Slow and Low Country Ribs

Pork country ribs, cut from the shoulder, cooked slow and low, and glazed with the barbecue sauce of your choice!

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


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


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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  • Pam Poynter

    I never put ribs in foil because they get soft and mushy and they steam. I prefer a rub and then roasting on a rack in a sheet pan. When just about done, I baste with a little BQ sauce that I’ve mixed with a small amount of fruit juice and a little oil. The baste caramelizes and after sitting for about 10 minutes, they are ready to eat. But I live in Iowa and we have the best home-grown pork!

  • Shara

    Ok so I’m cooking the ribs in the oven, there is a lot of liquid in the pan. Do I drain it or let them cook in their juices?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Shara, let them cook in their juices. The juices will all evaporate anyway when you broil the ribs in the last step.

  • Tommy

    Just used this recipe and THANK YOU!! A thousand times thanks, it was the most tender ribs I’ve ever eaten!!

  • Suzy

    I’m cooking my ribs in the oven. Do I continue to cover them after the 90 minutes is up, after each application of BBQ sauce or uncover then?

  • Andra

    Waaaaaay too salty, guess I was too liberal with my kosher sea salt??

  • Beth

    Does “line pan with foil and cover the pan” mean that I should completely cover the pan with foil, then set the ribs in the foil-covered pan, OR does it mean first cover the pan with foil, then place the ribs on the pan, THEN cover the ribs and pan with another layer of foil?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Beth, the purpose of lining a baking pan with foil is to make it easier for you to clean up after cooking. The baked on fat and BBQ sauce will be hard to clean otherwise. So, line the pan with foil. Put the ribs on the foil-lined pan, and then cover the pan. If you are using a roasting pan that doesn’t have a cover, you can cover it with foil if you want.

  • Marcus

    My country ribs turned out great using this recipe! When I’ve cooked them in the oven there seemed to always be something missing. Using this recipe, I cook my country style ribs over charcoal and also used a “smoke box” filled with hickory. I made my own sauce and boom! My country ribs ain’t missing anything now!!

  • Linda L.

    I have a question…Is there a way to start these in the oven and then finish them on a gas grill? What would you recommend if this can be done timing wise?

    • Elise Bauer

      Not sure what to recommend, if anyone else has a suggestion, please chime in!

    • Janne Gibbs

      I have done that for years. I used to pressure cook my ribs with seasoning & some BBQ sauce to make them tender and then drain the fat off, brush them with BBQ xauce & place them on the BBQ grill. Just have to be careful, how tender or small you make the pieces, because they can fall through the grill. In recent years, I place them in a roasting pan with only salt, pepper & seasoning salt mixture and slow-low bake them covered in the oven (200-225 degrees for 4-5 hours. During that time I remove excess fat a few times, and in the last hour, baste lightly with BBQ sauce & leave foil/cover off to give more flavor. Then they are ready for BBQ on the grill with thick sauce basting during the grilling – I like briquettes best, but gas grill works too. Good luck!

      • Mrs. Sl8er


    • Leta Eshleman

      That is what I do with mine. After they are done, I put on the grill to give them the smoke flavor and brown them. They turn out great!!!

    • Dan D

      I usually do this I cook the ribs in the oven at low heat until tender and finish on charcoal grill high heat just for the char I don’t sauce them until the grill

  • Jeremy

    Hi Hank, I have a question. I have 1 and a half to two pounds of boneless country rib. My question is: Do I cover them if using an oven, considering that they’re boneless , and should there be any time or temp adjustment for that reason as well ? Thanks

  • Kwally

    I followed the cooking suggestions that I’ve read from the recipe as well as the comments. I must say that my ribs turned out wonderful!!! I made two batches… One in the traditional Chinese Char Siu style and the other using Tony Roma’s Honey BBQ sauce. I let my ribs marinate in the sauces for a few days (unseasoned…. my rationale is there is a lot of seasoning and flavoring in the sauces…so why add more salt/sodium or sugar??)

    I was worried about over cooking the ribs (as I have done in previous attempts… with high heat settings….) However, tonight… I actually started off with my oven set to 200F. I used foil pans (easy to cleanup…just toss after use) and covered with foil paper. I followed the 90-minute suggestion however at 60-minutes (1hr) I checked the oven and it was as if it was just warm… so I turned the heat up to 250 and cooked it the rest of the time on that setting. I finished the last 30-minutes to hit the 90-minute mark… I then turned the ribs and dipped each one back into the sauce and put them back into the pan… I recovered the pans and put them back into the oven and let it roast in intervals of 40-minutes instead of 30…. Starting at 1130am, I let the ribs cook for 90-minutes, I continuously turned the ribs at 40-minute intervals basting every other turn until about 4:30pm…. approximately 5 hours. At 4:30 I opened the ribs and decided they had roasted enough. I used a new pan for the ribs this time to broil them as to get a nice char (hence the name “Char” siu)….. I did that turning every 4-5minutes to char all sides…

    I broke off a piece… the ribs just tore apart easily and the fat…. oh my goodness… they fat… melted in my mouth. Overall, the I think I could have stopped baking at 3:30-4:00pm (4-4.5hrs) and the meat would have been just perfect.

