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Take a shortcut on the way to the grill this summer. This brine-boiling method shaves time off cooking ribs and chicken legs—all the while producing moist, delicious results.

Photography by: Jason Varney

The Technique

We’ve all been there: Standing over a hot grill, waiting for the ribs to get tender or wondering if the chicken is cooked through (but not dried out). Brine-boiling makes grilled summer meals as easy and quick as they should be—both speeding up the cooking process and eliminating any guesswork. It even lets you prep the meat in advance.


Here’s how it works. Precook whole chicken legs, pork ribs, or beef short ribs in boiling water generously seasoned with salt, sugar, and garlic. Like a traditional brine (a mixture of salt, cold water, and sometimes seasonings in which you soak meats before cooking), this solution seasons the meat and helps keep it moist. But here you’re actually cooking the meat in the brine, which means that when you’re ready to grill, it will take mere minutes—you’re simply crisping up the exterior and layering on some smokiness. You can add a dry rub or some sauce—but the meat is great without it. And this time of year, less is more.


See Step-by-Step How to Brine Boil

Beef Short Ribs

Most familiar in winter braises, this marbled cut is also excellent on the grill.


Pork Ribs

The ultimate backyard-barbecue meal. St. Louis-style, baby back, and spare ribs each work perfectly here.


Whole Chicken Legs

These cuts are more robust than chicken breasts, and the skin becomes irresistibly crisp on the grill.

See Step-by-Step How to Brine Boil