Smoked Pork Country Style Ribs

Smoked Pork Country Style Ribs

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I have had a quite a few of you ask about smoked pork country style ribs over the last while so I decided to do a write-up on these lovely pieces of goodness brined with Cherry Dr. Pepper for good measure.

In my neck of the woods, the country style ribs are simply pork butt that has been sliced into pieces about 1 inch thick. I do know that this may not be the case where you live so you may want to find out how the ribs are cut and from what area they are cut before you decide to follow my directions.

Having said that, you might also be able to get your butcher to cut a pork butt into these ribs for you if you ask nicely;-)

I have done these on the grill quite often but smoking them is my all time favorite method for preparing these. I am going to show you my method for making these extremely tender and flavorful!

 Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Cook Time: 2.5 hours | Smoker Temp: 225-240°F | Meat Finish Temp: 180-200°F | Recommended Wood: Cherry or Pecan

What You'll Need
How to Prepare

Make your brine using 2 liters of cherry Dr. Pepper and 1/2 cup of kosher salt.


Stir the ingredients well until all of the salt is dissolved


Rinse the country style ribs with cold water


Place the pork country style ribs into a large 1-gallon zip top bag


Pour the brine over the ribs into the zip top bag and zip closed.

Note: it is smart to place the bag down into a bowl to catch any accidental leaks.


Brine the meat in the fridge for about 2 hours or up to 8 hours if you want to do them overnight.

Once the brining process is finished, rinse the meat well using cold water and lay them out so they can be seasoned with my original rub (purchase the recipes here).


Normally, I like to use yellow mustard, oil, or some other sticky substance on the meat to help the rub to stick but just to show you that you don't have to do that if you have a little extra time, I am adding the rub directly to the meat without anything else.

Apply my original rub generously to the top side of the meat and wait for them to get a “wet” look before you flip them over to do the other side.


After about 10 minutes or so, I flipped the ribs over and applied my original rub generously to the other side.

In about another 10 minutes or so, we had the “wet” look that we were waiting for and they were ready to smoke.

Does that look good or what!


While the rub is sitting on the ribs is a great time to go get the smoker ready. I wanted to use my Meadow Creek stick burner for these so I already had it going.

Once the smoker is holding about 225-240°F, place the meat directly on the grates making sure to leave just a little room between them to allow the smoke to get in there and do it's thing.


In about 2.5 hours to 3 hours the meat will be steak tender and about 180°F in the center (you cut it with a knife and eat it like a good steak).

Feel free to paint on some of my original barbecue sauce when they are about 30 minutes from being finished.


Want it Super Tender?

If you like it to be really, really tender (I recommend it), here is what you do. Once the meat reaches about 180°F, place the meat in a foil pan and cover with foil. Place the meat back into the smoker at about 240°F for 1 to 1.5 hours. I recommend checking it after 1 hour and then if you want it more tender, you can go another 30 minutes or so.

I did my latest ones this way and they were extremely tender and the family loved them!

We had this batch with eggs the next morning and you ain't never tasted a breakfast that good!

  1. Brine meat for 2-8 hours depending on how much time you have.
  2. Rinse well under cold water.
  3. Add my original rub generously to all sides of ribs.
  4. Smoke ribs at 240°F for 2.5 to 3 hours or until they reach about 180°F in the center.
  5. To further tenderize, place in a covered foil pan and continue to cook at 240°F for an additional 1 to 1.5 hours.
  6. Sauce them about 30 minutes before they are finished if you like.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

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  1. Jeff, I tried this recipe including the covered pan once they reached 180 for 2 hours. I had marinated for almost 24 hours because something came up and I couldn’t have been here when the reached 180.

    We are in the mountains so things take a little while longer. Well anyway we had them for lunch today and OMG they were so tender and good. The meat essentially fell apart and looked a lot like corned beef.

    Thanks for the idea. Will certainly do it again.

  2. I followed this to the letter but although they came out pretty tender, they were so dry they couldn’t be eaten. I’ve never found a COUNTRY ribs recipe that comes out tender AND juicy, its one or the other.
    I have a pellet smoker and did them on high smoke for 3 hrs, then the foil pan wrapped.

