If you love cooking or eating barbecued ribs, you know how flavorful yet fleeting that joy can be. For as fantastic as warm ribs taste, cool ribs lose a lot of that magic, and can even start to taste tough, bland, and fit for the trash can. You don’t want that to happen to a plate of ribs that you have spent hours seasoning, searing, and preparing to perfection, which is why it is so necessary to find some life hacks for keeping ribs warmer longer.
Let’s take a look at a few basic steps you can take to accomplish just that and how each might impact the quality of your ribs.
1 – Time Sensitive Cooking
No meat keeps forever, and not all cooking time tables are created equal. When cooking ribs, you have at maximum 16 hours before they lose their freshness. That said, to get the best out of your ribs, you should really have them much sooner, somewhere closer to six hours.
Ideally, you should take a look at coolers and warmers as alternatives.
2 – Food Warmers
These containers are designed expressly for this purpose, and so it makes sense to consider them when thinking about how to keep your ribs warmer longer. That being said, while you don’t want your ribs “cut and dry,” you may want your answers that way, and unfortunately the verdict on food warmers for rib storage and warming is less forthcoming than you might think.
On the plus side, food warmers can enable you to keep your food at a steady temperature for hours on end – after all, that’s what they are designed to do. That said, how well they are designed and thus how well they can accomplish this goal is bound to fluctuate depending on the quality of its construction. Unsurprisingly, higher quality means better heat insulation and retention, but it also frequently means spending more money, which is naturally quite a drawback and why other, more cost-effective measures may be a better option for you.
That said, if you’re looking for a way of keeping food warm while transporting it in a portable fashion, this is a good option to consider. There are many food warmers that are built precisely for that purpose, locking in the heat and moisture of your ribs as you take them to wherever you plan to enjoy them.
3 – Into the Oven
Simply leaving your ribs in the oven for a bit is another option when it comes to keeping them warmer for longer periods of time.
That said, this is a method that should only be considered in a strictly short-term sense. You have to keep the oven on at low levels of heat, so you can’t continue with this option for long without the risk of burning or drying out the ribs. That said, this can be a viable method of keeping ribs warm for a half an hour or so before you serve them while you work on other dishes.
4 – Considering Coolers
Finally, you may want to consider wrapping your ribs in a cooler.
As explained in rib-and-cooler videos online, you ideally want to use some combination of foil, paper, freezer paper, and a towel when wrapping the ribs. The cooler then acts as an insulating agent. How well it is able to accomplish this will naturally depend on the veracity of the cooler itself.
That said, this is by far one of the most accessible and versatile options for keeping ribs warmer longer.
What Works Best?
The answer to this question will depend your own personal taste and the state of your ribs.
If you are just looking to make sure that your ribs don’t cool off as you start serving other parts of your meal, you might just want to pop them back into the oven on a low heat setting.
On the other hand, if you need them to stay warmer for longer, especially if portability is a concern, then a portable warmer may be the best choice.
Finally, a cooler-wrapping combo can help keep your ribs warm for a few hours on a budget.
All of these methods can help ensure that your ribs stay warm, fresh, soft, and as good as ever when it finally comes time to dig in and enjoy them.