Friday, May 23, 2014

Pork This

Most BBQ enthusiasts have favorite cuts of meat. I proved to myself that cheaper cuts if prepared properly can be the most satisfying especially with pork. Then there are the cuts I took a pass on for different reasons. Could be a result of past failure or they were tried and not that impressive to me. Ribs come to mind. When considering ribs the usual choice is back ribs, spare ribs, rib tips or St.Lous cut ribs.

My previous overlooked category are the cut known as country style ribs. I believe these come from the rear of the rib cage. I avoided them in the past because to me they were not my idea of classic ribs. These do not appear to be ribs. I've never seen these on a restaurant menu nor are they used in BBQ competitions. When found in the market they look like a large piece of pork attached to a tiny slice of rib bone. In the past she has made a spicy mushu style pork stir fry using this cut by slicing them into smaller pieces for marinating. Our use for them stopped there.

Since pork prices have more than doubled recently, Memorial Day weekend is coming up and I am now in full-tilt BBQ season I decided to give them a try on the grill.

She found a pork kabob recipe using the country style rib cut. This called for marinating them in a homemade lemon honey spice that formed a very viscous sauce that resembled 90w rear axle lube. Added to skewers after an all day marinate they were cooked direct style on skewers. Along side were green onions and small tomatoes used in a blended dipping sauce when combined with the leftover marinade.

These were juicy, tender and very flavorful.  They were outstanding. The following day the leftover chunks were like pork candy.

Since this cut offered a generous amount of meat for the low price (these days) of $2.19 per pound it inspired me to try making them as I would the more classic rib cuts.

Mixing my own pork rub is my preferred method but our supply of component spices were depleted so I opted for Penzy's BBQ 2000 rub. This is an excellent blend for pork and we had a small jar in the cabinet. We rubbed them and wrapped in foil to refrigerate overnight. All it took was the traditional Weber set up of indirect cooking over foil and a generous amount of hickory to add smoke flavor.  After three hours (three turns after two hours and basted with sauce) they were much better than they had to be. Tender and juicy they were best eaten with knife and fork. One point to note is a large fat vein running through the middle which was easily navigated. No longer are country style ribs on my overlooked list of pork cuts.

Give these a try they taste as good as traditional ribs. You will save a few bucks and enjoy a big meaty BBQ rib experience too.


Dan from Madison said...

LOVE these. They are actually from the other end of the pig, just the other side of the shoulder. This is right behind my favorite cut of all, the shoulder roast. Tons of fat up in that area and many great ways to prepare it.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Good link thanks. My country ribs did not appear the same as what is shown there. On their photo I can see the Y shape shoulder bone while mine had a very short oval rib bone at one end. Next time I will send you a raw image of this cut as I buy them.

My favorite cuts they show are Cushion Meat and Pork Bung. No mention if the two are found close together tho.

Dan from Madison said...

The country ribs are an odd cut and marketed many different ways. When I recently visited some relatives they were boneless, and shaped almost like spare ribs. The feathering of the bones in that part of the hog I think makes it hard for them to come up with any sort of uniform shape to market them with.

I think a lot of times that you actually get some shoulder in there from the proximity.

Any way you "slice" it, it is a very good piece of flesh for the money.

I should add that if you ever come to Wisco, I highly recommend the class I took on butchering a whole hog at Bolzano in Milwaukee. It only took a couple of hours and it was super informative (you can see the posts on this on the sidebar under "whole hog butchering").