What is the Best Cooking Method for Ribs?

Ribs are a beloved dish enjoyed by many across the globe. The key to perfect ribs lies not only in the seasoning and sauce but also in the cooking method. In this article, we’ll explore various methods to cook ribs, emphasizing which technique delivers the best results. Moreover, we’ll provide a handy tip on how to tell if pork ribs are done, ensuring your meal is both delicious and safe to eat.

1. Oven-Baking

Oven-baking is a popular and straightforward method. It’s great for those who want a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Here’s how you do it:

Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C).

Season your ribs with your favorite spices.

Wrap the ribs in foil and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 2-3 hours.

This slow cooking process makes the meat tender and juicy. To check if they’re done, carefully open the foil (watch for steam) and see if the meat shrinks back from the bones.

2. Grilling

For a smoky flavor, grilling is your go-to method. It’s perfect for outdoor cooking and summer barbecues.

Preheat your grill to medium heat.

Season the ribs as desired.

Place the ribs on the grill, turning occasionally.

Cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours.

Keep an eye on the ribs to prevent burning. The ribs are done when the meat is tender and pulls away from the bone.

3. Slow Cooking

Slow cookers are excellent for tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs.

Season the ribs and place them in the slow cooker.

Add a bit of liquid (like broth or barbecue sauce).

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

To tell if pork ribs are done in a slow cooker, the meat should be very tender and easily separate from the bones.

4. Smoking

For rib aficionados, smoking is the ultimate method. It requires patience and a bit of skill.

Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C).

Season your ribs with a dry rub.

Place the ribs in the smoker and cook for about 4-5 hours.

Check for doneness by seeing if the meat has pulled back from the bones and is tender to the touch.

5. Pressure Cooking

For those short on time, pressure cooking is a fast alternative.

Season your ribs.

Place them in the pressure cooker with some liquid.

Cook on high pressure for about 30 minutes.

Once done, the ribs should be tender. A quick tip to tell if pork ribs are done in a pressure cooker is to check if the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

6. Braising

Braising is a combination of baking and simmering, often used for tougher cuts of meat.

Season the ribs and brown them in a pan.

Add liquid (like broth or sauce), cover, and bake in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 1.5-2 hours.

The ribs are done when they are fork-tender and the meat easily separates from the bones.


Each method has its charm and results in different textures and flavors. The best method depends on your taste preference and the equipment you have at hand. Remember, regardless of the cooking method, the key to perfect ribs is to tell if pork ribs are done correctly. This typically means the meat should be tender enough to easily pull away from the bone but not so much that it falls apart. With these tips and techniques, you’re all set to make mouth-watering ribs that will delight your taste buds.

Happy cooking!