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Ribs That Aren't

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2015

Country-Style Pork Ribs recipe are more like pork chops than traditional spareribs or baby back ribs.

We’re not sure how country-style ribs, which we call for in our Sweet and Tangy Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs recipe (see related content), got their name, since they are more like pork chops. Traditional spareribs or baby back ribs feature thin strips of meat separated by rib bones. The former is cut from the belly of the pig; the latter from the loin area near the backbone. Country-style ribs, however, come from the region where the loin meets up with the blade, or shoulder, of the animal. Therefore, they contain a mix of lean light meat from the loin, rich dark meat from the shoulder, and, if bone-in, part of the shoulder blade or rib bone. Even though their name is confusing, we are still big fans of country-style ribs: They are meaty, cook quickly, and boast rich pork flavor.

NOT ALL COUNTRY-STYLE RIBS ARE ALIKE: Don’t be alarmed if a single package of country-style ribs contains a motley assortment of pieces. It’s common to find small and large bones, dark and light meat, and varied marbling.