Have you ever found yourself with stacks of leftover ribs after a cookout or dinner party? Storing them in the freezer is one thing, reheating them the following day (or week!) is another.
So do you know how to reheat ribs while keeping them juicy? I’ve tried many ways to reheat leftover ribs, and I’m telling you right now that not all of them will result in a moist and flavorful rib meat.
To spare you the trouble of ending up with dry or soggy leftover ribs, I’ll share four great ways to reheat them. Then I’ll tell you what my personal favorite is. Ready? Let’s go!
Maintaining The Quality Of Your Ribs
If I don’t plan on using the ribs the next day, I will freeze them the following morning (I never freeze anything that isn’t thoroughly chilled). Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Maintaining moisture is key to having a great rib redoux. This is accomplished by using low heat (250° F), reheating the ribs to the minimum safe temperature (155° F), and using more barbecue sauce as a lubricating agent.
It’s also important not to reheat the ribs immediately after you’ve taken them out of the refrigerator.
Let them sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes. If bringing ribs home from a restaurant, make sure to request a container of extra sauce for this purpose.
Tips to Reheat Ribs and Keep Them Moist
The goal here is to master the technique of reheating ribs without drying them out.
Reheating The Ribs In The Oven
1. Pre-Heat the Oven
What You Need
- Aluminium foil
- Barbecue sauce
- Cooking sheet or baking pan
- Meat thermometer
The oven is somehow the best option for reheating ribs. It saves you any headache for going outdoors to set up the grill. On the other side, you have more control over the temperature, and you can easily monitor the time. Start by preheating the oven up to 250F (121 Celsius). Do not risk heating the oven at a higher temperature than this. Any attempt to increase the temperature above 250F can cause the meat to shrink and lose all of its moisture.
Note: Make sure that you don’t rip the foil. Otherwise, the meat will dry out. Enjoy!
2. Add Sauces and Juices
This is your most significant chance to increase the chances of bringing back that off the grill flavor on game day. Baste the ribs with a BBQ sauce on all sides. Make sure that every part of the meat is covered. Those who wish to up their game store the juices and drippings from the original cooking to reuse them. Pour the liquid of your choice to increase the moisture and add flavor.
3. Wrap with layers of Foil Paper
This is somehow the most crucial stage in this process. Sealing the ribs with layers of foil paper help to retain moisture and seals in the flavors. Some advice is adding more than a single layer of foil paper to protect the meat better. Make sure that there are no openings or cracks that will serve as moisture escape points. You can choose to add flavored liquids at the bottom of the foil to better add moisture and flavor.
Be careful when using a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches the center of the rib. Do not make the mistake of reading the temperature of the foil. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, let them rest for five minutes, and the ribs are ready to serve.
How long to reheat ribs in oven at 350?
About 15 minutes.
What You Need
- Electric grill
- Barbecue sauce
- Aluminium foil
- Meat thermometer
Preheat your grill to 250° F with the lid closed. You need an indirect heat zone, so make sure that you pile your charcoal off to one side. If using a gas grill, leave one of the side burners off.
Slather both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce. In a single layer, wrap the ribs in two sheets of foil. Set the packet away from the heat and close the lid. Cook until ribs reach 155° F.
Unwrap the ribs and place over direct heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Reheating Using the Broiler Method
What You Need
- Oven with broiler
- Barbecue sauce
- Broiler pan
- Aluminum foil
This is very similar to the oven method; the biggest difference is that broilers tend to be smaller. Thus you’ll need to change a few things.
Despite the similarities, this is a faster way of cooking, but it’s not the best when it comes to reheating large quantities of meat.
Again, the process is very similar so you already know most of it but there are a handful of things you should keep in mind:
1. Arrange the broiler racks so that the ribs are 6 inches or so away from the broiler, then preheat.
2. Cut the ribs into serving sizes and place on your cooking sheet with the curve side up.
3. Broil the ribs for 5 minutes or until the BBQ sauce starts to bubble; turn the ribs so the meat side is facing up and repeat until the sauce bubbles.
4. Remove the ribs and cover the cooking sheet with foil. Let it sit for 5 minutes, as this will help spread the heat and finish up the cooking process.
