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Jun 18, 2006 03:48 PM

Nice little bunch of boneless pork ribs--can I barbecue?

  • m

I bought a nice little group (two pounds) of "pork loin country style ribs--boneless" with instructions to basically boil them for 40 minutes, then brush with BBQ sauce and cook 8 minutes per side on the grill. I am suspicious of this technique. Do you all have any better ideas? I had hoped to rub them and just grill them longer, if that's reasonable. And I'd hoped to use my little Smokey Joe rather than the gas grill.

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  1. I don't know about the "boil" part. Slow bake, yes. Then finish on the grill.

    I've used variations of this recipe (adjusting the ingredients and I don't have a smoker box) with great success.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Christine

      Yeah - I agree, don't boil them. I used to boil them and had tried several ways - with beer, etc... but the net of boiling meat is that you get meat flavored broth and less flavor in the meat. So unless you intend to use that broth, I wouldn't boil them.

      I have smoked csr's with some success - not nearly the kind of specialized product that spare ribs are... but something of a cross between pulled pork and spare ribs. They don't take much longer than spare ribs, since although they are much thicker, they are individually cut. I've gone for 3-4 hours at the usual smoker temp (225-250F), after a dry rub, and they come out fine.

      Something else I use csr's for is my salisbury steak/meat loaf - which is really just the same thing formed differently. The upper region of the bottom ribs (where csr's come from) has the ideal fat and connective tissue for the flavor and consistency you want for this kind of cooking (and it's not much good for anything else). I mix hamburger with ground pork (I use the csr's for the pork, grinding them with my kitchenaid mixer attachment), add matzoh meal (breading of choice) and egg and spices - usually add some sauteed onions/peppers/mushrooms. Form into loaves and into the oven, or form into large oblong hamburgers and grill them. For the salisbury steaks, it helps to make the mix somewhat more stiff (more breading). This is a big hit with mashed and gravy.

      1. re: applehome

        Though one way of making carnitas, is to boil the meat in a lightly flavored liquid until it is dry, and then let is fry for a bit in its own fat. While some flavor may come out of the meat, it remains with the final product.


        1. re: paulj

          I got to wondering whether cooking meat in water really does 'leach' flavor out of the meat. Any cooking forces fluid out of meat. When roasted or grilled, the juices (and rendered fat) drip in to the pan or fire under the meat. When cooked in a sealed container (dutch oven or foil), the juices accumulate. And as H McGee and Alton Brown have demonstrated, searing does not seal in those juices.

          I suspect that a piece of meat cooked in a large amount of water (such as I do when preparing tongue) will end up loosing about the same amount of mass as one cooked by some dry method (when cooked to the same internal temperature). It may even loose less.

          Of course boiled meat usually tastes bland compared to roasted, but that may have more to do with flavors developed by browning, than any inherent flavor loss.


          1. re: paulj

            That may be true, but parboiling meat, with the expectation of reducing cooking time and yet creating tender meat, I think is a mistake (one I made a lot before someone on this site, probably Candy, told me to try something else). The meat is tough and bland, especially when compared to low & slow methods.

            I braise tough meat all the time, but in virtually all cases, I'm using the water in the pan as a base for a sauce or gravy (after skimming/draining the fat), or for further boiling of other items that are more bland and gain the flavor (eg- corned beef and cabbage/potatoes/etc.)

            The country-style ribs are much, much better when barbecued from scratch (low & slow), than when parboiled and then grilled, regardless of the flavoring combinations (brine, rub, sauce). Yes - it takes longer, but that's the nature of the meat.

            Braising the csr's would end up with something much like braised short ribs - so low & slow is the way to go - and reusing the flavorful broth is certainly a good idea. In any case, I would discourage parboiling and grilling.

    2. Don't ever boil meat, ever. If you ant to make stock then simmer it but putting meat in water is going to leach out a whole lot of flavor. Just cook those riblets low and slow. Don't put sauce on until they are just about done. The sugars in the sauce will burn if you put it on too soon.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        One addendum to this comment: don't ever boil meat, but do try poaching it. Poached meat and fish can be excellent, when done right. As most of you know, you don't poach in boiling water (hence, don't ever boil meat), you poach in simmering water/stock/wine/milk/etc.

        1. re: Darren

          What's the temperature difference between boiling and simmering water?


          1. re: paulj

            Good question. Boiling water is of course 212 degrees. Simmering refers to liquid that is just starting to boil, so it's less than 212 degrees. I'd guess we're talking around 200 degrees. But rather than go by temperature, go by sight: when you see a small number of bubbles coming to the surface of the liquid, it's simmering. As the temperature goes up, the bubbles get larger and more frequent, until its vigorously boiling. You want to cook in simmering water, that just has a few small bubbles gently coming to the surface.

            The trick, though, is that when you add cold food to simmering liquid, you lower the heat of the liquid sufficiently that it isn't going to be simmering anymore.

            So, bring the food to room temperature as best you can prior to simmering. Second, when you add the food, play with the heat level a little bit to help it come back to a simmer as soon as possible.

            1. re: Darren

              So what is so wrong about boiling? Is the temperature too high? If so, cooking meat in a pressure cooker must be even worse.

              Or maybe it's the turbulence of boiling water. I can see where that would matter with a delicate item like fish. But why should it matter with pork?

              And how about recipes that call for cooking the meat till the liquid has evaporated? For example, one way of making carnitas cooks away the liquid, and then lets the meat fry in its own fat. Some Indian recipes call for repeatedly adding liquid and cooking it away.


              1. re: paulj

                In those cases you mention, where you cook until the liquid evaporates, you are using the flavor of the liquid in the end product, rather than taking the meat out and leaving the "stock" in the pot.

      2. Okay, no parboiling (I'm glad). I rubbed the ribs with an adaptation of the rub you mentioned, Christine (the sugar sort of confused me because of cautions against sugars burning during cooking, but I am not worried at this low heat, so I persevered with lots of garlic salt, paprika, and pepper). I am baking them 3-4 hours at 250; then I'll finish on the grill, maybe with additional sauce then. Thanks for everyone's help!

        1. This is my go to meat for red roast pork, see if your local grocery store has Noh brand char siu mix packets in the Asian grocery section, add a little five spice powder if you have it.

          I don't get the boiling part, these take litle more than 8 minutes on my smokey joe until they're done.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Larry

            a friend turned me on to this application of country style ribs, but it works great... jerk pork.

            make a jerk paste and apply them to the ribs a few hours in advance. Then put them on a smoker or a very low grill (250-ish) for 3-5 hours until tender. Amazing stuff...