At What Temperature are Ribs Done?

  • By: Jack Mancuso

At What Temperature are Ribs Done?

I’m a huge fan of ribs in any way, shape, or form. But they can be tricky. If you don’t cook them right, they can be underdone or overdone and tough as leather. So, at what temperature are ribs done? The USDA says ribs are safe to eat when the internal temperature is 145F. Mind you, various cooks will tell you different temperatures: 180F, 190F, 200F, etc. Why? Because the collagen in the meat will become gelatin for great tenderness.

Why do We Love Ribs?

When you look at a rack of ribs raw, you might wonder what all the hullabaloo is about. There are many reasons people come to a place of seeking the best rib recipe. First, above all, is flavor. Ribs are savory, smoky, and packed with tasty spices, like those I make using Cuso’s Roasted Garlic Onion Seasoning.

Next comes tenderness. When you know at what temperature ribs are done, you’ll end up with tender, juicy meat. When cooked correctly, using all-natural spices like Malpe Bourbon Seasoning, they nearly fall off the bone. 

Third, think about versatility and variety. Rib cuts differ, and you prepare them in any way that pleases you. Grill them, smoke them, braise them, roast them! Come up with your own personal twist on this meat. Your friends and neighbors will want to enjoy getting finger-licking messy with you.

Some people consider ribs a comfort food because they’re hardy. They may also evoke memories of gatherings where folks made ribs and perhaps even turned it into a contest.

Beef vs. Pork Ribs

Beef

Beef ribs are meaty, and their flavor is more robust than pork ribs. Their texture is dense, so you must take care not to cook them over the desired temperature. You have two cuts of beef ribs to choose from: back ribs with more meat and short ribs with more marbling. Beef ribs respond well to slow-cooking methods. The price is slightly higher than pork ribs.

Pork 

Compared to beef ribs, pork ribs have a slightly sweet note. Their flavor is milder, and they adapt well to various seasonings. People enjoy the juicier, tender nature of pork ribs over beef. You’ll find pork ribs in two cuts: baby back ribs and spare ribs. The baby back, as the name implies, is small and lean. Spare ribs are large with more connective tissue. 

In the grilling community, pork ribs are a huge draw, particularly when you smoke them. Their price point is easier on the budget than beef ribs. 

Shopping for Ribs

Even if you know at what temperature ribs are done, that won’t help much if you get a bad batch. Look for nice, meaty ribs. Avoid any that look greyish. Healthy meat is pink or red with white veins of fat. Also, check the packaging, looking for the newest bundle with a proper seal.

Time and Temperature

Note: These are generalizations

Grilling

Preheat your grill to about 300F. At this temperature, ribs need 1.5-2 hours. Remember to season or sauce as desired. Don’t be afraid to try new flavor profiles in your dry rubs, like my Tequila Lime Habanero Seasoning.

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooking

Just put them in the pot at high temperature and let them cook for about a half hour.

Oven

Set the oven to 275F. If you have baby back ribs they need 2.5-3 hours. Spare ribs: 3-4 hours.

Smoking

You want to maintain your smoker temperature to around 225-250F. A good five hours should result in tender meat. To avoid overcooking, wrap them in foil at the halfway point.  

PItMaster’s Memo: Seasoning Ribs

There are herbs and spices that marry very well with ribs, many of which you’ll find in my all-natural line of seasonings. High on the list are garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Other options include brown sugar, mustard powder, citrus zest, and mustard powder.

Sides

Charred Shishito Pepper

Corn with cotija cheese and lime

Cauliflower mac and cheese

Grilled watermelon salad

Sweet potato fries with honey

Desserts

Bourbon pecan pie

Grilled pineapple and coconut ice cream

Maple bacon cupcakes

Olive oil cake

Peach cobbler

From the Bar

Dark n’ Stormy

Peach Ice tea

Red Ale

Rum

Zinfandel

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