North Carolina-Style Ribs

To prep ribs, trim excess fat and remove the skinlike membrane on the back of the ribs. Start in the middle of the rack and work a dull knife under the skin, going all the way across and lifting it up. Pull the membrane straight up and peel form the middle.

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  • 4 - 5 pounds pork loin back ribs or meaty pork spareribs
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 serrano peppers*, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups hickory or oak chips
  • Carolina Hush Puppies (see recipe below (optional)
Carolina Hush Puppies
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Trim fat from ribs. Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan (cut meat in pieces to fit if necessary). In a medium bowl combine vinegar, onion, brown sugar, serrano peppers, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup of the vinegar mixture for mopping sauce. Pour remaining sauce over ribs. Turn ribs to coat. Place ribs, meaty sides down in the pan; cover with foil.
Bake ribs in a 350 degrees F oven for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until very tender, turning ribs once after 1-1/2 hours of baking. Remove from oven. Discard liquid in pan. Pat ribs dry with paper towels.
At least 1 hour before grilling, soak wood chips in enough water to cover. Drain wood chips.
Sprinkle wood chips over medium coals in a charcoal grill. Place ribs on the grill rack directly over the coals. Grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until ribs are browned, turning once and brushing with some of the reserved vinegar mixture. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Add wood chips according to manufacturer directions. Place ribs on grill rack. Grill as directed above.) Brush ribs with remaining vinegar mixture before serving.
If desired, serve with Carolina Hush Puppies. Makes 4 servings.
Carolina Hush Puppies
In a medium bowl stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
In another bowl combine egg, buttermilk, onion, and hot pepper sauce. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).
Drop batter by tablespoons into deep hot oil (375 degrees F). Fry, 5 or 6 at a time, about 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in 300 degrees F oven while cooking remaining hush puppies. Serve warm. Makes 14 to 18 hush puppies.
Nutrition Facts per hush puppy: 105 cal., 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 141 mg sodium, 14 g carb., 1 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein.


  • Because hot chile peppers, such as serranos, contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with chiles as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the chile peppers, wash your hands well with soap and water.

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 863, Fat, total (g) 66, chol. (mg) 228, sat. fat (g) 25, carb. (g) 12, Monounsaturated fat (g) 30, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 6, fiber (g) 1, sugar (g) 8, pro. (g) 46, vit. A (IU) 48.59, vit. C (mg) 4.13, Thiamin (mg) 0.02, Riboflavin (mg) 0.74, Niacin (mg) 12.83, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 1.19, Folate (g) 16.13, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (g) 2.32, sodium (mg) 1383, Potassium (mg) 808, calcium (mg) 111.06, iron (mg) 3.06, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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