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Old 07-14-2006, 09:49 AM   #1
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Should I par boil spare ribs?

Well, what do you do to get falling-off-the-bone spare ribs? I've tried to par boil on top of the stove with spices, but you have to be careful, because sometimes it really dries them out.
Whose got an absolutely fantastic recipe? I do smoke them for my husband, but I really hate that smokey flavor, so I'm looking for something I can do just for me. Thanks, Deb

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Old 07-14-2006, 10:02 AM   #2
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Michelemarie gave me this advice....its how she fixes hers. I tried it and it works perfectly. Don't forget them when they are in the oven and slow bake them longer though because the meat is too tender and too difficult to handle when putting on the grill and trying to turn and baste. I never could fix ribs before....that is till now. Thanks Michelemarie!

I usually cook my ribs in a shallow pan of water covered in foil at 275 for about 2 hours. I finish them on the grill for - both sides - where I add the sauce
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Old 07-14-2006, 10:41 AM   #3
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I always parboil mine, but depending on the size/amount, not for very long - maybe 10-15 minutes or so at most. And it's more like a simmer rather than a rolling boil. I've never had them dry out, & find that the parboiling (just like pre-steam/braising duck & goose) removes a lot of the grease/fat.

I then drain & transfer them to the charcoal grill to cook through & get that somewhat crisp/chewy exterior &, of course, to cook the glaze/sauce on.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:08 PM   #4
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I don't believe in parboiling ribs or any other meat that's going to be grilled or BBQ'd. If you've watched any of the endless string of BBQ competition shows on Food TV, you'll see they don't parboil either.

The key to tender and tasty ribs is slow cooking over low heat. Ribs would take 3-4 hours at 200-225 F.

Also, I heard a judge on one of those many BBQ shows say that if the meat is actually falling off the bone, it's been cooked too long.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:22 PM   #5
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Andy M. - I've watched those shows too, & while I'm sure they're right under their own circumstances, I'm usually just cooking a small amount of ribs just for myself & am certainly not going to tend a charcoal grill for 3-4 hours at 200-225. Also, my parents always parboiled tons of ribs for large barbecues & they could barely keep up with the crowd, so they couldn't have been that bad - lol!!!

Like I said, the ribs I make by parboiling briefly & then grilling come out fabulous in a very reasonable amount of time - for me. But as with anything having to do with cooking - to each his own. : )
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:30 PM   #6
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Don't parboil them--you are just extracting all the meat juices by boiling it out of them. To shorten cooking time, I wrap in foil and bake at 250* for an hour or two.
The key to tender ribs is low and slow heat, no matter how you do it.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:30 PM   #7
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I do not parboil ribs but I do put into the oven for a couple hours to take off the excess fat. The last half hour I coat with sauce and continue baking to carmelize the sauce and add flavor.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:34 PM   #8
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Low and slow is the key. You can have the fall off the bone goodnes, and it still be held together by the "bark".
I typically don't parboil them, but I have brined them, and let them go in a low oven,250-275MAX, for about 2 hours, then uncovered and sauced for about 45min...from there you can either eat em' up, or move to a grill and really get the "bark" built up. I have seen them done a million and six different ways though, I guess it is a matter of personal taste.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:40 PM   #9
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One question - & I'm not asking this to be snarky: if parboiling extracts "all the meat juices", why are my parents' & my ribs so great-tasting. And I don't mean just because of the sauce, etc. In fact, sometimes after the par-boil we grill them without sauce & just serve sauce on the side. That's how good they are. They are full of great pork flavor - juicy, tender, & flavorful on the inside, with a crisp skin on the outside, & minimal grease.

But again, the ribs are only in the water for 10-15 minutes - just long enough to seal the exterior & remove some excess fat. Perhaps that's the reason?

Frankly, I wouldn't automatically pooh-pooh parboiling. I've certainly had more than my share of dry &/or fatty ribs from folks just tossing them on the grill - low heat or not. I think, regardless of method, it's more of the technique than the method.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:00 PM   #10
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Breezy:

I have no doubt your's and your parents' ribs were delicious. I am not saying my way is the only way. Just offering my opinion.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT
Low and slow is the key. You can have the fall off the bone goodnes, and it still be held together by the "bark".
I typically don't parboil them, but I have brined them, and let them go in a low oven,250-275MAX, for about 2 hours, then uncovered and sauced for about 45min...from there you can either eat em' up, or move to a grill and really get the "bark" built up. I have seen them done a million and six different ways though, I guess it is a matter of personal taste.
If you don't feel compelled to fire up the grill you can do it in the oven or even in a crock pot. Low and slow is more important than heat source. It just takes time at fairly low temperature to break down the connective tissue that gives you that fallin' of the bone unctuous finger lickin' quality. Tell anybody in Memphis I said this and I'll deny it!
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:09 PM   #12
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Oh Andy M. - please don't think I was dissing your advice. I really wasn't! I just really was surprised that BRIEFLY parboiling seemed to be a minority choice since my ribs always turn out so nice.

