How Long To Let Ribs Rest? Here’s How To Do It The Right Way

Resting the ribs after smoking is a critical step in preparing a delicious meal as it allows the fibers to relax and reabsorb the juices forced out during cooking. Slicing the ribs immediately after getting them out of the smoker will result in them losing most of their juices. So, how long should you let the ribs rest?

The rule of thumb for how long to let ribs rest is 10-20 minutes. How long you let your ribs rest depends on various factors, including the thickness of the ribs and the results you want to achieve. If your ribs are large and thick, you should allow them resting time before slicing.

The objective of resting the meat is to ensure that they achieve an internal temperature of 120-130 degrees F. However, since the probe thermometer will brick holes on the ribs, which might contribute to the loss of juices, it is important to determine the resting period through estimation.

bbq ribs

Why Should You Let The Ribs Rest?

Resting the ribs might seem like a simple step that you can skip, but the truth is that it is one of the most critical steps that will influence the taste of the ribs.

As the ribs cook, the internal juices constrict and resting the ribs allows the juices to reabsorb and redistribute for heightened flavor. Slicing the ribs as soon as they are out of the heat source will lead to the juices escaping. The consequences are that you will end up with dry meat.

Generally, when you let the ribs rest, the following happens;

  • The constricted muscle fibers start to relax
  • Pressure on juices diminishes, resulting in the juices redistributing toward the edges of the meat.
  •  Letting the ribs rest makes it possible to achieve evenly moist and flavorful ribs.

How Long To Let Ribs Rest

While most BBQ enthusiasts recommend resting the ribs for 10-20 minutes, it is important to understand how long to let the ribs rest depends on various factors, including your taste and preference and the size of the ribs. Here is the right way to rest your ribs.

  • Once you finish smoking your ribs, transfer them to a warm plate.
  • Wrap the ribs in a foil to help retain most of the moisture; you do not want to serve lukewarm ribs. However, ensure that you do not wrap them tightly, as this can interfere with the bark of the meat.
  • Let the meat rest for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat and the desired results.
  • Remove the foil and slice the ribs before serving.

How Long To Let Ribs Rest In Cooler

The good thing about using a cooler when resting your ribs is that you do not risk serving warm or cold meat. Furthermore, making use of the cooler is straightforward.

To effectively use the cooler for resting your ribs, remove them from the smoker or grill and immediately wrap them in aluminum foil. Once you have wrapped the ribs well, place them in the cooler and close the lid. Let the ribs rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

How Long To Let Ribs Rest In Foil

How long should you rest ribs in foil? The correct answer is not less than 10 minutes after you take them out of the grill or smoker. After 10 minutes, the ribs should be at the optimum temperature for serving.

However, some factors, such as the thickness of the ribs and how you like them, influence the resting duration. The main idea behind using foil to rest ribs is to prevent the temperature from escaping. Also, the foil ensures that the meat is protected from insects.

How Long To Let Ribs Rest After Smoking

Once you finish smoking your ribs, it is important to let them rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing. How long to let ribs rest after smoking depends on factors such as the thickness of the meat, how you like your ribs, and the method of resting.

There are several methods that you can embrace when resting the ribs. Here are the three common methods;

1. Resting In The Cooler

Serving cold ribs is not a good idea, so consider a cooler when resting the ribs. Even though coolers can be expensive, they are worth the cash. Again, if you want to avoid investing money in purchasing a quality cooler, you can always make one for yourself.

To use a cooler when resting your ribs, loosely wrap them in foil and place them into the cooler. Let them rest for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

2. Aluminum Foil

The use of aluminum foil is quite common, and this is because the method is a proven technique for getting optimum results from the ribs. To rest the ribs in aluminum foil, you will need the following steps;

  • Put your aluminum foil onto a chopping board.
  • Remove your ribs from the grill or smoke them in the foil.
  • Loosely wrap the ribs with the foil. You can use more than two foils to ensure that every part of the rib is well-covered.
  • Let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Avoid wrapping the ribs tightly using aluminum foil because that may lead to the ribs overcooking. Again, the trapped moisture occasioned by tightly wrapping the ribs may lead to a situation where the trapped moisture softens the crispy bark.

3. Oven

You can also use an oven to rest the ribs. When using the oven to rest the ribs, you must ensure it is warm. Therefore, you must preheat it and switch it off once ready to let the ribs rest.

After you finish smoking the ribs, remove them from the smoker and wrap them in aluminum foil. Place the ribs into the warm oven and rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Tips For Cooking Mouth Melting Ribs

While ribs are among the most delicious BBQ dishes, cooking skills can influence their flavor. That is why you may realize that the same ribs cooked by different people may taste different. If you want to prepare tasty ribs for your friends or family, the following tips are helpful.

1. Shop Wisely

Cooking delicious ribs begins with the quality of the ribs you buy. For optimum results, always ensure that you buy quality ribs. One trick for purchasing quality ribs is settling for pink ribs with uniform marbling and fats. Further, avoid ribs that have been enhanced.

2. Clean Your Smoker/Grill

While cleaning the smoker may seem obvious, the truth is that some people need to pay more attention to it. Cleaning your smoker is essential as it will ensure that the smoker does not introduce unfavorable flavors into your food.

3. Remove The Silver Skin

When purchasing the ribs, you can ask the butcher to remove the sliver skin. Alternatively, you can also remove it on your own. Removing the silver skin eliminates the chewiness and enables effective marinade penetration.

ribs grill

4. Marinate The Ribs

Quality marinades help elevate the flavor of the ribs. Hence, it would help if you get it right. You can use your favorite marinade to heighten the taste of your meat. The trick is to put the ribs into the fridge after marinating them. Also, once you get them out of the refrigerator, allow them to get to room temperature before you can begin the cooking process.

5. Rest Your Ribs Before Serving

Regardless of how hungry you might be, always ensure that you rest the ribs before slicing. Resting the ribs helps you serve moist and delicious ribs.


Preparing mouthwatering ribs is an art that requires the incorporation of different techniques. Every step, however small it might appear, is always essential in making it possible to serve a delicious meal. Always remember to rest your ribs for 10-20 minutes before slicing.