Country-style spare ribs are moist and tender when braised low and slow and taste delicious accompanied with red cabbage and apples.
When I was a kid, we had spareribs and sauerkraut a few times a year during the fall and winter. I was never a fan of the regular spareribs. Too greasy and not enough meat. Somehow, those spareribs taste better when cooked low and slow on the barbecue with a tangy red sauce.
My mom mixed up the type of meat she used throughout the season and I was always happiest when she chose country-style spareribs. These are thick and meaty and when cooked properly, fall-apart tender.
Watch the Country-Style Spareribs with Red Cabbage and Apples Here:
Country-style ribs are more pork chop than ribs, and ironically, they come boneless, no “rib” at all. This cut, which is very meaty and less fatty than spareribs, is from the front end of the baby back ribs and are an economical cut. These “ribs” do very well in a low and slow braise, picking up delicious flavors; another dish that is best made the day before and left overnight to allow the flavors to mesh.
I’m finding more and more that I rarely brown my meat before braising. I really can’t tell the difference with low and slow cooking. Lots of flavors are released during cooking that more than compensate for not browning.
For this recipe I chose to use fresh red cabbage and Granny Smith with thinly sliced, caramelized onions, stock and apple cider. Caraway seeds and juniper berries (use a disposable tea filter bag for easy removal) complement the pork and the vegetables nicely. Five minutes before serving, add the vinegar and dill, stir and serve!
- 2 ½ pounds country-style spareribs
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1 red cabbage, shredded
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 juniper berries
- 1 cups stock or water
- ½ cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- Generously season the ribs with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a heat-tolerant slow-cooker insert or large Dutch oven. Add the onion to the hot pan and sweat for 5 minutes, Continue cooking until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes more. Watch the heat, don’t burn the onions, add a little water as needed to deglaze the pan or loosen the caramelized onion juices from the bottom of the pan. This is what colors and flavors the onion.
- Stir in the cabbage, apples, garlic, caraway seeds and juniper berries, stock and apple cider. Tuck the ribs into the vegetables and bring to a boil.
- Slow Cooker: Remove the insert to the slow cooker, cover and set on low for 6-8 hours, the timing will depend on the amount of heat your slow cooker generates, until fork tender. Turn the pork half way through cooking.
- Stovetop: Reduce the heat to low (barely a simmer), cover and cook for 2-3 hours, until fork tender, checking to make sure the liquid is not boiling.
- Remove the ribs to a warm platter and cover.
- Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and dill and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage to the platter and serve.