Pork Ribs Internal Temperature Chart (2022 Updated) (2022)

Pork RibsInternal Temperature Chart (2022 Updated) (1)

Published by Timothy Woods

Last Updated On: July 3, 2022

If I had to choose a barbeque cut to be my favorite, it would be pulled pork ribs, without a doubt. Tender, juicy, and smoky - everything you need from a good chunk of meat, with or without BBQ sauce.

That being said, ribs are notoriously hard to master. Even experienced grillers and smokers may struggle to find the right smoker temperature point.

There is a huge difference between ‘cooked’ and ‘done,’ and after numerous attempts to perfect the pork rib, I can finally give you a complete internal temperature guide to the best ribs around.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • The safe internal temp for pork is 145°F.
  • You can use a toothpick to check if your pork ribs are cooked.
  • The fat on your ribs will determine how long your ribs will take to cook.

The Difference Between “Done” and “Finished”

Pork RibsInternal Temperature Chart (2022 Updated) (2)

The line between “done” and “finished” may be fine, but it’s definitely significant.

Done refers to when the meat has reached an internal temperature safe enough to eat and finished is when the meat is at its tastiest.

If you ask USDA, they recommend you cook your pork ribs to 145°F in order to safely consume them.[1]

(Video) Cooking 101: Proper cooking Temperatures to Ensure Safe Food - White Apron Catering, Lake Worth, Fl

However, I have found that slow cooking your pork ribs at 190 - 203°F (even more so when smoking meats) is the key to making your meat as juicy and tender as it can be.

You can use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your ribs. However, it can be tricky since the meat is rather thin and usually hotter next to the bone.

“Pro tip: Instead of investing in a full smoker, you can turn your outdoor grill (charcoal or gas) into a smoker. It’s best to use hardwood chips -- look for fruitwoods or nut woods - for the ultimate smoky flavor.”
- Charlie McKenna
Founder, and Chef, Lillie’s Q Restaurant

Ribs Temperature Chart

Pork RibsInternal Temperature Chart (2022 Updated) (3)

Below you will find the recommended times and temperatures chart for smoking meats. It applies to both pork and beef ribs.

The times stated are from my experience using my meat smoking machine; therefore, they may take less or more time depending on which smoker you have.

Smoking TempCooking TempCooking Time
Baby Back Ribs225 - 250°F180°F5 - 6 hours
Spare Ribs (Pork)225 - 250°F180°F6 - 7 hours
Short Ribs225 - 250°F190 - 200°F7 - 8 hours
Back Ribs225 - 250°F180 - 190°F4 - 5 hours
Spare Ribs (Beef)225 - 250°F190 - 203°F5 - 6 hours
Prime Rib225 - 250°F140°F (Medium)15 mins per pound

6 Tests to Know When Your Pork Ribs are Finished

As I mentioned earlier, using a meat thermometer to check when your pork ribs are finished isn’t always the best way.

(Video) Rib Series. Results. Times n temps in comments. #ribs #bbqtok #meatto

That’s why I always use the following hacks to know when my ribs are at their best.

Remember, the only ribs that should fall off the bone are ones that have been boiled or steamed.

Smoked or cooked ribs will pull cleanly off the bone as you bite the meat with your teeth; however, there should still be some resistance and chew [2].

#1 The Bounce Test

When you think your ribs are almost done, pick them up by the center of the ribs with a pair of tongs while meat smoking.

Carefully bounce the ribs. If the surface of the smoking meat cracks, you’ll know your pork ribs are ready.

If it only cracks slightly, you will need a little more time for cooking.

#2 The Cut Test

Just like all smoking meats, you can cut into the cut to see if it's ready.

For pork ribs, the center should be white with no pink or red juices.

If you have used a smoker, there is a chance the meat at the top will still be pink, but the center will be white.

#3 The Toothpick Test

If you’ve got some toothpicks lying around, you can use them for this test.

Poke the toothpick between the bones and into the smoking meat.

(Video) The WINNINGEST MAN IN BBQ Shows Us How to Grill Ribs | Myron Mixon | The Daily Meal

If it slides in without much resistance, this means your meat smoking ribs are ready. Ensure you also bend test other parts of your ribs since ribs tend to cook quite irregularly.

