Can Ribs Be Left Out?

Last updated on August 22nd, 2022 at 04:02 am

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Ribs are a great cut of pork meat. Sometimes ribs can refer to beef as well. 

Ribs have a lot of nutritional benefits since they contain many vitamins and minerals. They are also delicious tasting. 

When cooked right, ribs are tender, juicy and flavorful. The most common way to fix ribs is to barbecue them. 

Smothered in barbeque sauce the ribs smell and taste so good. If you accidentally left some ribs sitting out you may wonder, can ribs be left out? 

Ribs cannot be left out for more than 2 hours for safety reasons. This is if the ribs are at room temperature and should be refrigerated or frozen once they are cooled.

Can Ribs Be Left Out?

It’s the perfect day for a barbecue. Sunshine trickles down from among clouds and a breeze flows through trees rustling their leaves. A bird’s song can be heard while the sound of laughter fills the air. 

Children swing high on the swing set and play in a sandbox. A frisbee is being thrown in the yard by the teens and adults while the rest sit and talk about their plans for the weekend. 

You are the grill master at this event and are determined not to let anyone down. You have chosen some ribs to be the main entree and have marinated them for flavor. 

As they sit sizzling on the grill the aroma of meat and barbecue sauce floats around making everyone’s stomachs growl. 

After checking that they are done, you call out for the whole group to come and get some. Family and friends gather around plopping side dishes with a slab of ribs onto their plates. 

Digging in they brag about how delicious they are making you feel so accomplished. When everyone is finished eating, it is back to the yard games. A baseball game is beginning and you aren’t going to miss this. 

Heading out there, you forgot the leftover ribs that are sitting on the counter. But, ribs cannot be left out. We will discuss why you shouldn’t leave ribs sitting out a little bit later in this article.

How Long Can Ribs Sit Out?

Caught up in the excitement of the day, you accidentally left the ribs sitting out. How long will they be alright sitting on the counter? 

Ribs should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This is because after that time they will start to breed bacteria which can make you sick. 

The longer they sit, the more bacteria will grow.

Ribs cannot be left out for too long. Bacteria will begin to grow quickly when food is left out in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If ribs have been sitting out for more than 2 hours then they should be thrown away. 

It is okay to leave ribs out for several minutes or even an hour but after a couple hours, it has been sitting too long and you don’t want to chance it being contaminated. 

Now, if ribs are hot at the start of those 2 hours then they are fine to be refrigerated or frozen. The meat just shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

If you spend a lot of time and effort making the ribs but leave them out for several hours, it can be heartbreaking but the safest thing to do is to toss them. It is better than getting sick. 

Once they are cooled to room temperature, you should refrigerate or freeze the ribs. Because ribs should not be left out.

Ribs can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days. After this they will go bad so make sure you eat them up so you get the most out of your hard work. 

To store ribs long-term, freeze them.  You can freeze ribs for 4 to 6 months and they will still taste good. After this time they will lose taste and texture so use up the ribs for dinner in a few months after freezing them for best results. 

Is It Ok To Eat Cooked Ribs Left Out Overnight?

Later on the evening of the barbecue, the gang decides to head out. When you enter the kitchen your eye stops on the food that remains sitting on the countertop. 

You see the leftover ribs sitting there and know you should have put them away earlier because ribs should not be left out. This prompts the question, is it ok to eat cooked ribs that have been left out overnight?

You should not eat ribs if they have been left out overnight. Bacteria will already begin growing and they should be thrown away so they don’t make you or anyone else sick.

You can tell ribs are spoiled by how they look, smell or taste. If anything about the ribs seems off or bad then they should be thrown away. 

This can happen to ribs that are old or new but contaminated by bacteria. When ribs sit out for long periods of time bacteria grows making the meat bad. 

So, it is not ok to eat ribs that have been left sitting out for more than 2 hours.

The website, The Whole Portion, states in their article, How long are ribs good in the fridge?, “Cooked as well as uncooked ribs last for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the cooked ribs that have been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the cooked ribs being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours. 

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard ribs that are left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Final Thoughts

After the baseball game was played and family and friends drove back to their homes, you noticed that the ribs were left out. Luckily it has only been about an hour and a half so you were able to put them into the fridge to save for later. 

Ribs can only sit out for a couple of hours. You shouldn’t leave them out for longer than this because of bacteria contamination. 

So, be aware of putting food away in the fridge or freezer whenever it has cooled so you can save it for future meals instead of throwing it away. This can be wasteful and sad since you spent so much work grilling them. 

Put the delicious barbecued rib in the fridge or freezer to store for later because ribs can’t be left out for very long and still be good. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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