Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Smoked Country-Style Pork Rib Sandwiches with Sweet-and-Sour Slaw

Pork barbecue sandwiches are commonly made with pork shoulder (Boston butt), but country-style ribs turn juicy and tender too—whether braised in the oven or smoked on a low-and-slow grill. Start them off with a fragrant, spicy rub, then simply let time do its thing.

I gave this recipe a little southern U.S. flair with a sweet, tangy coleslaw mounded on top of the pork. The simple dressing is based on vinegary Carolina barbecue sauce, adding just enough sugar to balance the zesty flavor.   

For info and photos on using your grill as a smoker, see Smoked Baby-Back Ribs. Here’s the short version: 1) gray, slightly cooled coals on one side of the grill, 2) wood chips on top of the coals, 3) pan with liquid on the rack above the coals and wood chips, 4) meat on the other side.

I typically use beer for the liquid, but white wine and apple juice are good too. For a little extra pleasantries, I throw in whatever aromatics I have plenty of (or extra pieces needing a good home). In this case, it was a leftover orange half, cilantro just past its prime, a couple smashed garlic cloves, and some red pepper flakes. No recipe for the aromatics—use whatever you have handy (and smells good). 

Smoking Ingredients
Tip: For smoking, be sure the coals have cooled enough so that the meat doesn’t grill when you first put it on the rack.

For non-smoked, grilled ribs, check out Slow-Grilled Western Ribs with Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce.

Serves ­4-5


For the Sandwiches
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed
  • 3 to 3-1/4 lbs country-style pork ribs (about 4 large)
  • 3/4 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite bottled)
  • 4-5 sandwich buns or kaiser rolls
For the Slaw
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shaved (shave the carrot with a vegetable peeler, then give the shaved pieces a coarse chop)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
Slaw Vegetables

For the Sandwiches
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through ground mustard seed)  in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over the ribs and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Spice Rub for the Ribs 
Spice-Rubbed Ribs

  1. Light a smoker or prepare a grill to use as a smoker.
  2. When the coals and wood chips are ready, smoke the ribs for 20 minutes in one position, then turn them over and smoke for another 20 minutes. Continue smoking and shifting positions for a total of 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
  3. Remove the ribs to a large plate or cutting board and let cool until easily handled. Shred or coarsely chop the meat, discarding fat.
  4. Place the pork in a saucepan with the barbecue sauce and warm over medium-low heat, stirring well to combine. Heat until the sauce and meat are hot throughout, about 10 minutes.
Ribs Ready to Smoke 
Ribs Halfway Through 
Smoked Ribs 
Smoked Pork Ready for Sauce 
Pork with Sauce
To serve, divide the pork on the bottom halves of the sandwich rolls. Mound slaw (recipe follows) on top and close the sandwiches. Serve right away.

Smoked Country-Style Pork Rib Sandwiches with Sweet-and-Sour Slaw
For the Slaw
  1. Combine the sugar, both vinegars, and mustard in a bowl, whisking well to dissolve the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss the cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, and red onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. (May be made several hours ahead.)
Sweet-and-Sour Dressing 
Slaw Mixture Ready for Dressing
Sweet-and-Sour Slaw


  1. Pamela, these sandwiches look soo uh-mazing...oh my goodness. Pinned to try..yummy! found you this morning at what did you do this weekend. Have a great week.

    1. Hey, Rachel---thank you so much! Yes, we certainly enjoyed them at the house!

      Appreciate your comment---best,

  2. These sandwiches look so good. your simple recipe for a simple sandwich dish.

    Salam De Sibiu Astoria

    1. Thank you, Christopher --- and thanks for sharing the website. Those meats look amazing!