But like with anything having to do with food (or gardening, livestock raising, ad infinitum), it's what works best for you that counts!! : )
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
If you don't feel compelled to fire up the grill you can do it in the oven or even in a crock pot. Low and slow is more important than heat source. It just takes time at fairly low temperature to break down the connective tissue that gives you that fallin' of the bone unctuous finger lickin' quality. Tell anybody in Memphis I said this and I'll deny it!

I have done them in the ol crock pot numerous times and have always been pleased with the results. Normally I do the big boy, country style ribs in the crock, and slab style in the oven or grill/smoker.

I though you memphasites did dry rub and grilled? are you holding a seceret?
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT
I though you memphasites did dry rub and grilled? are you holding a seceret?
Well TATTRAT, I don't speak for the city but in my experience Memphians are pretty well split between dry and wet but I think of grilled as direct heat over pretty hot fire and I don't think that works anywhere. I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant by grilled and I'm also pretty sure that Breezy didn't mean this, but I've had ribs that were "parboiled" then slathered in sweet tomato based sauce and slapped on a hot grill 'till the tomato and sugar charred and somebody rang the dinner bell.
Like you said, Low and slow is the key.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:01 PM   #15
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As far as grilled, I do the indirect method: one side ripping coals, the other side nothing. It creates good convection when the ports are open. As far as finishing, I do go over the hot spot just long enough to caramlize things, but it can burn real quick if you are not paying attention.

Think I might have to do a Memphis trip so I can judge for myself on the whole wet/dry eternal battle. ;-)
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.

Also, I heard a judge on one of those many BBQ shows say that if the meat is actually falling off the bone, it's been cooked too long.
I took a BBQ class from a local chef who has won many many BBQ competitions. yes he is from the North, but he was taught how to BBQ from a Master down South (sorry I do not recall his name, but I am sure someone here could probably guess it).

Anyway he told us the same thing. Rib meat should not be falling off the bones.

Personally I like when it does fall off the bone. I do not find it to be overcooked or anything like that.

Breezy to answer your question about par boiling washing away flavor, but yours tasting great I will ask you a question. Have you ever made your ribs without par boiling first? If the answer is no then I will put this forward. Maybe your ribs would taste as good as they always do and then some if you did not par boil and wash some of that flavor away.

I do not know if that is true. I am just offering a possibility.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Well TATTRAT, I don't speak for the city but in my experience Memphians are pretty well split between dry and wet but I think of grilled as direct heat over pretty hot fire and I don't think that works anywhere. I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant by grilled and I'm also pretty sure that Breezy didn't mean this, but I've had ribs that were "parboiled" then slathered in sweet tomato based sauce and slapped on a hot grill 'till the tomato and sugar charred and somebody rang the dinner bell.
Like you said, Low and slow is the key.
I hope you didn't eat those "parboiled" ribs in Memphis, skilletlicker! No self-respecting Memphian should EVER do that to a good rack of ribs.

I married a Memphis boy and he is an eternal fan of the Rendezvous-style dry ribs. I'm more of a wet whistle myself.

Having said that, we have both succumbed to simmering them briefly in water and then shucking them into the oven, usually in a bath of Wicker's basting sauce. They turn out pretty well, especially if you put your rub on first and then let them take a nap in the fridge for a while.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:35 PM   #18
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Yup - have tried them both ways, & a couple of times due to just trying different recipes. I have to say that I still like them parboiled first. Personal opinion & taste this may be, but I've yet to have any complaints - even from fellow cooking afficionados who know I want the real scoop.

Re: Skilletlicker, no, we didn't pop them from the boiling water, slather them with tomato-based sauce & grill them - lol!!! (And no, Skillet - I'm not offended - lol!!!). Like I said before, the ribs were, in effect, BLANCHED, in boiling water for about 10 minutes (depending upon size/weight). You'd be amazed at how much fat/grease blanched out. They weren't even remotely cooked through. After that, they were coated with whatever sauce we were using (vinegar based, barbeque type, cajun, whatever). They were then placed on the grill over indirect heat (aka off the coals - like I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about - lol). No further sauce basting was done for another 10 minutes or so, at which time they were basted again & moved over the heat. More bastings for another 10 minutes or until the ribs were done to our satisfaction.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT
I have done them in the ol crock pot numerous times and have always been pleased with the results. Normally I do the big boy, country style ribs in the crock, and slab style in the oven or grill/smoker.
I think of "big boy, country style" as beef ribs and I agree they are better suited to the crock pot. On fear of being of run out of town, my attention span is insufficient for doing spareribs on the grill. The need to keep the temperature low enough to cook continuously that many hours without burning interferes with my ability to focus on the ball games. My hat's off to those who are willing to pay attention (stay sober) that long if they aren't being paid to do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT
Think I might have to do a Memphis trip so I can judge for myself on the whole wet/dry eternal battle. ;-)
For Dry; try Rendevoux downtown and for wet try Corky's in East Memphis.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:48 PM   #20
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Skillet, you hit on my fave Memphis joint - Corky's. For the rest of you, Corky's will FedEx grub anywhere.
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