Ask Pam: How do I know when ribs are perfectly cooked?

June 21, 2013 | By | Comments (1)
Ultimate Smoky, Sweet Ribs

Ultimate Smoky, Sweet Ribs; Photo: Hector Sanchez

Knowing exactly when your ribs are perfectly cooked can be a real challenge. With larger cuts of meat such as pork butts, steaks, or tenderloins, you can use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to determine the internal temperature. But, with ribs, you can’t really insert a thermometer. And because slabs come in a variety of weights and thicknesses, cook time isn’t the best way to estimate doneness, either.

Instant Read Thermometer: Good for getting a reading on all cuts except ribs!

Instant Read: Good for getting a temp on all cuts except ribs!

Personally, I don’t want my ribs to fall off the bone. I like for them to have chew and to pull cleanly off the bone when I take a bite. How can one tell when you’ve reached this yummy perfection? Start by using cooking time as a general guide; go low and slow by keeping your smoker or grill temperature between 225° to 250°. Baby back ribs will take 3 to 4 hours and St. Louis-style ribs will take 5 to 6 hours. Then, check the ribs by inserting a toothpick into the meat between the bones. When the toothpick slides out with little or no resistance, you’ve achieved what I think is a perfectly cooked rib.

Be sure to try our Ultimate Smoky, Sweet Ribs in the June issue of Southern Living.


  1. Arthur in the Garden!

    Luv ’em!

    June 21, 2013 at 11:22 am

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