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Braised Country-Style Pork Ribs with Mustard-Beer Sauce

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Serves 4 to 6

  • by Rick Rodgers from Fine Cooking
    Issue 118

Cooking country ribs with moist heat helps melt excess fat and soften tough bits. Here they're broiled until browned and then braised with beer and aromatic vegetables so they absorb tons of flavor. The braising liquid is then reduced into a sweet-and-salty sauce for glazing the ribs and drizzling over them before serving.

For the ribs
  • 6-1/2 lb. bone-in country-style pork ribs, cut into individual ribs (12 to 16 large, meaty ribs)
  • 2 12-oz. bottles lager, such as Budweiser
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium celery rib, chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
For the sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Braise the ribs

Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

Arrange half of the ribs in a single layer in a broiler pan (without the top rack). Broil, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and discard the fat in the pan.

Put the pan over high heat. Add 1 bottle of the beer and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Transfer the mixture to a large roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining ribs and beer.

Clean the broiler pan. Reposition the rack to the center of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350°F.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the roasting pan holding the beer mixture; stir in the broth, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and arrange the ribs on top (it’s OK if they're crowded).

Cover the roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimping the edges to create a tight seal. Braise in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the ribs, re-cover the pan, and braise until the ribs are tender when pierced with a small knife, 60 to 80 minutes more.

Line the clean broiler pan with aluminum foil and transfer the ribs to the broiler pan. Tent loosely with more foil while you make the sauce.

Make the sauce

Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a medium saucepan; discard the solids. Let stand for 5 minutes; skim off and discard the fat on the surface. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar and raise the heat to return to a boil. Then lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, 10 to 15 minutes.

Finish the ribs

Leaving the rack in the center of the oven, heat the broiler on high.

Brush the tops of the ribs with about 1/2 cup of the sauce; broil until glazed and sizzling, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the ribs, brush with another 1/2 cup of sauce, and broil until the other side is glazed and sizzling, 5 to 7 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining sauce, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can braise the ribs and make the sauce up to 1-1/2 hours ahead and keep them at cool room temperature. Brush the ribs with sauce and finish them under the broiler just before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 560; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 60; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 770; Cholesterol (mg): 145; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I expect more from a recipe that uses four pans and takes hours to make. It was good but not great. In hindsight, one mistake was trying to double the sauce. It took forever to cook down and I was forced to use it before it had thickened. On the plus side, I served it with Roasted Rosemary Butternut Squash & Shallots. That recipe was a find. No comments on the ribs but everyone loved the squash!

These ribs are yummy! I used baby backs cut into three rib sections,and they were really tender! Will definitely make these again!

These ribs are yummy! I used baby backs cut into three rib sections,and they were really tender! Will definitely make these again!

These ribs are yummy! I used baby backs cut into three rib sections,and they were really tender! Will definitely make these again!

Awesome! The whole family loved it...even my picky youngest son! Will be making these again and again.

AMAZING and easy. But time consuming... The sauce didn't get thick until I let it cool. The ribs were tender and flavorful. I cooked 8 of them for 75 minutes and they were perfect- fall off the bone!

These ribs are the best!!

This recipe is both simple and FANTASTIC. The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender & packed with flavor. I prepared this for my husband & myself (I had 2.6 lbs of bone-in country ribs / 3 hefty ones). The recipe was easy to modify for smaller portions & it's certain that this will be a go-to recipe.

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