Ribs are boiled then glazed in a sweet sauce made of fruit juices, soy sauce, and aromatics. An element of smoke is added as they are finished on the grill.
Ribs weren’t that popular in Australia until recently, and what was available was rarely smoked. So with this in mind, boiling ribs was the only way many people knew how to cook them. This recipe is one of those ways.
This recipe is by far my favorite. You start with boiling the ribs in flavored pineapple and orange juices, then finish them on the BBQ for a smoky flavor. This is an easy recipe that anyone can cook at home without the need for a smoker.
Sweet Boiled Ribs Recipe
- 4 cups orange juice
- 4 cups pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or white wine
- 3 inch piece ginger
- 10 cloves garlic
- 2 racks pork ribs preferably baby backs
- 1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
- large pot
- In a large pot combine the orange juice, pineapple juice, soy sauce, and wine. Bring to the boil.
- Slice the ginger against the grain into rounds. Peel and halve the garlic cloves. Add the ginger and garlic to the juice mixture. Tip: Ginger and garlic are best kept chunky so it doesn’t get bitty and stick to the ribs, yet still imparts its flavor.
Boiling the Ribs
- Prepare the ribs, by removing the rib membrane and trimming any bits. If the pot can’t fit the whole rack of ribs, cut them in half or thirds as required.
- Add the ribs to the liquid in the pot when at a rolling boil. When it returns to the boil lower the temperature to a gentle simmer.
- Rotate the ribs occasionally to make sure none stick to the bottom.
- When the ribs have pulled back about 1cm, leaving the rib bone exposed, they are probably done. This takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked to your liking. If you want it ‘fall-off-the-bone’ you will need to cook it longer, however, this will make grilling them difficult.
Grilling the Ribs
- Preheat your BBQ to a medium hot temperature. of about 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
- While heating, combine the BBQ sauce with ½ a cup of the boiling liquid being sure not to get any of the ginger or garlic lumps. It can pass through a strainer if desired.
- Coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce (painting with a food brush works well), then finish cooking on the BBQ until a good glaze or sauce layer is adhered to the ribs and caramelized to your liking, this takes about 10 to 12 minutes. The ribs are cooked by this point so it is all about getting the finish you want. Tip: The orange and pineapple juices are high in sugar content, so if left unattended the sauce could quickly caramelize and then potentially burn.