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Pre-Boiling Baby Back Ribs - fast help

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I'm grilling ribs today for the first time. I've read to boil them for an hour and then grill for 10 minutes appling BBQ sauce. I'm on some time restraints today. Can I boil them now and then refrigerate until I'm ready to grill, which will be this evening?

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  1. I don't like to boil my ribs. You lose so much flavor into the water. If you can't bbq them completly, I would cook them in a low oven for at least 5 hours or so. Then put them on the grill. You could find recipes on the web. Sorry I'm no help on the boiling question.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Becca Porter

      I agree with becca...slow roasting, covered at 250 degrees for 2-3 hrs, THEN finishing on the grill is the way I've always done it....please let us know how your ribs come out with boiling/simmering technique...I'd love to know!

      1. re: Val

        Do you use this method for regular ribs too? I really don't have the grill room to slow cook a whole lot of ribs, so I always do some sort of pre-cook. Usually steam. But if oven is better, I'll try it next time.

        1. re: Nyleve

          For country style spare ribs, I usually just bake them; a few times, I've browned them in a nonstick skillet first and drained off the fat but I never boil this type of rib either. I believe I've read recipes saying to boil the country style ribs first to draw off the fat before roasting or grilling but it just seemed...well, wrong to do it! I definitely would not boil baby backs; though my curiosity is piqued at the original post. Ribs these days are pretty lean and I scrutinize whatever I'm buying to make sure there isn't a 2-inch layer of fat on the bottom where I can't "see" it before purchasing.

      2. re: Becca Porter

        Great, thanks. I'm going to stick them in the oven now. I've always oven cooked ribs because I don't have a grill. We're taking them to my dad's house, who does have a grill. 250? that low, huh?

        1. re: Becca Porter

          Never put meat in water unless you want to make soup or stock. Put your seasoned ribs in heavy duty foil seal and slow roast in the oven at 250 for several hours. finish on the grill.

        2. You can boil them and then refrigerate..the refrigeration does not hurt in my experience. But you do not have to boil them for a whole hour...try simmering for half an hour instead.

          1 Reply
          1. re: erica

            I agree if I don't have the time (or too hot to use the oven).. I boil them briefly... maybe 20 minutes.. Take them out of the pot and cool them... than I rub seasoning all over them I use garlic powder, paprika, a little soy sauce, a little worshteshire sauce (whatever you have)... then I refrigerate them... bring them to a party and throw them on the grill to cook on each side...and they are delish! I am not a big fan of barbeque sauce.

          2. Of course the best way is to really BBQ them in a pit, or a Webber kettle, etc. But I understand that is not possible for many people. When I have been forced by circumstances to prepare my babybacks sans smoke I put them inside a Reynolds foil cooking pouch, after seasoning them and pouring on some BBQ sauce, and putting in a little Liquid Smoke. Then the pouch gets sealed really well (just fold it over a few times) placed on a tray and put in an oven at about 300 for about an hour and a half. They come out tender and as flavorful as they can, without being really smoked.

            I imagine you could do variations with the foil pouch techique and baby backs or regular ribs producing "Asian style" ribs or maybe throwing some saurkraut and bacon in with the ribs.

            What ever you do, DO NOT BOIL RIBS, you will destroy everything that is good about them if you do.


            1. I totally understand the logic of folks who are anti-simmer, but in my experience, parboiling regular ribs (not baby backs, which are too lean) works well. Especially if you boil them in a seasoned stock. The New Basics cookbook has a recipe for Jimmy Schmidt's Rattlesnake Ribs that involves par-simmering, marinating in a rub overnight, and then grilling. The ribs are flavorful, tender, and not too fatty. I've made them many times with great results. Once, I brought them to a party and a guy from Memphis actually got on his knees in front of me to tell me that they were the best ribs ever. That was really a cooking highlight for me! So, the point is that it is not always a terrible idea to par-simmer fatty ribs. Please let us know how the oven bake works out.

              1. They were great. I placed the ribs in 2 stoneware bakers, covered with foil and baked them for 3 hours, flipping them around every hour. Then dipped into BBQ sauce and grilled until they sauce carmelized (or whatever you would call that). YUM. Thanks for all of your help.

