Pork spare ribs are tasty and fun, but sometimes I like ribs with a little more meat on them. This is where pork breast ribs come in … pork belly on a stick without the skin and fat layer. Slow cooked, these are tender, juicy and utterly delicious.
Slow Cooked Pork Breast Ribs
Breast Ribs vs Spare Ribs
Breast ribs and spare ribs come from the same part of the animal, the rib cage. The difference between the two is that with spare ribs, most of the meat is removed from the rib, whereas with breast ribs, only the skin and fat layer are removed. This means that breast ribs have a lot more meat on them compared to spare ribs.
I purchased the pork breast ribs from Turner and George (no commercial connection). They are a great butchers to deal with, and do mail order. You can also try your local butchers and ask if they can provide you with this specific cut.
To get the most out of this, this you’ll need a Big Green Egg or similar, as part of the cooking involves smoking the ribs. You can slow cook the ribs in a standard oven (without adding smoke in the first bit), if doing this use a non-fan setting.
In addition you’ll need:
- Kitchen foil
- Sharp knife
- Sauce or pastry brush
- Drip tray
- Meat lifters (optional)
- 2kg pork breast ribs
- 1 tbsp dry rub
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- BBQ sauce
- Cherry smoking chunk
I present two methods below, the difference being time. I’ve tried both and prefer the results of cooking for longer. This is because more fat is rendered out of the pork, thus leaving it with a richer taste and more refined texture. It also allows for a slightly more intense smoke flavour.
- Preheat the Egg to 125°C/250°F, indirect setup. Once the coals are glowing and the Egg’s temperature is stable, toss on the wood chunks and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
- Meanwhile, and if it’s there, remove any membrane from the back of the ribs with a sharp knife. Coat the top of the ribs with the rub.
- Place a drip tray on the platesetter of the Egg, then add the stainless steel grid and place the ribs on the grid, bone side down. Smoke the ribs in the Egg for 2 or 3 hours.
- Lay out some kitchen foil (enough to wrap up the ribs) on a flat surface, then fold up the edges a little. Pour the cider vinegar down the length of the foil. Remove the ribs from the Egg and place them on the foil bone side down, covering the vinegar.
- Tightly wrap the foil around the ribs. Poke a couple of small holes in the top with a sharp knife. Return to the Egg and cook for 2 or 3 hours.
- Remove the wrapped ribs from the Egg, and remove them from the silver foil. Pour the marinade down the length of the ribs, and gently brush it to the edges. Return to the Egg and cook for a further hour.
- Serve with sweet potato, smokey chipotle beans and a decent red wine.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- During the last hour, check every 15 mins to see if more marinade is needed (sometimes they can dry out), or the ribs are done.
- This video clip shows how to remove membrane from the ribs:
- Meat lifters are very handy for moving the ribs around.
- Two or more ribs can be cooked like this, either on different levels in the Egg or vertically in a rib rack.
- The beans can be smoked at the same time, for a couple of hours, then re-heated when needed. It adds great flavour to the meal.