by Shauna Guinn and Samantha Evans from The Hang Fire Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures in American BBQ (Quadrille)
Photography: Paul Winch-Furness
Country style ribs are meatier than other rib cuts and are from the blade end of the pork loin, close to the shoulder. It's like a small baby back rib and pork tenderloin all in one". We especially like this cut for its flavour, tenderness and value. Plus you can switch up the flavour profile to pretty much anything you like. Here, we make the ribs West-country style with a little still sweetened cider and English mustard for balance.
Cooking methods: Indirect Smoking/Grilling & Grilling/Roasting in the Oven (see below)
Wood: Oak, Beech or Cherry
300g South Carolina Mustard Sauce (see recipe below)
1.5kg bone-in, country-style pork ribs, cut into 6 pieces
40g Hang Fire Almost All purpose Rub (see recipe below)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
300ml medium West Country style cider
100g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp English mustard powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 fresh bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
groundnut oil, for greasing
Rub a teaspoon of mustard sauce on each side of the pork ribs. Cover and pop in the fridge for at least 1 hour while you prepare your braising liquor and set up your grill.
In a heavy-based pan, combine all the remaining ingredients, except the oil and keeping aside 150g of the South Carolina Mustard Sauce. Bring to a simmer over
low heat – do not let it boil – for 10 minutes. Pour into an ovenproof dish with a lid, or disposable foil tin (with a foil lid), large enough to accommodate your ribs.
Set your smoker up for indirect heat at 120°C/250°F.
Grease the grill with a little oil and arrange the ribs on top.
(Or Nigel says if roasting put the sauce in a roasting tin with the ribs on top & seal with a lid, or kitchen foil, & cook in a 170C/160CFan/340F Oven until the internal temperature is 65C/150F. This might be between 90-120minutes, depending on the size of the chops, so check from 90 mins (if a knife goes in easily, it’s cooked). Then go straight to the stage of reducing the braising liquor & putting the ribs under the grill)
Cook for about 1½ hours, or until the internal temperature of the loin end reads 65°C/150°F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the ribs to your dish with the
braising liquor. Evenly coat the ribs with the liquor, making sure the onions stay on the bottom of the dish. Cover tightly and return to the smoker for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the ribs is between 108°C/195°F and 110°C/200°F. The cider helps tenderise the ribs and they will take on a wonderful fragrance.
Carefully remove the dish from the smoker (or oven) and drain the braising liquor back into your heavy-based pan. Set over medium heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until
reduced by about half.
Meanwhile, return your ribs to your grill (or place under the oven grill set at medium-hot) and sear on direct heat, brushing the ribs all over with the reserved South Carolina Mustard Sauce. Grill for 2–3 minutes each side to set the sweet mustard glaze. To serve, line up the ribs and pour over your reduced cider mustard liquor.
Hang Fire Almost All Purpose Rub
We use this rub a lot at our smokehouse, having tinkered with it almost constantly since we started Hang Fire. But we’re pretty settled on this version now. We like it on
ribs, pork shoulders, chicken or as a seasoning for meatballs and pretty much on almost anything.
If you have any spare, small jars handy, it’s good to make in advance. As with all spices, keep in a cool, dark place until needed, where it will keep for a month.
4 tbsp fine sea salt
4 tbsp paprika
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
3 tbsp garlic granules
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp chipotle chilli powder
1 tbsp celery salt
2 tbsp ground allspice
2 tbsp toasted cumin seeds, ground
2 tbsp toasted fennel seeds, ground
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients well.
Optionally, put through a blender for an extra fine powder. Transfer the rub to a jar, or shaker if using immediately.
South Carolina Mustard Sauce
Here’s a recipe for South Carolina mustard sauce. This has proven to be a real hit at our kitchen takeovers and we don’t serve our pork barbecue without it. It’s simple to make and keeps well in the fridge for a week – omit the butter if you want to keep it for longer.
MAKES ABOUT 375G MAKES ABOUT 500G MAKES ABOUT 500G
250g American mustard
125g white sugar
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato purée
200ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp soy sauce
1–2 tsp hot sauce, to taste
Put all the ingredients except the butter, soy sauce and hot sauce in a large saucepan set over low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a sterilised jar and allow the sauce to cool before putting it in the fridge
for 24 hours before using. This will allow the flavours to come together. Taste for seasoning, and if it needs a little more zip, add your hot sauce to taste.