What Are Boneless Country-Style Pork Ribs, and Why Don’t They Have Bones?

updated Dec 1, 2022
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Boneless country-style pork ribs are a bit strange — they’re rib-like strips of meat but are in fact boneless. If they don’t have any bones or ribs in them, why are they still called country-style pork ribs?

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Where Boneless Country-Style Pork Ribs Come From

Interestingly enough, boneless country-style ribs don’t actually come from the ribs, thus the confusing naming convention. Maybe the name stems from the fact that the meat has a texture and flavor similar to meat around the ribs?

This budget-friendly cut of pork does start from one of two areas that contain bones from other parts of the animal:

  1. The blade end near the shoulder. With this cut, blade-end loin chops are cut into pieces. While they can be sold bone-in, the bone is usually removed so they can be sold as boneless. The specific name of this cut is pork loin country-style ribs. These have nice marbling and great flavor.
  2. The shoulder. Boneless pork ribs can also be thick strips cut from pork shoulder steaks, and these are the ones I see more often, sometimes labeled as pork shoulder country-style ribs. These ribs are fattier and also quite tasty. Since my local butcher didn’t have any country-style pork ribs on display, he proceeded to take the whole pork shoulder and cut off a thick slice (pictured above). From there, he cut thick strips of meat off the bone.

Cooking Boneless Country-Style Pork Ribs

I love cooking with these ribs because they’re really versatile. In either cut, they have enough fat and marbling to keep the meat moist, unlike leaner cuts like tenderloin or loin. These “ribs” are also great for stews and kebabs, or when you need just a little bit of pork for a stir-fry.

And the best part about these ribs is that they can withstand low, slow cooking like braising, or, since they’re cut into such small pieces, can be cooked quickly over high, direct heat like grilling or you can even cook the ribs in an Instant Pot.

Pick up this inexpensive cut the next time you’re at the grocery store and try putting your favorite spice rub on them or marinating them for tasty kebabs!