How Long do Ribs Last in the Freezer?

August 31, 2022
Related Categories: 

Preserving Your Ribs in the Freezer - the Smart Way

One of the best barbeque dishes is baby back ribs. They're great finger food, great for a party, or whenever you're craving something smokey and with barbeque sauce. If you're cooking for a party or a large group of people, it's unlikely that there will be leftovers.

But what happens when you're craving pork ribs but there are plenty of leftovers? You don't want to have to throw them out or waste them, so freezing them is a great option!

Frozen Ribs in a Chest Freezer. Freezing Can Add Weeks or Even Months to Their Shelf Life

Perhaps you bought some ribs to make at a later date, but the date keeps getting pushed further and further away. How long do ribs last in the freezer? Let's find out and avoid wasting any food you buy.

How Long Do Raw Ribs Last in the Freezer?

When you purchase raw ribs, you'll want to check the sell-by date listed on the packaging. Checking the sell-by date on the packaging ensures that you cook them and eat them when they're still at their best. Usually, you can keep raw pork ribs in the fridge for 3 to 5 days before cooking, grilling, or preparing them in another way.

As long as you don't open the packaging from purchase and keep them in your refrigerator, they should last well past the sell-by date. But what does this all mean if you were to freeze the ribs?

If you purchase beef ribs or pork and know you won't be able to prepare them and cook them before their sell-by date, freezing them is a great option!

Frozen Cuts of Meat Should be Properly Sealed to Avoid Freezer burn

These ribs can last in your freezer for 4 to 6 months and preserve their original quality if you store them properly. Even if you leave them in there for more than 6 months, they should still be safe to eat, but the quality might be lower than when you initially purchased the ribs.

Beef ribs and other raw ribs can last forever in your freezer if you can ensure they stay frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If you only have a freezer in your kitchen, this isn't easy to do because you'll probably be opening and closing it to grab items.

If you have an outdoor freezer or another one you only open very rarely, then you can place them in that freezer, which can last for more than 6 months.

How to Freeze Raw Ribs Properly

Since raw ribs can last in the freezer for 4 to 6 months, knowing how to freeze them accurately is essential to preserve their quality. Properly feeze raw pork ribs or other raw ones is to leave them in their original packaging without opening them.

You can place the packaging into the freezer without additional steps. Still, the best way to prolong raw rib's lifespan in the freezer is to wrap the original packaging in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or another airtight material before placing it in the freezer.

What Happens if You Thaw Raw Ribs Then Re-Freeze Them?

Sometimes you pull the frozen meat out of the freeze and place it in your fridge to thaw, thinking you're going to cook them later that day. While this might be the intention, if you aren't able to cook them how you like, can you place them back into the freezer even though they've thawed?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it's completely safe to refreeze thawed meat that's been sitting in the fridge. Sometimes to remember, though, is that the quality of the meat might be lower because of the moisture it loses as it thaws.

How Long Do Cooked Ribs Last in the Freezer?

Let's say you cook the best BBQ ribs one day and then realize you have some you don't want to throw away. How long do cooked pork ribs last in the freezer?

Even if you've cooked the ribs in the air fryer, the grill, the instant pot, or something else and then slathered them in barbeque sauce, they can last for 4 months in the freezer when stored properly.

How to Freeze Cooked Ribs Properly

If you want to freeze your cooked pork ribs, there are a few steps you'll want to follow to ensure that they stay good and retain their quality while in the freezer.

First, you will need to let the ribs cool before preparing them to go into the freezer. You don't need to chill them, but you should let them come to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

Ensuring that the ribs, smoked meat, or other food come to room temperature at least before freezing is essential. Letting food cool to room temperature helps not raise the temperature in the freezer, compromising the rib’s quality and other food already in the freezer. This can help prevent bacteria growth too, which can cause you to get sick.

Once the ribs come to room temperature, vacuum sealing them is the best option to keep them airtight. But you can also wrap the meat very tightly in aluminum foil.

Using at least two layers of foil can help keep them airtight, but make sure to close all gaps and that there are no open areas. After this, you can put them in the freezer, and they'll be suitable for 4 months.

How Long Will Vacuum Sealed Ribs Last in the Freezer?

Many people believe that vacuum-sealing food will keep frozen ribs good for longer. Vacuum sealing ribs will keep them better for longer because it ensures that no air can get into the ribs. When you wrap them in foil or use a container, there's always the possibility that air will seep in and compromise the quality of the ribs and cause them to spoil faster.

How To Tell if Ribs Have Spoiled

Whether you haven't had the chance to cook your pork ribs yet and they've been sitting in your fridge, or you're pulling raw or cooked ones out of the freezer, knowing how to tell if they've spoiled can save you from an unpleasant experience.

The main way to determine if your raw or cooked ribs are still good is by looking at them. If they have a dull color that looks even a little bit off to you, there's a good chance they're no longer good. If a slimy texture accompanies the dull color, it's time to get rid of the ribs.

Another thing to look out for is the smell. If the ribs, raw or cooked, have a sour odor or otherwise unusual smell, you might want to go ahead and toss them in the garbage.

Lastly, if the ribs look and smell okay, they're likely still acceptable to eat. But, if you take a bite and the taste is sour (not from the barbeque sauce) or tastes funky, you shouldn't take any more bites because you could get an upset stomach or food poisoning.

Prep in Advance

Properly Freezing Your Frozen Ribs Can Result in a Delicious Rib Eating Experience Months into the Future

Whether you need to freeze raw ribs until a specific occasion or have leftovers, freezing them is a great way to prevent food waste. For raw ribs, leaving them in the original packaging and freezing them is fine. But for cooked ribs, they need to come to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container or wrap. You can cook them covered or uncovered in your favorite sauce.

If you do these things, your pork ribs will last in the freezer for 4 to 6 months before the quality diminishes.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
Related Blog Posts
rocketarrow-downarrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram