Don't you love it when you see a nice stack of juicy, smoky ribs in the refrigerator leftover from last night's dinner? But you know once you reheat them, that juicy deliciousness will be gone. What if we told you there are easy ways to reheat ribs without drying them out? We're going to share our time-tested methods of reheating leftover ribs without ruining them.
The Secret to the Best Way to Reheat Ribs
The biggest secret to reheating leftover ribs is to avoid rushing the process. No matter what cooking device you decide to use, take things slow. Trying to reheat ribs fast will make them dry every time. You can reheat ribs using your favorite cooking device, but you should always set them out to come to room temperature first. We're going to share some tips for reheating your ribs the best way. But let's start by discussing why leftover ribs dry out in the first place.
How to Avoid Drying Out Your Ribs
You might not think about it, but as soon as you take your ribs off the grill or out of the smoker, they start drying out. Even leaving ribs on the counter for two hours can leave them dry. One way to prevent your leftover ribs from drying out is to get them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Try slicing up cuts like baby back ribs into smaller pieces to help them cool quickly.
Storing Ribs in the Refrigerator
The best way to store freshly smoked ribs is with a vacuum sealer. Getting the air out of the bag is key to keeping your leftover ribs from drying out. You can also tightly wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. A large ziplock bag will also work for overnight storage but don't leave them in the fridge for more than a day. The least effective method is Tupperware or some other type of container with a lid.
Storing Ribs in the Freezer
Occasionally we get carried away and cook way too many ribs, and then have to freeze them. When you freeze ribs, it's absolutely critical to make sure there is no air in the package. Air will cause freezer burn and provides an opportunity for rare bacteria to grow. A vacuum sealer is an ideal way to freeze leftover ribs. Otherwise, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and a layer of foil.
If you properly store your leftovers, ribs will last about 4 days in the refrigerator or about two months in the freezer. However, the longer you leave ribs in the freezer, the more challenging it will be to reheat them without drying them out. When you thaw frozen ribs, it's best to start by allowing them time to defrost in the refrigerator.
How to Reheat Ribs – Our 5 Best Methods
Once your cooked ribs are back to room temperature, it's time to get them heated up perfectly. Low and slow is going to be your best bet for a successful reheat. No matter what method you choose, preheat your cooking instrument to the lowest temperature you can hold it at. A range of 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit is your ideal target. Let's get started with our favorite way to reheat ribs.
How to Reheat Ribs on the Smoker
If you follow our YouTube channel, you'll see we are almost always smoking something on our Traeger. Your smoker is your best friend for reheating ribs. You can get the temperature nice and low and keep it steady without much effort. Your ribs will warm slowly and keep their wonderful juiciness and flavor. Our favorite way to do it is to brush our Bearded Butcher Blend BBQ Sauce on our room-temperature ribs and wrap them in aluminum foil.
We place a temperature probe for our meat thermometer into the thickest part and place them on the smoker. When the internal temperature hits 165 degrees, the reheated ribs are ready. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the ribs. Thinner cuts will take less time (as little as 30 minutes), while larger cuts could take up to an hour.
This is a sure-fire way to get delicious reheated ribs. And since the smoker is already preheated, might as well throw something else on while you're at it!
Reheating Ribs in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and place your room-temperature ribs in a shallow baking dish. Cover them with Bearded Butcher Blend barbecue sauce and put your wireless meat thermometer probe into the thickest rib. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. The internal temperature will hit 165 degrees in about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and place the ribs under the broiler on high for a few minutes, turning to get each side. The broiler will caramelize the BBQ sauce and give you that wonderful crispiness similar to fresh-off-the-grill ribs.
This is the way many professional grillers reheat leftover ribs, and it always works well. You'll get tender, juicy insides and crispy, delicious outsides when you reheat ribs in the oven.
How to Reheat Ribs on the Grill
Gas and charcoal grills can be useful for reheating ribs, but they do take a bit more effort than using the smoker or the oven. First you'll want to wrap your ribs in aluminum foil tightly. Then the trick to using the grill to reheat ribs is to set up a two-zone cooking zone. Set one side of your burners to a medium-low heat and aim for a temperature around 250 degrees. Leave the burner off on the other side. Place your foil wrapped ribs on the cool side of the grill with a meat thermometer probe in the thickest part.
Remove the ribs from the grill when the temperature hits 165 degrees. Remove the foil and increase the grill to high. Sear the ribs quickly to bring back the crispiness. Your ribs will be ready in 15 to 30 minutes using this method.
Reheating Ribs in the Slow Cooker
Your not going to get the crispy texture using this method, but it does make a fall-off-the-bone reheated rib. Set your slow cooker to medium-high and add a small amount of water or meat juices. Put barbecue sauce on the ribs and place in the slow cooker. The extra sauce really helps to keep the ribs moist. It'll take a while for your ribs to reheat in a slow cooker. Just check them every 30 minutes with an instant read thermometer until they are the perfect temperature. It might take an hour or longer.
Reheating Ribs in a Skillet
Even if you don't want to wait to devour some leftovers, promise us you'll skip putting the ribs in the microwave. For the quickest reheating method, grab a deep cast iron skillet with a lid instead. Add some water or meat juices to the pan and get it hot. Brush on some of our Bearded Butchers barbecue sauce on your ribs. Place the ribs in the pan and cover them. Swirl them in the pan every few minutes to keep the ribs from burning. They'll be hot in about ten minutes this way. It's not as quick as reheating ribs in the microwave, but the results are totally worth it.
Don't Forget, Low and Slow is the Best Way to Reheat Ribs
No matter what your favorite method of reheating ribs is, the trick is to give them time to slowly warm up. Starting with room temperature ribs will give you much better results. We love our Bearded Butcher Blend BBQ Sauce and we seriously use it both when we smoke ribs and when we reheat them. It adds tons of flavor and keeps the moisture locked in the meat where it belongs. Our sauce also helps give a terrific char. So the next time you're debating whether to throw one more rack of baby back ribs on the grill or smoker, go ahead and do it. You'll be able to reheat your leftovers so they are moist and delicious and almost as fresh.
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