How Long Should You Marinate Short Ribs? (Can You Marinate Them Too Long?)


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The middle of summer means it’s time for outdoor activities, family fun and barbeques! Grilling is one of your favorite summer hobbies and you already purchased tons of short ribs for the delicious meals you are going to prepare. 

Getting ready for having your family and friends over, you whip up a special marinade and place the short ribs inside the bag to soak in all the flavor. How long should you marinate short ribs for? Can you marinate them for too long?

Short ribs should only be marinated for a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes. Keep the marinating time under 24 hours because marinating short ribs for too long can make them mushy or stringy.

How Long Should You Marinate Short Ribs? (Can You Marinate Them Too Long?)

It is said that there is a common misconception about marinating meat. Most even brag that they marinate the ribs for several days before cooking them. In reality this doesn’t make the ribs any better tasting. 

Sure, marinade can tenderize the meat but when left sitting in the liquid too long, the meat will become mushy and stringy. The flavor of the marinade won’t reach the center of the meat and will only soak through the surface of the short ribs. 

The purpose of marinating meat is so that the spices and flavoring of the stuff is the first thing to cook, creating a flavorful caramelized crust on the outside of the short ribs. You really only have to marinate the short ribs for about 15-30 minutes and you can marinate them too long resulting in short ribs that are less than ideal.

So, keep those short ribs (as well as other meats) marinating time way down under 24 hours for short ribs with great texture and flavor.

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How Long Is Too Long To Marinate Ribs?

When you marinate ribs, you give them a little flavor and spice. Marinade can be bought as well as homemade to give the short ribs the perfect taste. 

This is great for when you start to grill because it gives the outer layer of the meat a nice caramelized crust. There are so many recipes telling you to marinate the meat for hours or even overnight. 

We already mentioned that you can marinate short ribs for too long, but how long is too long?

It is recommended to marinate short ribs for about 30 minutes. You can marinate them up to 24 hours but any time after this is too long. The marinade is just to add some flavoring to the surface of the meat and so half an hour is what you need at minimum to do this. 

Even though many recipes will tell you to marinade the short ribs in the flavored juices for hours or overnight, doing it for too long doesn’t do the meat any favors. Marinating for anything over 24 hours actually makes the meat mushy and stringy. 

This is especially true if you leave it in the marinade for days on end. You will end up with short ribs that would have been better just sitting for about half an hour. 

Marinade doesn’t go all the way to the center of the meat and only stays at the surface most of the time so letting them soak for days will hurt not help the flavor. 

Marinade is meant to be the first thing that cooks when you put the short ribs on heat and isn’t something that has to soak through the whole thing. You don’t even need herbs for the marinade. 

Some salt, sugar, oil, and lemon or vinegar will do the trick of adding flavor wonderfully. You definitely can marinade the short ribs for too long for their texture to be just right. 

For best results, don’t marinate short ribs for more than a day and preferably for longer than 30 minutes. 

Should You Soak Short Ribs Before Cooking?

Short ribs are too small to be used as steak hence their name. They are tender with a lot of flavor and are less expensive than steak. You can cook these cuts of meat in several different ways. 

Grilled or braised, short ribs are good to eat. You may have heard about soakling the short ribs before cooking them. When you are about to cook some short ribs for dinner, should you soak them first?

You should soak short ribs before cooking them. This drains the ribs of excess blood. Just place the short ribs in a bowl of cold water and let them soak for a couple hours. Then you can drain and cook.

Short ribs are delicious. These cuts of meat are found between the chuck and rib sections of the animal. They have the beefy flavor of chuck roast and the moisture of ribs. 

Soak short ribs before cooking them. Short rib meat can contain some excess blood. So, to get rid of this, you need to soak them before cooking. 

Place the short ribs in a bowl of cold water. After the first hour you should change the water and replace with new and continue soaking the short ribs for 2 hours. 

After they are done soaking to get rid of all that excess blood, drain and rinse the meat with cold water and follow your recipe on how to cook the short ribs. They can be good any way they are cooked whether you grill, slow cook, or braise them. 

Since you soaked the short ribs, they are now ready to be marinated and cooked. After soaking them, if you are marinating the short ribs, remember not to marinate them for too long.

Final Thoughts

Marinate short ribs for under 24 hours and for a minimum of 30 minutes. Don’t marinate them for more than a day or you will end up with mushy or stringy meat. 

The purpose of marinade is to give the outer layer of the short ribs flavor and the surface is all the marinade will cover. Before you marinate the meat, soak it in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours to get rid of all the excess blood. Then you can continue marinating and cooking the meat. 

You can marinate for too long so be sure you don’t marinade the short ribs for more than a day and preferably a minimum of half an hour for them to have a good texture that’s tender and juicy.

Hannah R.

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

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