The road ends, but the journey continues...

Boneless Country Style Ribs Aren’t Really Ribs & Pork Butt is Really Pork Shoulder

I love it when I find meat newly reduced in the ‘Manager’s Special’ bin, especially when the ‘sell by’ date is that very day.
This weekend at Bi-Lo, there was a 1.7 lb pack of Boneless Country Style Ribs on sale with an added $2.00 off sticker attached that called out to me: cook me, I’m yours!
So I did.
The funny thing is, each time I pick up Boneless Country Style Ribs (which isn’t all that often) I have to remind myself how to cook ‘em.  They’re boneless, so do I still do the slow & low technique on them? (Yes) And what kind of ribs are Country Ribs anyway, they don’t look like ribs? (They aren’t)
Even more interesting is to discover they are cut from the Pork Butt. Okay, but (!) Pork Butt is really Pork Shoulder…why the identity confusion over a piece of meat? Who knows the answer to that one.
I did find a website dedicated to this cut of meat that explains the three incarnations of pork that are labeled as: Country Style Ribs.  Imagine that! According to David Somerville, my pack of Boneless Country Style Ribs are from leftover Pork Shoulder (formerly known as Boston Butt) cut into strips.
Here then is my simple recipe for Oven Baked BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs; adjust quantities as needed for your own particular needs.

Valencia oranges are the absolute best when in season!

Valencia oranges are the absolute best when in season!

1-2 lbs boneless country style pork ribs
1 large Valencia Orange, sliced (these are in season here, now; otherwise use 1 lemon)
garlic salt, black pepper, minced onion
1 bottle (~ 19 oz) favorite BBQ sauce (ours is a local product called Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce)
Preheat oven to 300F.  In a shallow baking pan (I use my small pyrex dish, perfect size for our needs) place ribs in a single layer; sprinkle spices over all as desired.  Squeeze orange juice over all, then place orange slices on top. Cover with foil and seal tightly. Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and drain juices from dish.
pee dee river swamp sauce

This is one local product we like!

Be sure to keep the orange slices with the meat as they dissolve into tastey tidbits. Cover ribs with at least ½ bottle of BBQ sauce. Re-seal with foil tightly and cook at 350F for 50 minutes. Feeds 2, with a little leftover.  I like to serve this with baked potatoes as they sop up the extra sauce!


  1. Roger Warren

    This was a big hit at my house. In order to have leftovers, I doubled the recipe…which only lasted until lunch the next day, when the remainder was pulled apart for sandwiches on toasted onion rolls. The oranges ( I used Navel) brought the whole thing over the top. The perfect way to transform a byproduct into a real crowd pleaser!

    • laura bruno lilly

      So glad to hear you were able to adapt my little recipe to your larger needs!
      Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Ally Bean

    I like this recipe and I like that this is your most popular post. Go figure?

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! Thanks for the comment related to your post on “popular but why?” posts!
      Enjoy the ‘ribs’ though I think what makes this the best is the local Swamp Sauce as mentioned!

  3. Anne Copeland

    Oh this is so funny because we got a pork shoulder on sale, and my significant other, the Good Cook Richard, told me that it was a ham, so we have been discussing this endlessly. Anyway, the whole discussion was so much fun and enjoyable and educational. Thank you, thank you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      This is funny because this post is the one I get the most ‘hits’ for and it’s such a wonder as to why?
      Anyway, enjoy your not-really-ribs and HAM!

  4. Kanerva

    First thanks for the follow, and secondly thank you for the best non-rib rib recipe ever! I’m a huge fan of about to be expired food – I’m constantly on the lookout for the huge neon orange stickers they use here… if you’re going to cook it straight away what’s the difference 😉

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re more than welcome and I’m thrilled to hear of another ‘neon sticker cooker’!

  5. Donna

    I love ribs, but don’t usually make the country ribs. Weird they are not ribs though. The citrus addition is a nice touch.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I guess the traditional fruit is usually apples with pork (whether ribs or not) but I much prefer the citrus.

  6. Jane Chesebrough

    If I wasn’t getting ready for bed and drinking my hot chocolate, I might just go to the market and buy some butt, er, shoulder. I love the name of the swamp sauce and the photo of those Valencia oranges literally make my mouth water. I have had them before and they are delicious-will check the store tomorrow.Thanks for the recipe and an interesting take on a cut of meat!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hey, we must be on the same wavelength: it’s been in the low 100F’s here with 90% humidity and yet hubby and I craved a hot chocolate! HA! Hope you find yourself some of those Valencia’s!

  7. Anna Scott Graham

    Oh my goodness that sounds delicious! I too like finding a bargain, then turning it into something fantastic; sounds like you did just that with this recipe. 😉

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yep, that Swamp Sauce really hit the spot!

  8. Andy

    My wife loves stumbling upon bargains and reduced food. There is a store nearby (only open to a limited clientele ie. people in the food industry, that sells quality food at enormous discount rates because they are close to their expiry dates. Jen text me last week ‘A friend has nominated her as a guest member so she will be able to shop there from now on.’
    I replied ‘woohoooooooo expired food for life!!!!!!!’

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh, totally cool. Jen must be elated. Part of the problem with getting such meat deals lies in the unpredictability of when they’ll go into the ‘Manager’s Special’ bin…and now your family will be in the loop on all of that. Time to free-up your freezer space.
      Hmmm, so now you’re part of the limited clientele….!

  9. Lisa

    Totally yummy! A great band night dinner idea!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hello mia sorella-amica Lisa! Yes, this works well in larger batches and my Jo-Jo loves his ribs! Maybe good old King Soopers will pull a great sale on these, eh?!
      (Will see you in a few weeks)

  10. Amie

    Sounds good I want some swamp sauce! Have you tried your recipe and cool inside a turkey bag? I know it sound weird but I works really well and clean up is so easy- marinade in bag and cook in bag in pan!

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re so right about clean-up issues with ribs (real ribs or not!). I’ll try it next time, especially if it’s a large batch I’m making.
      BTW: those blackberries turned out super duper great!

  11. Linda W.

    Oooo, yummy. Sounds so delicious. I’m just glad I ate dinner before I read this. Otherwise, I would need to go out and find some ribs to eat!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, finding ribs that aren’t really ribs but still stick to the ribs upon eating them…HA! Just had to rib you on all of this!
      I wonder if your shopkins family has a ‘rib-bitz’ member? 😀
      Oh, I am having fun this morning – hope you have a good one today, Linda.

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