country-style-ribs-2

If you’ve never had a grilled, boneless country-style rib, it’s a lot like a French toast stick made out of pork. A completely edible wedge that’s crusty, chewy, sweet and salty.

And they’re both delicious with maple.

If you’ve ever nudged your bacon into a puddle of maple syrup, you know what I’m talking about. Maple and pork BELONG together. It’s a case of opposites attracting. So, it just makes sense that maple also does amazing things for ribs.

These Maple Barbecued Country-Style Ribs are dredged in a homemade sweet-and-savory Maple Barbecue Rub, grilled, and served either dry or slicked with a Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce you can simmer on the stove in minutes. (The sauce only gets better with time, so if you’re a planner, get it going the night before your cookout, while you’re dredging the ribs.)

The best thing about eating them is that, every once in a while, you hit a prize bite, where the lean is perfectly balanced with a pocket of grill-smoked fat, and the whole bite melts in your mouth. Way too quickly.

I’ll eat another two ribs just hoping for another one of those prize bites. It’s not exactly a sacrifice.

Maple Barbecued Country-Style Ribs

Adapted from “Cook’s Country” (August/September 2011)

Serves 4

  • 1/4 recipe of Maple Barbecue Rub (see below)
  • 2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup wood chips (soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained)
  • Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, or your favorite sauce, for serving
  1. Place 1/4 of the Maple Barbecue Rub in a dish. Dredge the ribs on all sides in the rub, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the ribs, take them out of the fridge, uncover them, and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you prep the grill.
  3. Using a large piece of aluminum foil, wrap the soaked chips in to make a foil packet, and poke a few vent holes on top.
  4. For a Charcoal Grill: Light a large chimney starter full of charcoal briquettes.When the top coals get ashy, pour them in one half of the grill. Set the foil packet on the coals. Put the cooking grate back in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat until wood chips start smoking, about 5 minutes.
  5. For a Gas Grill: Place the wood chip packet over your primary burner. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
  6. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place pork on cool part of grill, cover (positioning lid vent over meat if using charcoal), and cook until meat registers 145 degrees, turning once or twice. (If you want to baste your ribs with sauce: Measure 1/4 cup of sauce into a separate container. Cook pork as directed until meat registers 125 degrees. Brush pork with sauce and grill, brushed side down, over hot part of grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush second side of pork and grill until lightly charred and meat registers 145 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes.)
  7. Transfer the pork to a platter, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or your favorite sauce.

Maple Barbecue Rub

This rub works on pork, chicken, beef and fish.

Slightly adapted from Coombs Family Farms

  • 5 tablespoons maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Store in an airtight container.