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Aug 22, 2004 11:53 AM

How Do You Parboil

  • h

I want to parboil some pork spareribs. Do you put the ribs into boiling water and if so for how long? Or, do you put the ribs into the coldwater and bring it to a boil, and if so when do you stop the process? Any favorite additions other than aan onion and celery tops?

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  1. I'd say to boil lightly for 45 mins to an hour if you were intending to bbq afterwards or something.

    I would suggest about 1/4 cup of Wright's Hickory Smoke and maybe some Crushed Red Chiles or a dash of Cayenne Pepper.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MarkinLA

      Don't do it! You'll have nice pork flavored water, but it will be at the expense of your ribs.

    2. Put the ribs into boiling water, return to a boil and then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Maybe half an hour. You don't want to actually boil the meat - that will toughen it.

      1. Why parboil ribs? It makes no sense. You're essentially making pork soup, throwing away the soup, and left with flavorless pork.

        5 Replies
        1. re: AlanH™

          Right. The idea of "parboiling"/blanching is to PARtially cook dense foods so that you can cook them quickly later on ... great for things like green beans or carrots that you don't want to have to cook forever (and discolor) in a stir fry or stew. With meats though, yeah, you end up with a stock. You may be able to use the cooking water in some way when you do the final cooking - basting or reducing for a sauce - but I still imagine a lot of flavor would be lost.

          "Parbaking" or "parbRoiling" might be a better option. I'm a partial vegetarian, so I can't offer a lot of advice from experience, but I bet your local library has copies of Jacques Pepin's Method and Technique, Larouse, Varenne Pratique, or CIA's The Professional Chef ... and they'll overload you with info on the theory and practice.


          1. re: AlanH™

            I parboil ribs so that I can cook them on the grill and know that they're completely cooked on the inside before they're blackened on the outside. Same with chicken pieces, 'cause I hate it when they're burnt on the outside and relatively uncooked inside. And I don't want to spend hours with indirect grilling at a low temperature. Parboil 'em, use a dry rub and let them marinate in it for a couple of hours or overnight. The flavor of the spices seems to come through especially well when the dry rub is applied to hot meat. And the end result is that the meat doesn't have to be on the grill too long in order to ensure that it's done to a safe temp on the inside.

            1. re: Deenso

              See, I still think parBROILING or parBAKING would be a better solution. Best option is probably to cook them for a long time at a low temp in the oven and then throw them on the grill for the smoky/char flavor.

              Just a guess though.

              There's a book called "How to Grill" that could probably give some great suggestions.


              1. re: Deenso

                Assuming you have a rice cooker or steamer that's large enough to fit, why not steam it? Water vapor gets hotter than boiling water so it should cook through to the insides quicker than letting them soak in a pot of flavor-sapping water. The plus side is that whatever flavorful liquid comes out of it is minimized and concentrated so you can try to find ways to use it easier than a big potful of water.

                1. re: Deenso

                  If they're burnt on the outside, and uncooked on the inside, you're using too much heat, and possibly using too much sugar (in the form of rub or sauce) which burns at 350. Dry rub is specifically meant for slow cooking. Virtually all of the ingredients will burn at any kind of high temperature. I'd suggest spending more time refinig your grilling technique, rather than de-flavoring the meat to save time. Check out the link below for tons of info.


              2. I know folks say parboiling ribs isn't a good idea, but whenever I make the "Jimmy Schmidt's Rattlesnake Ribs" recipe from the New Basics (which requires parboiling the ribs in a flavorful stock) people go nuts for them. I actually had a guy from Memphis literally get down on his knees to pay homage to them! Perhaps it is all of the spices in the stock, but I'm disappointed when I make ribs any other way. So don't rule out parboiling altogether.

                That said, in general, you want to put food that you want to keep flavor in into hot liquid, food you want to take flavor out of (like for soup) into cold liquid.