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Smoked Pork Country Style Ribs

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Smoked pork country style ribs are usually cut from the pork butt and since they can get done in about 4 hours, they are a great option when you are trying to get food on the table in a relatively short period of time. You can put these on just after lunch and they’ll be ready for dinner.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 185°F
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite + Cherry
What You’ll Need
About Pork Country Style Ribs

Pork country style ribs are usually cut from the pork butt which has a lot of fat marbling and connective tissue. This means they need to be cooked  way above their safe temperature of 145°F in order to get them tender, and because they have fat to render, this is fine.

Sometimes you will find them cut from pork loin which is lean, not a lot of fat or connective tissue and anything above their safe temperature of 145°F is just going to dry them out and render them inedible.

The problem is that they are not always labeled properly so spend some time looking at a pork butt and a pork loin and you will be able to see the differences in the texture and how the meat looks. You can also ask the butcher or meat person behind the counter and hopefully they will know how the CSR’s were cut.

If you can’t be sure, then just purchase a whole pork butt and ask the butcher to debone and slice it into strips about 1 to 1.5 inches thick and 2-3 inches wide the length of the pork butt. Worse case scenario, get a sharp knife and debone/slice a pork butt yourself.

Step 1: Rinse and Pat Dry

Remove the country style ribs from the package and rinse them under cold water.

Pat them dry with a paper towel and lay them on the cutting board or in a large pan to contain the mess you’ll make by seasoning them ;-)

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Step 2: Mustard and Rub

It’s pork.. very good pork, I might add and as most of you know, that calls for a nice sticky base of yellow mustard to help the rub to stick to the meat.

Go ahead and be generous.. it won’t taste like mustard and it won’t be yellow when it’s all said and done.

Tip: Some alternatives to regular yellow mustard are spicy brown mustard, olive oil or even my barbecue sauce.. all of these work just as well as yellow mustard and gives you some different flavor options.

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Rub it all over with you hands or if don’t want to get your hands into it, you can use a basting brush.

As long as the mustard is completely covering the meat, doesn’t matter how it gets there (within reason of course).

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Sprinkle my Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the meat and make sure you have full coverage on all sides.

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I like to rub it in a little so it turns into a paste with the mustard.

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Step 3: Put the Meat On Racks (optional)

If you have pans/racks like I do, lay them on the rack with just a slight bit of space between each one to allow the smoke to get in there a little bit.

You can also use Weber grill pans or even just ordinary cooling racks if you want.

I usually leave as much room as possible but I had other things to cook and so I had to give them a little less breathing room than usual.

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Step 4: Get the Smoker Ready

Light up your smoker whether that means actually lighting the fire or just plugging it in and dialing in some settings. Do what it takes to get your smoker going at about 225°F.

Make sure the heat is indirect and use the water pan if your smoker has one.

I recommend cherry wood for smoke if you can find it. If not, just use one of your other favorites that you have available.


I enjoy using a Camp Chef pellet grill called the Woodwind for many of my recipes but there are some tricks to getting a good smoke flavor using this type of unit. To maximize the smoke flavor just set it to “Lo Smoke” for about an hour, which will give you a ton of smoke and hold about 180°F and then turn it up to “Hi Smoke” to finish, which still gives you quite a bit of smoke and holds about 220°F.

Camp Chef has engineered their smokers to give the most smoke in these (2) special settings and still holds a pretty good temperature.

The temperature may swing a few degrees above and below your set temperature giving you an average smoking temperature. Don’t get hung up on the swings and you’ll find that the food turns out amazing with lots of smoke flavor.

Check out this awesome cooker HERE

Step 5: Smoke ’em Up

Once the smoker is ready, place the pork country style ribs directly on the grate or use the pan/rack (described above) directly on the smoker grate.

Keep the heat at about 225°F if possible.

Keep the smoke going for at least 2 hours but longer is fine and even recommended as long as the smoke is nice and thin.

If you have a digital meat thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks , place the probe so that the end is about in the center of one of the ribs.

You can also use the super-fast Thermapen to get a quick check on the temperature when you are adding wood or some other task that requires you to have the door open.

You can expect these ribs to take about 4 hours if you maintain 225-240°F but other factors do play a part such as:

  • Temperature of the meat when it goes into the smoker
  • How often you open the smoker door
  • How well you or the smoker maintains the set temperature
  • Wind, rain, ambient temperature, etc.

When the meat gets about 30 minutes away from being done, you can sauce them up if you want. I like sauce on these but they are also very good with just the dry rub.

Another option is to put them into a foil pan, covered with foil once they reach about 150-160°F to help them get done faster and to help them end up more tender.

Smoked country style ribs are perfectly done and steak tender at about 180-185°F.

Step 6: Rest and Serve

You do not have to let these rest for a few minutes but in my opinion, about 10 minutes of rest time before serving does them some good.

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Serve them whole.. no need to slice or cut unless you are portioning for smaller eaters.

Enjoy!

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Print

Smoked Pork Country Style Ribs

Smoked pork country style ribs are usually cut from the pork butt and since they can get done in about 4 hours, they are a great option when you are trying to get food on the table in a relatively short period of time. You can put these on just after lunch and they’ll be ready for dinner.

