Skip to content

How do you prepare pork ribs before cooking?

Preparing pork ribs before cooking is essential to ensure that they turn out tender, flavorful, and delicious. Whether you’re planning to grill, bake, or smoke them, taking the time to properly prepare the ribs will result in a mouthwatering meal that everyone will love.

Gather the necessary ingredients and tools

Before you start preparing your pork ribs, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools handy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pork ribs (baby back ribs or spare ribs)
  • Dry rub or marinade of your choice
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking sheet or grill
  • Tongs or spatula
  • Basting brush

Cleaning the ribs

Begin by cleaning the pork ribs. Remove any excess fat or membrane from the ribs using a sharp knife or your fingers. This will help the flavors penetrate the meat more effectively and prevent them from becoming chewy during cooking.

Seasoning the ribs

Next, season the ribs with your chosen dry rub or marinade. If you’re using a dry rub, generously sprinkle it over both sides of the ribs and gently massage it into the meat. For a marinade, place the ribs in a large ziplock bag or a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the ribs are well coated and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight, depending on the recipe.

Resting the ribs

After seasoning, it’s important to let the ribs rest for a while. This allows the flavors to permeate the meat fully. Place the seasoned ribs on a baking sheet or wrap them in aluminum foil and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Cooking the ribs

Now it’s time to cook the pork ribs. The cooking method will vary depending on your preference and the recipe you’re following. Here are a few popular options:

  1. Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium heat and oil the grates to prevent sticking. Place the ribs on the grill and cook them indirectly with the lid closed, turning occasionally, until they are cooked through and tender.
  2. Baking: Preheat your oven to a low temperature (around 275°F/135°C). Place the ribs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake them for several hours, until they are tender. You can then finish them off on the grill or under the broiler for some added char.
  3. Smoking: If you have a smoker, prepare it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the ribs on the smoker racks and smoke them at a low temperature (around 225°F/107°C) for several hours until they are tender and have a smoky flavor.

Applying barbecue sauce (optional)

If you like your ribs saucy, you can apply barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Baste the ribs with the sauce using a basting brush and continue cooking until the sauce has caramelized slightly.

“Properly preparing pork ribs before cooking is the key to achieving tender and flavorful results. From cleaning and seasoning to choosing the right cooking method, each step contributes to the overall taste and texture of the ribs.”

Once your pork ribs are cooked to perfection, remove them from the heat and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more succulent final dish. Serve the ribs with your favorite sides, such as coleslaw, cornbread, or grilled vegetables, and enjoy!

What is the Best Way to Pre-Cook Ribs Before Grilling?


Grilling ribs can be a delicious way to enjoy tender and juicy meat. However, to achieve the perfect texture and flavor, pre-cooking the ribs beforehand is often recommended. Pre-cooking helps tenderize the meat, ensures even cooking, and allows you to infuse the ribs with tasty flavors. In this article, we will explore different methods of pre-cooking ribs before grilling for the best results.


One popular method to pre-cook ribs is boiling them in a flavorful liquid. This helps render the fat and break down the tough connective tissues, resulting in more tender ribs. To boil ribs, simply place them in a large pot with salted water or broth, along with herbs, spices, and aromatics of your choice. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour until the meat is tender. Once pre-cooked, transfer the ribs to the grill to get that delicious smoky flavor and charred exterior.


An alternative method for pre-cooking ribs is oven-baking. This technique allows for slow and gentle cooking, ensuring moist and tender meat. Start by seasoning the ribs with a dry rub or marinade to enhance the flavor. Wrap the seasoned ribs tightly in foil and bake them in a preheated oven at a low temperature, around 275°F (135°C), for about 2 to 3 hours. The low and slow cooking method will allow the ribs to become tender and cooked through while still retaining their moisture.

Marinating and Sous Vide

Marinating the ribs and cooking them sous vide is another great way to pre-cook before grilling. Marinating adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat. After marinating, vacuum seal the ribs and cook them in a water bath at a precise temperature for several hours. This technique ensures consistent cooking throughout the meat while retaining its natural juices. Once pre-cooked, all that’s left is to transfer the ribs to a hot grill to achieve a caramelized and smoky finish.

Tip: No matter which method you choose, always remember to finish the pre-cooked ribs on a hot grill to add that delicious char and crust.

Should I boil ribs before BBQ?

When it comes to barbecuing ribs, there are various techniques and opinions on how to achieve the best results. One question that often arises is whether or not to boil the ribs before placing them on the grill. Let’s explore this topic and weigh the pros and cons.

Boiling Ribs: The Pros

Boiling ribs prior to grilling can have a few advantages. Firstly, boiling can help to tenderize the meat, making it more succulent and easier to eat. Boiling also helps to remove some of the excess fat from the ribs, resulting in a leaner finished product. Finally, by boiling the ribs, you can partially cook them in advance, reducing the grilling time and ensuring that they are fully cooked through.

Boiling Ribs: The Cons

On the other hand, some argue that boiling ribs can remove flavor from the meat. When the ribs are boiled, some of the flavorful juices can be lost in the process. Additionally, boiling can lead to a softer texture, which may not be desirable for those seeking a crispy exterior and a tender interior on their ribs.

