Cooking ribs can be an intimidating endeavor for the beginning amateur chef. However, with a few simple techniques, even beginners can learn how to make succulent and tender ribs that will become a hit at any occasion. Whether you are looking to enjoy fall-off-the-bone ribs just like from your favorite restaurant or find ways to transform tougher cuts of pork into flavorsome and juicy dishes, this blog post has you covered. Keep reading as we delve into some tried-and-true tips on how to fix tough ribs so you can impress your friends and family.
Choosing The Right Type Of Ribs
When selecting ribs, opt for slabs with ample meat coverage and minimal surface fat. Avoid slabs where the meat has been cut too close to the bone (“shiners”), as this may result in bones falling out during cooking.
For optimal quality, it’s best to avoid purchasing frozen or previously frozen ribs whenever possible. While determining if ribs have been previously frozen can be challenging, many find little difference in the final product’s quality when using fresh or frozen ribs. However, if given the choice, fresh ribs are recommended.
How Do You Prepare Ribs?
To prepare ribs, follow these steps:
- Remove the membrane to ensure tender ribs.
- Season both sides generously with salt and pepper, adding extra flavor with your preferred spice rub.
- Cover the ribs with aluminum foil.
- Bake the ribs at a low temperature (275°F) for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours, or until they become tender.
- Slather the baked ribs with barbecue sauce, then broil or grill them for a few minutes until the sauce caramelizes.
Why Your Ribs Turned Out Dry And Chewy?
The dry and chewy texture of your ribs could be attributed to a few factors:
- Insufficient temperature: It’s crucial to ensure that your ribs reach the appropriate internal temperature for optimal tenderness. The collagen in the ribs begins to break down around 195 degrees F, resulting in a tender and flavorful outcome. If the temperature falls below this point, the ribs may end up tough, stringy, and chewy.
- Inadequate cooking time: Achieving perfectly tender ribs might require longer cooking time. Most ribs reach their ideal doneness around 198 degrees F, but some may need to be cooked until 203 degrees F for ultimate tenderness. The variation in final temperature contributes to the variations in tenderness.
- Reliance on temperature alone: While a quality, instant-read thermometer is a helpful tool, it should not be the sole indicator of rib perfection. Factors such as the tenderness of the meat and the desired level of caramelization also play a role. Monitoring the temperature is a good starting point, but it should be complemented with visual cues and personal preferences.
By adjusting these factors and paying close attention to temperature, cooking time, and desired tenderness, you can enhance the quality and texture of your ribs.
How To Fix Tough Ribs?
To fix tough ribs, utilize moist and gentle heat along with a wet vinegary sauce. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Create a mixture of equal parts of your preferred BBQ sauce and apple cider vinegar.
- Coat the ribs generously with this BBQ vinegar mixture.
- Wrap the ribs tightly in foil.
- Place the wrapped ribs in a low oven, set at approximately 300°F, and let them cook for about an hour.
- The ribs will be steamed by the BBQ vinegar mixture, ensuring they are cooked thoroughly without becoming overcooked, resulting in tender ribs.
How To Know When Ribs Are Done?
A reliable, instant-read thermometer is an invaluable tool for determining the doneness of ribs during the cooking process. The connective tissue in ribs begins to break down around 195 degrees F, resulting in a chewy and tough texture if undercooked. However, at this temperature, the tissue starts to gelatinize, transforming into a delectable and tender consistency.
While most ribs achieve optimal doneness around 198 degrees F, some may require a temperature as high as 203 degrees F for perfect tenderness. Although thermometers serve as a helpful reference for achieving rib perfection, they should not be solely relied upon as the definitive indicator.
Why Are My Ribs Not Falling Off The Bone?
Achieving irresistibly fall-off-the-bone ribs requires a low and slow cooking technique. Simply grilling them won’t yield the desired tenderness. Instead, the key lies in slow cooking at a lower heat.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a master chef to create ribs that effortlessly slide off the bone. Oven-baked ribs are incredibly easy to prepare, even for novice cooks, resulting in a dish worthy of praise.
Moreover, you’ll appreciate that 95 percent of the recipe time requires no effort on your part.
Tips And Tricks For Tender Ribs
Here are some tips and tricks to achieve tender ribs:
- Bake the ribs at a low temperature: To ensure tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, cover them and bake in a 275°F oven for two to three hours. This simple method guarantees tender results.
- Apply your favorite sauce: After baking the ribs, brush on your preferred barbecue sauce. You can use the suggested recipe below or opt for a homemade or store-bought sauce.
- Season with a BBQ rub: Enhance the flavor of your ribs by seasoning them with your favorite BBQ rub. In the video, we keep it simple with just salt and pepper, but feel free to add more flavor with a spice rub.
- Time is key: These baked ribs are easy to make, but they require time. Give yourself enough time to let the ribs bake and become deliciously tender.
Harmony Saunders is the CEO and founder of Bamboo Wok, a family-owned and operated Chinese restaurant that has been serving the Manvel, Rosharon, and Alvin communities for more than nine years. Our delicious dishes are made from scratch with the best ingredients, vegetables are fresh cut daily in our kitchen, and poultry is delivered every two days.
So whether you’re craving Chinese food for the family or need catering for your next event, please give us a try! We know you won’t be disappointed with our fresh, authentic Asian fare.