Can You Freeze Ribs? (After Cooking)


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Many people’s favorite barbeque food is ribs. When they are cooked perfectly with just the right amount of seasonings, this messy food is absolutely amazing. 

People everywhere enjoy the juicy and tender texture of ribs and the flavor of smoky seasoned meat. If you love to barbecue, a tradition may be to cook ribs whenever you have a special get together. 

Let’s say you find yourself with an overabundance of rib meat and you want to save them for later. Can you freeze the ribs if they have already been cooked?

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Ribs can be frozen if you have already cooked them. Just let them cool, wrap each one tightly in layers of foil and you can freeze the ribs for up to 3 months.

Can You Freeze Ribs? (After Cooking)

For that get together, your job is to make sure everyone has enough ribs to indulge in. As the one preparing the meal, you want the whole crew to be satisfied with the ribs you have cooked to perfection. 

After the party and after all of the guests have had their fill and thanked you for the amazing food, there are some leftover ribs. It seems you made a few too many but that’s ok because you can enjoy eating them later on. 

In the refrigerator, the ribs will only be good for about 3 or 4 days so is there a way to save them for longer? 

While everyone knows you can freeze raw meat for whenever you want to cook it, what about ribs that have already been cooked? Can you freeze these? 

You can save ribs for longer by storing them in the freezer. What a relief! Instead of trying to eat up all the barbecue leftovers, you can just freeze them for long term storage. 

I will discuss the correct way to freeze the cooked ribs later on in this article so you know exactly when to freeze and how to freeze them properly. This way you don’t have to see your hard work go to waste and can enjoy the juicy ribs in upcoming weeks or months.

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Is It Better To Cook Ribs Before Freezing?

You have a lot of ribs that will need to be cooked for a party at your home. You may be questioning if you should only make the amount you need, or just cook them all and then freeze them. 

Is it better to cook ribs before freezing them or freeze them raw? 

You can either freeze raw or cooked ribs. Ribs that are frozen raw and then cooked and eaten will taste a bit better than those that are frozen and then reheated but if stored properly, the ribs will still taste good either way. 

According to Livestrong.com, “Ribs are naturally flat and will freeze quickly if you observe a few simple rules.” Their article How To Freeze Baby Back Ribs After Cooking explains. They continue to say, “Freeze the ribs in a single layer, if at all possible. It’s often best to freeze the individual portions, then transfer the wrapped ribs to a heavy-duty zipper-seal bag once they’re frozen. If you have several pounds of ribs to freeze, don’t add them to the freezer all at once. Instead, refrigerate them and freeze a few pounds at a time over a 24-hour period.”

Fresh food is always going to taste the best but when you need to store some for the long term the freezer is your best bet. If you follow the instructions on how to properly store the ribs, they will still taste amazing after they have been thawed and reheated weeks later. 

It isn’t necessarily better to cook the ribs before freezing them but if you want to save time in the future then this is a great way to do it.

How Do You Store Cooked Ribs?

Ribs are a specialty entree that you probably only eat every once in a while. Around your home you don’t want anything to go to waste. 

So, if you have a lot of leftover ribs, you are happy to know you can freeze them. But how exactly do you store them?

For long term storage, wrap the ribs in foil, put them in an airtight bag or container and then freeze them. Now you can save the delicious meat for future use.

When you are going to be freezing ribs, make sure that they have cooled completely before you put them into the freezer. Let them cool at room temperature (but not too long to where bacteria will begin to grow), and then vacuum seal or wrap tightly in a couple layers of heavy duty foil. 

Transfer the ribs to a freezer bag and make sure no air will enter the packaging. Label the bag with the current date so you know when you placed them in the freezer and then lay the ribs flat to freeze. 

You can freeze the ribs but should use them within 3 months. When it comes time to eat the frozen ribs, just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat. 

You will want to add some liquid (such as broth, apple juice, or water) inside the foil so the ribs will be juicy and not dry after being reheated. Reheat the ribs on your grill and then enjoy the tender and juicy rib meat for a delicious meal. 

It is recommended that you do not slice the ribs before cooking and freezing them. The juices should be stored separately and cooled before these are frozen as well. 

Skim off the fat from the ribs before freezing and just make sure it is wrapped tightly to keep the ribs good. You can store the ribs in the freezer for up to 3 months and then when you want to use them, reheat and serve however you like. 

You can serve the ribs whole or shred, slice or chop it for other yummy recipes.

Final Thoughts

Ribs are a tasty meal and when you are an expert at barbecuing they are probably one of your specialties.  

When you end up with a lot of leftover ribs after your feast, don’t worry. Just freeze the ribs so you can enjoy them in the next weeks or months. 

Make sure to properly wrap and package them for freezing and label the bag with the current date. Thaw and reheat the ribs in the next 3 months for the best results. 

So, when you have leftover ribs that have already been cooked, don’t let them go to waste because you can save them for a meal later on. Freezing ribs is great for when you want to save them to be enjoyed weeks or months later. 

Especially after all the hard work you spent preparing your ribs you will want to enjoy them again and again and putting them in the freezer allows you to do just that. 

Hannah R.

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

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