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.
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 😉
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.
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).
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.
I like to rub it in a little so it turns into a paste with the mustard.
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.
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
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 videospelautomater, 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.
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.
Serve them whole.. no need to slice or cut unless you are portioning for smaller eaters.