#4 The Taste Test

A great way to test how your meat is cooking is to taste it. Of course, you shouldn’t eat meat that is pink or looks raw.

However, you can happily eat white or tan meat.

The only problem is, if you take one rip apart to check if it is cooked, you will have to keep doing so until all the ribs are cooked.

Related Articles:

  • How Long Do Ribs Take To Grill?
  • Smoked Ribs Recipe
  • Best Ways to Reheat Ribs

#5 Timing Test

Most amateur grillers with indoor ovens will likely love this technique to check their beef ribs since it uses times and temperatures as reference.

Set the grill or smoker to 225 250 f and cook baby back ribs for three or four hours while maintaining this heat. If you’re making spare ribs, consider increasing the total cooking time to at least five or six hours. Also, put a layer of your best barbecue sauce while allowing the meat to cook over high heat for at least 10 minutes more.

This test will require you to use a thermometer. It ensures the sticky ribs are cooked within a safe temperature range. However, using the smoking times we provided will make it unlikely for you to encounter any problems.

#6 Twist Test

This test needs a small, sharp knife to help separate one of the rib bones from the rack. Touch the rib in the middle while ensuring you don’t burn yourself. Give a quick sharp twist and check the amount of meat that falls off the bone.

(Video) PINK PORK Experiment - Is Pink Pork GOOD!?

Did the majority fall? Good news, your ribs are done.

Remember to avoid twisting too hard since you won’t get your desired results. By now, the pork’s connective tissue should have broken down. It means the meat must gently slough away from the bone.

Otherwise, put the meat back on the grill and wait for a while more.

We’re not too fond of this test since you need to take an entire rib away before serving. However, you can get away with it if you’re only cooking for yourself and another person. You still get to eat the results either way.

Things to Keep in Mind When Smoking Pork Ribs

Pork RibsInternal Temperature Chart (2022 Updated) (4)

Remember the following things when smoking or cooking your ribs:

  • The thicker the baby back ribs, the longer they will take to cook. If your ribs have a lot of fat, it’ll also take longer for the fat to melt down.
  • If you decide to keep the smoked meat on the bone (which come on, who doesn’t), this will take longer for the ribs to cook vs. if they were deboned. So, if you’re cooking for a limited time, consider taking the meat off the bone.

“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
- Anthony Bourdain
American Chef, and Author

What is the Ideal Temperature for Pork Ribs?

The best temperature for cooking pork ribs is 190 - 203°F. Use the temperatures chart above for more specific situations.

While the safe meat temperature for pork is 145°F, your rib meat will be much juicier and tender if you leave them for a little bit longer at the same temperature.

The type of ribs you’re cooking also determines the correct smoking times and temperatures.

Ensure you test your ribs with one of the methods listed above, and always remember, the meat should never fall off the bone.

(Video) How to Grill Baby Back Ribs on a GAS GRILL with a BONUS TIP!

References:

  1. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-new-recommended-temperatures
  2. https://eu.freep.com/story/life/2018/07/01/advice-cooking-grilling-ribs-fourth-july/742612002/

FAQs

What should the internal temperature of pork ribs be? ›

You'll want to let your ribs grill at 275 for four to five hours. Ideally, the internal temperature of the ribs should be between 190 and 200 degrees when you're finished. If you don't already have a meat thermometer, go ahead and invest in one.

Can you eat pork ribs at 145? ›

The USDA-recommended safe serving temperature for pork ribs is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can you eat pork ribs at 180? ›

It is widely agreed that ribs are done between 180°F and 195°F. Some experts are even more precise and call for a variance of plus or minus only two or three degrees.

Are ribs done at 165? ›

The ribs need to at least reach 165 degrees F to become tender. It's recommended you keep cooking the ribs until they reach 195 degrees F and up to 203 degrees F for the best flavor and quality. You can use a meat thermometer, but make sure you are cooking it properly.

How do you know pork ribs are done? ›

Bend Test: When ribs are done cooking, they're flexible but don't fall apart. To check, hold the rack from the end with a pair of tongs. The other end should bend towards the ground and cracks may form in the crust.

