Ribs are a fantastic, delicious, juicy dish for meat-lovers to enjoy. The entire process of making ribs, from the start when you choose the best pick at the store to the end when you bite into the finished product, is a fun and engaging task to behold.
Most people agree that ribs are best when freshly made, and that their deliciousness fades when they’re refrigerated or frozen for later. But what if there was a way to reheat ribs in a way that brought out all of their original life and vitality?
Reheating ribs is an art form, just like making the ribs in the first place. With the proper methodology, anyone can learn to reheat ribs perfectly for wonderful leftovers that taste like they’re freshly made.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Reheated Ribs
1. Store the Ribs Properly
It’s crucial that ribs are stored properly if they’re going to be reheat-able. There are some rules of thumb to follow when it comes to storing ribs properly.
Step 1: The first step is to ensure that the ribs are stored in a timely manner, ideally within 2 hours of being taken off the grill. During the summer months, the sooner that ribs are put in the fridge for storage, the better.
Step 2: Refrigerate the ribs for no longer than 3-4 days, and freeze the ribs for no longer than 2-3 months. Although some people say that ribs can be kept longer than 2-3 months if they’re frozen, the taste and texture of the meat may be compromised beyond this point.
Step 3: When storing ribs in the fridge, make sure that you plan to eat them within 3-4 days. Otherwise, it’s best to freeze the ribs. If you store them in the fridge, follow these guidelines:
- Make sure your fridge cools food to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the ribs in a sealed, airtight bag for storage. Wrap the bag o’ ribs in a layer of aluminum foil for maximum sealing power. If possible, use a vacuum sealed bag for the best results!
- When you seal the ribs in the bag, add some extra sauce or the drippings from when they were cooked to increase moisture and flavor when they’re reheated.
Step 4: When storing ribs in the freezer, follow the above guidelines for refrigerator storage.
When putting your ribs away for later, treating them with respect and love will go a long ways toward having decadent leftovers later on!
2. Reheat Ribs at the Right Temperature
For safety reasons, it’s important that ribs are heated to the right temperature before consumption. Most people choose to cook their ribs to approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When reheating ribs, it’s crucial to follow the safety rules laid out by organizations like the USDA.
The “right” temperatures are determined by the temperatures at which bacteria thrives; as a general rule, meat shouldn’t be consumed when it’s between the temperatures of 40 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
As an example, It’s possible to eat ribs straight out of the refrigerator, as long as they’re below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people enjoy cold leftover ribs, and it can be perfectly safe. However, it’s still recommended that you heat the leftover ribs as a safety precaution.
3. Add Moisture to the Reheating Process
When you finish the cooking process, it’s likely that you’ll have some leftover drippings or sauce. Many people choose to save these liquids along with their ribs so that they can use them later during reheating.
Incorporating in sauces, water, or even liquids like apple juice, broth, or cola can be a fantastic way to provide both a flavor and moisture boost to the reheated ribs. Add in this “moisturizing” liquid by spraying or slathering it onto the meat before cooking.
Adding moisture to leftover ribs is the special secret to creating deliciously perfect reheated ribs.
How Many Times Can Ribs be Reheated?
It’s a popular opinion that ribs should only be reheated once. After this, they’ll lose their flavor and texture. But, there are a lot of people that face the issue of needing to reheat their ribs more than once, or even more than two times.
Ribs can be reheated twice or even three times, but for health reasons (and flavor reasons), it’s usually recommended that ribs only be reheated once. The temperature zone between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is a risky area in terms of contamination, so it’s important to be careful.
People who want to preserve their health and have flavorful ribs ought to use these “leftover leftovers” as part of a compost.
Top 5 Best Ways to Reheat Ribs
1. Reheat Ribs in the Oven
This is probably one of the most popular and well-known methods for reheating ribs. Using the oven to reheat ribs is a simple, reliable technique for getting juicy reheated ribs every time.
The oven is by far one of the best ways to reheat ribs. It’s fast and easy, and the broiler adds an extra component to the flavor of the reheated ribs because it can contribute to a caramelized flavor when the rib sauce is reheated.
It’s important to watch the ribs carefully when reheating them in the oven, because too much time can result in dried out, less-than-juicy ribs. But, when done correctly, leftover ribs can emerge from the oven with all the glory and tastiness of when they were first cooked.
Follow these steps to get fantastic reheated ribs in the oven:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: While the oven is preheating, remove the ribs from the fridge or freezer to allow them to warm to room temperature. If you’re preparing BBQ ribs or any other type of ribs that require a sauce, now is the time to apply the sauce.
Step 3: After coating the ribs in sauce, wrap them in two layers of aluminum foil before placing them on a baking sheet or in a baking pan.
Step 4: Heat the ribs in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until thoroughly reheated. Different ovens reheat food in different ways, so be sure to check the temperature of the ribs before removing them from the oven.
Step 5: Approximately 5 minutes before removing the ribs from the oven, turn up the broiler to high to allow the rib sauce to achieve that delicious caramelized flavor unique to this reheating method.
Step 6: Remove the ribs from the oven and allow them to cool briefly before serving.
