Country-style ribs are thicker than baby backs and take longer to cook unless you like them rare or pink on the inside. If you don’t have hours to smoke or barbecue your ribs, par-boiling them will tenderize them and let you cook them faster while still achieving your desired internal temperature. Once you’re ready to grill, barbecue, broil or bake them, you can use a lower heat to finish your ribs to the perfect texture and flavor.
Remove your ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to warm to room temperature. This will help them cook evenly. Heating meat that is cold on the inside while its outside is room temperature results in different final outside and inside temperatures. Trim fat from the ribs while they are cold if you want healthier ribs.
Place the ribs into a pot of water; ensure that the water covers the meat. After the water reaches a boil, add 1 cup white vinegar and 1 tbsp. salt.
Reduce the heat to medium or medium-high and simmer the meat for 15 to 20 minutes. If your ribs fit tightly in the pot, use medium heat for 20 minutes. If you have fewer ribs, raise the heat and decrease the cooking time.
Remove the ribs from the water and place them on a rack or in a sieve to allow the water drain away. Simply placing them on paper towels won’t allow the excess water to completely leave the meat.
Cut one rib open in the middle to determine its internal temperature. If the meat is pink or raw in the middle, return the ribs to the water or preheat your cooking source to a lower temperature.
Prepare the ribs as you like them, such as with a dry rub, marinade or barbecue sauce. Completely cover all sides of the meat with the seasoning.
Place the ribs in an oven set to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how long you wish to cook them. If your test rib showed no pink inside, cook the ribs for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once at the halfway point. If your test rib showed a less-cooked inside, cook the ribs for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning at the halfway point. Baste your ribs when you turn them.
Broil ribs as alternative to baking them in the oven. Broil the ribs for five minutes per side on the top rack of your oven if your test rib was not pink on the inside, and on the second rack of your oven for 15 minutes if your test rib was less cooked on the inside.
Grill the ribs to give them a smoky taste not delivered by baking or broiling methods. Cook the ribs until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit as noted on a meat thermometer. However, avoid grilling the ribs over direct heat. Place your meat to the side of the grill instead of directly over the coals to use indirect heat if you want to ensure a higher internal temperature. Allow your coals to turn white before you put the meat on the grill and cover it, letting the heat, not the flame, cook the meat. For propane or electric grills, use a medium or medium-high setting, or the equivalent of 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the meat on the upper rack, if you have one.
Remove the ribs from your heat source and place them on a rack to rest for at least five minutes once they are finished cooking. Cutting into meat that hasn’t rested prevents juices from reabsorbing into the tissues, instead letting them run out of the meat and onto your plate.
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Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.