Can Ribs Be Pink?


Last updated on August 21st, 2022 at 05:04 pm

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Summer months means lots of sunshine, outdoor activities, and yummy barbecues. Family and friends come over and play some yard games, chat for a while and then enjoy some juicy and saucy ribs. 

Ribs are a favorite barbecue food and you pride yourself on making some that are simply delicious. When it’s time for the meat to be done you notice that they are still slightly pink inside. 

Can ribs still be pink and safe to eat?

Sometimes the first layer of ribs may look a little pink but mostly white. Ribs are fine to eat if they are still a little pink after cooking them. Check the temperature and if it is at 145 degrees Fahrenheit then the meat is safe to eat.

Can Ribs Be Pink?

If your ribs reach the correct temperature then they are safe to eat. Sometimes they may still look a little pink, but the meat should be mostly white. This is nothing to worry about. 

However, if the ribs are mostly pink then you will want to cook them for a bit longer being careful not to burn them. You can get sick from eating undercooked ribs so checking them often and making sure they are safe to eat is always a good idea.

Can You Eat Ribs If They Are Pink?

At one of your barbecues you checked on your ribs that should have been done cooking on the grill only to find that they were still pink. Can you eat ribs if they are pink?

When it comes to ribs, a little pink is ok but a lot is not. If there is any liquid, then the meat isn’t done cooking. They will be mostly white with maybe a little pink on their first layer. Ribs are safe to eat when they are cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ribs should always be fully cooked and never served rare so if you notice there is still liquid coming from them or the color of the meat is really pink, put them back on the grill to cook some more. You cannot eat ribs that are still really pink. 

Now, if they are slightly pink and the temperature checks out then they are safe to eat. Sometimes the meat is still a little bit pink after they are done cooking and this is okay.

How Do You Tell If Ribs Are Undercooked?

You don’t want to make anyone sick with undercooked meat. Well, there are some things to look for to see if those saucy ribs are uncooked or not. 

So, what are they and how do you tell?

You can get sick from eating undercooked meat and ribs are no exception. Ribs are uncooked when they are still very pink and liquid is oozing from them. It is not safe to eat or to serve pork ribs rare since pork must always be cooked all the way through.

Check for certain things to see if the ribs are cooked thoroughly or not. If you find that the ribs are uncooked don’t eat them. Cook them for longer until they are cooked all the way. 

Oklahoma Joe’s states that, “Color can be useful, but it can be misleading, which is why it’s important to take other methods into consideration.” 

They recommend checking 5 things if you want to know if ribs are cooked all the way: 

  • Color – “When finished, ribs look like the color of mahogany” 
  • Bones – “When the ribs are finished cooking, the meat will draw back and expose about three-quarters of an inch of the rib bone”
  • Bend test –  “When ribs are done cooking, they’re flexible but don’t fall apart.”
  • Toothpick test – “Stick a toothpick or small BBQ skewer down between 2 bones. If the rubs are done, the skewer will go through with little resistance”
  • Flexibility – “As you gain experience, you’ll be able to tell if the rib rack is done cooking by feeling them with your hands.”

Can You Get Sick From Undercooked Ribs?

We mentioned that you shouldn’t eat uncooked ribs. If it is still very pink let it cook longer. But we didn’t mention why. Is it because you can get sick from undercooked ribs?

If you have eaten undercooked pork/ribs then you could get food poisoning and become sick. If you start to show signs of food poisoning you should contact your healthcare provider and they can offer treatments.

Undercooked meat has bacteria and parasites that will make you sick. When you thoroughly cook ribs, you kill all of those harmful germs. 

If you eat undercooked ribs then those germs are still present, possibly causing food poisoning or a disease called trichomonas which could be fatal if not treated. You don’t want to deal with an upset stomach, vomiting, or a fever among other things from the undercooked meat so make sure to cook the ribs thoroughly.

What Happens If You Cook Ribs Too Long?

Being concerned you may undercook the ribs, you may tend to leave them on the grill for a little longer than you have to. What happens if you cook the ribs too long?

If ribs are cooked for too long then you will end up with burnt exterior meat. The ribs will also be chewy and hard to eat. They definitely won’t taste as good as if you cooked them the right amount of time. 

This is why it is important to watch the ribs as they cook.

Ribs taste the best when they are juicy and tender. If you cook them for too long they will become dry and chewy. Not wanting to undercook the ribs can lead to you cooking them longer than you need to so it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the ribs as they cook and check them every so often to see if they are done. 

This way you won’t cook them too long and ruin their taste. You will end up with delicious ribs that your family and friends will enjoy. 

Final Thoughts

Ribs can be slightly pink in color and still be safe to eat. Undercooked ribs are liquidy and very pink in color and you could get very sick from eating these.

Also, make sure to check on the ribs as they cook to avoid cooking them too long and ruining their taste. 

Follow the tips to see if the ribs are thoroughly cooked including checking the temperature to see if it is 145 degrees. If ribs are just a little bit pink but mostly white, then they are safe to eat.

Hannah R.

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

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