There is often leftover food after a cookout or party that we don’t know what to do with. While you want to safely store it and eat it later, one of the biggest fears is losing the original taste, especially with certain foods like ribs that can turn into a dried-out mess when reheated. So how do you reheat your ribs without drying them out?
The right way to reheat your ribs
Reheating your ribs is not overly complicated, and in fact, it is quite easy to still maintain that fresh, finger-licking taste even after reheating. However, there are certain factors you should consider, including storage methods and how you reheat them.
How to properly store your ribs
How you store your leftover ribs will dictate the outcome after reheating. To avoid your ribs drying out and getting the best from your leftover rack, it is essential that you ensure your preferred storage method will help allow you to lock in as much moisture as possible.
Here are some essential tips to help you when storing your leftover ribs:
- Don’t let your ribs stay in the open for long. Refrigerate them as soon as possible. This is because the longer your meat spends unrefrigerated, the quicker colonies of bacteria like staphylococcus are likely to form, shortening its lifespan.
- When refrigerating, wrap your ribs in foil, baking paper, or keep them in a zip lock bag or even a vacuum-sealed bag. This will help minimize moisture loss.
- Cutting the ribs into single serving-sized portions is also recommended for better results.
How to reheat your ribs without drying them out
There are different methods you can use to reheat your ribs, including using an oven, sous vide machine, air fryer, and steamer, among others. We’ll now look at four main ways you can reheat your ribs and still maintain a delicious and fresh taste.
1. Reheating the ribs in an oven
Steps to follow:
- Preheat your oven to a temperature of around 250 ˚F.
- If you cooked your ribs by coating them with sauce, then add another layer of the sauce to keep the meat moist, or add a little liquid, like broth, coke, or beer.
- Place your leftover ribs in a pan and cover with foil.
- Cook them for some time and then remove the foil and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. This will help the sauce caramelize, adding a little crispness to the bark.
- Remove and serve when hot.
2. How to reheat ribs in a steamer
This is our second method that you can use to reheat your ribs without drying them out while creating a little basting liquid.
How to go about it:
- Pour a quarter cup of apple juice, beer, or beef broth in a large pot and heat it until boiling.
- Place the leftover ribs in a steamer basket and cover with the lid.
- Steam for around 30 minutes or until properly done.
- Season the liquid left at the bottom of your pot, stir and baste it on your ribs.
3. Using the sous vide method
This is a method where you warm meat without extra cooking using a hot water bath.
How to reheat ribs using the sous vide method:
- After removing your ribs from the refrigerator, let them rest for a few minutes until they reach room temperature.
- If you had not stored them in a vacuum-sealed bag, transfer them into one and carefully seal it.
- Fill your sous vide basin with water and bring the machine to a temperature of up to 329 °F (165 °C).
- Immerse the bags containing the leftover ribs into the sous vide machine and let it sit for some time (45 minutes per inch of the thickness of the ribs).
- Serve when ready.
4. Reheat Ribs in the air fryer
What to do:
- Preheat your air fryer to a temperature of 350 °F (177 °C).
- Put your ribs in the air fryer. First, we recommend cutting them into smaller pieces if they are big chunks, as overloading the air fryer may stop hot air circulation, and some will end up not reheated.
- Add one tablespoon of oil and cook for around 3–4 minutes. The oil will help prevent the ribs from drying out while also forming a crispy bark.
As we finish
While ribs can be eaten cold, most of us prefer to reheat our leftover ribs, which has been a challenge in the past. The above methods are some of the methods you can use to reheat your leftover ribs and recreate that first-day taste without running the risk of having dry ribs. However, it is crucial to note that an air fryer does not work well with wet food meaning it is not suitable for ribs previously soaked in sauce. When using an air fryer, a dry rub is recommended.
Check out a few more articles about smoked ribs:
How to Make 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs, and Why You Should Do It
Can You Freeze Smoked Ribs?
Baby Back vs. Spare Ribs: What You Need To Know About Pork Ribs
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