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What are Country Style Ribs? For a Start, they Don’t Contain a Rib!

Lean, well-marbled, packed full of flavor, and perfect for slow cooking, but not actually a rib! So what are country style ribs? Let's find out all about them below.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: August 25, 2020 | 7 min read

Beef bbq bites with a green herby sauce

Sounds like a recipe I hear you say, not a cut of meat. So, what are country style ribs?

Well first and foremost, they aren’t a recipe, or even ribs for that matter. They are a cut of meat from the chuck primal that is split into small steaks that resemble meaty ribs, but they do not come from the rib cage and have no bone.

Well-marbled with some interconnective tissue and fat ribbons, you’d be forgiven for thinking they are ribs. While several cuts can be used for country style ribs, the preferred and agreed traditional cut is the boneless Chuck Eye steak.

In this rib report, we’ll show you what they are, where they come from, through to how to locate and buy them.

And of course, we’ll show the best ways to cook them on a grill that will satiate the appetite of the BBQ Gods, also known as the family.

So, let’s take a closer look at these non-rib country style ribs.

What are Country Style Ribs?

Unlike most other meat cuts, they are not what they say they are.

Country style ribs are created by slicing a Chuck Eye steak in two, lengthways, producing two rib-looking steaks.

These ‘ribs’ became a legitimate meat cut in the 1960s when a butcher named Cliff Bowes came up with this method to sell a pork loin’s rib end.

He split what was an undesirable fat-filled meat cut into the form of ribs to make them more saleable and profitable.

This method was then adopted for beef as well, but as a novelty cut as opposed to a sales tactic.

The Chuck Eye steak sells perfectly well on its own, and at around 10oz a steak it produces two great sized ribs.

Where do Country Style Ribs Come from on the Cow?

Diagram showing the chuck primal on a cow

You guessed it, not from the rib primal.

Because they come from the Chuck Eye steak, they come from the chuck primal, the rib end of the Chuck Eye roll to be specific.

Sometimes other cuts that are used to produce the country style ribs are cross rib, bottom round, and Flatiron steaks. The Chuck Eye steak is the original and most used cut, and they have the best resemblance to ribs.

Click over to our beef cuts guide to learn about these other cuts and more.

Other Names for Country Style Ribs

Unlike other steaks that have picked up localized names and variations of their original names, the Country Style Rib has not.

Due to it having a steak-based origin but not actually being a part of the rib section, its country name is specific to this practice of producing effectively ‘fake’ ribs.

As such, the only real deviation of the name is to specify that it is beef and boneless, which helps to differentiate them from pork ribs.

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content And Tenderness

The Country Style Rib is bigged up by those that love a good rib recipe but lament the lack of meat on a rib with some cuts.

The Chuck Eye steak is chosen for its divine marbling, fat ribbons, and layers of interconnective tissue.

These all add up to it looking and feeling like a supersized rib in the way that it pulls apart into strips of beef that are moist, tender and full of flavor.

The meat will melt in your mouth if cooked correctly with a strong beef flavor and buttery aftertaste from the fat layers.

Typical Uses

Country style ribs are used for this purpose, and this purpose only, to be used as a great rib replacement that delivers extra meat and extra flavor. Simples!

Country Style Ribs Nutrition

NutritionTotal Amount (Based on 3oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories19010%
Saturated Fat4.2g23%
Sodium60mg3%
Protein26g52%
Iron2.5mg15%
Zinc9.2mg60%

Buying Country Style Ribs

Most good butchers will know what the Country Style Rib is when it comes to pork, but less may know the beef version. They may not necessarily be packaged and ready to go, but a butcher will be happy to make some up for you if you ask nicely.

With supermarkets, you’re more likely to find packs of steaks that can be used to create them. The same goes for online meat markets, and so you’ll probably have to buy the Chuck Eye steak, and then chop them up accordingly.

While this might be a little extra effort, it is totally worth it!

Where to Buy Country Style Ribs Online

Online shopping for meat is a great way to take your time, self-educate and, most importantly, get the cut you want, not just what is available at the store.

There will be a wealth of information included on the sites that will show you everything from aged duration to how they were reared, and what quality the meat has been graded at.

Because country style ribs are relatively unknown compared to other cuts, you may struggle to find them ready-made from trusted online meat markets.

However, this gives you a chance to be a butcher for the day, so all you need to do is order a Chuck Eye steak or Chuck Eye roll, and get hands-on with your meat cuts.