2. Reheat Ribs in the Microwave
This is one of the easier ways to reheat ribs. Reheating leftovers in the microwave is a favorite method of people who are low on time, energy, or both.
Unfortunately, reheating ribs in the microwave tends to dry out leftover ribs, so this is a reheating technique that should only be used under circumstances when time is tight. If you have the time, investing a bit of energy into one of the other techniques on the list is worth it.
To get the best possible results from heating ribs in the microwave, use the following instructions:
Step 1: Place the ribs in a microwave-safe dish. Make sure that there’s enough space between each rib that each can be sufficiently coated in sauce.
Step 2: Douse each rib in enough barbeque sauce to keep them moist during cooking. (NOTE: Other sauces may be used in this step too, if desired)
Step 3: Put the ribs in the microwave for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
Step 4: Check to see if the meat is completely heated. If not, restart the microwave for another 3 minutes, then remove to check again.
Although this is a super fast way to heat ribs, and it can be a good way to heat ribs for a football party or family dinner, it should not be used when the quality of the reheated ribs is of the utmost priority.
When using the microwave to heat ribs, make sure that you allow the meat to thaw in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours before microwaving. This will reduce the possibility of dried out ribs when reheating the meat.
3. Reheat Ribs on the Grill
Because ribs are often cooked on the grill in the first place, this is a fantastic way to revive the delicious flavor of freshly made ribs. Reheating ribs on the grill can be more time-consuming than other methods on this list, but it’s also one of the best reheating methods.
Reheating ribs on the grill is a technique that’s especially good for smoked ribs and pork ribs, although it can be excellent for other types of ribs as well.
To reheat ribs on the grill, follow the directions below:
Step 1: Start by preheating the grill on a high heat setting. Meanwhile, remove the ribs from the fridge to allow them to “heat” to room temperature.
Step 2: Before putting on the grill, thoroughly coat the ribs in a barbeque sauce (or another type of sauce) and wrap them individually in foil, allowing for there to be some wiggle room in the aluminum foil “wrap”.
Step 3: Reduce the heat of the grill to a medium or medium-high heat after preheating; place the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill.
Step 4: Halfway through the process, flip the ribs on the grill to allow the other side to heat as well.
Step 5: Check the internal heat of the rib meat with a thermometer to make sure that it’s reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 6: When the ribs are finished, allow them to cool slightly before serving.
4. Reheat Ribs using the Sous Vide Technique
The sous vide technique is likely to be the most unfamiliar to readers. But, it’s also one of the most effective ways to reheat ribs!
A term used by professional chefs, the sous vide technique is simple in that it utilizes hot water to reheat and cook food. The use of water helps preserve the texture and moisture of ribs in a way that other cooking methods on this list do not.
Deceptively simple, the sous vide technique makes cooking easy in that it’s easy to know how hot boiling water is; a pot of water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and maintains this temperature so long as it continues boiling.
Step 1: First, you will need to remove the ribs from the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature.
Step 2: Prepare a pot of heated water on the stove.
Step 3: Determine to what heat you originally cooked the ribs (160 degrees Fahrenheit, for example), and then check the water as it’s heating, only settling when the water has reached a temperature slightly below the original cooking temperature.
Step 4: Meanwhile, coat the ribs in a sauce of your choice and place them into a watertight, sealed bag. If you vacuum sealed the ribs before storing them, this bag can be placed directly into the water with no extra preparation.
Step 5: Reheat the ribs for at least one hour before removing them to check the temperature of the meat.
If desired, lower the heat of the water slightly and cook the ribs for 2-3 hours for even better results.
This is one of the more time-consuming techniques on this list, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. The resulting leftover ribs will be deliciously moist and perfect for any occasion!
5. Reheat Ribs in the Toaster Oven
This method combines the ease and efficiency of reheating ribs in the microwave with the effectiveness of reheating ribs in the oven. For individuals who have a toaster oven at their disposal, this is an ideal option for getting yummy leftover ribs in half the time.
The rules for reheating ribs in the toaster oven are essentially the same as those for reheating in a regular, full-size oven. And, ilke with the other methods on this list, it’s absolutely crucial that the cook checks the meat to make sure it’s 165 degrees Fahrenheit when finished cooking.
To reheat ribs in the toaster oven, follow these steps:
Step 1: Preheat the toaster oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or to a medium-low temperature.
Step 2: Coat the ribs in sauce and then wrap them in aluminum foil. Place them on the baking sheet.
Step 3: When the toaster oven is preheated, put the ribs in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Step 4: During the cooking process, check the ribs every few minutes. If the ribs heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 15 minutes, it’s safe to remove them from the toaster oven sooner to conserve their juiciness and flavor.
Although a lot of people generally view the toaster oven as an appliance that can only be used for things like frozen pizzas, toast, and other types of pre-made or frozen dinners, the truth is that toaster ovens are extremely versatile appliances.
Try using your toaster oven to reheat ribs and other leftovers! This appliance can be used exactly as any other full-size oven can be with a bit of applied creativity.
The ways to reheat ribs are numerous! Home cooks who love to experiment with new dishes and ways of cooking will delight in the various ways to reheat their fantastic creations for later enjoyment.