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Remove the country style ribs from the package and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Pat them dry with a paper towel and lay them on the cutting board or in a large pan to contain the mess you’ll make by seasoning them ?
  3. It’s pork.. very good pork, I might add and as most of you know, that calls for a nice sticky base of yellow mustard to help the rub to stick to the meat.
  4. Go ahead and be generous.. it won’t taste like mustard and it won’t be yellow when it’s all said and done.
  5. Rub it all over with you hands or if you’re squeamish, I suppose you could use a basting brush.
  6. As long as the mustard is completely covering the meat, doesn’t matter how it gets there (within reason of course).
  7. Sprinkle my Jeff’s original rub (purchase recipes here) onto the meat and make sure you have full coverage on all sides.
  8. I like to rub it in a little so it turns into a paste with the mustard.
  9. If you have Bradley racks like I do, lay them on the rack with just a slight bit of space between each one to allow the smoke to get in there a little bit. Cooling racks also work well.
  10. I usually leave as much room as possible but I had other things to cook and so I had to give them a little less breathing room than usual.
  11. Light up your smoker whether that means actually lighting the fire or just plugging it in and dialing in some settings. Do what it takes to get your smoker going at about 225°F.
  12. Make sure the heat is indirect and use the water pan if your smoker has one.
  13. I recommend a mix of mesquite and cherry wood for smoke if you can find it. If not, just use one of your other favorites that you have available.
  14. Once the smoker is ready, place the pork country style ribs directly on the grate or use the Bradley rack (described above) directly on the smoker grate.
  15. Keep the heat at about 225°F if possible.
  16. Keep the smoke going for at least 2 hours but longer is fine and even recommended as long as the smoke is nice and thin.
  17. If you have a digital meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 or the Maverick ET-735 (new bluetooth model), place the probe so that the end is about in the center of one of the ribs.
  18. You can also use the super fast Thermapen to get a quick check on the temperature when you are adding wood or some other task that requires you to have the door open.
  19. You can expect these ribs to take somewhere between 3-4 hours if you maintain 225-240°F
  20. When the meat gets about 30 minutes away from being done, you can sauce them up if you want. I like sauce on these but they are also very good with just the dry rub.
  21. Another option is to put them into a foil pan, covered with foil once they reach about 150-160°F to help them get done faster and to help them end up more tender.
  22. They are done and tender at 180-185°F.
  23. You do not have to let these rest for a few minutes but in my opinion, about 10 minutes of rest time before serving does them good.

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30 Comments

  1. Thanks Jeff,
    These turned out great. Family was very impressed. Thanks for the info about the Loin vs Shoulder/Butt.
    Also, I have a Camp Chef and never realized how the Low Smoke and High Smoke options worked. I used them for this and it worked like a charm!

    Greg

  2. Made these. Tasted great, but were dry. Wondering if I didn’t have a loin set of ribs. Wondering if a brine would work in the future if I had another set of loin ribs.

  3. You had me worried when I read 4 hour cook time and 180 – 185 degree done temp, but who am I to question a recipe. So I cooked this per direction. Once they hit 155 I put them in a covered foil pan for the last 2 hours until 185 degrees . Theses came out great!!! This is a fast, inexpensive and easy way to enjoy bbq, thanks for sharing.

  4. Hey Jeff, Thanks for all of your smoking wisdom – has helped me out big time! I tried your pork burnt ends recipe using CSR, but did not make the connection to shoulder cut vs loin….HUGE mistake! I followed recipe to a tee and ended up with pork nuggets that I could have used as a hammer! The word dry is an understatement…inedible as you state above – that’s what they were. Sadly I invited my son home thinking these were going to be great…thankfully I had some beef chuck short ribs on the smoker at the same time so we could have had at least something to eat! The biggest shame of this is I wasted way too much of my Jeff’s Rub on these pork brick nuggets. Now, live and learn – but I still have 3 # of these left to cook. There is so little fat, I am wondering if it is even worth it to smoke these and pull at 145F, seems they have no chance of being tender and fall-off-the-(imaginary)-bone like I like them. What do you think – give them a try and pull at 145F or relegate them to the slow cooker and move on to a better cut? thanks! – Tim

    1. Tim, it’s always a shame to waste meat but it just goes back to the regulation of naming conventions in the meat industry. In my opinion, CSR’s should have to be labeled whether they come from lean loin meat or fatty pork butt as this affects the cooking method and finish temperature.

      Loin meat can be be tender like good steak and even juicy if it’s brined and cooked to 145 or less but never pulled pork tender even if you did them in the slow cooker.

      With what’s remaining, you might consider placing them in a container, salting them with kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon per pound) and leaving them overnight to brine. Then cut them up into 1 inch pieces and placing them on skewers like kabobs. Season them with a low salt seasoning if you wish and/or brush on a little sauce while they cook.

      225-240°F until they reach temperature. Right off hand, I’m not sure how much time you’d be looking at.. I’m thinking 1.5 hours or so.