We have linked a demonstration further down in this article, so there really is no excuse not to!

Here are two online outlets that you can trust that sell good quality Chuck Eye steaks:

Country Style Ribs Price

At the time of writing, Chuck Eye steaks were priced at $16 per lb. Country-style ribs ready cut were unavailable.

Portion Size: How Many Country Style Ribs Per Person?

These ribs are great for the big eater. Just two of them at 5oz a piece will be enough to fulfill many an appetite, especially when served with beans and cornbread or any other carb-heavy sides.

Or you can enjoy them on their own with plenty of BBQ sauce, in which case you can eat as many as you like.

How to Prepare Country Style Ribs for Grilling or Smoking

Country style ribs isolated on white
Image courtesy of beefitswhatsfordinner.com

These ribs are made from a great tasting steak, so you have a choice. You can chuck them on the grill for a quick, easy rib dinner, but really, that would defeat the purpose of ribs.

So, the only real way to cook ribs is low and slow with lots of sauce or rub to give it the true BBQ treatment. They will not need any trimming as the fat on them is needed for the cooking process.

Preparation is minimal if you can find them ready cut or you have a nice butcher that will do them for you. All you have to do is add your dry rub or marinade sauce and put them in the fridge to ‘season’ before cooking.

If you need to prepare country style ribs yourself from the Chuck Eye steak or Chuck Eye roll, simply cut them 1 inch thick from the steaks, and then cut that steak again lengthways to create 2 country style ribs.

The linked video below demonstrates this, so be sure to check it out if you’ve never done this before:

How to Cook Country Style Ribs on the Grill or Smoker

Cooking ribs is a straightforward method. The difference with these ribs is they aren’t one long rack, they are individual ‘ribs,’ and with no bone are heated on every side evenly by the circulating air.

So, the cooking time is slightly shorter, and the trick is to monitor one of the ribs near the center of the grill, so you have an idea of how the other ribs are faring.

Here’s our guide to cooking the perfect country style ribs in your grill:

  1. Preheat a smoker to 250f.
  2. Pat ribs dry with a paper towel if not marinated, and season well.
  3. Place the ribs in the grill away from the direct heat. Combine some water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the ribs every 45 minutes or so to keep the moistness in the meat.
  4. Cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 205-210f at the thickest part of the meat.
  5. Once at temperature, remove ribs and loosely tent in foil. If wrapped too tight, your bark will soften, and the ribs will become soggy.
  6. Serve with extra BBQ sauce and enjoy.

Three Best Country Style Rib Recipes from Around the Web

Country style ribs can be cooked multiple ways with the low and slow method, whether that’s in your grill or smoker, or even in the oven in the kitchen. But finding the right recipe is key.

Take your time and keep the temperature low if you want to keep the moisture and tenderness.

Here are our three favorite recipes from the web:

Girls Can Grill Juicy Beef Ribs

If you’re a complete newbie to cooking ribs (we all were at some point), this simple approach to marinating and grilling the ribs is a doddle.

Easy to follow with great results, you’ll kick yourself for not trying ribs sooner.

Full recipe and instructions can be found here:

https://girlscangrill.com/recipe/juicy-beef-ribs/

Key Ingredient’s Grilled Ribs with Argentine Pepper Sauce

This recipe gives an Argentinian twist to the classic pepper sauce.

The secret is the addition of bell peppers and a little cumin to really make the sauce pop.

Click here to see key ingredient’s and the recipe:

https://www.keyingredient.com/short-ribs-with-argentine-pepper-sauce/

Kitchn Korean Ribs

Anyone that enjoys a Korean meal will tell you that the beef is always exceptional with a unique flavor that is totally moreish. This recipe shows you how to recreate that on your grill at home.

The key is to have sake and soy sauce for the marinade.

Head here to see how beautifully simple it is:

Https://Www.Thekitchn.Com/Recipe-Ultimate-Korean-Short-Ribs-253301

Conclusion

Well, are they ribs, or aren’t they? When they look and taste this good, who really cares?

Let’s face it, no one eats ribs because they like to eat bones, it’s all about the succulent, juicy meat and these country style ribs deliver it in spades.

So, jump online and get your meat ordered. Then pick a recipe and create some incredible tasting ribs that really will blow your friends and family away.

Whether you go low and slow, smoker or grill, Korean or BBQ, be sure to rate your own efforts and ask any questions you have in the comments below. We’ll be sure to give you any pointers or applaud your efforts.

Happy rib grilling!

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