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When it comes to barbecue, nothing beats a full rack of ribs. When cooked correctly, this cut of meat can be a life-changing culinary experience, especially when it falls off the bone. However, we’re not going to talk about traditional pork ribs. Instead, we’re going to look at how to cook boneless country-style pork ribs on a gas grill. If you haven’t dealt with this style of pork before, don’t worry – we’ll walk you through the different steps to turn a raw piece of meat into a succulent dish that everyone will love.
What are Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs?
The name for this meat is a bit misleading because it doesn’t come from the rib section of the hog. Also, the idea of boneless ribs seems a bit counterintuitive. These “ribs” come from the pig’s shoulder, where the meat is both fatty and flavorful. Butchers call this meat “ribs” because its flavor profile and consistency are similar to pork spare ribs.
Sometimes, this cut of meat will have some bones inside, but they’re not actually ribs. Instead, these bones come from the shoulder blade and scapula. If you notice bones in your boneless ribs, you can usually cut them out or eat around them after the fact.
The primary benefit of boneless country-style ribs is that you get more meat overall since there’s less bone. Better yet, because the meat is similar to spare ribs, the taste is pretty much the same.
How to cook boneless country-style pork ribs on a gas grill: Preparation Steps
Any grillmaster or chef worth their salt will tell you that the secret to great meat is the preparation. The more time you spend seasoning and marinating your ribs, the better they’ll taste. The two main elements you’ll need are a rub and a marinade.
A dry rub is a blend of salt and other seasonings that you massage into the meat. If you’re using a marinade on top of the rub, you’ll want to let the herbs settle into the pork for a few minutes before adding any liquid. Otherwise, your flavors will get washed off the ribs as soon as you dip them into the marinade.
For best results, we recommend seasoning and marinading your ribs for at least four hours before you plan to cook them. Doing this allows the flavors to seep into the meat, making it juicier and tastier.
Fast Grilling vs. Low and Slow
One factor to point out with boneless country-style ribs is that the meat is leaner than standard spare ribs. So, you run the risk of drying the meat out by overcooking it.
For this reason, we recommend fast grilling. While you can cook regular ribs for hours over indirect heat, using that process on boneless ribs can yield much less tasty results. In some cases, you might wind up with some pork jerky instead of a rack of succulent, juicy ribs.
Country Style Pork Ribs Rub Recipe
- 1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp ground chipotle pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Next, add a thin layer of olive oil to the ribs, using your hands to coat every side of the meat. Doing this ensures that the seasoning will stick to the ribs and not fall off as soon as you flip them over. That said, if you add too much oil, it can create a barrier between the rub and the meat.
- If you’re unsure whether you put too much oil, you can test it by patting the meat with a paper towel. If the oil soaks through the towel, you’ve put too much.
- If you’re going to add a marinade, let the seasoning sit on the meat for about 20 minutes. Otherwise, wrap the ribs and store them in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cooking.
Don’t feel like making your own rub? Try this delicious premade rub that is available on Amazon.
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 or 2 tsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- The orange juice will help break down the meat and make it more tender. If you’re not a huge fan of oranges, you can substitute grapefruit juice instead. If you’re combining the dry rub and the marinade, we recommend taking out the mustard and garlic powder from this recipe so that you don’t overpower the ribs.
- Place the ribs in the marinade and make sure that it covers all sides of the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, although we recommend doing it overnight if possible.
Don’t feel like making your own marinade. Try this delicious premade marinade available on Amazon.
How to cook boneless country-style pork ribs on a gas grill: Cooking Instructions
Prepare the Grill
- Since ribs don’t need grill marks, you can place a cooking mat or foil on top of the grating. Doing this will save you a lot of time and hassle later on when you have to clean everything.
- That said, if you prefer to put the meat directly onto the metal, make sure that you coat it first with a non-stick spray or cooking oil. This way, the ribs won’t get stuck to the grating and get mangled in the process.
- Using a gas grill, you should preheat it to about a seven or eight setting on the dial. We recommend keeping one side of the grill off so that you can let the meat sit afterward without overcooking it.
Grill the Ribs
- As we mentioned, over-grilling your boneless ribs will dry them out. Adding a marinade can give you some extra flexibility, but there are limits to how much a marinade can save your meat.
- On average, you should cook your ribs for about eight to 10 minutes per side. Using a meat thermometer, check to see if the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, the meat should be a little pink on the inside if you cut it open.
Add Your Sauce
- You can use premade barbecue sauce, or you can make your own. If you’re going the latter route, you can use the remaining marinade and add two tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of honey to the mix. Boil all the ingredients, and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- You’ll want to add your sauce to the meat once you flip it, so after about 10 minutes. If you like your ribs to be saucy, we recommend adding another layer of sauce before pulling them off the grill.
Let the Meat Rest
- Much of the juice and marinade will seep out if you start cutting into your ribs too quickly. Instead, let your ribs rest for about five minutes after cooking. During this time, you can add another layer of sauce if you like.
- If you want the full rib experience, we recommend cutting the meat into individual strips. While these strips won’t have the same texture or stiffness as regular ribs, they still offer a delicious, messy experience.