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Are Country style ribs the same as pork shoulder, or what are they?

I had read that country ribs are from pork shoulder, but now I just read that they are lean. Saw them at the market and they looked like there was some fat in them, but I don't want to cook them wrong.

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  1. "Lean"' doesn't mean there's no fat on them. It simply means there is less fat than other similar cuts.
    Here's a link dealing with the entire history of Country Style ribs that might help:

    1. Sometimes they come from the shoulder (sometimes called the "butt), sometimes they come from the blade just behind the shoulder.

      Sometimes they are leaner than a typical pork butt, but not always. Regardless of that, you can cook them either relatively fast for a product that will stay together in the end or low and slow for pulled pork.

      I actually prefer to cook them relatively fast so they hold their shape in the end, otherwise if I were looking to make pulled pork I would have just saved money and bought a pork butt. You can grill them over a medium bed of coals until done to your liking then brush heavily with barbecue sauce and glaze over high heat. You could also simply braise them (uncovered) in barbecue sauce.

      1. Country Style Ribs actually come from he Rib End (Roast). You can Roast, Bake, Braise or BBQ/Grill.

        Required viewing:


        2 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          Good video. A friend band saws a whole bone in Berkshire loin into double thick chops for me and I agree with the butcher in your video that the rib end chops while not pretty are by far the best of the bunch. I used to be able to get the rib end roasts for under a buck a pound.

          1. re: Tom34

            "used to" is the key word(s), unfortunately.

        2. Do they say "loin" on the package? If they're from the loin, at least where I get them, they usually say so. I cook them low and slow still, they just aren't as meltingly tender (but are also much less fatty).

          1. More or less the same. If not exactly the same, then neighbors. They can be cooked the same, except that the 'ribs' are small pieces.

            1. 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 jargon....These are "true" CS ribs.....

              Also, you will see another "Country Style Rib" in your grocer’s 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"...Some/a few small independent retailers (in my area) still use the Western Style Rib labeling on those "ribs" from the shoulder/butt

              Truth in Labeling suggest that somewhere on the package the exact location of where the meat comes from should be stated...In this case....Pork Shoulder, Butt or Loin....Often times this appears in small print, or in bold print as part of the labeling...PORK LOIN COUNTRY STYLE RIBS, Or COUNTRY STYLE RIBS...in small print somewhere else on the label...Pork shoulder....Then again not all retailers comply....

              To your specific question ~~ Sometimes they are (the same as pork shoulder) sometimes they are not. ~~ Read the label, and learn to spot/see the difference. HTH

              1. I was just at Costco the other day wanting to buy some pork shoulder for pulled pork, but all they had were huge slabs that were around $50 (I know, should have known). I didn't need that much or want to spend that much. The butcher was right there and she showed me to the Country Style Boneless Pork Ribs and said that is the same thing, the same cuts only sliced vertically like ribs. I Asked if it would be good for shredded pork and she said it would be great for that!

                2 Replies
                1. re: ajk6215

                  Sorry, but the butcher is wrong about the cuts...depending on where your reside regionally

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Just catching up on stuff but here in NorCal/Reno it's still not the same. The pork shoulders are about 15#, boneless, in two pieces. Obviously ribs aren't related to the shoulder. Right?

                2. In Minnesoa, country style pork 'ribs' are cut from the pork shoulder.