North Carolina-Style Ribs

We've perfected the savory-sweet balance in these regional-style ribs. Cider vinegar, brown sugar, crushed red pepper, and serrano peppers do the heavy flavor lifting.

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6 users rated this recipe an average rating of 2.5
4 servings
15 mins
2 hrs 350°F
10 mins
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North Carolina-Style Ribs

pounds pork loin back ribs or meaty pork spareribs
cups cider vinegar
medium onion, thinly sliced
tablespoons packed brown sugar
serrano peppers*, thinly sliced
teaspoons salt
teaspoon crushed red pepper
teaspoon ground black pepper
cups hickory or oak chips
Carolina Hush Puppies (see recipe below (optional)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. At least 1 hour before grilling, soak wood chips in enough water to cover. Drain wood chips.
  4. 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.
  5. If desired, serve with Carolina Hush Puppies. Makes 4 servings.

From the Test Kitchen

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.

Carolina Hush Puppies


cup white cornmeal
teaspoons sugar
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon salt
teaspoon baking soda
slightly beaten egg
cup buttermilk
cup grated onion
teaspoon hot pepper sauce
vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Nutrition Facts

(North Carolina-Style Ribs)
    Per serving:
  • 863 kcal cal.,
  • 66 g fat
  • (25 g sat. fat,
  • 6 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 30 g monounsatured fat),
  • 228 mg chol.,
  • 1383 mg sodium,
  • 12 g carb.,
  • 1 g fiber,
  • 8 g sugar,
  • 46 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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