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Old 04-10-2010, 09:17 AM   #11
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Country style ribs are much thicker and meatier. Spareribs are mostly bone with meat between and around the bones.

There is no need to par-boil them. They should be cooked low and slow with the seasonings you like. You will have a more flavorful CS rib without par-boiling.

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Old 04-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Spare ribs are primarily most of the rib cage of a hog including the breast bone..With the breast bone (brisket) removed they become St Louis Cut Spare Ribs...Sometimes you will see (or mostly hear) of Kansas City Cut Spare Ribs... Where in addition to the removal of the breast bone the inside flap of meat ( remainder of the diaphragm ) is removed/trimmed off.. Both the St Louis, and the KC cuts have the small end trimmed off to "square up" the slab.~~ At the end of the day the difference is mostly about intrastate rivalry baloney!.

Country Style Ribs ~~ The North American Meat Processors Association says that country style ribs "shall be prepared from the blade end of a bone-in pork loin, and shall include not less the three ribs, and no more than six...plus some additional technical cutting.... They don't seem to be as fashionable as they once were...The "trendy" loin back ribs have the public's favor right now...and loin backs are just country style with loin meat removed...Wonder why anyone would choose loin back over country style?? I suppose they would rather have the trendy Hoity Toity, Artsy Fartsy "baby back" ribs... Even when 99% if them are not true 'baby backs" anyway.

Also, you will see another "Country Style Rib" in your grocers meat case. These are cut from the shoulder...specifically the butt portion....Obviously they are not "ribs" at all...they are just pork butt sliced/cut into strips...Once long ago in my area these "ribs" were labeled as "Western Style Ribs" to differentiate from true "Country Style"....I've not seen them labeled that way in years...So when your retailer advertises "Country Style Ribs...Are they true Country Style (from the blade end of the loin...or are they cut from the shoulder/butt?? Truth in labeling law says that somewhere on the package it must say what part of the hog the meat came from...I often see in bold print.. Country Style Ribs...in small print over in a corner...Pork shoulder..... .In my area those cut from the shoulder dominate the store's displays and advertising....True Country Style are few and far between, but I do find them occasionally in Kroger stores...Most of the time I buy them from a small local processor. HTH

Have Fun!
You have answered a couple questions I've had recently. Many years ago, we used to buy "country style ribs" quite often, when recipes called for spareribs. We liked the fact that they were meatier. We usually cooked them for a bit to render some of the fat and then added sauce.

But recently, after we bought a slow-cooker and cookbook that called for "country-style ribs," the ones I saw in the market did indeed look different. I'll have to check closely, but I bet they are butt cuts, if you will pardon my French. They are quite good, but they are not what I would consider ribs of any kind.

Thanks again, Uncle Bob.

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Old 04-10-2010, 02:37 PM   #13
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There is some meat magic going on here. Spare ribs are, as mentioned by Andy and Uncle Bob, mostly bone, with the well excercised intercostal (rib) muscles joining them together. These muscles are working muscles as they are what cause the chest to expand and contract, thereby causing the lungs to inflate and deflate. They are strong muscles, and have a richer flavor due to greater blood flow, as do all well exercised muscles. They are also fairly tough because of this. Lastly, they have a tough "skin" that encases one side of the ribs. All of this lends itself to braising, or slowly cooking in liquid. This is best done at fairly low temperatures, below the boiling point of water. The meat is ideally brough up to a final temperature of about 190 degrees. This allows the meat protiens to break down and soften., making the meat easier to eat. But cooking in any liquid is going to remove soem of the meat flavor. It's better do slowly roast ribs over a slow fire, basting frequently to keep the meat surface from drying out. Basting with a flavorful mop, or sauce also creates a light crust on the meat that can, if flavored properly, enhance the meat flavor.

Dry rubs can also be used on the ribs, and for the same purpose. And with a dry rub, you don't have to keep messing with the meat (basting).

Country style ribs don't have as strong a flavor as do spare ribs. They are also more meaty. They lend themselves to fast cooking techniques, such as grilling over a solid bed of coals, or pan frying in a lightly oiled pan, or broiling. Country style ribs are difficult to cook with a rub as the rub will quickly burn over higher heat. The exception to this was already mentioned as well. If your put them into a foil pack, and cook slowly, they will remain moist and juicy, and can be flavored with sauces or rubs. Overcooking country style ribs will make them tough and flavorless, as it does with all meats. Boiling meat is a sure way to toughen meat and make it bland. The water extracts the flavors while at the same time, transferring heat much better than air or radiant heat does. The meat becomes too hot (generally above 160'F for most meats, unless braising a tough cut with lots of connecting tissue) and the protiens bind together, squeezing out the moisture and making it tougher than leather.

Spare ribs - low and slow over slow heat, with dry rub or frequent basting is the ticket.

Country style ribs - cook 'em like a steak, preferably to a final temp of no more than 160', or alternately, in a foil pack with seasonings, sauce, or dry rub in a slow oven for a few hours.

And, all pork loves smoke, or I should say, all pork eaters love a good smokiness on their pork.

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