Whether you accidentally smoked more ribs than the required quantity or you want to keep your raw ribs fresh before cooking, the most suitable way is to store them in the fridge.
But a valid question that arises here is how long are ribs good in the fridge without getting spoiled. For that, you need to decide if you plan to store cooked or uncooked ribs before determining how long you can store them.
In this article, we will discuss the shelf life of ribs in the fridge or freezer and some valuable tips for proper storage to maintain the ribs’ quality and ensure their safety.
How Long Do Ribs Last In The Fridge – A Quick Answer
The ribs usually remain in good condition inside the fridge for about 3 to 6 days, depending on whether you store raw or cooked ribs.
To ensure their freshness and safety, you will need to keep the temperature inside the fridge consistently below 40 °F to avoid bacterial growth.
How Long Are Raw Ribs Good In The Fridge?
The uncooked ribs are good inside the fridge for 3 to 5 days. This storing duration for the raw ribs is not set in stone because it depends on some important factors.
For example, how fresh were the ribs when you purchased them, what’s the size of the ribs, and how good are the storing conditions?
Furthermore, we suggest cooking the ribs as soon as possible if you want them to provide you with a delicious taste. The reason is that bacteria can increase if you keep them inside the fridge at a lower temperature or for a long time.
In case you have purchased ribs and are not planning to cook them in 5 to 6 days, you should freeze them instead of keeping them inside the fridge for more than the recommended days.
How Long Are Cooked Ribs Good In The Fridge?
The cooked ribs behave differently than the raw ones inside the fridge because they have already gone through the bacterial growing process.
As for the life span of cooked ribs inside the fridge, they are good there for up to four days without compromising the food safety and quality.
We would recommend wrapping the cooked or smoked ribs first inside foil paper and then storing them inside the fridge. It will help the ribs to stay moist and prevent them from drying out, which you may not like. To freeze cooked ribs, ensure they’re cool before you wrap them.
Moreover, store them inside the fridge at a temperature of less than 40 °F, and you can also keep them in the freezer if you want to store them for a long time.
How Long Ribs Last In The Freezer?
The ribs stay in safe and good condition inside the freezer for 3 to 6 months. Again, the storage duration depends on whether you keep raw ribs inside the freezer or the cooked ones.
Generally, the cooked ribs remain at their best quality for around three months if kept nicely inside the freezer. After this period, the ribs may lose their quality but stay safe.
As for the uncooked ribs, you can store them inside the freezer for 3 to 6 months without compromising the meat’s safety and quality. But after that, the ribs may start spoiling.
Advantages Of Storing Ribs In The Freezer
There can be several advantages of storing ribs inside the freezer that we have mentioned below.
- Shelf life extension: One of the major advantages of freezing ribs is to expand their shelf life. You can buy ribs in advance, keep them inside the freezer for months, and use them whenever necessary.
- Food Waste Reduction: The good thing about freezing the ribs is that you can store both raw and cooked ribs inside the freezer. So, if you have unintentionally smoked more ribs than required and don’t want to waste them, go with the freezing option and reheat them whenever you need to.
- Easy Meal Planning: If you regularly smoke ribs, buying them in advance and storing them inside the freezer for months is best. As a result, you will be able to plan the ribs cooking sessions anytime with convenience.
How To Store Ribs Inside The Fridge – Useful Tips
You can undoubtedly keep the ribs in the fridge for 3 to 6 days, but if you don’t properly store cooked ribs, you may end up wasting the food due to poor storage.
So, let’s help you by providing some tips on how to keep ribs in the fridge properly.
Store Wrapped Ribs
If you are storing uncooked ribs, keep them with their original packing or use aluminum foil to wrap them. It will help in preventing the air from going in and out, which can make your ribs dry.
You can also use plastic wrap or butcher paper to wrap the ribs. When you store ribs with packing, it may not increase their life span in the fridge, but it will maintain their safety and quality.
Place The Ribs In The Coldest Part
Next, you need to set the fridge temperature to less than 40 °F and make sure it remains consistent for the days you keep them inside.
Also, set the ribs in the coldest part of the fridge (for both raw and cooked ribs) so that they avoid bacterial development and maintain their quality for longer.
Cool Down The Cooked Ribs First
If you are going to store cooked ribs, make sure you cool them first at room temperature and then set them inside the fridge.
Keeping hot ribs directly in the refrigerator can increase the fridge’s temperature, which may spoil other food items around.
Depending on the size of the cooked ribs, you should rest ribs at room temperature for no longer than 2 hours.
