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