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Jun 7, 2010 03:27 PM


yes, i know, the subject has been broached before.
i am catering a party of 150 or so this july fourth. due to space limitations, i have to parboil, or parbraise my spareribs.
most of what i have read has completely condemned the parboil method, not worth the flavor lost.
i am wondering if a slow braise the day before in apple juice and some broth or something else would help me shorten the grilling time without losing the flavor.
help! please!

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  1. I prebraise/steam ribs all the time. I find they come out far more tender. If you are doing a rack, be sure to rip the silverskin or whatever the technical term is for it off the back of the ribs.

    Nix the boiling.

    3 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        THANK YOU. I gave up on my memorybanks. I lost the key a while back and tried jimmying the locks and finally gave up and went for silverskin. Lordy gordy.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          Mine happen to be firing at that moment. Happens every so often, now where did I leave my keys?

    1. Do not boil or braise. You will lose too much flavor to the liquid. I would suggest using a dry rub and either slow roasting or steaming and then finishing on the grill. Steaming will give you that falling off the bone tenderness and the slow roasting will give you a bit more chew and concentration of flavor.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        You know you lose goodness in steaming too right? And then when you grill. There is always a trade off.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          Not the way you lose flavor boiling.

      2. How many slabs, and what kind of ribs do you plan on serving????
        If you perform this act of Heresy....What kind/type/size appliance to you have to "grill" them on afterwords...

        1. I'm curious as to how you'd make them without this space limitation. If you would smoke them, I can see how you'd not have room in the smoker. But if you're not smoking them I'd assume you'd be cooking them in an oven, no? And if so, why not do just that? Why boil or braise?

          1 Reply
          1. re: tommy

            That's kinda where my thoughts were heading Tommy...But the OP needs to supply additional information........

          2. I don't know what you'd call it but always rub with whatever & then seal up tightly in foil and put in a low oven--250 --for about 2-3 hours. Cool & pour off fat. Refrigerate overnight, take out ahead of time so they are room temp & put on the grill with sauce for about 15 minutes or till glazed & browned. I use lots of wood chips so they are nice & smoky & also use smoked paprika in my rub.

            34 Replies
              1. re: runwestierun

                And I concur. Slow roasting concentrates rather than dilutes the flavors. I've parboiled and steamed and slow-roasted, and will never introduce a rib to water again.

                I do not fear or demur from using liquid smoke, by the way. It's just smoke residue, the same fine carcinogen that gets on the meat if you do it natural-like, and used in moderation is objectionable only if you hate having your hands smell like that. But the smoked paprika is a good move.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  When he said spareribs, in my neck of the woods that means country style ribs. The ones that are meatier and not cut into racks like babyback or other cuts of ribs.

                  Can the country ribs take the rub and slow roast method too? I'm thinking that it might make them fall apart into small pcs since there isn't a rack to hold them together.

                  No? Yes? Thanks!

                  1. re: breadchick

                    Yes, I do the same with c-s style ribs, and the spare and baby back. They all come out tender and juicy.

                    And no, c-s ribs don't usually fall apart, they are actually cut from the shoulder.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Gotcha. Thanks for the info. Now I will run out and get them for this weekend since the hubs loves him some ribs.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        country ribs are not cut from the shoulder. they are cut from the front of the rib section.

                        1. re: tommy

                          I am quoting from my local store's circular this week: "Pork Shoulder Country Style Ribs".

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            Spare ribs are primarily most of the rib cage of a hog including the breast bone..With the breast bone (brisket) removed they become St Louis Cut Spare Ribs...Sometimes you will see (or mostly hear) of Kansas City Cut Spare Ribs... Where in addition to the removal of the breast bone the inside flap of meat ( remainder of the diaphragm ) is removed/trimmed off.. Both the St Louis, and the KC cuts have the small end trimmed off to "square up" the slab.~~ At the end of the day the difference in the two is mostly about intrastate rivalry baloney!.

                            Country Style Ribs ~~ The North American Meat Processors Association says that country style ribs "shall be prepared from the blade end of a bone-in pork loin, and shall include not less than three ribs, and no more than some additional technical cutting.... They don't seem to be as fashionable as they once were...The "trendy" loin back ribs have the public's favor right now...and loin backs are just country style with loin meat removed (boneless pork loins)...Wonder why anyone would choose loin back over country style?? I suppose they would rather have the trendy Hoity Toity, Artsy Fartsy "baby back" ribs... Even when 99% if them are not true 'baby backs" anyway.

