How to Cook Pork Shoulder Strips

by Ramona French

Make pork carnitas at home with pork shoulder strips.

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Boneless pork shoulder strips -- also called pork country style ribs -- are 2-inch-wide strips cut from the pork shoulder. They are marbled with fat and connective tissue, which breaks down with long slow cooking to match the tenderness of barbecued ribs. Simmering them in water first helps to render some of the fat and break down the connective tissue without making them dry. Finishing them on your grill helps to caramelize the barbecue sauce and brown the surface for extra flavor.

Barbecued Pork Shoulder Strips

Put the strips in a stockpot, and add enough water to barely cover them.

Add the seasonings, bring the water to a a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pot. Simmer for one to two hours, until the ribs are tender and some of the fat has rendered.

Preheat your grill to medium high, and brush the grill with oil.

Remove your pork strips from the water, and place them in a bowl. Pour enough barbecue sauce over them to coat them lightly. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to turn the strips carefully so they are evenly coated.

Put your strips on the grill. Turn them often, basting with more barbecue sauce, until the outsides are beginning to brown and the sauce is bubbling and beginning to caramelize. Serve with the remainder of the barbecue sauce on the side.

Pork Carnitas

Heat your frying pan over medium heat while you cut the strips into 2-inch cubes.

Sprinkle the cubes with salt and oregano, and place them in your frying pan. Add enough water to barely cover the cubes.

Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium low, and let your pork simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until the water has evaporated and the pork is tender. It will brown and get crispy edges in its own fat.

Remove the pork from your frying pan, and shred it with two forks.

Clean the frying pan, and use it to heat your tortillas. Serve warm tortillas, warm carnitas and the condiments together so everyone can make a carnitas burrito.


  • Instead of barbecue sauce, make a paste of your favorite meat rub mixture with a little oil, and brush it on to the pork strips before you grill them.

    If you don't have a grill, finish your barbecued pork strips on the top level of your oven under a preheated broiler, watching them carefully and turning them so that all sides are glazed with barbecue sauce.


  • "All About Braising"; Molly Stevens; 2004

Photo Credits

  • rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Ramona French owned a massage school and taught massage for 28 years. In that time she wrote textbooks on Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue and lymph drainage massage. She is the author of "Introduction to Lymph Drainage Massage" and "Milady's Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage." Her book, "The Complete Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage," published by Milady, was released in October 2011.