What temp do ribs fall off the bone? ›

Fun fact- ribs are actually cooked when they reach 145 degrees, but the collagen and fat breaks down between 190 and 205 degrees, giving you that fall off the bone, delicious and juicy rib you want.

Is it OK if pork ribs are a little pink? ›

There is a common misconception that pork can only be cooked to a dry husk in order to be safe. This can lead people to believe that if they see pink, the meat must not be safe to eat. However, this isn't true at all! Pork can be cooked pink and still be safe for consumption.

Is 150 degrees safe for pork? ›

It's important not to overcook pork because it can become tough and dry. When cooking, it's best to use a food thermometer to test for doneness. Most pork cuts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 150 degrees, where the meat is slightly pink on the inside.

Can pork ribs be a little pink? ›

Can ribs be pink even after they're cooked? The short answer is yes. In fact, this phenomenon is fairly common with smoked meats. If you've done the job right, a pinkish tinge is not only safe, it's a good sign.

Are ribs done at 160? ›

The accepted finished temperature of pork is 145°F, however, this has not given the collagen inside your ribs time to become gelatin for that perfect bite. That begins to happen when temperatures inside the meat reach 165°F. Continue cooking ribs until they reach around 195°F to 203°F for maximum render.

Can you overcook ribs? ›

Can you overcook ribs? Yes, it's possible to end up with overcooked ribs. As you'll learn from our chosen techniques, the meat should separate from the bone easily when light pressure is applied. However, if the meat is literally falling off the bone, it's likely been cooked for too long.

How long do you let ribs rest? ›

While it's recommended to let them rest for 10–15 minutes, the amount of time you let your ribs rest is determined by several factors, including how you like your food served and the size of your cuts of meat. However, you shouldn't let them rest for long as your ribs will start to cool off.

Where do you put a thermometer in a rib? ›

Thermometer: Using your meat thermometer, insert the probe directly between two ribs in the center of the rack. When the internal temperature reaches 207°F, your ribs are perfectly cooked.

When should I wrap my ribs? ›

Wrapping should be done about half way through the cooking process or when internal meat temp is 150-160 degrees. Use two layers of heavy duty foil to wrap the meat. We recommend the following process for wrapping ribs, pork shoulder and brisket.

Can ribs be smoked at 150 degrees? ›

In short the answer is no, you can't.

We need meat to be above 140°F (60°C) for as much of the cooking process as is possible. While smoking is a low and slow method, it simply isn't safe to have the meat lie below that temperature (unless it's refrigerated or frozen) for several hours.

What happens if you eat undercooked pork ribs? ›

Raw meat can carry bacteria which cause food poisoning and, accordingly, eating undercooked pork or chicken may result in food poisoning. If you experience symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and fever after eating undercooked meat, seek a diagnosis from a medical institution immediately.

How long do pork ribs take? ›

Bake the ribs at a low temperature (275°F) for 2 ½ to 4 hours or until they are tender.

Why are my ribs not falling off the bone? ›

Ribs shouldn't be fall-off-the-bone tender, he said. If the meat falls off the bone, it's overcooked. It should have a little chew to it. On the other hand, if the meat doesn't pull away from the bone, it's undercooked.

How long do you cook ribs at 225? ›

Easily smoke ribs in an electric smoker. Simply set the smoker to 225°F, and use the 3-2-1 method. After about 6 hours of smoking, you'll have tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs.

How long to smoke ribs for fall off the bone? ›

Smoke for 1 hour (competition) or 2 hours (fall-off). During this time, see that the ribs reach the target temp of 190°-205°F (88°-96°C). (set the high-temp alarm on the ThermaQ Blue to let you know when you get there.)

How long does it take to cook baby back ribs at 225? ›

There are several different methods for smoking ribs, but the easiest approach is to smoke them at 225˚F, which will yield rich, flavorful and tender meat. How long does it take to smoke ribs at 225? It will take 5-6 hours to smoke baby back ribs at 225˚F.

Can you undercook pork ribs? ›

Eating raw or undercooked pork is not a good idea. The meat can harbor parasites, like roundworms or tapeworms. These can cause foodborne illnesses like trichinosis or taeniasis. While rare, trichinosis can lead to serious complications that are sometimes fatal.