                            Very commonly you will see another "Country Style Rib" in your grocers meat case. These are cut from the shoulder...specifically the butt portion....Obviously they are not "ribs" at all...they are just pork butt sliced/cut into strips...Once long ago in my area these "ribs" were labeled as "Western Style Ribs" to differentiate from true "Country Style"....I've not seen them labeled that way in years...So when your retailer advertises "Country Style Ribs...Are they true Country Style (from the blade end of the loin...or are they cut from the shoulder/butt?? Truth in labeling law says that somewhere on the package it must say what part of the hog the meat came from...I often see in bold print.. Country Style small print over in a corner...Pork shoulder...Or as in the example of my friend Phurstluv's store circular "Pork Shoulder Country Style Ribs" they are telling you the meat is cut from the shoulder/butt ~~~ In my area those cut from the shoulder dominate the store's displays and advertising....True Country Style are few and far between, but I do find them occasionally in Kroger stores...Most of the time I buy them from a small local processor. HTH

                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Thank you, my friend, for the validation.

                            2. re: Phurstluv

                              stores and "butchers" tend to not have much of an idea of what they are talking about and seem to ignore the NAMP guidelines more often than not. Since they are stating "pork shoulder" on your store's flyer, there's a good chance they are slicing up pork shoulder, or at least the part of the shoulder near the rib cage.

                              The country style ribs in my parts are labeled just as that, and are in line with what the NAMP states. Uncle Bob has done a nice job explaining the NAMP guidelines. I've never seen a product with "shoulder" and "country style ribs" on the labeling, but I'll keep my eye out.

                              1. re: tommy

                                The shoulder cut are the most prevalent here in the grocery stores in LA. On very few occasions do we see a true country-style rib, cut from the loin.

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  I'm looking forward to doing a taste-test!

                                2. re: tommy

                                  Tommy it is my understanding of the Truth In Labeling Laws that the package must state where the meat is cut from...If the package states "Country Style Ribs"...then supposedly somewhere on the label it must also say Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt or whatever...This may be in small print and pre-printed on the label...In other words not generated at store/retail level...In the example that Phurstluv gave, the retailer was covering his bases by stating "Pork Shoulder (where the meat came from) Country Style Ribs" ~~~ Of course the same folks who regulate/enforce Truth In Labeling Laws may be the same folks who regulate/enforce Deep Water Off Shore Drilling....So there's no telling what one may see out there.........


                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                    Now I'm very curious to get to the store to see if there's any fine print. I don't recall seeing any. But I do think these are packaged at the store level 'round here. Which means that anything can go. This is interesting.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      I can't find a link to the act...Isn't that always the case!

                                      Basically/generally it says the meat description has to describe the physical property of the cut, not a colloquial rendering of the cut....

                                      You can create a label at store level that says anything you want....

                                      "Tommy's Tremendous Tasting Ribs" in bold print for example...but the label must also include.. Pork Spare Ribs or whatever somewhere...That is my understanding of it anyway......

                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                        Don't they have to now also label the origin of the meat & fish? Seems in my markets, they are always telling you where the beef / poultry / fish was raised.

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          Yes! It's the Country Of Origin Label...or COOL...All product must show/state Country of Origin....As in Frozen Shrimp....Product of China etc. Fresh seafood and fresh meat cases are supposed to state the same information....Catfish...Product of USA Tilapia...Product of Taiwan ...etc.

                                    2. re: Uncle Bob

                                      well, I just went to the store and I'll be darned if the ribs don't say "loin" on them, which reconciles with what I've seen for years. So I'm thinking this is a regional thing, as I've never noticed shoulder county style ribs, and that certainly would have jumped out at me.

                                      So here are Phurst and me on opposite ends of the country, with different perspectives and experiences. And Bob's your uncle!

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        I would love to have an Uncle like Bob!! LOL!

                                        So, you're telling me in Jersey, they don't tell you what kind of meat it is, as in loin, round, etc.? What's up with that?

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          Maybe this is another regional thing: when I say "i'll be darned if they don't", that means that they do. :) "Pork loin country style ribs." That's what we have here, and that's how they are labeled.

