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How to Tell When Ribs are Done: 4 Quick Checks

how to tell when ribs are done - 1

When it comes to cooking delicious ribs, determining when ribs are done is key. Achieving perfectly cooked ribs with a tender texture and smoky flavor requires patience and precision. In this article, we will explore various tried-and-tested methods to help you determine when your ribs are done to perfection.

Know When Ribs Are Done Using These Simple Checks

1. The Bend Test

One of the most popular ways to check rib doneness is the “bend test.” It involves picking up the slab of ribs with a pair of tongs and gently bending them. If the ribs start to crack slightly and the meat begins to separate from the bone, they are likely done. This method is commonly used and offers a reliable way to determine the doneness of your ribs.

You will also notice small cracks and ripples on the meat which are a sign that the ribs have reached proper doneness levels.

2. The Toothpick Test

The toothpick test is another simple and effective way to check if your ribs are done. Carefully insert a toothpick into the thickest part of the meat, between the bones. If the toothpick slides in and out with little to no resistance, the ribs are likely perfectly cooked. However, if it meets any resistance or comes out with large chunks of meat stuck to it, the ribs need more time on the grill or in the oven.

You can also you a meat probe, the point is, when the ribs are done, the toothpick will slide like butter.

3. The Temperature Check

Using a meat thermometer is a foolproof way to ensure your ribs are cooked to perfection. For pork ribs, the internal temperature should reach around 195°F (90°C). Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone for accurate readings. Once the desired temperature is reached, your ribs are ready to be enjoyed.

4. The Tear Test (optional)

For those who prefer fall-off-the-bone ribs, the tear test can be a helpful indicator. Use a pair of tongs to lift the ribs at one end. If the meat starts to tear away easily from the bone, they are likely done. Keep in mind that this method can lead to overcooked ribs if taken to the extreme, so it’s important to strike the right balance based on your personal preferences.

Consider the Cooking Time

The cooking time for ribs can vary depending on the method you choose and the type of ribs you’re cooking. As a general guideline, spare ribs typically take 3-4 hours at a temperature of 225-250°F (107-121°C), while baby back ribs may take 2-3 hours. However, keep in mind that these times are approximate and should be adjusted based on your specific cooking setup and preferences.


Determining the ideal doneness for your ribs may take some practice, but with the help of these methods, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly cooked ribs every time.

Whether you prefer ribs with a little chew or fall-off-the-bone tenderness, these techniques will guide you to culinary success. So fire up your grill or preheat your oven, and get ready to master the art of cooking deliciously tender and flavorful ribs!



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