    1. Steve,

      I suspect that the country style ribs you are getting may be cut from the pork loin instead of the pork butt. To rectify this situation, purchase a boneless pork butt and ask the butcher to cut it into country style ribs for you or you can cut it into strips yourself. It should make a world of difference.

      The problem is that pork loin is at it’s best at 145°F since it’s lean and has very little fat marbling. Pork butt is at it’s best at 180°F and above. The longer you cook it, the more tender and juicy it gets as all of that fat renders.

      1. I don’t know the cut or the various cuts unfortunately. My fiancé’ bought them at local grocery store hoping I could make them on the smoker.
        Some ribs strips are mostly bone others in the package almost all meat.

  3. Jeff:

    This is our first post here, but thank you for all your kindness and encouragement over these years!

    We just smoked about 500 country style pork ribs which we cut from Boston butts ourselves and fed our great American heroes returning home with their families.

    We brined the strips of Boston butts first in Cajun brine (we thought of using Jamaican brine but these men and women requested Cajun cooking). Your spicy rub with fresh ground spices and seaonings (the smell was incredible and the taste fresh and poignant!)

    Then we slow smoked with peach and plum chips using apple cider and peach cider sprays and mops. Sauce added during last 45 minutes. We did cook them farther in the gas ovens without smoke and then gas broiled for a crisp char bark. These were so good, so well received, that we are doing it again for ourselves this upcoming weekend.

  4. I could not find cherry dr. pepper so I ended up using cherry cola for this. Still turned out great.

  5. My husband and I just bought a new Treager at Costco and so we wanted to try your Ribs recipe here “Smoked Pork Country Style Ribs” so we bought a BIG :(2) pack of them at Costco and invited some friends of for dinner. We followed your recipe to a T (except we used root beer instead of the Dr. Pepper since that is what we had. Did the brine overnight. When it was time to take the ribs out and eat they were virtually inedible! So salty no one could eat them… We were so disappointed! Wondering what we might have done wrong. Can you help us with this? We MUST have screwed something up.

    1. Barbie,

      As long as you used ½ cup of coarse kosher salt to the 2 liters of root beer, everything was done correctly. I am wondering if the pork country style ribs were already injected with a solution when you purchased them..

      Normally this is not a problem but I have purchased some chops and pork loin meat recently that was a little salty with no extra brining. If you could look at the packaging at the store and see if it says anything about a solution being added that might tell us something.

      I’d like to hear more about this if you find out anything.

  6. I wanted to make a special birthday meal for my neighbour who loves country ribs done on the smoker. I decided to try this recipe and am I glad that I did. My neighbour’s family all said that they were the best ribs they had ever tasted. I served them along with the baked beans recipe from Jeff’s cookbook “Smoking Meat” which, BTW, also was a hit. Thanks!

  7. OK, do you know what happens when you pour 1/2 cup of salt into highly carbonated Dr. Pepper??  You may want to warn your readers about the potential explosion!  After cleaning up the kitchen, the pork is now in the brine. I hope the rest of the process is a little bit less exciting. Thanks for the recipe. 

  8. Hello–

    People give me venison, big hams or shoulders usually. In the past I've cooked them like pot roast, but I wondered if they could be smoked. They're lean. How do you keep them from being dry? Also, looking on line I see stuff about removing lymph glands. I never did that. Where are they and what do they look like? What about aging/hanging the meat? Is it necessary? Some of my hunting friends do their own butchering and some use a professional. It may get done as part of the butchering process, I'll have to ask.

    I looked around the game section of Smoking Meat Forums, but didn't find the info I'm looking for. I might start a thread there as well.

    Do you know of a good reference on preparing previously butchered venison?





  9. Where did the print button go?  I like to print so I can look at it while I am smoking. The menu makes it smaller on the page. I use an iPad.  Than you. Love your rub.

  10. Jeff,

    Help me with cuts of ribs please.  My store has Back Ribs which are thicker and "grainer" than the Baby Back Ribs I eat at the local pubs.  What is the difference between Back Ribs and Baby Back Ribs?