When grilling food for a group of people, the general rule is that you should grill a little more than you think you will need. Of course, this may mean that you wind up with some leftovers. If you find yourself with leftover ribs, you will have to tackle the problem of reheating them. Reheating ribs can be tricky without reducing their quality. Follow the guide below to keep your ribs from drying out while also ensuring that they heat all the way through.
Using your oven/broiler
Using the oven is the best way to get your ribs to the desired temperature. If you do it correctly, reheating in the oven allows you to reheat gently and preserve the moisture and texture of your ribs. If your ribs are frozen, you will need to thaw them completely before proceeding with the steps below.
Start by preheating the oven. The temperature at which you reheat your ribs is key since an oven that is too hot will dry ribs them out quickly and increase the risk of burning. Go for a moderately low temperature. A temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit is good. Depending on the number of ribs and how thick they are, you may want to go a little higher or a little lower.
Wrap the ribs in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. This preserves the moisture and helps to trap the heat. As an extra measure to keep them from drying out, you can baste them with barbecue sauce before wrapping them. The barbecue sauce is optional.
Place the wrapped ribs in the oven and heat until the internal temperature gets to 165 then take them out. For thicker racks of ribs, this can take up to an hour.
Another option is to use the broiler rather than the oven. Simply place the ribs on a cookie sheet without wrapping them, and slide them into the broiler. Heat for 5 minutes, flip and heat for 5 minutes on the other side. Check the temperature and repeat if necessary.
Using the microwave
The microwave’s advantage is speed, not necessarily quality; however, it is possible to heat your ribs properly in the microwave without significantly affecting their taste and texture if you are careful.
If there is no sauce on the ribs, place them curved side up in a glass or microwave-safe plastic container. If there is sauce on the ribs, try to place them on their sides rather than curved side down; this can keep them from drying out and from sticking to the container. If you are reheating unseparated ribs, you should separate them before microwaving. Cover with a paper towel or parchment paper to protect your microwave’s interior from splatter.
Microwave for 3-4 minutes on medium. Check the temperature on each rib and repeat in 30-second increments until they reach the right temperature. In most cases, they will not all heat up at the same time. Remove ribs that are up to temperature and continue heating the rest.
Using the grill
If you are using a gas grill, use the oven method above. To reheat ribs on a charcoal grill, follow these tips:
Start your coals on one side of the grill; you want to have a hot zone and a cool zone. Let the coals burn until they have acquired a light coating of ash.
Place unwrapped ribs on the cool side and close the lid. Let them heat for two minutes, then open and flip. Repeat the process until the ribs are up to temperature.
You can use this method to reheat separated ribs or whole racks, with sauce or without.