How Long to Boil Bacon Ribs for Maximum Flavor and Tenderness

Bacon ribs are a delicious and hearty cut of pork that can make for an utterly satisfying meal when cooked properly But getting the cook time right is essential – overcooking will dry them out, while undercooking leaves them tough and chewy So how long should you boil bacon ribs to get them just right? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Bacon Ribs?

Bacon ribs come from the belly of the pig and are essentially pork belly with the bones still attached. They consist of alternating layers of fat and meat, giving them their characteristic marbled appearance and intense porky flavor when cooked

Compared to other pork cuts like loin or tenderloin, bacon ribs have more connective tissue. Connective tissue contains collagen, which breaks down into gelatin when cooked low and slow, resulting in meat that is incredibly moist and tender. This is why bacon ribs shine when braised, roasted, or boiled.

Why Boil Bacon Ribs?

While bacon ribs are often braised or roasted in the oven, boiling is a simple stovetop method that works beautifully. The moist environment gently cooks the ribs while the collagen melts away.

Boiling allows you to cook the ribs low and slow without drying them out. It also concentrates their flavor into the cooking liquid, which can then be reduced into a tasty sauce or gravy.

The resulting ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender with a perfect balance of meaty chew and dissolving connective tissue. Boiling also gives you consistently cooked ribs from end to end.

How Long to Boil Bacon Ribs

When boiling bacon ribs, the general rule of thumb is:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 hours for a full rack of ribs
  • 45 mins – 1 hour for individual ribs or rib pieces

However, cook time can vary based on a few factors:

Size of the Ribs

Larger, meatier ribs will take longer compared to smaller, individual rib segments. For a whole slab, plan on 1 – 1 1/2 hours. But for ribs that have been cut into individual portions, 45 minutes to 1 hour is usually sufficient.

It’s better to cut ribs into manageable pieces to ensure even cooking. Aim for 2-3 inch segments.

Amount of Connective Tissue

Some racks will have more collagen-rich connective tissue than others. More connective tissue means a longer cook time is needed for it to fully break down. Plan for the longer end of the cook time range if ribs seem especially fatty or gnarly.

Boiling Temperature

The temperature you boil the ribs at affects total cook time. A vigorous boil will cook faster than a gentle simmer. For tender bacon ribs, opt for a gentle simmer between 185°F – 205°F.

Bone-In vs Boneless

Boneless ribs will cook faster than ribs with the bone still attached. Bones take longer to heat and permeate. For bone-in, stick to the recommended time ranges. But boneless ribs may only need 30-40 minutes.

Using a Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker dramatically decreases cook time by using pressurized steam to quickly penetrate the meat. Bacon ribs can be perfectly tender after only 25-35 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Step-by-Step Guide to Boiling Bacon Ribs

Follow this simple process for boiled bacon ribs with amazing texture:

1. Cut the rack into individual ribs or 2-3 inch segments. This promotes even cooking. Leave them bone-in for maximum flavor.

2. Place the ribs in a large pot and cover with cold water. The water should come at least 1 inch above the ribs. This gives room for the water level to reduce as it simmers.

3. Add aromatics. Onion, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, etc can impart extra flavor. Leave aromatics whole or roughly chopped so they are easy to retrieve later.

4. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling rapidly, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer between 185°F-205°F.

5. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours for a full slab, or 45 mins – 1 hour for pieces. Turn ribs occasionally to ensure even cooking. Replenish boiling water as needed to keep ribs submerged.

6. Check for doneness after minimum cook time. Ribs should be fork tender and the meat easily pulls away from the bone. If not, continue simmering and check every 15 minutes until tender.

7. Remove ribs and aromatics from the broth. The broth makes a delicious cooking liquid for vegetables or reducing into a sauce.

8. Enjoy the perfectly cooked ribs! Season with additional salt, pepper, or barbecue sauce as desired.

Tips for the Best Boiled Bacon Ribs

  • Chill the ribs in the fridge overnight before cooking. This helps the ribs cook more evenly.

