Telling whether the ribs are ready is one of the most difficult tasks any chef faces. This is because ribs come in many thicknesses and weights. Keeping the grill at an even temperature is in itself a difficult task. Therefore, here are some tips and guidelines to let you know when your ribs are perfectly cooked.
Difference between Ready And Done
Ribs are done when they are at an internal temperature of 63°C. However, they may still be tough at this temperature and not provide you with the required juiciness. If you take the temperature above a notch to 82°C and hold the ribs there for about 30 minutes, the fat melts some more and makes them more juicy and tender. This is the point at which they are ready.
Ribs Should Not Fall Off The Bone
Perfectly cooked ribs never fall of the bone. The only ribs that do are either boiled or steamed. Boiling or steaming ribs usually deprives them of their flavor and gives them a mushy texture. Perfectly cooked ribs are easy to pull from the bone with your teeth. It might still have some resilience but will not be tough.
How To Tell When They Are Ready
The exact cooking time for ribs depends upon a number of variables since every grill and smoker is different, and every piece of meat is different. The objective is to get the meat at 77°C to 83°C. It is difficult to get an accurate measurement of temperature through a thermometer because the meat is thin, both the meat and bone have different temperatures and the temperature varies from end to end. Here are a few tests you can use to see if your ribs are cooked perfectly.
The Bend Test
This is one the most accurate methods to test whether your ribs are ready. Pick up the ribs with a pair of tongs and shake them slightly. If they are ready, then the ribs would bend slightly and the skin would start to crack. A little crack means that you need to cook it a little further. This might take some practice to master.
The Twist Test
Grab the tip of the bone from the middle and twist it. If it starts to separate from the meat, that means that the ribs are cooked. Otherwise, they are not.
The Taste Test
This test implies to pull a bone off the end and then taste it. This works fine as you get to taste your cooked food. The problem arises when it is undercooked. Then you have to repeat the same procedure until you are satisfied. Just make sure there is something left for the guests.
The Toothpick Test
In this test, one pokes a toothpick into the meat between the bones. If it slides in with little or no resistance, then the ribs are cooked. Test different parts of the ribs as well, to ensure that you have cooked them to your preference.