Should spareribs be boiled first?

Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Question: Should spareribs be boiled first?

It is a matter of personal taste

Answer: There are both pros and cons for boiling spareribs.

• Pro: Since the ribs are fatty, many cooks choose to parboil spareribs for a short time or boil for an extended period of time to render out the fat, tenderize the rib meat, and shorten cooking time. The ribs are then further cooked on the grill or in the oven, usually with a sauce.

This does accomplish the aforestated goals, however, there are drawbacks.

• Con: Boiling the meat not only renders out the fat, it also naturally releases the spareribs natural juices, both of which contain the true flavor of the ribs. Although spareribs are often served glazed or with a sauce, the meat itself can be dry. Long cooking with low heat either by oven or indirect heat on a grill accomplishes the same tenderness and fat-rendering goals without loss of flavor or moisture. Marinades are also recommended to add flavor and tenderize ribs.

The choice is yours, but for best flavor and moist spareribs, boiling is not recommended.