Cut down grilling time without sacrificing any of the flavors. This brine-boiling method used by professional chefs and barbecue experts shaves hours off cooking ribs and chicken legs—and with delicious results. Here's how you can do it in your own home.
If you've ever hosted a Thanksgiving feast, you know how much better turkey tastes if you take the time to brine the bird before roasting. But outside of special occasions and the perennial Thanksgiving turkey, many home cooks choose to forego a brine before cooking. What if we told you there was a way to enrich the flavor of a piece of meat—we're talking pork ribs, beef short ribs, and chicken legs here—while also reducing the time you'll need to spend cooking it on the grill afterward? That secret is known as brine boiling, and it's a prep step that can take your cookouts to the next level while allowing you to spend more time with your guests later on.
Creating a versatile brine is rather straightforward: You'll need equal parts coarse salt and fine sugar, which will dissolve into the boiling water on the stovetop. Finally, you'll add unpeeled garlic cloves to add a burst of flavor, alongside any additional spices you choose. Cooking times vary depending on the cut. Here we're walking you through how to create a brine and the amount of time you'll need to boil each piece of meat.
In a stockpot, bring six quarts water to a boil. Stir in one cup of sugar and coarse salt until it has dissolved. Add smashed unpeeled cloves from a head of garlic before adding your meat. You'll need to boil until it's cooked through and tender at the bone: 20 minutes for chicken, 30 minutes for pork ribs, and 40 minutes for beef ribs.
Transfer the meat to a wire rack and let stand to dry for about five minutes. Fire up your grill for direct-heat cooking. Brush meat with olive oil; generously season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (or sprinkle with a dry rub, if desired).
Brush hot grates with oil and grill meat, turning a few times, until charred in spots. You'll do this between five and 10 minutes. Brush with barbecue sauce in last few minutes, if desired. Slice pork ribs to serve.