Boneless pork loin strips are usually labeled country-style ribs in stores. They're cut from the rib or sirloin end of the loin. These aren't true rib cuts, and are meatier than spareribs or baby back ribs. While flavorful, these pork strips are fairly fatty and on the tough side, so they don't do well with quick dry-heat cooking. Searing them and then slowly simmering them -- a technique known as braising -- is an effective way to turn these cuts into a delicious dish that's so tender it falls apart and practically melts in your mouth.
Rub the pork loin strips with desired seasonings. Use a prepared dry rub for meat or make your own by combining ingredients such as salt, pepper, dry mustard, paprika, thyme, oregano, celery seed, coriander, chili or curry powder, brown sugar and others. For more strongly flavored country-style ribs, wrap the seasoned pork tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate for anywhere from 1 to 24 hours.
Set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow about 20 minutes for preheating.
Place a stove-safe casserole pot on a burner over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking oil. Once the oil is heated to the point of having a watery consistency, place the pork loin strips inside. Don't crowd them; if there's not enough room, sear in batches as needed. Sear each side for about 2 minutes, until golden-brown, then remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
Deglaze the casserole pot. Pour in your chosen braising liquid -- suitable picks include any stock or broth, red wine, beer or a mixture of vinegar and teriyaki or barbecue sauce -- using enough to come about halfway up the pork loin strips when you return them to the pot. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the flavorful, darkened stuff stuck to the bottom and sides of the pot that are left behind after searing meat.
Bring the braising liquid to a boil. Drop in any herbs, spices and aromatics you'd like to flavor your braised country-style ribs dish. Use complementary items such as those included in your dry rub: rosemary, marjoram, garlic or shallot, scallion or onion, carrots, celery, tomato or tomato paste, bell pepper or soy sauce or tamari, for example. Return the pork loin strips to the pot, too.
Cover the casserole pot and put it in the oven. During cooking, turn the meat occasionally, stir the preparation and scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Simmer the pork loin strips for about 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork-tender and at least 145 F as measured by a cooking thermometer.
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- Store pork loin strips below 40 F. Use or freeze them within 3 to 5 days of purchase or their sell-by date, or by their use-by date for peak quality.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Visit Florida, Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.