Placing perfectly smoked ribs on the dinner table is no easy feat since there are so many steps involved in smoking ribs in an offset smoker.
First, you must smoke the ribs at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
However, the work does not stop when you remove the ribs from the pellet smoker. The ribs must rest.
How long to rest ribs is the question of the day so keep reading to find out?
Is It Possible to Overcook Ribs?
Just like you can overcook brisket, you can overcook ribs. If the ribs are cooked for too long, the meat’s moisture will start to evaporate.
Additionally, overcooked ribs will fall off the bone as soon as you touch them.
This is why you must monitor the ribs and remove the ribs from your propane smoker as soon as they have a temperature of 195°F.
How To Know When Ribs Are Done?
The best way to know when ribs are done is by checking the temperature.
To test your ribs for doneness, find the two biggest bones on the rack and insert the thermometer probe into the meat between the bones.
If you have an infrared thermometer, you can aim it at the meat between the biggest bones to get an accurate reading.
Either way, make sure the thermometer does not touch the bones, as it can create an inaccurate reading.
Cooked pork ribs will have a temperature ranging between 225°F to 242°F. However, remove the ribs when it has a temperature of 195°F.
The rib’s internal temperature will continue to increase as it rests. This is called carryover cooking.
If you remove the ribs at 225°F because of carryover cooking, the rib’s internal temperature will rise 5-10 degrees resulting in overcooked ribs.
Removing the ribs at 195°F gives the ribs time to come up to 225°F resulting in moist and juicy ribs.
Do You Let Rest Ribs?
When you first heard about resting ribs, you probably rolled your eyes and thought, do ribs really need to rest, implying that resting ribs is not important? However, resting ribs is essential.
When you place ribs onto your pellet smoker, the heat makes the meat’s protein fibers contract.
In short, water will be pulled from the center of the ribs to the exterior of the ribs.
If you were to slice the ribs right away, this moisture would seep out onto your butcher block, leaving you with dry, tough ribs.
However, allowing the ribs causes the protein fibers to relax and causes the moisture to be dispersed back into the meat. In short, resting the ribs will leave you with tender, juicy meat.
Should I Cover Ribs When Resting?
Just like there are two ways to smoke sausage, there are two ways to rest ribs. You can either rest your rack of ribs covered or uncovered.
It’s best to leave the ribs uncovered if you are going to serve them in a few minutes. The resting time will not be long; there’s really no need to wrap the ribs.
Since flies are attracted to BBQ, like smoke is attracted to cold meat, you can tint the ribs with foil or butcher paper to keep the flies at bay.
In contrast, if you are preparing multiple dishes for your BBQ party and need to let the ribs rest for a longer period of time, it’s best to cover them with foil.
The only drawback of wrapping ribs with foil is that the heat has nowhere to go.
The foil traps the heat in the foil and continues to cook the ribs. So you must remove the ribs 10-15 degrees before they reach your intended temperature.
How Long To Let Ribs Rest?
Knowing how long to rest ribs is essential. After all, you will end up with cold ribs if you rest them for too long, and absolutely no one likes cold ribs.
That’s why it’s best to rest ribs for 10-20 minutes before slicing them.
This gives the juices time to disperse, prevents the meat from overcooking, and leaves you with tender ribs.
In addition to this, the meat will also be cool enough to eat. You do not want to bite into ribs that just came off the smoker since it will probably burn your mouth.
Lastly, if you coated the ribs with BBQ sauce during the final minutes of cooking, letting the meat rest will give the BBQ time to cool and thicken into the sticky sauce we all know and love.
Can You Let Ribs Rest for an Hour?
Yes, you can rest ribs for 1 hour, but only under certain conditions. You should rest your ribs for 10-20 minutes if you are eating them soon.
However, you should let the ribs rest for 20-45 minutes if you are not serving them right away.
If you rest the ribs for longer than this without placing them in something to keep them warm, the ribs will start to cool down.
Can You Put Ribs in a Cooler After Smoking?
Yes, you can rest ribs in a cooler. Ribs will stay warm in a cooler for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
However, you must wrap the ribs with foil and a towel before placing them into a cooler.
Additionally, you can also lay a towel in the bottom of the clean cooler, add the ribs, and place a towel on top of the ribs to provide further insulation.
If you are holding the cooked ribs for more than 2 hours, it’s best to pour hot water into the cooler before adding the ribs and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
Next, drain the water, and add a towel to the bottom of the cooler. Add the ribs that have been wrapped in foil and cover them with another towel.
Even though you will be able to keep the ribs warm for nearly 4 hours, do not let their internal temperature drop below 140°F.
Compared to larger pieces of meat such as pork shoulder or brisket, ribs are much smaller and will cool down much faster.
Making ribs that have been smoked to perfection is an art. A vital part of creating this art is to let the ribs rest.
Remember, resting ribs allows the moisture to be pulled back into the meat. So rest your ribs for at least 10-20 minutes.
You might also be interested in the following:
- How Long To Let Meat Rest
- How Long To Let Steak Rest Before Cooking
- How Long To Let Steak Rest After Cooking
- How Long To Let Turkey Rest
- How Long To Let Chicken Rest
- How Long To Let Brisket Rest
- How Long To Let Pork Shoulder Rest
- How Long To Let Pork Butt Rest
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.