Reheating ribs in the broiler can be a little complicated which is why this method is better suited for those cooking for themselves, for a partner or for a small family
Reheating Sous Vide
What You Need
- Sous vide machine (thermal convection or immersion circulator)
- Air-tight plastic bag
- Vacuum sealer
Sous vide is an old restaurant method of preparing food, but recently, several brands have come out with equipment for sous vide at home. This is currently my favorite newfangled gadget!
Sous vide is a method of cooking not unlike the “boil-in pouches” of my childhood. The model that I own resembles an immersion blender. You place the unit in a large pot of water and turn it on.
The sous vide heats and circulates the water in the pot. This is the first half of the equation. The second half is that your food is vacuum sealed in a food-safe plastic bag that gets placed in the pot.
This is a very gentle method of cooking / reheating, and since the bag is vacuum sealed, moisture in your food has nowhere to go, so your food will never dry out!
Bathe your ribs in barbecue sauce and vacuum seal them in a sous vide bag. Set your sous vide for 150° F. Once the water is preheated, put the ribs into the pot. One inch thick ribs should take about an hour and a quarter to reheat.
If you like your ribs crisp, finish them under the broiler.
How To Reheat Ribs in The Microwave
What You Need
- Microwave safe plastic container
- Microwave safe plate and Plastic Wrap
The one and only downside of juicy ribs are that they can make a mess so make sure to place your ribs in a microwave safe container before popping them into the oven.
Start heating them at a two-minute interval and check every time the timer goes off. You don’t want to heat up the ribs too much, or they’ll turn mushy, but you also don’t want to eat anything cold so stand in front of that microwave and check your ribs until they’re perfect.
If you don’t have plastic containers, then you can reheat the ribs without them, but we suggest you use plastic wrap to keep grease and sauce to splatter all over your oven.
How to Reheat Ribs in Boiling Water
What You Need
- A deep enough pot
- Plastic sealed ribs (be it homemade or store-bought)
Believe it or not, you can actually reheat entire rib racks using only boiling water.
While not a common method it’s probably one of the easiest and most accessible ones out there.
It’s necessary for the ribs to be sealed to ensure no water comes into contact with them. Remember, you’ll be submerging the ribs in boiling water and if any gets in contact with the meat, it will not only wash away the flavor but also dry them up.
This is what you need to do:
1. Bring the water to a simmer or slight boil. You don’t want the water bubbling and jumping everywhere; it’s dangerous, and it will heat up things way too fast.
2. Make sure the ribs don’t have any pointy bits. If you can see any bone practically poking through the plastic is better if you just reheat them in a different way.
3. It should take 20-25 minutes to reheat the ribs thoroughly, but you might want to check them from time to time. (This calculation was made using 4lbs of ribs, adjust accordingly based on how many ribs you’re going to reheat)
Make sure to measure the amount of water you’ll need before you start boiling the water. You can do this by placing the ribs in the pot and filling it with water until the ribs are completely covered. Don’t forget to take out the ribs before you start boiling.
How To Reheat Ribs In Crockpot, Slow Cooker, Or Instant Pot
If you don’t prefer using the oven and thinking about how to reheat ribs and keep them moist, crockpot or slow cooker is a good alternate. As here, you can add as moisture as you want.
The downside of this is that it’s slow. It can take a while to reheat ribs in this technique. Though it requires time, the taste makes up for it. Let’s get on with the steps now:
- Place the ribs in the slow cooker. Add about two tablespoons of water for every piece.
- Put some sauce as your preference.
- Set the cooker to warm. If your model doesn’t have a warm setting, set it to low. Reheating will take around 2-3 hours at this temperature.
- Check them after every 40 to 50 minutes and turn them as needed.
- You can add extra liquid if necessary.
How to Reheat Frozen Ribs
You can take frozen ribs directly from the freezer to the oven. However, we don’t recommend reheating them like this. Frozen ribs are much harder to keep from drying out.
Here is what we recommend. If you have ribs that have been stored in the freezer, make your best efforts to plan ahead and let them thaw out. You can thaw in the fridge overnight if you remember to pull them out of the freezer.
You can also run them under cool water to help thaw them out. Some people use the defrost method on the microwave. We don’t like this method just because the microwave could dry out the meat, even just with defrosting.
