If you thought reheating cooked ribs makes them dry, chewy, or even burnt, you are often correct. But you don’t have to let all that tasty meat go to waste! I have found that the best reheating method for retaining the texture and deliciousness and getting tender and juicy ribs every time is to use an air fryer.
Why Is An Air Fryer Excellent For Reheating Ribs?
The air fryer is essentially a countertop convection oven with a twist. It uses circulating hot air to heat and cook the food. This uniquely rapid hot air circulation is what makes it such a great gadget for cooking or reheating your leftover ribs, from Baby Back and Spare Ribs to Lamb Riblets.
The air fryer has some benefits over other reheating methods. First, using an air fryer to reheat your ribs will save you time, as it reheats faster than the oven. Also, the microwave does not give the best results as it can easily dry up your meat even when coated richly in the barbecue sauce.
In comparison, the air fryer leaves them a little crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, like they are fresh-off-the-grill.
Read more here: Frying With Air? How is that even possible?
Here Is How To Reheat Ribs In The Air Fryer
Follow the steps below to reheat ribs in the air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer to a temperature of 350°F (177°C).
- Cut the ribs into riblets to fit into your air fryer basket.
- Lightly coat the air fryer’s basket with oil and brush or drizzle a few drops of oil on the ribs. This prevents them from drying out. When reheating ribs with barbecue sauce, place a sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom of the air fryer basket for easy cleaning later.
- Put the ribs into the air fryer basket, making sure there is some space between the pieces to allow the hot air to circulate evenly and uniformly warm the meat.
- Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, then check the internal temperature using an instant-read food thermometer. The internal temperature of reheated meat should be at least 167°F (75°C) to make it safe to eat. If not thoroughly hot, keep cooking in short intervals to prevent them from drying out.
- Take out the ribs and allow them to cool off for a few minutes before serving.
- Enjoy with a barbecue sauce of your choice.
Ensure that the air fryer remains closed during reheating, as not doing this will make it lose heat and affect cooking time.
Also, be careful when using this method, as air fryers are great for fast cooking and reheating, but for that reason, you also need to be careful, as food can try out or even burn if you don’t keep an eye on it during the reheating process.
To reheat frozen ribs, ensure to plan ahead and allow them to thaw out.
Although air fires are great for cooking food from frozen, I have noticed I get better results when removing them from the freezer and allowing them to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You may also run them under cool water to defrost.
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Tips To Ensure The Ribs Stay Safe, Delicious, And Tender
Pre-cooked ribs are known to dry out once reheated. However, there are some tips and tricks you can follow to ensure that they remain moist and juicy while reheating.
- If you leave cooked meat out of the fridge for a long time, it tends to dry out. So, if you are planning to reheat leftover ribs, you should store them immediately.
- Refrigerate as soon as possible. Meat left in room temperature for more than two hours enters the temperature danger zone between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C). At this temperature, bacteria start to grow in the food and may contaminate it. 
- Also, make sure you store leftover ribs properly if you plan to reheat them after a day or two. Proper storage is vital in ensuring that reheated ribs taste just as fresh because meat tend lose moisture during storage.
- Cut the ribs into smaller bits, and it lets them cool down faster and makes reheating easier. Ensure the portions are not too small, so they don’t lose their juiciness or dry out quickly.
- Wrap each piece with aluminum foil and put it in a resealable freezer bag. If the ribs are still warm, put them in a container with ice till the temperature is below 40°F. Refrigerate once it gets to the correct temperature.
- Cooking, reheating, refrigeration or freezing reduces the rib’s moisture. To ensure the ribs do not dry out, you must replenish the moisture when reheating. Use a liquid of your choice, beef broth, beer, coke soda for beef ribs, and apple juice or apple cider vinegar for pork ribs to re-marinate them.
Can You Reheat Ribs On The Following Day?
Yes, you can reheat ribs the next day. Make sure to store appropriately by following the steps stated above. Cooked ribs may last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Freeze to increase the shelf life.
Can You Reheat Ribs Twice?
The more you reheat food, the more the quality and nutrient content decreases. The more you reheat, the higher the chances of contamination and food poisoning. It is advisable not to reheat ribs more than once; only reheat the number of ribs you intend to eat.
For example, if you want to eat two ribs, do not reheat five and save the remaining for later. Instead, consider only reheating the portion you will eat.
How Long Do Pre-Cooked Ribs Last In The Fridge?
Pre-cooked ribs last three to four days in the fridge when stored properly. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container. If you would like to keep them longer, then store them in the freezer. They can stay in the freezer for two to three months.
To properly store in the freezer, wrap the ribs in an extra layer of aluminum foil before putting them in the airtight container or plastic bag. This will keep air out and stop flavor loss via freezer burn. Ensure to monitor the fridge and freezer temperature regularly, and the maximum freezing temperature should not exceed 40°F (4°C).
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