Why does my pork look gray? ›

If you open a package of minced meat and find that the meat inside looks gray, it is probably because the meat has not been exposed to oxygen. This may interest you : Is discolored pork safe to eat?. In that case, the meat is still safe to eat, provided it has no other indicators of spoilage (read more about it below).

Can dogs have pork? ›

Plain, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat, as long as you keep it simple and leave off the bells and whistles people tend to cook with. Seasonings and spice rubs that contain the following ingredients are extremely dangerous because they are highly toxic to dogs if ingested: Onion powder. Nutmeg.

Is pork done at 170? ›

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000: 540. "Pork is considered done when it reaches an average interior temperature of 75.9°C (170°F)."

Can I eat pork at 140? ›

The USDA now lists 145 F as its recommended safe minimum cooking temperature for fresh pork. 1 This cooks pork to medium as opposed to well-done. A pork loin cooked to 145 F might look a little bit pink in the middle, but that's perfectly all right. In fact, it's great.

Is pork done at 165? ›

The USDA says the change does not apply to ground meats, including beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 degrees. The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including chicken and turkey, remains 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why are my ribs chewy? ›

If your ribs are chewy, you either forgot to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs or you didn't cook them long enough. If your ribs are dry, you likely cooked them too hot and fast.

How do you know when ribs are done in the oven? ›

An internal temperature of 145 F is the minimum, but at around 190 F, the fat and collagen start to melt, producing a better-tasting rib. You just have to make sure you check on the ribs partway through the bake and then about a half-hour before the end, as you don't want to overcook and toughen up the meat.

How can you tell if pork is cooked without a thermometer? ›

You check for clear meat juice by cutting or poking the meat with a knife or fork and looking at the color of the juices from the meat. What is this? Clear juices or slightly pink juice indicate doneness. Deep pink or red color shows that you need to cook your meat more.

Will ribs cook at 200? ›

If you keep the smoker set to 200 degrees for the duration of the cook, a rack of baby back ribs should be done in about 7 hours. If you've opted for spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs, the process will take a bit longer—7.5 to 8 hours.

Do ribs get more tender the longer they cook? ›

The shorter cooking time will fully cook the ribs and get them tender but still hugging the bone. The longer cooking time will yield ribs that fall off the bone.

Why are my pork ribs tough? ›

Ribs need to cook slowly at low temperatures. If they cook too quickly, especially over high heat, the meat will be tough and dry. Should you encounter this issue, try wrapping the ribs in foil and putting them back on the smoker over low heat.

How long do ribs take at 250? ›

Cook the ribs: At 250 degrees, place the ribs wrapped securely in tin foil onto a cookie sheet (sometimes juice/fat can escape the tin foil) and place them in the oven. cook for 2 hours.

Can you overcook ribs at 250? ›

When you use high heat, this is when ribs get dry or hard and when they are most likely to end up overcooked. Let us remind you that the ideal cooking temperature is really about 225°F and we rarely recommend over 250°F for the initial cooking process.

Can you over cook ribs at 250? ›

Yes, If cooked for longer than they should your baby's back ribs can be overcooked and will become dry, so your best bet is to check their internal temperature in the last few minutes of the cooking process to assure their doneness.

Do you rest ribs wrapped or unwrapped? ›

The best way to rest your pork ribs is to wrap them in aluminum foil immediately after taking them out of the smoker or off the grill. What is this? The foil helps retain heat around the meat to aid the final cooking internally and prevent the meat from cooling too quickly.

Do you flip ribs? ›

The best way to grill uncooked ribs

(The low temperature prevents the sauce from burning as the ribs cook.) A rack of back ribs will take between 1 1/2 -2 hours to cook (with lid closed), and you should flip them approximately every 20 minutes.

Do you cook ribs meat side up or meat side down? ›

Should you smoke your ribs bone up or down? For most barbecue enthusiasts, the answer is clear: bone side down all the way. The meat will cook more evenly, and the smoky flavor will be more pronounced than if you'd set them with the meat side facing down.

