How Long to Boil Ribs Before Grilling? Chef’s Tips

Every chef has their ideas for their favorite BBQ. But, in general, to have a successful barbecue, you must have good ingredients and cook them properly.

Many skilled chefs prefer to boil them before grilling. So, what’s the reason behind it? How long to boil ribs before grilling?

Keep on reading to find out more.

How Long to Boil Ribs Before Grilling?

How Long to Boil Ribs Before Grilling

 Spareribs BBQ

According to seasoned cooks, you should drop your ingredients in just-boiling water for about three to four hours.

This process is necessary for several good reasons:

  • First, reduce the fat content by removing some fat on the meatier.
  • Remove the meat’s inner skin from the ribs.

This method comes with both pros and cons. Therefore, it is not required.

How To Praboiling Ribs?

Here are the most straightforward steps to help you boil spareribs before grilling them.

Step 1

Place your spareribs in a large pot and fill your pot with cold water. Then squeeze the lemon into the bowl, remove all the seeds and pour the lemon juice into the pot. It is possible to put in the lemon zest.

Step 2

Add bay leaves, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook until the meat is slightly tender and make sure it does not get mushy. While boiling it, prepare your grill.

Step 3

Once the meat has softened, transfer your spareribs to the grill. Remember to put the meatier side down. Then, you have to grill them for about 10 minutes.

Step 4

Coat your dish with sauce or glaze, depending on your taste. Then you need to bake for about three more minutes.

You should make sure the temperature in the center of your ribs is around 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is enough to cook them without burning.

Is It Better to Boil Ribs Before Cooking?

Parboiling is a good idea to tenderize meat before grilling

Parboiling is a good idea to tenderize meat before grilling

Parboiling comes in pros and cons, and we will cover both:


Ribs often contain a lot of fat, which can make you overweight. Therefore, you can remove some fat on their surface by parboiling your spareribs. Furthermore, this method allows you to remove their inner skin with ease before moving on to the following steps.

On the other hand, this effort shortens the grill time. The fact is that boiling ribs for a long time will soften all of their connective tissues, reducing the time needed to grill them.


Many chefs avoid boiling any meat before grilling. Instead, they are willing to put in time, patience, and expertise to create a perfect barbeque.

According to them, parboiling ribs shortens the time it takes you to grill them. However, this method inadvertently robs them of their delicious taste. As a result, these chefs do not want to sacrifice the inherent deliciousness of BBQ to speed up the cooking process.

In addition, the smoke will be more challenging to enter the meat, losing the “smokehouse” flavors, which have become typical of BBQ.

Also, pre-boiling the ribs can cause them to be overcooked or end up with a rubbery and mushy taste.

What Are Alternatives for Parboiling?

Parboiling comes in both pros and cons.

Parboiling comes in both pros and cons

There are other ways to soften spareribs without boiling them. Let’s explore.

1.  Brine Solution

Many culinary experts recommend soaking ribs in the brine solution overnight to help them maintain the moisture and softness they need.

It is necessary to add one cup of salt to each gallon of water to make this solution. Some people prefer to boil this solution, while some dissolve the salt in hot water.

Then, place your soaked spareribs in the refrigerator and leave them overnight for the best result.

Depending on your taste, you can add spices like mustard powder, cloves, chili, pepper, and anything else you want.

2. Tenderizing Marinades

It is one of the effective ways to tenderize meat.

Either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can effectively tenderize meat. So, it’s wise to add them to your marinade recipe. Other ingredients could be:

  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Garlic powders
  • Orange or lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Spices
  • Onion
  • And more

Using Marinades makes your meat cuts softer and has deep and rich flavors.

3. Steaming Method

It is another effective method to tenderize and add rich flavor to your ribs before grilling.

Start by placing your ribs in a roasting pan along with water, beer (or vinegar). Then, cover them using aluminum foil.

Place your roasting pan in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius and wait for about an hour.

Then place them on a hot grill and cook them for about half an hour. Don’t forget to flip them a few times to cook evenly.

4. Smoke Ribs

Smoke ribs

 Smoke ribs

Many people believe that smoking your ribs is one of the ideal ways to tenderize them, although this way requires patience and ow consistent temperatures. It can take you six to eight hours to smoke your food.

You can check out the video for more information:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does boiling your spareribs make them tender?

Boiling them before placing them in the oven or on the grill gives you more control over the cooking temperature. In addition, it helps ensure your food will be tender and juicy.

2. How long does pork meat take to boil?

Pork cut Weight Boiling time
Ribs Up to four pounds two hours or until tender
Boston butt Up to six pounds Forty-five min per pound
Boston buttLeg, bone-in Up to eight pounds Forty min per pound
Loin, with or without bone Up to five pounds Thirty min per pound



In general, you can boil ribs for three to four minutes before grilling to remove the fat and shorten the time you need to grill.

Remember that you will have to sacrifice its natural flavor for these benefits. But, you will gain some delicious broth to use for other dishes.

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