Why Should You Not Boil Spareribs Before Grilling Them?

What do we want from grilled ribs? It is when the meat falls off right from the bone, juicy, and just the perfect smokiness in the meat. There are many ways people would grill the spareribs to get that spot-on taste and succulent meat.

However, achieving superb ribs for grilling takes time, patience, the right equipment, and a level of expertise. It is then that sometimes people would take shortcuts to have that tender grilled rib.

Hence, we ask, is it right to boil ribs before grilling them; or is this belief a bluff? Read this article to know the answer!

Is It OK to Boil Ribs Before Grilling?

spare ribsPeople would suggest boiling the ribs before grilling because the technique is said to help the flesh to be tender quickly. However, others would still disagree because this process loses the essential and natural components of the meat. This process called parboiling is also the least recommended first step when barbecuing or grilling meat.

But why? One reason to not boil your ribs before grilling is that it loses collagen in the meat. Collagen is a connective tissue present in the meat, mainly found in the rib cut of the flesh. Said collagen primarily contributes to the final taste of your rib.

When you boil the ribs, the collagen melts away with the water, which then washes away the tasty flavor of your rib. You will end up with flavorless and bland ribs.

Lastly, when you boil the rib, the smoke will not penetrate, and the collagen present in the water may only do good to your BBQ sauces and soups.

The gold standard for grilled barbecue ribs is its “off the bone” and moist meat. Boiling your ribs can easily lead to overcooked ribs. In fact, it is a vigorous process that will make your rib either mushy, rubbery, or having a stringy texture.

The Alternative Ways

So what are the alternatives for that impeccably grilled rib everybody craves for? The following are some techniques you can choose from to satisfy you and your guest’s palate for grilled ribs. Also, these are vital techniques to balance tenderness and flavor:

1. Smoking

Low and slow smoking helps keep your ribs packed with flavors, as well as tenderize them. The dry rub technique is usually essential to smoking ribs for grilling. It does take more cooking time, but it will be worth it because you will get a smokey flavor! Usually, it takes 3-5 hours in a charcoal or electric smoker to achieve that flavor.

A technique called 3-2-1 Method for smoking ribs can be easy to remember. First, put your ribs bone-side down and cook for three hours. Next, wrap the ribs in an aluminum foil and smoke them for two hours. Finally, remove the ribs from the aluminum foil and bring back to the smoke bone-side down for an hour. Don’t forget to apply sauce for the last thirty minutes!

2. Marinade

Marinating your ribs is an excellent way to prevent loss of flavor and tenderize the meat. Pork spare ribs are ideally marinated in an acid bath. Acids break down tough meat, which then helps soften muscle fibers. Some typical ribs recipe for an acid bath can be apple cider, white vinegar, orange juice, and lime.

Marinating the ribs before grilling them also helps to contain the juices and flavor you added to the meat. To marinate your ribs, put them in a large container and refrigerate them for 12-24 hours. Take the marinated delicious ribs out an hour before cooking. After that, you can grill them however you want- slather some butter, slap it on the flat-top grill, add some more herbs and spices if you’d like, and voila! Instant delicious meal.

3. Steam

Steaming the ribs is also a common cooking technique to tenderize ribs before grilling. Low-heat steaming or pressure cooking the ribs is the way. Some will steam the ribs over beer and apple cider with water for several hours.

To perfectly do this method, first remove the membrane that is at the back of the bone. Then, remove the membrane by sliding the knife between the layer and the bone. Lift the membrane and push to remove it. Then, add the dry rub and place them in a foil bone-side up. Place three ice cubes along the sides. Wrap it and put it on another sheet of foil. Finally, place it on a hot grill for 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

4. Simmer or Braise

Low simmer the ribs along with onion and barbecue sauce for 45 minutes. This method will help develop layers of flavor as well as maintain the juice inside the meat.

To prepare, place the ribs on a rack above a pan of water or apple juice. Make sure that the ribs do not touch the liquid. Then, start your temperature with 350 degrees Fahrenheit and decrease it to 225 degrees Fahrenheit after 15 minutes. The total time will take about an hour. When braising, put the ribs in a flavored liquid or spice, then slowly roast them before again, finishing on the grill. After completing the process, your ribs are good to go!

5. Baking

Baking your rib beforehand helps you shorten grill time. It also helps you to avoid the meat in getting burned while trying to cook inside the middle of the flesh.

First, you must season your ribs with a dry rub. Put them in a baking pan or a rimmed cookie sheet with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Tightly cover it with aluminum foil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. Then, you can finally finish off the ribs by caramelizing them on the grill over medium heat for five to 10 minutes on each side.

Also, for those who do not have a smoker available, the oven is your best friend! Many grilling and barbecue enthusiasts attest to broiling ribs in the oven before placing them on a hot grill. Another tip for a delicious rib is to baste the sauce not too soon or early in the grilling process. It is always more savory at the end of grilling.

Overall, the best-grilled rib can be pre-cooked, but boiling may not the best way to do it. You always have to strike a balance between flavor and texture to get that smokey and sweet rib for everyone to enjoy!

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