      Watch them closely and remove them when they reach about 142-144°F to make sure they are as tender and juicy as possible. I think you will find that they are very good that way.

      1. Thanks Jeff! Going to do this tomorrow, cooking some beef short ribs so will plan to drop them when I think I have about 90 minutes left on the short rib cook. Thanks again!

        1. Jeff, your suggestion was awesome! I followed your guidance, brined the loin overnight, cut into skewers and coated with Jeff’s Rub and onto the smoker. I was amazed at how quickly they got to 145 but I pulled them and they were super tasty and tender, an awesome recovery! Thanks again.

  5. Hey there. Thanks for the recipe. I had a full loin and sliced up some country style ribs from the blade end of the loin. Do you think it would be okay to smoke these following your same recipe, but pulling them once they reach 145° instead of letting them go to 180° like you would if they came from the shoulder? Thanks in advance.

  6. Hi Jeff, when I cooked these in my electric smoker at 225 they shot up to 165 very quickly, in about an hour…so I turned the temp down to 200. That slowed down the cooked and they climbed slowly from 165 to 175 over the next 2 hours. At 175 I put BBQ sauce on them and the meat temp dropped to 155 or so. When they finally got to 185 the meat was pretty dry. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Mark, makes me wonder if these were cut from pork loin (it happens). If that’s the case then they should only be cooked to 145°F which is the proper finish temperature for lean cuts of pork such as pork loin, pork tenderloin, chops, etc. Normally these are cut from pork butt but occasionally you will see these cut from something else. To remedy this situation you can purchase a pork butt, remove the bone (or a boneless pork butt) and slice it up yourself to ensure you are getting the right thing.

      1. Thanks Jeff! They sure looked like pork butt to me, but perhaps I’ll do just that next time and cut them myself. Thanks again.

  7. Jeff, I have country style pork ribs that is labeled pork shoulder. what is a good way to smoke these without getting them to done.

    1. I usually cook mine to about 185°F so that they are really tender but not falling apart like pulled pork. This type of meat has a lot of fat within the meat to keep them moist even when cooking them to a very high temperature.

    1. If they were country style ribs, it is possible that they were cut from pork loin (very lean meat) instead of pork butt (very fatty and flavorful)

      The problem is that pork loin is juicy and delicious at 145°F and dries out if you cook it longer than that. Pork butt on the other hand gets more tender and delicious the longer you cook it which is why it works so well for country style ribs.

      I have seen them cut from both types of meat, side by side in the store on multiple occasions. Frustrating for consumers for sure.

  8. Smoking country ribs for the first time to pair with my brisket and found your recipe. You mention using the probe but never what temp to pull them off? Lol! I use the Mav 733…always! Obviously don’t want them to be pulled pork so not 195 but want them tender and most of the fat tender out so not 160 either. Would like to know what temp you’d pull them if you can. Thanks!

    1. Toby,

      This information is listed at the top of the recipe under “Helpful Information” but I have edited the post to add this information inline as well.

      I usually take these off at 180-185°F.. they are tender but not falling apart at that point.

  9. Beverly, welcome to the world of smoking. Believe it or not, smoking doesn’t require thick white, billowy smoke to impart the flavors. You actually want to get your smoker running, your temperature stable, and Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) coming from the exhaust. If you can barely see any smoke coming out, you can hold your hand over the exhaust for a second and then smell it and you will smell the flavor is still there. I am not sure what sort of smoker you have, but here is a good video tutorial for maintaining the fire on a smoker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS1veMrDOC4

    If you are going by temp using the built in thermometer, most of them are wrong. I suggest getting an external temp probe like the Maverick ET-733 Jeff mentions above. This will allow you to have a probe in the meat telling you when it is getting close and a probe on the grate telling you what temp the meat is cooking at.

    My first smoked chicken came out like yours. Black rubbery skin, with delicious meat. Chicken likes to be cooked at a higher temp. Think about it, do you bake chicken at 225*? I crank up my smoker now for chicken and aim for 350*.

    Keep following Jeff’s page and experimenting. You’ll get there.

  10. not a comment just a question. My husband just got me a combo grill smoker and I am having a bit of trouble with smoking, the first thing I smoked , chicken and pork butt, the chicken skin was black and some of the pork. they both tasted really good well after I took the skin off . It is not a lg smoker and I think if I don’t see some smoke coming from some where it’s not working . I keep the temp at about 200- 250 is that to hot and also everything smokes really fast like in 1-1/2 hrs. I thought smoking was a long time thing. Can you help me figure out what I am doing wrong ? Thank you
    Bev Leoffler

    1. The best thing you can do is buy cook books and follow them as far as temp and times. I never smoke anything over 220. Patience is key. The black is good. It is called bark. If you have bark you are doing it right. Time all depends on what you are smoking and how much it weighs. Butt take longer than a chicken. Tonight I am smoking a Chef Boyardee pizza. So Good. Depending on the air temp has a lot to do with how much smoke you are seeing. As long as you have soaked wood chips in the smoker, trust me you are smoking. Try to resist the urge to open the smoker. Just let it do its thing. You might want to buy a digital temp probe. PATIENCE