Polish Pork Ribs {Żeberka}

This finger lickin’ fall-off-the-bone-rib dish is every carnivore’s favorite. Imagine a meaty, aromatic sauce with hints of thyme and garlic over steamy-cramy mashed potatoes and the 5 servings become 2.

It does take a bit of time to make, but you can set it and forget it. At the end, it will be all worth it.

Poles eat a lot of pork. It was always a lot cheaper than beef and more accessible. When meat was hard to get a lot of folks out in the country (or even the suburbs) raised pigs. My grandpa on dad’s side, Władysław raised them one at time, even after communist party was no longer in power and you could again buy anything you wanted. I think it was in his blood, men raise pigs …  that’s what you do… so that never changed for him. It’s so hard to imagine these days.

I must have been 5 I remember, dad took me with him to the slaughter once. Him and his 4 brothers often helped with this part, which a lot of times turned into a big party. Neighbors came to watch and participate. Fresh pork sizzled in an old iron skillet over a wood fire with garlic and bacon aroma in the air. Pork cooked this way is called “świeżyna” and it nearly brings tears of joy to my dad’s eyes when mentioned.

After a tasting of various parts, the hog would be portioned out into manageable portions, some meat set aside for making of fresh sausage called biała kiełbasa, some for smoked sausage and the rest frozen for later use. A young piglet would be purchased soon to repeat the cycle.

The recipe I’m offering today is ribs in gravy. We never ate them prepared any other way. Slowly stewed in broth, until they fall off the bone. Deliciously savory and fragrant gravy will keep the meat tender and soft, until ready to be poured over hot and steamy potatoes. Yum!

polish recipes

Polish Pork Ribs {Żeberka w Sosie}

  • Yields: 4-5 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1.5 - 2hrs


  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • 2 tbs of oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6-ish sprigs of thyme
  • 5-6 pieces of dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 5-7 allspice (whole)
  • 6-10 pepper corns (whole)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 4 tbs of flour (or more)


  1. Wash and dry ribs. Cut into sections of 2 ribs each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat oil in a large pot. Add ribs and sauté on each side (about 8-10 min). About half way through sautéing add crushed garlic and a few sprigs of thyme.

  3. When golden on the edges, add water to cover meat (about 5 cups). Add mushrooms, onion*, allspice, peppercorns, carrot and celery.

  4. When starts boiling, turn heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours.

  5. Take meat and veggies out of the pot. Whisk in flour to the desired thickness. Bring to boil. Taste and add salt, if needed. I added about 2 more teaspoons of salt and a generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.


* place a 1/4 of an onion over a gas stove burner to burn the edges for 4-5 min, or if using an electric stove, place in a dry pan and burn this way.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a favorite Polish side, like sauerkraut slaw or beet salad.