  • Linda Barner

    OK so I don’t often make ribs because pork has changed and become drier tasting to me. BUT I do love country style ribs. I have made these type of ribs this way but my questions is this: does everyone here really cook their ribs on 250 F?
    It seems this could take anywhere from 3-6 or longer hours? I just don’t see anyone doing this.

    I do hope I am wrong though and I am cooking mine in the oven right now. I did initailly have my ribs set at 300 F but reduced the heat to 250 F after reading your comments. I hope this does not take 4-6 hours to make.

    So I also brined my ribs overnight and hope this will add the extra sweetness I am looking for from supermarket ribs. Comments appreciated on how long this should take to cook cause so far I have anywhere from 90 minutes to 6 hours. Wow…….

    • John

      That is kind of the point to low and slow cooking. If you can’t wait 6 hours for delicious ribs, you should never try smoking a brisket, haha. That takes up to 15 hours!

  • Eugenia

    I made this recipe last night! WOW. I baked mine in the oven since it’s a bit cold here at the moment (January 2015). L O V E D this recipe and will consider making it again! Thanks Elsie!

  • Dana

    I have a question . I just bought a charcoal grill and I been wanting to make ribs. I’m afraid I’ll mess them up though. You mentioned to slow cook them. What degrees should it be. I have a thermometer on my grill . How long do I cook them. Thank you

    • Elise

      I would say about 225°F.

    • Adam

      Don’t use the thermometer on the grill! They’re crazy inaccurate. Use a good digital probe thermometer and stick it through a ball of foil directly onto the grate to give you a good accurate reading. Those dial thermometers can be up to 50 degrees off.

      Check out this site for more grill tips, I found it a few years ago and its been my right hand man when grilling/smoking/etc. –

  • Michelle

    I realize that the ribs should not be place directly over the heat of the gas grill, but what heat should it be turned up to? Low, Medium, or High? Thanks!

    • Elise

      Hi Michelle,
      It depends on your grill. You want to maintain a temperature of between 225°F and 250°F for slow cooking. I would warm up the grill first on high, then turn it to low, and make sure the ribs are not over the burner. Every grill is different, so you may need to experiment to see what works best for you.

  • Mary

    Hank, I plan to make these in the oven. Do I cover them with foil in the oven the whole time? Thanks, Mary

    • Elise

      I’m guessing that the best way to make these in the oven is to keep them covered with foil for the first part of the cooking, and then when you start basting them with sauce, take the foil off.

  • Kimberly

    Made these, they would have been great, but WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY TOO SALTY. It might be a good idea to give an actual measurement of salt of saying “…salt them well. Use a little more salt than you think you should…”

  • Jillian

    Kudos to you for making me look like a pro in the kitchen! I made these today with the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce, and now my family is rolling around in misery from stuffing ourselves so full. I paired the ribs with your grilled corn on the cob…and oh my! It was the best corn on the cob we’ve EVER had! Thanks again!

  • Penelope

    Loved the ribs cooked low and slow. Will do this again for sure. We had less good fortune with the Dr Pepper bbq sauce. Had to go buy a bottle because it just smelled and tasted funky. Don’t know what happened – the ingredients were all fine standing alone, but together, it was one hot mess. Willing to try again sometime as it could have been user error.

  • rose

    ok hank, i need some advice.
    i made these last night and although delicious, only one of the ribs really got tender. I noticed that the fat content was higher on that particular rib – would have have something to do with it?
    my question is, did i overcook or undercook the other ribs? they were yummy, and as it turns out, my fiance liked the slightly tougher ribs because they were less fatty, but since i know how they were supposed to turn out, i could tell something was up.
    would love your insight or tips! thanks!

    Definitely a fat content thing. The rendering fat moistens the meat, and also separates it into chunks connected by the fat. The all-meat ones lack that and so need a little longer to cook. Bottom line, give them a little more time and they should all be tender. Hope that helps! ~Hank

    • Bali

      Ok, so this is an old recipe and comment, but I’m in the middle of trying it now, and this response may be the most helpful thing I’ve run across about cooking “low’n’slow” yet! I always thought “oh no, it’s gone overcooked” because they’ve turned out … not particularly tender, when I just winged it- this is the first time I’ve seen the advice to actually cook it *longer*, not for *less* time… thanks for saving my meat! ~grin~

  • Gracie

    I made these the other day in the oven, with my own sauce, baked for about 4-5 hours and they were FANTASTIC. Slow is the way to go. Even better the next day for leftovers.

