How to braise country style pork ribs for ultra tender, flavorful meat. A delicious braising liquid you can convert into a gravy-like finishing sauce.
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Our recipe for braising pork country-style ribs doesn’t require much skill or effort, but always delivers very tender, flavorful meat and enough delicious braising liquid to turn into a gravy or a finishing sauce.
We love to braise with a dark, malt forward beer because it adds depth of flavor and sweetness and in this particular recipe we further flavor the braising juices with ingredients that result in a dramatic color for the dish. You can serve the finished product comfort food style, over mashed or braised potatoes, or brush the tender meat with the sauce made from the liquids and enjoy it with lighter sides like salads, grilled veggies etc.
Understand the Cut of Meat – Boneless or Bone-in Country Style Pork Ribs
Pork country-style ribs are not actual ribs (similarly to beef short ribs). They are a flavorful cut of meat that comes from the blade end of the pork loin, very close to the pork shoulder. They can be cut boneless or bone-in (pictured below). Even though the bone is part of the scapula, or the shoulder blade of the animal, because of their shape they are referred to as ribs, but are much meatier than real ribs. They lend themselves superbly to braising.
You Will Also Need
- Flour, salt and pepper. To coat the pork with before you brown it.
- Vegetable oil. To brown the ribs.
- Onion and garlic. The aromatics for start the flavorful braising liquid.
- Stout and beef stock. The principal liquids for the tasty braise.
- Brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic. To round off the flavors.
How to Braise Country Style Pork Ribs
You can braise pork country-style ribs on the stove-top, in the oven (our preferred method, we recommend it) or in a slow cooker/instant pot.
You can use a braiser, a Dutch oven or another suitable braising pot with a lid, or you can use a sauté pan for the initial stage and then transfer everything to a roasting pan/baking dish and tightly cover it with foil before you slow cook in the oven.
- Brown. Mix the flour with salt and pepper and coat all the ribs, shaking off excess. Brown them in the cooking oil, working in batches and set them aside.
- Make the braising liquid. Sauté the onion and garlic, deglaze with beer, scraping off the brown bits from the bottom of the pot/pan and add the beef stock. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and arrange the ribs into the braising dish.
- Braise. Cover tightly – with lid or foil if braising in a baking dish, moisture should not escape. Transfer to a pre-heated oven and slow cook until the meat is tender to your liking.
How to Make a Gravy (Finishing Sauce) from the Braising Liquid
Do not throw away the braising liquid. You can either save it to add to a future pork braise to enhance the flavor base or convert it into a gravy like sauce to serve with the country style ribs (especially nice if you dish them up with mashed potatoes and drizzle the gravy on top).
- Remove the ribs from the braiser and skim the fat using a spoon (leave some for flavor, but remove most of it)
- Strain the skimmed liquid and discard the solids. Return the strained juices to the braising pot or a sauce pan.
- Bring to gentle boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced to your desired thickness. Alternatively, mix a slurry (1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water) and add it to the simmering liquid as you stir. The sauce will thicken instantly. You can then either brush it over the meat or serve it on the side, or both.
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- 3 lbs country-style pork ribs
- 1/4 cup flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil + 1 more (for onion)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 oz dark beer (stout, porter, brown ale of a dark lager)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (increase to taste)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp corn starch (optional, if making gravy)
STOVE TOP ONLY
1. Mix the flour with salt and pepper and coat the ribs nicely, shake off excess.
2. Heat a Dutch oven, braiser or a a heavy pot with a lid over medium-high, add the vegetable oil and brown the ribs, working in batches. Set them aside and add the rest of the oil and the chopped onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium.
3. Once the onion and garlic soften a bit, deglaze with the beer, scraping off the brown bits from the bottom of pan. Use the entire beer, then add the beef stock, the brown sugar, the soy, Worcestershire and the balsamic. Stir well. Place the browned ribs in the braising liquid.
4. Cover the pot with lid and lower the heat to low. Cook until the meat is tender to your liking, about 2 hours, possibly up to 3.
STOVE TOP & OVEN*
Pre-heat the oven to 300 F. Perform steps 1 thru 3 above. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 2 hours and check for tenderness. If required continue braising a bit longer until satisfied with the tenderness of the meat.
STOVE TOP & SLOW COOKER
Using a heavy pan or pot to perform steps 1 thru 3, but transfer the braising liquid to a slow cooker first and then place the country style pork ribs inside.
Braise until the meat reaches your desired tenderness. On slow about 4 hours, on high about 2 1/2 hours - it depends on your slow cooker. These times are guidelines, so simply test the ribs occasionally and stop cooking once you are satisfied with their tenderness. Also, monitor the level of the braising liquid and if it really reduces a lot, add a bit of water.
TO MAKE GRAVY/FINISHING SAUCE
With a spoon skim the fat from the braising liquid after you remove the ribs. You can leave a bit for flavor, but remove most of it.
Strain the skimmed liquid and discard the solids. Return the strained juices to the braising pot or transfer them to a sauce pan.
Bring to gentle boil until the liquid is reduced to your desired thickness. Alternatively, mix a slurry (1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water) and add it to the simmering liquid while you stir. The sauce will thicken fast.
*If you are not using a Dutch oven or braiser etc. you can brown the ribs, make the braising liquid in a pan/pot and then transfer all to a baking dish. Cover it tightly with foil and braise that way. Check the braising liquid level and add some water if needed.
NOTE: Nutritional information does not reflect the fact that most of the fat rendered during braising is removed from the dish and not consumed. Things are better than they appear:)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 697Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 592mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 63g