Do you want to make a mouthwatering dinner for your family or friends? Smoked country-style ribs is a meal that is delicious and comforting and will be to the liking of all of the people joining you for dinner.
What are Country-Style Ribs?
Even though they are called country-style ribs, there are actually no rib bones in this meal. They are, in fact, strips of meat cut from the pork butt or loin.
The meat for the recipe is cut from the pork butt and may include only a few pieces with bones from the shoulder blade of the animal. These pieces of meat have beautiful marbling and connective tissue, which will render and become rich and tender when cooked slowly at a low temperature until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
These country-style ribs have more meat and fewer bones than other rib cuts, and when they are cooked and smoked low and slow to the recommended internal meat temperature, they become amazingly rich, tender, and with a big smoky taste. Every bite of this food will melt in your mouth.
The best aspect of this dish is that you can often get these ribs on sale, which will allow you to save money while cooking a delectable meal and nourishing your loved ones.
Additionally, they only take 4 hours to cook, so you won’t have to stand by the smoker for hours.
The smoked country-style ribs go well with rice, and mashed potatoes, or you can shred them and put them on buns with a little of your favorite barbecue sauce.
Remember that you can come across pork country-style ribs that are made from the loin. These shouldn’t be roasted to such a high internal temperature because they don’t have as much marbling and fat. In fact, the ribs will get dry and harsh at any temperature higher than the safe interior temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this recipe, you should look for ribs that have been cut from the pork butt if you want the best results.
If you are not sure about the cut which they came from, you can buy a whole pork butt and ask your butcher to debone and slice it up in 1-1.5 inch thick strips with a width of 2-3 inches, or if you can – you can debone and slice the pork butt yourself.
- Prep time – about 10 minutes
- Cooking time – 4 hours
- Smoker temperature – 225 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit
- Internal meat finish temperature – 185 degrees Fahrenheit
- Best wood for smoking – mesquite and cherry
- Country-style ribs cut from pork butt, boneless, one per person
- Yellow mustard (or olive oil, spicy brown mustard, or BBQ sauce)
- Dry rub – ready or homemade
- Barbecue sauce
A Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Smoked Country-Style Ribs
1. Preheat your smoker
Get your smoker running to a temperature of around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to make sure that the heat which you will be using is indirect and should use a water pan if the smoker doesn’t already have one.
The top recommended smoke wood for this recipe is cherry and mesquite wood, but you can also use apple, or oak, or experiment with any type of wood chips you have.
2. Prepare the meat
Remove the ribs from the packaging and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Wipe them down with a paper towel, and inspect them for any leftover bone fragments. Remove any bone parts left and lay the ribs in a large pan, cutting board, or another preferred utensil. If necessary, trim the strips from any pieces of fat or meat hanging from them.
3. Apply the mustard and dry rub
Use your hands or use a basting brush to rub all sides of each slice of meat with yellow mustard. This is the adhesive that will hold the dry rub onto the meat. If you prefer, you can use spicy brown mustard, olive oil, or any preferred BBQ sauce as a base for the dry rub.
You should make sure that every part of each piece of meat is covered with mustard.
Then you can apply the dry rub of your choice. Sprinkle it on all sides of the ribs, and use your fingers to rub it into the mustard so that you get a nice layer of paste covering all country-style ribs.
4. Place the ribs on racks or pans
This is an optional step. If you already have grilling rib racks or pans, you can use them to lay all the ribs with some space left in between each piece. This is important in order to allow the smoke to reach every part of each rib evenly.
You can use a Weber grill pan or any other pan or cooling rack to lay all the pieces for the cooking. Remember to place the pieces with space in between them for even cooking and smoking.
It is best to let the meat rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing it in the smoker.
5. Smoke the country-style ribs
When the smoker has been preheated, you can place the pork country-style ribs on the grate or in a rack or pan.
We love to use our favorite Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill and smoker for making smoked country-style ribs.
If you happen to have the same grill, here are some useful tips to prep the smoker for the best results.