  • Lisa

    I made this recipe today after showing the post to my husband. I did the oven version with our favorite sauce and they were fabulous. He can’t stop talking about them. They were falling apart when they came out of the oven. Ours had some bone and I left them in about 5 hours. Will definitely be making them again in the future. I plan on throwing some whole cloves of garlic in the pan with them next time to cook along with the meat. We’ll also try the Dr. Pepper sauce next time. Love the site, keep up the great work!


    These ribs are wonderful & that Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce is excellent!! I made these over the weekend & both my husband & even my 3 year old thought they were great! I will be making these ribs again & again! Thanks so much for both recipes!

  • Nate @ House of Annie

    We use country-style ribs to make char siu. Roasted is good, grilled is better, and barbecued is definitely best!

  • T Jones

    lol… I have to laugh at this, because I spent quite a bit of time this weekend looking for a good simple approach to cooking ribs and somehow I missed this and this site is usually my first stop for recipes/tips…

    Either way, Thanks for the info! I’ll be using this approach on my next batch.

    I was cooking goat ribs and used the marinade on this link. Came out great with a good amount of caramelization. It wasn’t as sweet as more storebought sauces, but still had very nice flavor :

  • Malinda

    Dr. Pepper ribs are my favorite. Your recipe is very similar to the one that I use. In addition saucing the ribs, I also marinate the ribs overnight in Dr. Pepper. Looking at the sauce recipe, it’s also very similar,except mine has no orange juice and there’s cinnamon added.

    Great recipe! Thanks for posting. The picture alone makes it look absolute delicious.

    BTW, I made Hank’s bbq sauce (posted a couple weeks ago) the other night. Hands down one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Everyone loved it.

  • emily p

    In case anyone is lamenting their lack of a grill, like me, try using a slow cooker/crock pot. As Hank suggests, for the first several hours I just cooked the ribs seasoned with a chili rub (I did add about half a cup of liquid — I used Coke, which I found suggested somewhere on the Internet, but I don’t know why that would be better than, say, chicken broth or beer), then added the barbecue sauce for the last hour or so. A few minutes under the broiler to finish them up, and we had a fantastic dinner :) Not as delicious as cooking the ribs over a wood fire, but it was nice to be able to start them in the morning and then move on to work!

    PS I haven’t posted a comment before, but I LOVE this website! I know I can always trust recipes posted by Elise!

  • foodess

    They would be delicious with a maple bourbon barbecue sauce!

  • bertnlaura

    Hubby and I made these this afternoon with the Dr. Pepper sauce…what can I say? Unreal…I baked them in the oven at 250. I put them in at 12:30 on a foil lined sheet and did not look at them again until 2:30, at which time I started basting every thirty minutes. After about three hours, the meat started pulling away from the one rib that had a bone. After four hours they were tearing slightly when I turned and basted. At that point, hubby fired up a hot grill and he put them over adirect flame for one minute on each side. This made the sauce caramelize and gave beautiful grill marks. They could not have been more perfect! Thank you dor such a wonderful and easy rib recipe!!


    I’m embarrased to admit I’ve never made ribs before. I’ve definitely had them at restaurants and friends homes but never made them myself. When I do muster up the guts to make them, I will check back with your recipe. Thanks!

  • Rhonda

    Sounds really delicious. Any guesstimate on how much time they would need in a 250-degree oven? Thanks!

    Check after 2 hours. It might need as many as 4 hours, though. ~Hank

    • Dave

      Tried this in oven @ 250. After the initial 90 minutes they looked done. Added bbq sauce per instructions, lowered temp down to 225 and put them back in for another 30 minutes. Just pulled them out and cut into the center of one to check if done. Yep. Totally done.

      If you’re using an oven and you want to slow-cook — do NOT cook at 250 for 90 minutes. Next time, I’m dropping it down to around 200 (or less).

      • Lisa

        Did you cover the 1st 90 minutes? I’m torn on whether to cover or not!

  • chris

    dumb question: when you use the gas grill, do you close the lid?

    Yes. ~Hank

  • Susan

    These do make for some good eating! I agree with you, low and slow is the only way to cook BBQ style pork or most well done meats, really. We like to add garlic to pork along with the salt and pepper. We cook the meat on heavy foil that’s been pierced with holes to allow some dripage to make smoke, and sprayed with quick release spray. We move the meat to the grill racks for finishing. The foil keeps the flame ups from blackening the meat before the final basteing with the sauce for caramelization. That Dr. Pepper sauce sounds really good. Will give it a try next time we do some ribs. Thanks, Hank!