions and the meat will turn out great regardless of the spices and rubs you use.