                1. Chowhounders to the rescue again!

                  You know, you could have gotten yourself in a LOT of trouble with your "boiling ribs" post, A lot of BBQ purists would have taken your children, shot you, burned your house down and more. Nice to see chowhounders exercising some restraint, hahaha!

                  Seriously, you had some great advice and I'm glad things turned out well. For true "BBQ" ribs, you need to BBQ them...and that's low and slow. However, that's not always practical. Boiling is one option, althogh boiling meat does take away the flavor and is frowned upon by a lot of people.

                  I,like many others, "cheat" with the oven. Spares aor baby backs, the drill is similar...peel off the membranes from the back, generously season with a rub (amazing what a difference this can make), bake in a 250 degree oven for about 4-6 hours (baby backs shorter, spares longer)...I often do this overnight before going to bed. You can then refrigerate and finish on the grill for 10-15 minutes with or without BBQ sauce. By the way, I do mine in the oven uncovered...the oven time essentially cooks the ribs, the grill just gives them a nice look more than anything else.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: RSMBob

                    Thanks for your comments. Next time, I'll plan ahead better and put a rub on them while they're slow roasting. But, they were a hit anyway. Good thing I checked with Chowhound first before boiling.

                    1. re: RSMBob

                      I tried this - and though it seeme counter-intuitive - intuition was right. Uncovered, baked ribs are dry. This was 2 1/2 hours. I can only imagine that another 1/ 1/2 hours or more would dry them out even more.

                      While doing this - I took another rack, (also with a dry rub), coiled them up inside a dutch oven, covered it and put it in another oven. 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours and THAT was pretty good! Tender, but not quite falling off the bone. (falling off the bone is a little too much for me).

                      Tried par boiling ribs too - in salted apple juice with liquid smoke. (there are different kinds - the "smoke flavor" is not as good as liquid smoke - which is pretty good stuff.) This turned out well too. After all the people who said it would just leech the flavor out - well, it works pretty well and it's easy too. Then I slather on some BBQ sauce and carmelize them on a hot grill.

                      I'd asked a serious chef about par boiling/simmer ribs - this was someone very acquainted with pork and he shrugged and said yes, boiling is good.

                      BTW - I saved the salted apple juice, and smoke, and now has a nice porky flavor - froze it and will use it as a marinade or maybe just boil more ribs in it - couldn't hurt.

                      1. re: foodiemahoodie

                        I watched "Smokey Flavors", an old installment of Perfect Day on PBS Create today. Danish chef par excellence, Claus Meyer, explained that boiling (pork) ribs before grilling ensures tenderness. He stressed putting the raw ribs into HOT water so the flavor stays with the meat. If you want to make meat broth, put your raw meat into COLD water. He also said to salt and pepper the ribs while they are hot, so the seasoning permeates the flesh.

                      2. re: RSMBob

                        I am always concerned they will be to fatty so that was why I parboiled the ribs first but sounds like that is not a problem

                      3. My son and I have had excellent results making BBQ-style ribs using the foil pouch technique. We let the ribs sit in the fridge with dry rub for 24 hours...and then allowing the ribs to cook in the pouch with a small amount of the boiling hot braise liquid for 2 1/2 hours.

                        The ribs are finished off under the broiler after the braising liquid is reduced and used as a bbq sauce.

                        You can find recipe on foodtv.com by doing a search for alton brown and rib. (Good Eats)

                        1. I steam them over water with herbs from the yard, Mexican oregano, marjoram, basil, and whatever else is around. then i finish them off on the grill and have the bbq sauce available for dipping.
                          The steaming water is really strongly infused, BTW

                          1. Boiling ribs.....that's scary to me. Ribs that have been boiled and steamed have been robbed of flavor because water is a solvent. Steamed and boiled ribs usually have a mushy texture. Properly cooked ribs will pull cleanly off the bone with your teeth, but they will still have some resilience and chew, like a properly cooked steak, but not be tough. Boiling meat is the way to make flavorful soup, not flavorful meat. If I didn't have the time to fully smoke, I would put them in the oven on low (225) for about 5 hours, and put them on the grill for about an hour to get that smoke flavor.