Slow and Low Country Ribs

BBQGrillGluten-FreeRibs

BBQ Pork "Country Ribs" - cut from the shoulder, cooked slow and low, and glazed with the barbecue sauce of your choice! This country-style ribs recipe teaches you all you need to know.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When it comes to the grill or barbecue, I defer to my colleague Hank, especially when it concerns meat. Here he shares his country style ribs recipe, or how to cook “country ribs,” slow and low. A favorite! ~Elise

Country Style Ribs Recipe

Country ribs. Big slabs of porky goodness cut from the shoulder of the hog. Sold boneless or bone-in, these are nothing like a rack of ribs. They are pork logs, laced with fat, and require slow, low-temperature cooking to become delicious.

That’s the downside: You can’t do a fast country style ribs recipe.

The upside is that country ribs are all meat, so you only need one to fill you up. In fact, I slice them in half because a full rib, which can weigh a pound, can be too much for some people.

How to Cook Country Ribs

The best way to cook country ribs is over a wood fire, but you can cook them on a charcoal or gas grill, or even in the oven. Just repeat after me: Slow and low.. slow and low…

You’ll want to sauce these country ribs with something. It can be as simple as cider vinegar, or you could use your favorite barbecue sauce. To accompany this country style ribs recipe, we chose a sweet and spicy Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce.

Slow and Low Country Ribs Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 country ribs, about 3 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • The barbecue sauce of your choice

Method

1 Cut and salt the ribs: Country ribs are usually more than a foot long. We recommend slicing them in half before cooking, as they'll be easier to handle. Coat the ribs in oil and then salt them well.

Much of the fat will render away in cooking, leaving a crispy-salty-fatty bit you will be fighting over with your friends.

2 Slow cook the ribs for 90 min to start: To cook the ribs, you have several choices. You can bake them in a 250°F oven (line a baking pan with foil and cover the pan).

You can slow-roast them in a gas grill (covered) with half the burners turned off (put them on the side that is not over direct flame).

You can set up a large charcoal grill like a smoker and cook the country ribs on the cool side (again covered). But best of all would be to build a wood fire on one side of the grill and slowly barbecue these ribs over woodsmoke.

No matter what you do, let the ribs cook untouched for 90 minutes. At the 90-minute mark, turn them and paint them with your barbecue sauce – we like the sweet-spicy Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce for this, but you could also use a South Carolina mustard-based barbecue sauce, a Bourbon BBQ sauce, or a traditional Kansas City-style sauce.

3 Then, every 30 minutes or so, turn your ribs and paint them again with the sauce. How long to cook? Depends on how hot your fire is. At least 3 hours. Maybe as many as 5 hours. You really, really want to slow-cook these ribs because they are pretty fatty. The slower you cook them, the more fat renders out and the smoother your ribs will be. Take your time.

4 Move to hot side of grill or broil: When the meat begins to fall apart – you’ll notice this when you turn the rib – you’re ready for the final step. Paint the ribs one more time and then move them to the hot side of the grill. If you are using the oven method, move the ribs to the broiler.

Let the ribs cook a minute or two so the sauce can caramelize. Pay attention, and do not let the ribs get too blackened. A little char is good, but you don’t want a briquette.

Serve with coleslaw, potato salad, deviled eggs or whatever you’d like. Oh, and napkins. Lots of napkins.

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Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

More from Hank

67 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Robin Lancaster

    Ok, I’m confused. I want to cook them in a gas grill. It’s hot in the summer. I want the heat outside. I don’t want to precook, pressure cook, microwave or anything. I want to put them on the grill. You probably won’t see this before I want to make these, but here goes anyway.

    1) In a pan … yes or no?
    2) If they are supposed to be in a pan, is the pan covered with aluminum foil … yes or no?
    3) If covered with aluminum foil, is it pierced … yes or no?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Steve T

    I’ve yet to make these but the simplicity and reviews I read will have me do so.

    However, I’m going to stick to the oven for most of not all of the prep.

    The comments about a wood fire are lost on me as this is a covered recipe. If you are covering the ribs, no smoke can penetrate, therefore the end result would be the same as oven cooking.
    There is the last step of carmalizing over the wood which would impart the smallest flavor, but in this case moving to a recently lit grill would make more sense given the ease of sustaining 225 degrees in the oven.

    There also would be minimal smoke flavor from the wood as once the fat is rendered and the ribs are cooked, they are going to accept very little smoke.
    If you are adamant about natural wood smoke flavor (not from liquid smoke) you’ll need to cook uncovered from the beginning and “wrap” a pan after two hours of cooking.

    I suspect, however, the reason these ribs are so tender is the steaming in juices of a covered pan, so I’m going to go oven myself.

  3. Elizabeth

    This technique worked perfectly, in the oven and with my own bbq sauce concoction. I’ve never done ribs this way and it was a Fathers Day hit. Thank you! Low and slow, low and slow, low and slow…

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  4. Diana

    Perfect instructions! I baked them at 250 with the foil tight around the baking pan. After 90 minutes, I turned them over and basted them every 30 minutes. It took about 5 hours. Next step to barbecue them slightly for the char! Sooooo Good!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  5. Nmb

    Making this now in the oven. Used apple cider vinegar and dry rub. Has anyone ever put potatoes and other vegetables in with the ribs as they cook?

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