The Unfamiliar Cuts: Pork backbone or Country Style Ribs

As our chest freezer gets lower and lower, I have to start getting creative with the cuts that remain. I had a whole pile of pork backbone and wondered what the heck that even meant. Once again, I turned to google to tell me. One of the most frustrating things I've found about getting meat in bulk is processors don't all use the same words for their cuts. No cut seems to have one set name...It's super annoying to try to find exactly what you're looking for and thus, it took me about an hour to figure out what the heck backbone even is. But here's my simple (and perhaps incorrect) description.

Pork backbone is what is left after the ribs are cut. There isn't a whole lot of meat on these suckers but man, oh man, the meat that is there can be ever sooooo tasty. I believe some folks call these bad boys Country Style Ribs. Once again, I may have TOTALLY misunderstood what I was reading because, as I said, no one calls anything the same thing in the world of meat, it seems.

So what do you do with these things?! I think most folks use them for soups and stews or perhaps similar to ribs. I decided to try using them like ribs. We aren't grill people. I'll be totally honest. It isn't that I don't like grilled food. I do. It's delicious. But I hate the process of grilling. Frankly, I'm impatient and I don't like to wait around for the grill to cook my food. Ironic given what I'm about to say...I fired up my crockpot. (See the irony here?) I cook most of my ribs in the crockpot because you can get a great, fall off the bone dish from it and not have to worry about it making things soggy.

I threw in some beer, barbecue sauce and a healthy amount of our favorite seasonings (usually montreal steak, with a few other variations.) I like to use the crockpot for dinners that I can prep and then cook while we're at the barn milking the cows for the evening. I set it to high (because I never think of this stuff far enough in advance to go low and slow) and left to milk my cows. 

When milking chores were done, we got home and were greeted with an aroma you might expect when you throw meat, beer and barbecue sauce together: pure delicious goodness. I didn't even wait to cook my sides. I pulled off the lid and popped a piece on a plate to test it. It was a little more time consuming to get the meat off the bone than it is when you're just eating ribs, but man oh man, was it ever rich and delicious. Holy moly. Tender and absolute melt in your mouth perfection.

I'm sure there are plenty of other things you can do with backbone but this option is probably my favorite. We like hardy, rich foods with deep, complex flavor. I'm so glad I don't have to be afraid of this cut in my freezer anymore. I love to have so many different options for meals. This one was a great one to add to our recipe book!