  • Use a wide, shallow pot rather than a tall, narrow one. This allows heat to better circulate and penetrate the meat.

  • Keep the ribs fully submerged in liquid as they simmer. Turn them occasionally or add more hot water as needed.

  • Skim any scum or foamy impurities that rise to the surface while simmering. This keeps the cooking liquid clear.

  • Add spices and aromatics directly to the pot. Onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander seeds all enhance flavor.

  • Once cooked, cool broth completely before refrigerating to reuse. The layer of fat solidifies and can be easily removed.

  • Finish ribs on the grill or under the broiler to crisp and caramelize exterior.

Pair with Classic Irish Sides

For a quintessential Irish meal, boiled bacon ribs are right at home alongside:

  • Colcannon – Fluffy mashed potatoes with cabbage and onions
  • Champ – Buttery mashed potatoes and scallions
  • Boxty – Fried potato pancakes
  • Soda Bread – Hearty Irish quick bread
  • Cabbage – Simply boiled, fried, or made into slaw
  • Carrots – Boiled or glazed with honey

The tender bacon ribs with creamy potatoes and vegetables is the epitome of comforting Irish cuisine. Sláinte!

Sample Recipes for Boiled Bacon Ribs

Here are a couple excellent boiled bacon ribs recipes to try:

Traditional Irish Boiled Bacon and Cabbage


  • 1 rack of bacon ribs, cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 4 carrots, peeled and halved
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place bacon ribs, onion, carrots, cabbage, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley into a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch.

  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 – 1 1⁄2 hours until bacon ribs are fork tender.

  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer ribs, vegetables and aromatics to a serving platter. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Serve bacon ribs and vegetables with some of the pot broth ladled over top.

Asian Braised Bacon Ribs


  • 1 rack bacon ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • 1⁄2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 green onions, chopped


  1. Combine all ingredients except green onions in a pot. Add ribs and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch.

  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  3. Remove ribs from braising liquid. Stir in green onions.

  4. Serve ribs coated in thick, sticky sauce with extra sauce on the side for dipping.

The Takeaway on Boil Time for Bacon Ribs

Perfectly cooked bacon ribs are just an hour away with this handy boil time guide. A gentle simmertenderizes the ribs while keeping them fall-apart moist. For the best results, remember to:

  • Cut ribs into manageable 2-3 inch segments
  • Maintain a low simmer around 185°F – 205°F
  • Allow 1 – 1 1/2 hours for a full rack, or 45 mins – 1 hour for pieces
  • Check for doneness and continue cooking if needed until fork tender
  • Cool and reuse the flavorful broth for cooking vegetables or making sauce

Now that you know exactly how long to boil those bacon ribs, you can enjoy this sublime cut of pork at its absolute best. Braise up a batch and see for yourself how amazing boiled bacon ribs can be!

Boiled Bacon Ribs

How long does it take to cook bacon ribs?

The bacon ribs cooking time is JUST 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low. This will produce delicious bacon ribs that are almost falling off the bone and taste delicious and are perfectly tender. You can also make bacon ribs and cabbage. Simply follow our instant pot cabbage or microwave cabbage recipe and serve it with these delicious bacon ribs.

How long do you boil ribs?

Allow the ribs to boil for approximately 30 minuts. Remove the ribs from the water using a slotted spoon- but reserve the water- set the ribs aside. Chop your cabbage in desired size. Boil the cabbage in the rib water for approximately 30 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved.

How to cook bacon ribs in a slow cooker?

Mix well with a spoon. Add in your bacon ribs and mix well. Slow cook for 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low. Remove the bacon ribs from the slow cooker and any liquid. Then in the slow cooker add the sticky glaze ingredients and mix well. Toss the bacon ribs in the glaze and then serve.

How do you cook bacon ribs in a frying pan?

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the cabbage and fry for one minute then pour in the chicken stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve the bacon ribs with the champ and cabbage. Something I eat at least once a week. A classic recipe but it never fails to impress. This is comfort food at its best.

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