Smoked ribs bend test
Pork, Smoking Tips

Are My Ribs Tender?

Are my ribs tender? This is the question I get from people most often. How can I tell when they are done? My instant-read meat thermometer seems to give me unreliable readings from place to place on the rack. Ribs can be a bit difficult to figure out when it comes to getting them cooked right, so let’s find a solution.

Please take a quick look at this “Are my Ribs Tender?” video to see the bend test in action.

The professional pit-masters will tell you they want them tender but still with a good texture, “bite” or “pull”. Overdone, mushy, falling off the bone – like braising or boiling is not what we are looking for here.

Now, normally I would recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer. With pork ribs, the issue becomes their shape. There is not enough meat in between the bones to provide a reliable reading on your thermometer. This bend test is a great way to check on doneness.

As a general rule if you are smoking at 250 F | ?? C you can expect a rack of St. Louis ribs to be done at around the 3 or 3.5 hours mark. A rack of back ribs will take longer because they are generally thicker. It depends upon the weight so, 4.5 to 5 hours is a good estimate of cooking time for back ribs.

Are you a big fan of ribs of all kinds? Check out this post on Tender Smoked Beef Ribs!

Looking for a sweet ending to your SmokeyGood main course? How about some Smoked Cinnamon Apple Crisp!?

For a complete video tutorial on smoking pork ribs check this out.


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