The best option is to let them thaw out in the fridge for several hours and then follow our best reheating process shared above.
How to Reheat Ribs, So They’re Almost Like Fresh off the BBQ
Compared to other methods, you don’t need to thaw your meat before placing it in the sous vide machine. However, I still prefer to do this because it cuts my reheating time by a couple of minutes.
To reheat sous vide, place your ribs (frozen or thawed) in an air-tight bag and seal the bag using a vacuum sealer. Add water in the sous vide machine and place the vacuum-sealed ribs in it for a water bath.
Set the machine to 160°F (71°C) and let the ribs cook for half an hour (for thawed meat) to 45 minutes (for frozen ribs). Using a pair of tongs, remove the ribs from the sous vide machine and cut away the plastic bag. Place the meat on a plate and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Reheat Ribs
What is The Best Temperature to Reheat Ribs?
Temperature is the most critical factor in the cooking process. Likewise, when ribs are reheated, you should take note of the internal temperature. Using the right temperature may not only create the needed flavor but ensure food safety. Reheating the ribs to the recommended safe internal temperature (145F) for cooking meat is advised.
This helps to kill any bacteria that may have found its way before or after storage. With this, you should ask yourself if there is the best temperature for reheating ribs. Well, there is, and there may not be. Circumstances might differ, and you need to adjust. Anything above 145F is considered as a proper cooking temperature for reheating ribs even though the temperature is the most significant factor that affects food.
Many advise reheating the ribs at a best internal temperature of 155F. Chances are you can even go higher up to 160F. The bottom line is to ensure that reheated ribs are at a safe temperature of nothing less than 145F.
Are Ribs Safe to Reheat?
Are ribs safe for consumption after reheating? Meat is a very delicate substance that can get contaminated easily. Rules are guiding the storing of meat, meat processing, and cooking which helps to ensure meat safety. If any of these guidelines are infringed, then the meat can no longer be described as safe for consumption. And so does this apply to reheated ribs.
In this scenario, we should be observing two factors proper storage and proper method of cooking. If there is any major mistake made in any of these steps, then you better take caution.
The major story all around is that reheated ribs are safe for consumption. This is based on the fact that if the meat is cooked correctly and stored in the first place. It all depends on if these processes are done in the right way. According to research conducted by the USDA, it is found that the safe minimum internal temperature for cooking meat is at 145F. This should be met in the first place before the ribs are even stored for reheating.
In terms of storing the meat, the maximum freezing temperature should be no higher than 40F. The idea is simple to ensure that the internal temperature of the meat does not fall within the danger zone (40F-145F). As soon as the meat comes off the grill do not leave it outside for more than 2 hours. Once all of these precautions are observed bacteria will be eliminated, and the ribs will be safe for consumption after reheating.
How Many Times Can You Reheat Ribs?
We recommend reheating ribs (and almost any food) only once. Every time you reheat or store food, it becomes more susceptible to bacteria and also deteriorates in quality. It’s best to only reheat what you will use to avoid this issue.
I love reheating ribs sous vide because it keeps all the juices and flavors of the meat intact. It is also the simplest method among the four: Just drop the vacuum-sealed ribs in the sous vide machine, wait for 30 to 45 minutes, and you’re done!
If you don’t have a sous-vide machine, the oven, broiler, and grill methods work well, too. Just make sure you monitor the time and temperature of your meat, so you don’t lose any of its flavors.
Do you know other ways to reheat ribs? Share them in the comments’ section below. I’d love to hear from you! And please take the time to share this article with your family and friends. Now go and enjoy those juicy ribs!
- 1 Maintaining The Quality Of Your Ribs
- 2 Tips to Reheat Ribs and Keep Them Moist
- 3 Reheating The Ribs In The Oven
- 4 Grill Reheating
- 5 Reheating Using the Broiler Method
- 6 Reheating Sous Vide
- 7 How To Reheat Ribs in The Microwave
- 8 How to Reheat Ribs in Boiling Water
- 9 How To Reheat Ribs In Crockpot, Slow Cooker, Or Instant Pot
- 10 How to Reheat Frozen Ribs
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Reheat Ribs
- 12 Conclusion