While not “ribs” at all, Country Ribs are a wonderful (and inexpensive) treat if you have a few hours to cook them tender. The meat makes a great candidate for many flavoring treatments, and is only limited by your creativity. Several of the Dizzy Pig blends really make pork shine. Dizzy Dust and Raging River come to mind first. But for lovers of hot and spicy, the Jamaican Firewalk and Swamp Venom are great ways to put some heat into your pork!
- Rinse the meat if you prefer, pat dry, and rub some oil all around the meat. This is not a necessary step, but it helps the rub adhere and melt. Might also aid in preventing sticking on the grill, and might even make it taste better!
- Shake your rub of choice onto the meat, and let the rub melt in and combine with the juices from the meat (an hour or less)
- Prepare your smoker for indirect at 275°F or low direct at 250°F and a little oak wood. When cooking direct it is a good idea to rotate your grid or flip the meat every half hour or 40 minutes, just to ensure even cooking. Just keep your cooking temps down around 250°F and plan on a few hours.***
- After a few hours they should be starting to get tender. Once a toothpick slides in and pulls out easily, remove pork from cooker to rest. Internal temperature should be somewhere between 175-190°F.
***Country Ribs come in many forms, and the name is confusing. Most of what you see at the store are thick strips sawed from the pork shoulder. Pictured below, the meat is a deep red color, and has lots of connective tissue and a good amount of fat….both on the outside, and marbled throughout the meat. They come in all different shapes, depending on who cuts the meat. Sometimes, under the label of “country ribs”, you will find meat cut from the loin end of the shoulder. These look more like thick bone in pork chops, and the meat is lean. These are better cooked at higher temps, and are not ideal for slow cooking. For good country ribs, a slow cook will break down the connective tissue and the coating of seasoning will develop into a flavorful crust. These get cooked 3-4 hours, until they are fork tender, or a toothpick slides in and out without resistance. For me, this usually happens at an internal temperature of about 180°F.
***The fire here is prepared so I am getting a dome temperature of 250°F, with a light dose of Jack Daniels barrel wood. This particular setup is direct over the coals, but on an elevated grate. The meat is at least 12 inches from the low fire. This cook would also work well with a drip pan, and an indirect setup. With indirect, I would go with a little hotter temps though….maybe 275°F or more.
Have fun cooking, and let us know how they come out!