                                          Since I'm aware of the NAMP guidelines which dictate that country style ribs come from the loin (not the shoulder, from what I can tell), it never jumped out at me. But I bet if I were in Safeway and saw "shoulder country style ribs", it would jump right out at me. :)

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            Aaaah, sorry, yes sometimes I get cornfused ;))

                                            But I get ya, and it very well may be a regional thing, we seem to have the shoulder variety here more often than the loin variety, which I also am partial to.

                                          2. re: Phurstluv

                                            But you do have an "Uncle Bob" (aka Rhett) my dear!

                                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                                              Yes, I do and I sure do Give a Damn!!

                                          3. re: tommy

                                            Truth In Labeling Laws are Nation Wide....Yes there are regional nomenclatures! That's why it's confusing to us sometimes...A New York Strip Can be called a KC Strip, or Sirloin Strip, yada yada, yada, It's the same cut of beef. A retailer could label it Strip Club Filet if they chose to, but somewhere on that package it's supposed to say Beef Short Loin...or something to that effect.

                                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                                              I don't recall seeing labels like 'beef short loin'. Is that a NAMP thing, or USDA? Or neither. I tend to buy my beef from Asian groceries like HMart and 99Ranch. Some of their cuts are quite different from 'ordinary' groceries (how do you cook drop flank? long, long, long).

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                Truth in Labeling is FDA....I wouldn't think Asian retailers would be exempt...Under the radar? Maybe so...Like many things..enforcement is often times lax..

                                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                  USDA does grading right?

                                                  Can you point to FDA regulations on meat, specifically cuts? I can understand FDA regulations that have to do with health, but not butchering practices (which vary by country).

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    The grading system is USDA...Prime, Choice, Select etc.
                                                    The FDA does not regulate butchering/slaughtering practices...That falls under the USDA federal inspection program...
                                                    The FDA regulates TRUTH IN LABELING...In simplest of terms it says you cannot label the Box as Cheerios and put Cornflakes IN the box...That would be deceiving/lieing to the consumer....TRUTH IN LABELING means the label must state exactly what is in the package..For further information call 1-888-463-6332....

                          2. re: sparkareno

                            Thhat is basically how I do it. I put the ribs on a rack in a low roaster with water or beer or a mix below and seal those ribs up inside. Sometimes I roast a little ahead of time.

                            With country ribs I make char siu in this method. I glom on the BBQ sauce, steam like above and then crank on the broiler and baste and turn until they are dark, sticky, crispy on the outside and fall apart soft inside. Or I move them to the grill after steaming. HEAVEN. My husband groans when eating them.

                            I freeze the leftovers. Add them to other meals later. The come out well.

                            You know, I bet you could use the boiling liquid and the fat drippings to make a nice BBQ sauce.

                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                              That sounds good, Sal V. I've never made char siu before. Now that my local store no longer carries it premade, I am wanting to try your method. Is there a particular bbq sauce that you use that is Chinese or asian, or will any bbq sauce work?

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                I have used a few myself, but I think thicker works best. Right now I like a BBQ sauce by Koon Chun, Tilt the bottle, if it does not move or moves slothlike - you have a good one. Sometimes I dope it up a little.. I usually scoop out some and add sesame oul and hot chili vinegar and brush a small amount on for the steam session. Sometimes I let the pork marinade in BBQ sauce (or doped BBQ) and then steam. I am not sure it makes a huge diff. While you are doing the final step where you make them into pork candy, just make sure to keep the heat blasting, keep turning and glopping on the sauce. I like them dark and sticky and crunchy.

                                With the country ribs I cut the ribs longway and in half - sometimes more or less so I have good size strips and chunks. That way I get more crispy. I cut before steaming.

                                Round one white sticky rice - sometimes with bitter greens, sometimes with gingery stir fry veggies.

                                They are really good on the grill - with the high heat (or good flame) and turning and basting. Either way.

                                Hmmm... more than you asked. I heart pork. Oink.

                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                  I heart pork too.

                                  Thanks for the info, I will look out from some Chinese bbq sauce, the thicker the better. Even if I have to make a trip into Chinatown.

                                  You mean on the grill, after they have been steamed, right? And about how long do you steam them for? Thanks.

                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    Yep after steaming.

                                    How long steaming depends on the size of the pork hunks. At least a couple hours. After a couple hours unseal it and pull at a bigger piece. It should threaten to fall apart. Resist popping it into your mouth. It is 10 times better after the shellacking.

                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                      No doubt, thanks for the info. And I looked in my local market, and of course could find nothing that resembled chinese barbecue sauce, so off to Chinatown I will go to find something thick & sweet.