Moreover, we suggest you wrap the cooked ribs first before placing them into the fridge to keep the meat moist and to prevent it from drying out.
Signs Of Spoiled Ribs
Proper storage and handling of ribs are essential so that they stay fresh and safe to eat. However, even with the best precautions, ribs can still spoil over time. Here are some signs that determine if you have spoiled the ribs.
Mold On Ribs
Mold is a type of fungus and a potential sign of food spoilage. If you see mold build up on your uncooked or cooked ribs, it means they are spoiled, and you should immediately remove them from the fridge.
Most importantly, the mold does not only appear outside the meat but also inside. Therefore, you should prevent consuming food suffering from mold as it can cause food poisoning and allergic reactions.
Meat’s Color Transformation
The raw ribs contain pink color usually, and when you see them turning brown or any other color during the storing process, it indicates that the ribs have gone bad. Throw such ribs away and avoid cooking them.
Slimy Ribs Texture
Sometimes, the ribs can go slimy or gooey, which indicates that they have spoiled, and you should discard them.
It usually occurs due to bacterial growth and when the bacteria starts affecting the meat’s surface. Also, both the raw and cooked ribs can get slimy.
Tips To Avoid Ribs From Spoiling
There are a few tips that you can follow to avoid your ribs from spoiling. Interestingly, you can apply these tips on both cooked and raw ribs.
Fridge’s Internal Temperature
The bacteria inside the meats (including ribs) grow when their internal temperature is between 40 to 140 °F.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to store them in refrigerating conditions in which the temperature is under 40 °F.
If the ribs are stored at a temperature between 40 to 140 °F, it is like welcoming the bacterial growth inside the meat, which can easily spoil the ribs.
Keeping Raw Ribs Packed
As mentioned earlier, you should always wrap ribs inside butcher paper, foil paper, or in their original packing before storing them.
It helps in keeping them moist because if they get dry, it can affect their texture which may spoil them. If you have cooked ribs, you can wrap them, too, before setting them inside the refrigerator.
Set Ribs In the Coldest Part
One of the most advantageous ways to prevent ribs from spoiling is to place them inside the fridge’s coldest part, which is in the lowest rack.
Ribs stored at the coldest part don’t exceed their internal temperature to above 40 °F, which is the primary goal.
How To Reheat Ribs After Refrigerating?
The best way to reheat the leftover ribs is to grill them, for which you will require a pellet grill, gas grill, or charcoal grill. The reason is that if you smoke them again, it will take too long, and the ribs may dry or become tough.
As for grilling the ribs, it will make them ready within 10 to 15 minutes due to the high and direct heat.
Let’s share the step-by-step instructions on how to reheat the smoked ribs you had stored in the fridge.
- Set the temperature of your grill to around 450 °F and let it preheat. Depending on the type of grill, it can take 15 to 20 minutes to reach the internal temperature you set.
- Before placing the ribs in the fridge, we advise you to spray them with chicken broth or beef broth, apply your favorite barbecue sauce, and wrap them (not too tightly) inside aluminum foil.
- When the preheating process completes, set the wrapped ribs on the grilling grates and decrease the grill’s temperature, maybe between 350 to 400 °F.
- The grilling process for the ribs should continue for 10 minutes, and ensure to flip them twice in this duration so that they reheat and get to cook evenly.
So, this is how you can adequately reheat the ribs after storing them inside the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Wrapping It Up
Storing ribs inside the fridge is a suitable option if you want your raw or cooked ribs to be safe and fresh for several days.
However, it’s important to note that the shelf life of ribs in the fridge is limited, and you should consume them within a few days to prevent them from spoiling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you eat cooked ribs after five days?
We recommend eating the cooked ribs within the first four days, but it also depends on how well you store the ribs after cooking them. If stored properly, you may be able to save them for 1 or 2 more days without compromising the quality.
How long can thawed ribs stay in the fridge?
If you store the thawed ribs in an air tight container, aluminum foil, or plastic zipper bags, you can keep them in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, but we suggest you cook them immediately and do not store them for too long if you had thawed in the cold water before.
How long to thaw a rack of ribs in the fridge?
Thawing ribs in the fridge can take a few hours to a day, depending on their size. Usually, you should allow at least 24 hours for the ribs that weigh around five pounds. This is how the thawing duration will increase per the size of the ribs.
Robert Gill, a BBQ enthusiast, and Senior Author at FaveGrills.com bring his extensive knowledge of BBQ equipment and exciting recipes to the team. With his outgoing personality and love for BBQ, Robert plays an essential role in the FaveGrills community, sharing his passion and expertise through informative articles and gear reviews.