Cooking ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender takes practice. To accomplish this goal, you must find the perfect balance between cooking temperature and the time it takes to fully cook the meat. The cooking method matters a great deal, as well, and Steven Raichlen, cooking expert and author of "Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs," recommends cooking the meat over indirect heat. Cooking the ribs for an extended amount of time is another key to making tender ribs.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium and arrange the racks so the ribs won't be sitting directly over the flames or heat source.
Cut off the point of the rack of spareribs, as well as the flap of tough meat that's on the inside of the ribs. Also remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by inserting a sharp knife under the edge and gently peeling it back from the meat. Many butchers and grocery stores are willing to do this for you if you purchase fresh meat from the deli case.
Marinate the spareribs for several hours; otherwise, sprinkle the raw meat with your favorite herbs and spices, such as rosemary, paprika, turmeric or celery seed. Consider marinating the spareribs because the ingredients in the marinade can help tenderize the meat, but it also infuses it with the flavors of the marinade. Because you're cooking the spareribs over low heat for an extended amount of time, this isn't essential to cooking tender ribs, however.
Place the spareribs, bone side down, on the grill rack, cover the grill and cook the spareribs for an hour and a half to two hours for 6 to 8 pounds of ribs. You can tell that the ribs are done when the meat easily comes apart from the bones.
Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce, if you're using it, during the last 20 minutes of so of cooking. This allows the sauce to fully flavor the meat but doesn't let it get so hot that it begins to burn.
Transfer the cooked ribs to a serving platter and allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before serving it.
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- Serve your tender spareribs with grilled potatoes and vegetables for a meal that's rich in protein, iron and fiber.
- Experiment with different herbs, seasonings and sauces to create different flavors for your spareribs.
- Don't be tempted to turn the heat up on your grill to speed up the cooking process. To achieve perfectly tender spareribs, they must cook for a long period of time over indirect heat.
- Fresh pork ribs, including spareribs, must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn't too much of a concern for this method because the meat will cook for so long, but if you're worried or aren't sure, err on the side of caution and check the ribs with a meat thermometer before eating them.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.