According to barbecue purists, the best way to achieve amazing ribs is through a slow and low cooking method.

“Boiling ribs can result in a loss of flavor and texture. Instead, focus on marinating the ribs in a flavorful rub and then slow-cook them on the barbecue.”

Tips for BBQ-ing Ribs

If you decide to skip the boiling step and go straight to the barbecue, here are a few tips to help you get the best results:

  1. Choose high-quality ribs from a trusted source.
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs for better flavor absorption.
  3. Apply a dry rub or marinade to season the ribs overnight for maximum flavor.
  4. Preheat your grill to a low temperature (around 225-250°F / 110-120°C) for slow cooking.
  5. Cook the ribs indirectly over the heat source, using a drip pan to catch any fat drippings.
  6. Baste the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce during the final 30 minutes of cooking.
  7. Allow the ribs to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Remember, the key to great BBQ ribs is patience. Low and slow cooking over indirect heat will result in tender, flavorful ribs that are sure to impress your guests.

Do you rub or sauce ribs?

When it comes to cooking ribs, there are two popular methods that enthusiasts swear by: rubbing and saucing. Both techniques have their benefits and can yield delicious results, but which one should you choose? Let’s explore the differences and advantages of each.

Rubbing Ribs

Using a dry rub involves coating the ribs with a flavorful mixture of spices, herbs, and sometimes sugar prior to cooking. This technique allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and create a tasty crust on the surface. Rubs can be customized to your preference, whether you prefer a savory, sweet, or spicy profile.

The great thing about dry rubs is that they can be applied well in advance, allowing the flavors to develop over time. It also creates a texture on the ribs that many people find appealing, with a slight crustiness that adds dimension to the overall taste.

If you enjoy the smoky flavor of the meat itself and want a more pronounced spice profile, using a rub could be the way to go. The rub helps to enhance and accentuate the natural flavors of the ribs.

Saucing Ribs

On the other hand, saucing involves applying a barbecue sauce to the ribs during the cooking process. This method adds a rich and tangy flavor to the meat, creating a succulent and sticky coating. The sauce helps to keep the meat moist and tender while imparting its own unique taste.

“The beauty of saucing ribs is the caramelization that occurs when the sugars in the sauce start to caramelize under heat,” says grill master, John Smith. “This creates a deliciously sweet and smoky glaze on the ribs.”

If you prefer your ribs to have a sticky and sweet finish, saucing is the way to achieve it. The barbecue sauce adds a depth of flavor and can be easily layered or brushed on throughout the cooking process for added juiciness.

The Verdict

Ultimately, whether you rub or sauce your ribs depends on personal preference and the flavor profile you desire. Some people even combine both techniques, using a dry rub as a base layer and finishing the ribs with a sauce during the final stages of cooking.

To help you decide, consider the following tips:

  • If you want the meat to be the star and enjoy a more pronounced spice flavor, go for a dry rub.
  • If you crave a tangy, sweet, and sticky finish, opt for saucing your ribs.
  • Experiment with different rubs, sauces, or a combination of both to find your perfect flavor.

No matter which method you choose, taking the time to slow-cook your ribs with care and precision will result in a mouthwatering meal that will leave you and your guests wanting more!

How do you make ribs tender before cooking?

Ribs are a classic dish that is loved by many in the UK. To ensure that your ribs come out meltingly tender and full of flavor, there are a few techniques you can use before cooking. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect tender ribs:

1. Remove the membrane:

Before cooking, it’s important to remove the tough membrane on the underside of the ribs. This will allow for better flavor absorption and tenderness. Use a knife or a paper towel to grip the membrane and peel it off.

2. Marinate or brine the ribs:

Marinating or brining the ribs helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. You can use a variety of marinades or brines, such as a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar. Let the ribs sit in the marinade or brine for at least a few hours or overnight for maximum tenderness.

3. Use a dry rub:

A dry rub made with spices like paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper can help to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Generously coat the ribs with the dry rub and let them sit in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

4. Slow cook or use indirect heat:

Cooking the ribs slowly over low heat is key to achieving tender meat. You can either slow cook them in the oven at a low temperature or use a grill with indirect heat. This allows the collagen in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in a tender texture.

5. Wrap in foil or butcher paper:

Wrapping the ribs in foil or butcher paper during cooking helps to retain moisture and create a more tender result. This method, known as the “Texas crutch,” can be used towards the end of the cooking process to further enhance tenderness.

Did you know? Allowing the cooked ribs to rest for a few minutes before serving will help the juices redistribute and make them even more tender.

Using these techniques will help you achieve ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender and bursting with flavor. Whether you’re grilling, smoking, or baking your ribs, these steps will ensure that they are a hit at your next barbecue.


Pre-cooking ribs before grilling is a crucial step to ensure tender and flavorful results. Whether you choose to boil, oven-bake, or use the sous vide method, each technique has its own advantages. Boiling is quick and straightforward, oven-baking is perfect for low and slow cooking, and using the sous vide method provides precise temperature control. Experiment with different methods and find the one that suits your taste preferences and cooking style. Happy grilling!