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How to perfectly reheat ribs in the oven

If for some crazy reason you have leftover ribs, here's how to reheat them

Ribs on the grill
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Are you searching for the best way to reheat barbecue ribs? We’ve got you covered. Ribs are one of the world’s most wonderful things.  They are easy to reheat using standard kitchen equipment, such as an oven or a charcoal grill. If you have access to either of these tools, reviving and enhancing juicy, delectable fall-off-the-bone ribs is possible.

Ribs of lamb, beef, pork, veal, and venison are delicious dishes on any menu. It is easy to understand why one would want a hassle-free way to reliably reheat all kinds of meats, including chicken, prime beef, ribs, and more.

Low and slow is a time-honored barbecue technique that pays dividends when reheating leftover homemade, store-purchased, or restaurant-quality ribs. Using an oven or a grill, you can warm rib leftovers using a reheating method that more closely recreates their original cooking method. Slow and low is a great method to reheat ribs in the oven. Wondering how to reheat prime rib and other juicy and delicious meat mains? The secret to reheating smoked ribs is to give the ribs time to get back to their original formulation. BBQ takes time and if you take some time, reheating baby back ribs with the oven and grill works beautifully.

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Get ’em sauced

The risk of reheating many foods is that they can dry out, which makes sense with all of the temperature fluctuations. Preventing this with ribs is really quite simple. In addition to whichever reheating method you’ve chosen to use, make sure and brush your ribs with a new slathering of sauce. This will help to keep your ribs moist, and add fresh flavor. And if we’re honest — when was adding more barbecue sauce ever a bad idea?

Before getting started, remember to first trim the fat. If there is extra fat left on your leftover ribs, use the juices from your original ribs recipe by pouring them over your old ribs, and finding a barbecue sauce, rub, or “mop” (either the old one or something new), to re-marinate these ribs with.

If you’ve been having trouble making your leftover flavors pop, follow these steps for the fast way to flavor town.


Reheating BBQ ribs in the oven

  1. Take ribs out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before reheating, allow them to reach room temperature. Ribs that have had time to relax on the counter cook more evenly and deliver a much more mouth-watering and delicious taste profile.
  2. Set the oven to preheat at 220°F. Going low and slow is a powerful trick for reheating baby back ribs so they retain their incredible taste and perfect texture without being overdone.
  3. Add your leftover ribs to a roasting pan, baking sheet, or piece of aluminum foil as you please. If you feel the ribs need it, don’t be afraid to add additional moisture to perk up sauces. You can use the original BBQ sauce, rub, or vinegar “mop.” However, even just a couple drops of water can help enhance dryer ribs before baking them in the oven.
  4. Wrap a sheet of aluminum foil over the ribs and create a seal so little smoke and no precious juices escape during the reheating process. Your ribs will reheat to a more balanced and delicious taste if you cover them before cooking.
  5. Keep an eye on your ribs in the oven. Your ribs should take about 30 minutes to reach perfection. The internal temperature of the ribs should be 165°F before removing from the oven. Ribs should feel and taste warm all the way through, and may be beginning to fall of the bone. You may need to adjust cooking times by 5-10 minutes.
Ribs on the grill
Z Grills Australia/Unsplash

Reheating baby back ribs on the grill

It is also possible to reheat smoked ribs using a smoker grill. In fact, you can reliably reheat barbecue ribs to the deliciously tasty smoky flavor that many chefs feel is ultimately superior to using the oven. If you have access to a grill, it is a great method that some feel is superior to reheating ribs in the oven, frying pan, microwave, and most any other kitchen equipment.

If you haven’t used a grill to reheat meats, you are missing out. You don’t have to wonder how to reheat prime rib, you can use the grill for almost all your reheating if you feel inclined. If you love the smoke and are patient, grilling is a great pastime and a tasty way to enhance your meals and leftovers.

  1. Preheat your barbecue grill to high and allow it to reach full power as your ribs reach room temperature on the kitchen counter. When you reheat barbecue ribs on the grill, it’s easy to push the flavors further to create leftovers that can taste even better than your original meal.
  2. Remember to keep your ribs moist before throwing them on the grill! You can use the original BBQ sauce, rub, or vinegar “mop.” Even just a couple drops of water can help enhance dryer ribs before baking them in the oven. The extra moisture helps the ribs to survive and thrive in the high heat environment of the grill. A dry rub or vinegar based “mop” is also an option for extra flavor.
  3. Wrap the ribs in a somewhat loose aluminum foil pocket. It should not be too tight. The foil protects the ribs and allows the meat to stay moist.
  4. Turn the grill heat down to medium.
  5. Pop your pocket on the grill for about 7-10 minutes. The internal temperature of the ribs should be 165°F before removing from the grill.
  6. Reheating smoked ribs and other delicious meats with a grill is a fun and easy way to revive leftovers and push them over the edge. Many people actually feel this method delivers a more moist, enjoyable, and delicious rib than oven baking. Turn up the flavor of your ribs with the grill.
Ribs on cutting board
Bao Menglong/Unsplash

When reheating ribs, skip the microwave

You may be wondering, are the oven and grill the only methods to reheat ribs? The answer is no. You can use a microwave or toaster oven as well but cooking times will vary to a vast degree. We don’t recommend either of these methods. Most toaster ovens are fairly small and less than ideal for packing in more than just a few ribs. Microwaves often ruin the taste and texture of foods, sometimes drying meats out, and are not ideal for reheating.

Microwaves and toaster ovens can work in a pinch, but if you want to reheat ribs to perfection you can’t go wrong with a grill or an oven. If you have not mastered these reheating methods, try these out with some different sauce and rub recipes. They deliver a really amazing taste that is far superior to either the microwave or toaster oven.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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