How long do you smoke ribs at 225? ›

Smoke your ribs directly on the racks for 3 hours at 225°F. Remove the ribs from the racks and tightly wrap them in aluminum foil. Before closing the aluminum foil pocket, pour a little apple juice, wine, beer, or any other favorite flavor (about 1/8 of a cup) into the packet to enhance the steam process.

When should I wrap my ribs? ›

Wrapping should be done about half way through the cooking process or when internal meat temp is 150-160 degrees. Use two layers of heavy duty foil to wrap the meat. We recommend the following process for wrapping ribs, pork shoulder and brisket.

Should you let ribs rest after smoking? ›

While it's recommended to let them rest for 10–15 minutes, the amount of time you let your ribs rest is determined by several factors, including how you like your food served and the size of your cuts of meat. However, you shouldn't let them rest for long as your ribs will start to cool off.

How long do you smoke pork spare ribs at 250 degrees? ›

With your smoker running strong at 250 degrees F, you can anticipate that your spare ribs will take 4.5-5.5 hours to fully cook. Make sure you have a handy meat thermometer nearby to check your temperature throughout the cook.

Can you overcook ribs at 225? ›

Often, meat will shrink when exposed to high temperatures, even if it's still undercooked in the center. Even worse, if you've been cooking at around 225 degrees Fahrenheit (the typical recommended temperature for grilling pork ribs), the pull back might not occur until very late in the game.

Should ribs be smoked at 225 or 250? ›

Smoker temperature for ribs: 225° (If smoking on charcoal or wood smoker, don't let it go below 225° or above 250°.) Types of wood for smoking pork: apple, pecan, maple, cherry.

What is the 3 2 1 rule for smoking ribs? ›

Essentially, 3 2 1 ribs go like this: 3 hours of smoking the ribs directly on the pellet grill. 2 hours wrapped in foil, still cooking on the grill. 1 hour of cooking, unwrapped and slathered in barbecue sauce.

Do you put butter on ribs? ›

GREAT RIBS

Ribs are best when they're done low and slow, most everyone knows that, but taste what happens when your method includes half-a-stick of butter.

Do you have to wrap ribs in foil? ›

Amateur pitmasters will often wrap their ribs in foil at some point during the cook. Even some professionals still resort to this technique. Although the practice is acceptable, it's not necessary if you know what you're doing.

Which side of ribs goes down? ›

The tough, fatty nature of rib meat means that the rack should be positioned with the bone side facing down. That way, the ribs will cook over indirect heat, which tenderizes the meat without sacrificing moisture.

What is the 321 method? ›

The 3-2-1 Method refers to the technique used to cook ribs low and slow so that they develop flavour without drying out. First, the ribs are smoked at a low temperature for 3 hours. They're then wrapped in foil and steamed for 2 hours. Finally, they're brushed with a sauce or glaze and grilled for 1 more hour.

Should I wrap ribs in foil after smoking? ›

Wrap time!

After letting them smoke for a 3 solid hours you want to take them off the smoker and wrap them in foil. Before you wrap them add some moisture.

Do you smoke ribs meat side up or down? ›

Place the ribs meat side up in the smoker. Spritz the ribs with apple juice every 45 minutes. Smoke for 2.5 hours or until you get to a beautiful mahogany color. The visual queue is most important.

Is it OK to smoke ribs at 250? ›

Ribs should be smoked for 3-4 hours at 250 degrees. This low temperature will allow the ribs to slowly cook and develop their flavor. For best results, cook the pork ribs for 3-4 hours at 250 degrees. Smoking ribs without foil is a great way to get that perfect smoky flavor.

Can I smoke ribs in 4 hours? ›

Pork ribs take around 3-4 hrs, Beef Ribs take around 5 hrs. ​The old 3-2-1 Ribs method is history, that method required you to smoke Ribs for 3 hrs, then rehydrate and steam the dried out Ribs in tinfoil with BBQ Sauce, Honey, or Maple Syrup for 2hrs, then unwrap and dry them out in the Smoker for 1hr.

Is 250 too high to smoke ribs? ›

Smoking ribs at 250 degrees is the best temperature because it gives the ribs enough time to absorb all of the flavors from the wood chips without overcooking them. If you cook your ribs at a lower temperature, they may not have as much flavor. If you cook them at a higher temperature, they may be extra tough and dry.

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