A Step-by-Step Guide to Brine Boiling
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.
A brine adds intense flavor to any piece of poultry, pork, or beef before you've even begun to cook it; it's a natural tenderizer, and it also helps to retain moisture when exposed to high heats. It also can help safeguard against overcooking when grilling. Boiling the meat in brine can give you all of the benefits of a dry brine while also reducing the amount of time you'll need to finish the meat on a grill, stovetop, or oven afterwards.
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.
Choose a Cut
Boil in Brine
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.
Drain and Dry
Finish on the Grill
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.