Can You Smoke Ribs For Too Long?


Last updated on September 5th, 2022 at 07:26 am

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Ribs are a delicious melt in your mouth dinner that is loved by many but is not typically an every day treat. Oftentimes smoked ribs are a holiday or special occasion meal since it takes many hours to cook the ribs properly. 

Ribs become more tender and succulent the longer they cook, however if you over cook them, they will become dry. If you are planning on smoking your ribs can you do that for too long?

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Ribs can be smoked for too long. Ideally ribs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 195 degrees so if you leave your ribs cooking after they have reached that temperature then you run a risk of over-smoking them. 

Can You Smoke Ribs For Too Long?

Once your ribs have reached an internal temperature of higher than 203 degrees the meat will begin to dry out and have a sawdust like texture. You want to smoke your ribs just long enough that the fat has had time to render but not too long. 

If you do not cook your ribs long enough, they will be tough but if you smoke them for too long then you will end up with dry ribs. You need to get the timing of smoking ribs just right.

What Happens If You Smoke Ribs Too Long?

When you talk about summer foods many people will think of ribs. This tender meat is often slow cooked on a grill, in a smoker, or even in an oven. 

Cooking ribs is a long process. You need to slow cook your ribs over a low heat. Cooking them quickly over a high heat will dry them out. 

What makes ribs so tender and juicy is the fat on them. The fat on the ribs will begin to render, or melt, at 195 degrees. This fat melting into your ribs is what makes them tender. 

If you continue to smoke your ribs past an internal temperature of 203 degrees the fat will then begin to melt out of the ribs, once it melts out of the ribs it will leave your meat dry. 

Nobody wants dry, tasteless ribs so be sure never to smoke your ribs for too long. 

How Long Should Ribs Stay In The Smoker?

There are many different ways to cook ribs. Ribs should be cooked over a low temperature for a long period of time. Cooking your ribs this way allows plenty of time for the fat to melt into the meat giving you a nice tender rack of ribs. 

You can slow cook your ribs in the oven, on the grill, and in the smoker. How long should you expect it to take to smoke your ribs? 

It takes around 5 hours to cook ribs in a smoker. You will need to preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and then maintain a temperature between 225 and 250.

The first thing you need to do when smoking your ribs is to prepare them. 

On the back side of your rack of ribs is a thin membrane. Leaving this membrane on your ribs while cooking them will cause your ribs to be tough. You need to remove this thin membrane. 

You will want to locate this thin shiny membrane and use a knife to gently pry up a corner of it. Then you will want to slowly peel it off of your ribs. If you find that it is too slippery for you to keep a hold of you can use a paper towel to grip it. 

Once you have removed this membrane you can discard it. Removing the membrane will not only give you more tender ribs but it will also allow your ribs to take on that smoky flavor that you are desiring. 

Once the membrane is removed from the ribs you can then apply your dry rub. A dry rub is a mixture of dry spices, salt, and sometimes sugar. It can be used along with your barbeque sauce; this will help bring out the delicious flavors of your ribs. 

You can purchase a variety of dry rubs at the store or you can make your own at home. You will need to apply the dry rub at least an hour before you cook your ribs. 

Many people will apply their dry rub the night before they plan to smoke their ribs. 

Next you will want to make sure that you have an amazing barbeque sauce. The internet has a plethora of recipes for barbeque sauces. You can pick the one that is best for you or you can pick up a store-bought sauce. 

Once you have your sauce prepared you will want to set that aside, you won’t need it until about thirty minutes to an hour before your ribs are done cooking. 

When you are cooking ribs in a smoker you need to remember the “2-2-1” schedule. 

When you first start smoking your ribs, you will want to place them directly on the grate. The ribs should be left to cook on the grate for 2 hours. Once those first two hours have passed you will want to remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them tightly in tin foil. 

Return the foil wrapped ribs to the smoker, make sure the lid is tightly closed and then cook them for another 2 hours. 

For the final hour of cooking, you will want to carefully remove the ribs from the smoker and then take them out of the tin foil. Place the ribs back into the smoker and then brush on your barbeque sauce of choice. 

Over the course of the last hour of cooking you will want to brush barbeque sauce onto your ribs every 15 minutes.

At What Temperature Are Ribs Overcooked?

Overcooking ribs will leave them dry and with an unpleasant texture. The ideal internal temperature for ribs is between 195 degrees Fahrenheit and 203 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Ribs that have an internal temperature of 204 degrees Fahrenheit or higher have been overcooked. Ideally you will want to pull the ribs off the grill right as they hit that 195-200 degree internal temp sweet spot. 

Ribs that have been cooked perfectly will be juicy and tender. They will not be falling off the bone but will be easily pulled from the bone. 

If you have overcooked your ribs, they will be dry. However, if you have overcooked your ribs there is something that you can do to fix it! 

If you are wanting to save dry ribs that have been overcooked you can create a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and one part barbeque sauce. Generously coat your ribs with this mixture, tightly wrap it in aluminum foil, then bake them at a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. 

This will allow some moisture to be reintroduced to your ribs.

Hannah R.

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

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