I was introduced to grilled country style pork ribs fairly late on in my life. In fact, it was one of my friends who first showed me how to make them.
Armed with the initial recipe, I decided to play around with marinades, rubs, and temperature until I found the perfect combination.
In this post, I will give you the best ever grilled country style ribs and give you the main guidelines to get it just right. Let's begin!
There is something very important that I need to share with you before we go any further - country style pork ribs aren't actual rib bones at all!
That's right, they are blade steaks or pork chops. They are taken from the blade end of the pork shoulder. This cut can include the upper portion of the rib bones but they can be boneless as well.
The true country style ribs have a lot of fat and connective tissue. This makes them incredibly flavorful.
Now, this cut is meatier than regular pork ribs like baby back ribs or spare ribs. However, if you simply can't find country style pork ribs anywhere, then you can use either of these options as substitutes.
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
Place ribs in a baking dish and pour the marinade over it.
Marinate the pork ribs for one hour, flip over and let marinate for another hour.
Combine the ingredients of the dry rib in the bowl
Shake the excess marinade off and cover each country style rib in the dry rub.
Preheat grill to 225 F or low heat.
Oil the grill grates.
Place the pork ribs on the grate and close the lid.
Grill the ribs until the internal temperature reads 110 F. Flip the grilled country style ribs over at the halfway mark.
Open the lid and baste the ribs with BBQ sauce. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
Open the lid, flip over and baste.
Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature registers at 145 F.
Take the ribs off the grill and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
If you want your country style ribs to cook faster and more evenly, take them out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes before you plan on smoking them.
Make sure that you don't leave the pork ribs out of the counter for more than an hour, though. If you do, there is a higher risk of food poisoning.
I would also suggest keeping the meat covered.
You may have found some recipes that don't use a marinade and may be wondering if it is really necessary.
Technically, no, you don't need a marinade for grilled country style ribs. However, I have often found that pork really benefits from it.
As mentioned, country style pork ribs come from the pork shoulder and, as such, tend to have lots of fat and connective tissue. If you want really tender grilled meat, then you need to ensure that some of these components are broken down and tenderized.
A marinade is a great way to do this.
I have also found that the marinade adds a tart, sweet, and tangy flavor that works well with the dry rub, particularly once the pork is grilled.
It is important not to over marinate the country style ribs at the same time. Make sure to only keep them in the marinade for around 2 hours.
I have experimented with various dry rub ingredients but I have to say that this mix is my favorite. All the components work really well together.
At the same time, this may seem like a lot of flavor addition, particularly if you are marinating the meat ahead of time.
In this case, I would suggest just using kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder in this mix. Whatever you do, though, don't skip out on the rub completely!
Remember that the preheating and cooking preparations will depend on the type of grill that you are using.
With a pellet grill or electric grill, it is just a matter of selecting your desired grilling temperature.
When it comes to a gas grill or a charcoal grill, however, the process is a little different. Here, you have to set up two zones - one with indirect heat and the other with direct heat.
On a gas grill, this would mean that the burners on either side of the middle one would remain lit while the middle one was off.
You will grill the ribs on the burner that is off.
With a charcoal grill, you will the coal on one side and leave the other side empty. The country style pork ribs will be placed over this area.
Always oil the grates before you placing the ribs on them. This ensures that the ribs don't get stuck to the grates.
Not only does this make your life a lot easier, it also ensures that you don't lose any of that delicious rub along the way.
Pour some oil into a small bowl. Then, scrunch up a paper towel. Use a pair of tongs to pick up the paper towel and dip it in the oil.
Don't soak the paper towel too much as you don't want the oil to drip onto the coal or flames below. This can cause flare ups.
Then, using the tongs, rub the oiled paper along each of the grates.
There are a few different tactics that you can use when making grilled country style ribs.
The method that I used in this recipe is a low and slow cooking style. This is great for ensuring that the meat turns out nice and tender.
At the same time, it does mean that you have to cook the pork ribs for longer.
Your other option is to crank the grill up to medium heat or 350 F. This is great for getting nice and crispy layer.
Here, you should let the meat cook for about 5 minutes flip it over and cook for 5 minutes more. Then flip the ribs over and baste. Wait for 5 minutes, flip, and baste.
If you are looking for the best of both worlds, then you can start by cranking up the temperature to 350 F on the grill.
Let the pork ribs cook on each side for about 5 minutes. Then, turn the heat down and cook for longer at a lower temperature.
Start basting about 30 minutes before the meat is done.
I am always surprised to find a recipe that still only relies on time. I realize that this is how people used to do it in the old days but it is just not a reliable option.
The rate of cooking can depend on a lot of different factors. This includes the size and the thickness of the country style ribs. Each grill is different as well and can produce varying levels of heat.
This is why you should always use a meat probe to track the internal temperature. When the temp reaches 145 F, it is cooked all the way through.
If you want to ensure that you won't overcook the grilled country style ribs, then you can take the meat off a little earlier.
This is because even once the meat is removed from direct heat, it will still continue cooking for a bit.
If you do take the country style pork ribs off the heat earlier, make sure to rest them for a bit longer as well.
This is yet another step that is optional. A lot of people prefer not to baste their ribs.
In fact, if you are going all in with your dry rub, I would argue that your grilled country style pork ribs don't actually need the sauce.
However, I feel that slathering the ribs in BBQ sauce gives it an authentic barbecue taste.
If you aren't sure whether or not you should baste, I would be suggesting basting only half the batch. This will let you know which method you prefer.
You can also try basting the grilled country style ribs less. About half an hour before the ribs are done, apply a thin layer of sauce. Close the lid and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Flip the ribs and apply a thin layer of sauce and then cook for another 15 minutes. This will create a light glaze on the ribs but will not be overpowering.
I do want to give you a tip here, though, regarding the BBQ sauce. Now, if you have a favorite barbecue sauce, then you should definitely use it on the ribs.
In case you don't, you may want to think about whipping up your own batch. I have found that nothing quite compares to homemade sauce. And, it doesn't even take long to make.
In fact, you don't have to use barbecue sauce if you don't want to. There are lots of other options. Some people prefer a lemon honey basting liquid while others will go for something peppery and spicy. As such, you can experiment with various flavors and find out which one works for you.
When choosing the basting sauce, I would advise you to think of the rub that you are using. Make sure that the sauce complements the flavors of the rub. This creates a far more cohesive flavor profile.
The exact timing will depend on the cooking temperature. It can take anywhere from an hour to two hours or longer.
While this is a common enough practice, there is no need to go through this extra step.
If you wanted to know how to make the most delicious grilled country style pork ribs you know have all the tips you need. Follow these to the letter and you will be amazed by what you whip up!