Should You Boil Ribs Before Grilling? Tips For The Best BBQ

Grilled ribs are a favorite dish of many people. As ribs are a seasonal fare, the cooking can be full of problems. So, should you boil ribs before grilling?

While some cooks suggest boiling ribs before grilling to make the meat tender quickly, others would disagree since this method will somehow lose the natural and essential elements of the flesh.

We’ll help you determine if this method of pre-cooking ribs is right for you with info about its pros and cons, how to boil ribs, and some alternatives to boiling.

Should You Boil Ribs Before Grilling?

Boiling spare ribs before placing them on the grill is a regular practice accepted by many grill-loving people for so many years.

There are both upsides and downsides to parboiling ribs. In general, it’s a matter of personal preference.


Because the ribs are pretty fatty, people want to parboil them to soften and tenderize the flesh for a certain time.

This practice helps render the fat surface and makes removing the skin inside from the spare ribs more straightforward before grilling.

Also, boiling the ribs reduces the cooking time and helps the BBQ sauce go deeper into the meat, hence a further cooked fare over the flame.

Some cooks simmer their ribs for even longer, an hour or more.

Long-simmering will significantly shorten the grilling time and soften the meat’s connective tissue, leading to far more tender rib meat.

Just to note that you should simmer your spare ribs rather than boil them fully for an extended time. The extreme heat of the boil could lead to tough meat.


Rendering out the fatty part aside, parboiling also naturally lets out the natural juice of the sparerib, which plays a vital role in maintaining the genuine texture of the meat.

Although simmering before grilling won’t considerably remove the natural texture of your flesh, there will be some certain loss.

The clear sign that a one-hour boil will lead to a huge flavor loss is that you can taste it in the broth. You can use that broth for rice, noodles, and other dishes.

Although many cooks often serve spareribs with a BBQ sauce or glazed, the flesh itself might be dry and tough after losing its naturally rich juices because of boiling.

Another downside to parboiling spare ribs is that the smoke can’t absorb into the meat, which means you’ll miss the well-known smokehouse flavor of BBQ costa.

Also, to reinforce the opinion of skipping the simmering process, some cooks may argue that your ribs might get overcooked easily.

All in all, it’s fine to pre-cook ribs for the best-grilled food, but boiling seems not to be the best method.

How To Boil Ribs Before Grilling?

A common question that beginner enthusiasts tend to ask most of the time is how to boil ribs before grilling.

As long as the meat falls easily off the bone, you are sure to have the most tender and flavorful grilled ribs.

If you choose to boil your ribs before grilling to effortlessly tenderize it and reduce the grilling time but still maintain the finger-licking flavor, do as follows:

First, put your fare in a big pot and pour in plain water until it covers the ribs. You don’t need to put in any extra things at this phase.

Boil the water to a decent level. Remember to avoid overboiling. The too high temperature can eliminate collagen, leading to touch and seriously flavorless meat.

Simmer until your ribs get slightly tender. This step should take around 27-30 minutes. Less is more, so don’t exceed this amount of time.

You can preheat your grill while waiting for the flesh to soften. Once the simmering is complete, add rubs, BBQ sauces, or any seasonings included in your fav ribs recipe.

Once your grill is nice and hot enough, place the seasoned ribs meaty on it and grill two sides for about 30-40 minutes.

When the inner temperature approaches 165 degrees F, you can turn the grill off and enjoy your classic BBQ food.

Alternative Ways To Boiling Ribs

What are the most efficient alternatives to boiling when you want to prepare your ribs for a perfectly grilled dish without losing much of its natural juices?

We’ve listed some methods you can apply to satisfy your guests’ palate for mouth-watering grilled ribs.

Here’s one thing to keep in mind: Strike a nice balance between texture and flavor to achieve the sweet, smokey ribs that everyone desires.


Slow and low smoking allows you to tenderize your ribs while keeping their genuine flavors.

A popular technique to smoke BBQ ribs is usually the dry rub technique.

Although it will take you longer to cook, it’s a worthwhile process as you can surely achieve a gourmet smokey flavor.

Smoking ribs with an electric smoker or charcoal usually takes about 3-5 hours to deliver the desired flavor.


Marinating before grilling is a brilliant way to avoid flavor loss and soften your flesh.

If you’re going to cook pork ribs, you can marinate them in a large acid bath. As acids will break down rigid meat, this step can help tenderize muscle fibers.

Some popular ribs recipes for that acid bath are white vinegar, apple cider, lime, and orange juice.


Another common technique is to steam the meat, which helps soften it before grilling.

The most widely used methods are pressure cooking and low-heat steaming.

We recommend steaming your ribs over apple cider and beer with water and cooking for a couple of hours.


One of the ways to shorten the grill time is to bake your ribs beforehand.

Besides, this method also prevents the meat from getting burned when you cook the inner middle of your flesh.

More importantly, if you don’t have a smoker around your kitchen, an oven is a perfect option.


Every cook will have a unique BBQ ribs recipe, yet the secret behind a successful grilled dish is not simply the rub, sauce, or how you cook it. It’s also about how you pre-cook your meat before grilling.

The straightforward answer to should you boil ribs before grilling largely depends on your taste and preference.

We’re glad to help you achieve excellent-quality BBQ food and successfully wow your visitors. Thanks for visiting our website!

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