Country Ribs – a great ‘meat candy’ alternative to grilling burgers.

June 8, 2015 BBQ, Grilling, and Smoking meat  No comments

IMG_1478I was in HyVee this morning, picking up a few things for Breakfast, and wondering “what on earth can I get away with throwing at the hordes of hungry children in my house for dinner tonight?”

They’ve been hit with chicken (the best bargain for protein lately at .99 to 1.50 a pound), and hamburger (not such a bargain at 3.50 or more for an 80/20 mix, but a staple). And then I came across the Pork Country ribs at $.2.57 a pound.

They’ve been cheaper, and you can generally get a whole pork loin at 1.89 a pound.  But, still, it’s not an awful price, and inexpensive in comparison to hamburger.  And they’re a treat given the amazing things my wife does to them.

What exactly is a “country rib?” If you look at the picture, in many instances, the country rib cut differs little from a pork chop.

Officially, according to the National Pork Board:

Country-style ribs are cut from the sirloin or rib end of the pork loin. The meatiest variety of ribs, country-style ribs are sold either as “slabs” or in individual servings. These pork ribs are perfect for those who want to use a knife and fork.

Ribs are commonly prepared with either “wet” or “dry.” Ribs rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices are called dry ribs. Such rubs can be applied just before barbecuing. Ribs basted with sauces during the barbecuing process are called wet ribs. For best results, brush ribs generously during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Read that here.

Above, I snapped a picture to share what was left after the first round of serving six of us eating at home this evening. And these pork treats were to die for.   How did my better half cook them? Here’s the recipe, adapted from the Freak’n Good Ribs recipe at allrecipes.com:

3 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 -4 pounds Country Ribs
Directions:
1. In a large baking dish, mix together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, mustard powder, ketchup, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Season with cloves, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Cut ribs into serving size pieces, and place into the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (80 degrees C). Cook ribs in marinade for 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking.
3. Preheat grill for medium heat.
4. Lightly oil grate. Grill ribs to preferred level of doneness, based on temperature, and level of crispiness desired.

The deviations in the recipe from the original are based on the fact that these cook fast on the grill, and the marinade goes a long way. And that you need to make judgements based on the amount of fat left in the meat. The oven cooking portion removes nearly all fat, except from the fattiest cuts. These pieces don’t need much, or else they will come out dry.

As you’ll note from my picture, where one of them got a little dark, you also need to monitor for flare up of the fire.

The meal was outstanding, and we paired it with corn on the cob. I had a bloody mary with it, and that wasn’t bad either.

If you do it right, the meat comes out sweet and juicy. Tonight, in one of the ribs I ate, it was hard to distinguish one of the country ribs from the sweetness of steak.

It was meat candy on a bone. And using a generally inexpensive cut of pork, that’s a great benchmark to achieve.

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