Ribs are one of those foods that people spend years studying and perfecting. Actual battles and cook-offs take place over who has the best rib recipes.
But once you get the perfect ribs down, the last thing you want to do is waste the leftovers, and of course, you want your leftover ribs to be just as good as they were fresh off the grill, out of the smoker, or out of the oven.
There are various approaches to reheating ribs, some better than others, so let’s explore the various methods that will help you figure out how to reheat ribs, so you’ll love them just as much as you did the first time you ate them.
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Can You Reheat Ribs?
The short answer to the question “can I reheat ribs” is yes, of course you can. You can reheat virtually any food, whether frozen, fresh, or refrigerated as leftovers.
The question really comes down to the best tips for reheating ribs, and some methods work better for some foods than others. For example, food originally baked or grilled is often better reheated using a grill or an oven, while foods that are breaded or deep fried are often best reheated in the oven or in an air fryer.
You have plenty of options to reheat ribs, depending on how they were originally cooked.
Should You Reheat Ribs?
When it comes to ribs, typically pork or beef, as long as they were cooked properly the first time there are not usually any issues in terms of foodborne illness. The general consensus is to eat precooked foods that have been refrigerated within 2 to 3 days.
If you plan to store your ribs for longer than that, store them in the freezer in a container designed for the freezer. Of course, you should always do your own research for your specific foods just to be safe.
How to Reheat Ribs in the Oven
Reheating ribs in an oven is as simple as preheating your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, wrapping your leftover ribs in foil to keep them moist, and placing the ribs in the foil on the center rack of the oven.
Then you wait.
The goal is to cook your ribs low and slow to preserve as much moisture as possible, and it can take up to 30 minutes to get your ribs back to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended temp for safety.
If you want your ribs to caramelize, you can remove the foil after 30 minutes and cook for another 10 minutes.
How to Reheat Ribs in the Microwave
To reheat ribs in the microwave, cut your ribs up into smaller pieces and place them in a microwave safe dish with a bit of water in the bottom. Add extra barbecue sauce to keep them extra moist and turn the microwave on full power for about 5 minutes, checking the internal temperature once they’re done.
How to Reheat Ribs in the Air Fryer
Reheating ribs in an air fryer is a matter of preheating your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and placing your ribs in a basket.
If the whole rack of leftovers will not fit into your basket, you can cut them up into smaller pieces.
Cook the ribs in for about 5 minutes and then check the internal temperature for that 145 degrees then enjoy.
How to Reheat Ribs on the Grill
When reheating ribs on a grill, again you want to keep it low and slow. Cooking them too fast on a high heat will only dry them out.
Double wrap your ribs in foil to really lock in all the moisture, adding extra barbecue sauce to taste. You can eve add a liquid like apple juice to help keep them moist, but don’t add too much. Remember…you are reheating your ribs, not cooking them.
Preheat your grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit then place your ribs on indirect heat on the grill and close the lid. Have patience and give your ribs as long as they need to reach that internal temp of 145 degrees. It may take up to 30 or even 45 minutes.
You can start checking on them after about 20 minutes.
How to Reheat Ribs in the Toaster Oven
If all you’ve got is a toaster oven, or you’re hoping to get the job done quickly and you don’t have an air fryer, preheat your toaster oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and wrap your ribs up tightly to be sure no juices leak out.
Start checking the internal temperature after about 10 minutes.
How to Reheat Ribs on the Stove
The best way to reheat your ribs on the stove is to use a steamer for maximum juiciness.
Heat up a large pot with ¼ cup of apple juice or cider until the juice is boiling.
Bring the temperature of your juice down to a simmer.
Next, place your ribs in a steamer basket in the pot, put the lid on the top, and wait for about 30 minutes, taking care not to uncover the ribs while they steam.
Your goal here is to maximize juiciness.
After 30 minutes, check your ribs for internal temperature. If they need more time, you can always add more juice to the bottom of your pot.
Once the ribs are ready, season the juice at the bottom of the pot and baste your ribs with them once you have turned them onto a plate.
WINNER – The Best Way to Reheat Ribs Is on the Stove
This one is tricky because you really can’t go wrong with a long, slow reheating method, so the oven and the grill are both perfectly acceptable.
But in the end, the winner has to be the steamer on the stove. This approach will lock in your juiciness while also adding further moisture, and the basting at the end with the juices from the pot really seals the deal.
The stovetop steamer wins!
What is your favorite way to reheat ribs? If you have any tips or tricks, or even questions or comments, please be sure to leave them in the comment section below.