Start the smoker and set it to the Low Smoke setting for about one hour. This will ensure that there is a lot of smoke and that the temperature is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
After an hour, turn the smoker dial to Hi Smoke or to a higher smoke level. This will increase the temperature to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature for finishing the meat, and will ensure enough smoke inside to make these country-style ribs absolutely fantastic.
Even if the temperature happens to deviate several degrees higher or lower, don’t worry because as long as you keep the average smoking temperature to 225 degrees, then the results will be great.
You should keep the smoke going for at least 2 hours during the cooking, and make sure that the smoke is thin and nice in order to achieve that mouthwatering smoky flavor.
If your smoker has built-in meat probes, use them, or use your own meat thermometer to keep an eye on the internal temperature of one or more of your ribs. We recommend investing in a good quality meat thermometer with at least two probes and wireless connectivity like the Thermo Pro TP20. This will allow you to monitor the temperature of the meat without the need to babysit the grill and without opening the lid or door and letting the heat and smoke out.
With the new Wi-Fi-enabled Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill, you will get four stainless steel probes, which you can name and monitor via the Camp Chef Connect app on your phone without opening the lid or even going to the smoker.
You can set the alarm to notify you when the desired temperature is reached. Since these country-style ribs do not need to be flipped or tended to, you can spend the time doing something else if you have a reliable wireless thermometer and a good quality smoker, which can hold the temperature and smoke level for 4 hours.
If you prefer using a thermometer to check the internal meat temperature manually, you can do so when you are opening the door to add wood or for other purposes with an ultra-fast thermometer like the Thermapen.
On average, you can expect the country-style ribs to reach the internal target temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit at the center for about 4 hours. The time for the cooking though can vary, and depends on different factors, such as:
- The temperature of the pork ribs before being placed in the smoker
- The frequency of opening the door of the smoker
- The ambient temperature and the weather outdoors
- How well are your smoker or you are able to keep the temperature consistent
You can add your preferred BBQ sauce on the ribs when they are about 30 minutes from being done, but even without it, the smoked country-style ribs will be delicious when properly rubbed with mustard and a suitable dry rub for pork.
If you want to shorten the cooking time, you can cover the ribs with foil (leaving some open ends for the smoke to enter) as soon as their internal temperature reaches about 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
In any case, you should smoke the country-style ribs to an internal temperature of 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Let them rest and serve the country-style ribs
When you remove the meat from the smoker, make sure that you let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving them. This will allow for the better and more even distribution of the juices and will make them even more delicious.
After 10 minutes, you can go ahead and serve the smoked country-style ribs with the side, sauce, or other garnish you prefer. There is no need to cut or slice these country-style ribs. Add the BBQ sauce which you like and serve them.
You can also shred them if you will be serving them on buns as sandwiches. Otherwise, they are great with mashed potatoes, rice, or any other garnish you like.
Check our recipe for a smoked pork butt
Ingredients for the smoked country-style ribs:
- Country-style ribs (boneless) from pork butt – one piece per person (or as preferred)
- Yellow mustard, spicy brown mustard, or olive oil
- Dry rub
- BBQ sauce of your choice
Barbecue Time: How Many Ribs Are In A Rack?
Tools you will need:
- A smoker
- Cherry, mesquite, apple, or other wood
- Rib racks, pan, or cooling rack
- A basting brush (optional)
Instructions for cooking smoked country-style ribs:
- Set the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and add the wood chips of your choice
- Rinse off, clean the meat from any pieces of bone and pat it dry with paper towels
- Apply yellow mustard or another preferred base generously on all sides of the meat slices
- Sprinkle and rub in the dry rub on top of the mustard evenly and on all sides
- Let the meat rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature
- Smoke the meat until its internal temperature is 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit which usually takes about 4 hours at a temperature of 225-240 degrees Fahrenheit
- 30 minutes before they are done, you can braise the meat with a BBQ sauce of your choice or cover it with foil for faster cooking
- Remove the country-style ribs from the smoker and let them rest for 10 minutes
- Serve without slicing or cutting them, or shred them if you want to make sandwiches