Boneless ribs, or country-style ribs, are a little different from the ribs you’re used to eating. As you probably guessed, these bits of meat are rib-like in nature, but they don’t actually have any bones in them.
Before we get into the best ways to cook these “ribs,” there’s something you need to know about this cut of meat.
Boneless Ribs Aren’t Actually Ribs
No one knows for sure why country-style boneless ribs are called “ribs,” but we suspect it’s because the taste and texture is similar to conventional ribs.
Boneless ribs actually come from one of two cuts from other areas of the animal:
- The Shoulder: These are the most common type of boneless ribs, and they’re sometimes labeled as pork shoulder ribs. This cut has a little more fat and more flavor.
- The Shoulder Blade: When ribs come from this cut, the blade-end loin chops are simply cut down into pieces by the butcher. These ribs are often labeled as pork loin ribs. While not as common as the other cut, these ribs have fantastic flavor and marbling.
Now that you know a little bit more about boneless country-style ribs, you can better understand the best cooking methods for this cut of meat.
4 Tips for Cooking Country-Style Boneless Ribs
Use in Stews or for Kebabs for Unique and Flavorful Dishes
The great thing about boneless ribs is that they can be added to a variety of dishes to give them tremendous flavor. The marbling and fat in these cuts of meat allow them to stay moist, so they can be cooked in a variety of ways.
We’ve added boneless ribs to stews and kebabs to give our dishes a rich flavor. You can also use these ribs in stir-fry dishes or tacos.
The key is to make sure that you don’t overcook the meat, or you’ll wind up with a dry dish.
Cook Long and Slow – Or Quick and Hot
Conventional ribs can be tricky to cook. Grilling or smoking are the best methods if you’re looking for good flavor and tenderness.
With boneless ribs, you can cook long and slow, or quick and hot – the choice is yours.
Many people cook country-style ribs in the slow cooker for a flavorful dinner that’s ready the moment you walk through the door.
But the favored method is to cook these ribs in the oven, covered and at low heat, for several hours. Add some barbeque sauce, and flip every 30 minutes or so to ensure the meat stays moist.
Of course, you can also simmer these in sauce or braise for a delicious meal.
Because these ribs are cut into small pieces, they’re also ideal for cooking over high, direct heat – like on the grill. Boneless ribs can be cooked at 400F on the grill for just 8-10 minutes on each side. You can also cook country-style ribs over a lower flame for 1-3 hours.
Always Marinate and Make Sure the Meat is Room Temperature
Whether you plan on cooking your ribs on the grill or in the oven, it’s important to marinate for several hours before you cook.
Marinating tenderizes the meat while adding more flavor.
A variety of marinades are available in stores or even online, but you can also make your own. The key is to make sure that you have something acidic in your recipe, such as vinegar or lemon juice. The acid is what breaks down the collagen and tendons to make the meat easier to chew.
Another important thing is to make sure that the meat is room temperature when you cook it. Take the meat out of the fridge about an hour before you plan on cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Rubs Add Extra Flavor
Just as marinating tenderizes the meat, rubs add extra flavor that really bring your ribs to the next level.
Dry rub mixes can be purchased in the store or online, but you can make your own. One of our favorites combines black pepper, paprika, brown sugar, honey, dried onion and garlic powder.
Feel free to experiment with different spices and flavors to give your ribs a unique, delicious flavor.
When using rubs, you’ll need to massage the mixture into the meat vigorously (hence the term “rub”). Take your time when rubbing in the herbs and spices. Remember, the rub is what will give your ribs flavor, so make sure you cover it well and really massage the herbs and spices in.
Rubs are best for when you’re grilling meat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them when slow cooking in the oven. Marinades can be used with any cooking method.
Boneless country-style ribs are great for grilling, cooking and even pan-frying. With extra fat, you’ll enjoy flavorful, moist meat that tastes almost as good as conventional bone-in ribs. We prefer to use barbeque sauce and our own blend of herbs and spices in the rub, but you can just as easily purchase a marinade and ready-made rub if you’re in a hurry.