Featuring smoked country style ribs with sweet heat bbq sauce.
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How to Smoke Country Style Ribs

Savory and juicy Smoked Country Style Ribs are dusted with a dry rub and slathered with BBQ sauce, creating a crispy crust with tender meat. These are simple to prepare and smoke fairly quickly, making them a tasty staple for the home.

If you’re a fan of pulled pork or smoked pork steaks or pulled pork, then you’ll absolutely love these smoked country style ribs. The meat is extremely juicy and fork-tender, with plenty of bark and sauce in every bite. Plus, look at that glowing red color!

Serve these up with a generous side of Smoked Baked Beans, Smoked Mac and Cheese, Smoked Potato Skins, or even Grilled Broccoli Crunch Salad.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and convenient. Look, we all love the long cooks like pork shoulder and beef plate ribs, but sometimes we just want to eat. These country style pork ribs are done within 4 hours, which is so helpful.
  • Crispy, juicy, and lots of bark. If you’re a fan of seasoning, sauce, and bark, then these are absolutely for you. Every single bite has a crispy crust holding in the juicy meat. The temperature recommended for this cook ensures the insides don’t dry out.
  • Affordable. Generally, country style ribs are very cost-effective and readily available. They come in all different shapes and sizes which gives you options when shopping.
The country style ribs come in all different shapes, sizes, and sometimes with bones.

What are Country Style Ribs?

Country style pork ribs come from the shoulder area of the pig. Despite the name, they are not actual ribs, but rather a meaty cut that is taken from the blade end of the pork loin close to the shoulder. This cut includes parts of the pork shoulder blade bone and is characterized by a good amount of marbling, which makes it tender and flavorful when cooked.

They can be found bone-in or boneless and are generally larger and meatier than spare ribs or baby back ribs.

The taste and texture are similar to pork steaks and pork shoulder. Expect nice marbling and juicy meat.

Season the pork generously on all sides with the dry rub.

Step 1: Seasoning and Prep

Choose your dry rub, and season the pork ribs. This is extremely straightforward but there are a few questions that will come up. Try using the Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub, shown above.

  • Season the ribs and allow them to rest for at least 30 minutes. The meat will sweat and allow the rub to easily stick to the surface. This is important before smoking them.
  • You do not need to use a binder. If you do choose one, use something flavorful like hot sauce. There’s no point to use mustard or oil, the meat will sweat plenty and hold the rub.
  • Trim anything funny that’s sticking off the sides, but most of the time they are already trimmed.
Smoke the country style ribs at 275°F until they are done.

Step 2: Smoke and Spritz

This is the easy part, I promised you.

Smoke the pork ribs at 275°F until done, which is around 185°F internal temperature. Spritz with apple cider vinegar every 45 minutes which helps moisten the edges.

The overall process will take about 3-4 hours, depending on the thickness of your pork ribs and how many you’re smoking.

Halfway through, I like to flip the pork. Doing so will make sure the heat is evenly distributed and allows you to spritz the underside for the remainder of the cook. This is not required, but I’ve found through testing that this prevents the potential of over-crisping up the bottom side.

Do I Need to Wrap Country Style Ribs?

There are many recipes online that guide you to smoke the country style ribs to about 165°F and then wrap them in foil with BBQ sauce and other ingredients to braise and soften. Some of the recipes will have you remove them from the sauce, and grill them after to sear them.

Personally, I find this set of instructions unnecessary and too much work. You’ll see that my process creates a crispy exterior while keeping the pork meat extremely juicy and moist. It’s very fork-tender and doesn’t require braising.

Sauce the country style pork ribs at the end to caramelize.

Step 3: Glaze with BBQ Sauce

This step isn’t required, but I highly recommend it. BBQ sauce adds moisture and another layer of flavor to the smoked country style ribs.

Once the pork reaches about 170-175°F and they are crispy on the outside, glaze them with your preferred BBQ sauce and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the outside is nice and tacky.

Try using our house sauce, the Smoky Sweet Heat Sauce which tastes incredible on all smoked pork.

Look at how crispy and juicy these country style pork ribs are.

Important Tips

  • If you have thin cuts of country style ribs, make sure you monitor them a little more closely. Don’t be afraid to use a slightly lower temp of 265°F or so, as they will be done faster. Spritzing and flipping will help keep them moist.
  • BBQ sauce is not necessary but does add a nice layer of moisture to the outside. If you want a dry rub with sauce on the side, pull the pork off the smoker when they are crispy around 180-185°F, and allow them to rest.
  • Smoked ribs can be chopped up and piled on sandwiches. You’ll find they have much more bark than pulled pork, and it helps that they are less effort too.
Don't forget a side of bbq sauce with the smoked country style pork ribs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cut is country style pork ribs?

These pork ribs come from the shoulder area of the pig. They are not actually ribs, but rather a cut that is taken from the blade end of the pork loin close to the shoulder. This cut includes parts of the pork shoulder blade bone and is characterized by a good amount of marbling, which makes it tender and flavorful when cooked.

Do country style pork ribs have bones?

Sometimes yes. Cuts may include pieces of the pork shoulder blade bone, but there are no rib bones running in the middle.

Are country style pork ribs lean?

No, they are similar to pork shoulder and will have a healthy amount of fat. They are less fatty than spare ribs, but more so than pork loin or tenderloin.

More Smoked Pork Recipes to Love

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Featuring smoked country style ribs with sweet heat bbq sauce.

Smoked Country Style Ribs

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Savory and juicy Smoked Country Style Ribs are dusted with a dry rub and slathered with BBQ sauce, creating a crispy crust with juicy meat. These are simple to prepare and smoke fairly quickly, making them a tasty staple for the home.

  • Total Time: About 3-4 hours
  • Yield: Serves about 6-8 1x

Ingredients

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Instructions

  1. Prepare the country style ribs. Trim any excess fat that’s hanging off, and season the meat generously on all sides. Allow the pork to rest at least 30 minutes, or while the smoker is warming up to temp. You can prepare the pour hours beforehand if they rest in the fridge.
  2. Smoke the pork at 275°F for about 3 hours. Once the smoker is warmed up place the pork on the grates, giving them some space between each piece.
  3. Spritz every 45 minutes. Using apple cider vinegar (or your preferred liquid) make sure to spritz the edges of the pork every 45 minutes, which helps to keep the moist.
  4. Flip the pork after the first 90 minutes. This allows both sides to fully benefit from spritzing and will crisp up the bottom evenly.
  5. Once the pork reaches about 170-175°F and the bark is nice and crispy, you can glaze with the bbq sauce. Allow the pork to cook for 20-30 more minutes until desired doneness, and the sauce will be nice and tacky.
  6. If you choose to not use sauce, remove the pork when it reaches about 180-185°F and allow them to rest before serving.

Notes

  • The country style ribs may cook with a different amount of time depending on the thickness, and how many you’re cooking. You need to use your intuition and check the temperature. They will be done at any point after 165°F, but are more crispy around 180-185°F.
  • Make sure you flip and spritz, which helps to prevent the bottom from over-crisping.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: About 3-4 hours
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Smoking
  • Cuisine: BBQ
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