(San Diego, CA)
If I smoke baby back ribs and vacuum seal them how long will they keep safely in the refrigerator?
If I freeze the vacuum sealed ribs, what's the maximum length of time I can keep them before the quality degrades?
vacuum packed smoked ribs
by: BBQ Bwana
I usually smoke 10 racks of ribs at a time and store 5 or six of them for later consumption. I wrap them in foil and then stack them in one of those vacuum bags you store sweaters in and suck out the air using a vacuum.
I've stored them in the refrigerator (not freezer) for as long as a month without any degradation in the taste or quality of the meat.
I pull them out, leave them wrapped up in the foil, and put them in the oven at 360 for 1 hour. For the last 6 to 8 minutes I open the foil a bit to cook off some of the moisture.
How Long Will Smoked Ribs Keep
Smoked ribs that are vacuum sealed and refrigerated should be kept no more than three or four days in the icebox.
Those same ribs, when frozen, should remain in good shape for two to six months. I would not even consider trying to keep them without refrigeration.
But for some strange reason, I never have to deal with the problem of keeping ribs for more than a few hours after they're smoked!
When it's time to enjoy a slab of tasty smoked ribs, it makes life much easier when you have a vacuum sealed smoked slab or two in the freezer.
It's wise to plan ahead and thaw them slowly in the refrigerator for two or three days. The quality well be a bit better than if you thaw them quickly on the countertop.
But if you're in a spur of the moment situation, you can quickly thaw that slab in a sink full of hot tap water. Quick thawing will cause the loss of a bit of the ribs' juiciness, but they'll still be tasty.
No matter how they're thawed, they can be warmed up to eating temperature using indirect heat in a grill or in your smoker. Pop the slabs in the oven set to 300 degrees if you like.
Bring the temperature of the ribs up to 160 degrees and you'll be assured that they are safe to eat. Bast 'em with your favorite BBQ sauce, slice and enjoy!