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Can You Freeze BBQ Ribs?

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By Ross Young

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Smoky BBQ ribs are best prepared with lots of seasoning in a slow cooker so the meat melts in your mouth. Equally, you can roast them on the BBQ or bake them in the oven; the choice is yours! But, what happens if you make a few too many?

Can You Freeze BBQ Ribs?

Yes, you can freeze BBQ ribs for up to 2 months. After cooling, you must decide how to portion them, as it’s awkward to get a full rack of BBQ ribs in the freezer! Then, as long as they’re well wrapped, your BBQ ribs will freeze.

Do BBQ Ribs Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze BBQ Ribs? No

How to Freeze BBQ Ribs

Regardless of how hard you’ve tried to finish a full serving of BBQ ribs, sometimes you don’t have enough space! Especially if you’ve enjoyed it with piles of sides from coleslaw to corn on the cob.

So, below are the steps you need to take to freeze your leftover BBQ ribs, so they’re safe to eat and enjoy at a later date. 

  1. Allow to Cool: However you’ve cooked your BBQ ribs, you’ll need to cool them before you set about placing them in the freezer. The best way to do this is to place them on a wire cooling rack so air can circulate over the ribs. 
  2. Decide How to Portion: Consider the available space in your freezer, as well as portion sizes. If you can split your rack into several servings, it will make your life easier when it comes to defrosting an appropriate portion.
  3. Wrap Each Portion: Place each portion of ribs on a cutting of cling film, and wrap well, pushing out as much air as you can. Ensure they’re tightly wrapped, and the ribs aren’t protruding through any gaps in the wrapping. 
  4. Place in a Freezer-Safe Bag: Once individually wrapped, place your BBQ ribs in a freezer-safe bag.
  5. Label, Seal and Freeze: Write the date that you prepared the BBQ ribs, as well as their use-by date on the front of the bag, before sealing and placing in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze BBQ ribs for around two months. 

3 Tips for Freezing BBQ Ribs

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing BBQ ribs to have the best results:

Stay Clean with Foil
When you’re cooling your BBQ ribs, place a layer of tin foil underneath the cooling rack to catch any fat and sauce that drips from the ribs. This will save you from dirtying your worktops! 

Reserve Some Sauce
If your ribs are topped with a delicious BBQ sauce or seasoned dressing, make sure you set some aside. Once your ribs have been frozen and thawed, you will need to add some more sauce before reheating them, particularly if you want them to be nice and moist. BBQ sauce freezes super well, so you could freeze a bag of sauce alongside the ribs and add them together when you’re ready to reheat them. 

Freeze Raw
You can freeze BBQ ribs that have been cooked or when they’re raw. You might find it easier to slice the ribs when they’re raw, and you can transfer them to the freezer before you cook the other portion. This way, you will be able to defrost and cook BBQ ribs from raw as opposed to reheating cooked leftovers. 

How Long Can You Freeze BBQ Ribs?

You can freeze BBQ ribs for around 2 months. 

While some sources may tell you it’s okay to freeze BBQ ribs for longer than this, doing so may affect their taste and texture. To keep them moist and succulent, it’s best not to freeze BBQ ribs for any longer than two months. 

How Long Do BBQ Ribs Last in the Fridge?

Once cooked, BBQ ribs can be kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before they need to be thrown out. When storing them in the fridge, ensure they are well-wrapped.

How Do You Defrost BBQ Ribs?

When you’re ready to defrost your BBQ ribs, remove them from the freezer and transfer them to the fridge. It’s best to do this the night before you plan to enjoy them, as this will give them sufficient time to thaw.

You should never defrost BBQ ribs or any other meat at room temperature on the worktop, so be sure to plan in advance and thaw them in the fridge the day before you eat them.

Can You Refreeze BBQ Ribs?

It’s safe to refreeze meat that has been defrosted in the fridge.

But just because it’s safe, it’s not necessarily a good idea. You might find that freezing BBQ ribs more than once will toughen the meat and cause your ribs to be slightly less succulent.

Separating your BBQ ribs into portion sizes before you freeze them is a great way of managing your portion sizes and reducing the risk of wasting them.

Do BBQ Ribs Freeze Well?

BBQ ribs that have been well wrapped and separated into portion sizes freeze extremely well.

Freezing BBQ ribs is a great way to preserve them if you can’t quite finish a full serving for yourself or if you want to split a full rack of ribs to enjoy them at a later date. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing BBQ ribs or ribs in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Ribs With a Dry Rub?

Yes, you can freeze raw ribs with a dry rub. This will impart flavour to the ribs even as they freeze.

Can You Freeze Cooked Ribs With BBQ Sauce?

Yes, you can freeze ribs that are coated in a BBQ sauce. You may find the sauce splits a little once frozen and thawed, however. You can fix this by adding some fresh sauce when reheating them.


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