How To Marinate Ribs: 2 Methods For Best Flavours

Some people like their ribs to have a kick while other people like them mellow, but they all love the flavor of a delicious, succulent rack of ribs. They are exceptionally flavorful because they are basted with the juices from one or two whole chickens that have been re-purposed for sauce. It's easy and quick to create these rib marinades at home by throwing in some spices, herbs, and either salt or sugar into your mustard-based marinade for more depth of flavor. If you want your ribs to come out juicer than ever before you can use more vinegar than water as well.

Marinating ribs is an easy way to improve the flavor of your meal and reduce the cooking time. It's also healthier than a traditional dry rub or sauce. This article will show you how to marinate ribs in any type of liquid, with results that will leave you satisfied.

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How to marinate ribs

There are two methods for marinating ribs, one is with a marinade and the other is left to soak in a mixture of spices and herbs. Both methods are effective, but one of them has more liquid while the other has more spices.

Method 1:

In this method, you'll add your ribs to a large bowl and cover them with either salt or sugar, then add the rest of your ingredients. For every type of marinade and spice, you add it would be a good idea to taste it before you cover your ribs again.

  • First, you'll add the liquid ingredients: water, wine, vinegar, or lemon juice.
  • Use your hands to coat the ribs with the spices. Start with basil on one side to make room for onion, garlic, black pepper, and other seasonings. Then sprinkle with salt and sugar or herbs of your choice. Strain everything out that is unnecessary such as hard spices like black pepper or hot sauces like Tabasco. Now, you can add your next layer of ingredients: onion, celery, garlic, and chili pepper.
  • Add more seasonings as you taste the marinade.
  • After all of these flavors have been put into the marinade and rubbed on your ribs, cover the ribs with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let them sit in the refrigerator for one to four hours. You can also let them sit in a pan with a lid on for up to six hours. In the event that you are not planning on serving your ribs within the next few days set them aside in an airtight container and store them for up to two weeks.

Method 2:

  • For this, simply marinate the ribs in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients, then let them sit in the refrigerator. This will take approximately four hours to eight hours depending on the temperature of your refrigerator.
  • Method 1 has more liquid so it will keep your ribs from drying out as quickly. The spices tend to coat everything and stick to ribs, but with Method 2, you don't have all of that rubbing going on and you also don't need as much liquid. It is a good idea to use Method 2 if you are cooking ribs in the oven or smoker. You can use Method 1 if you are cooking the ribs on a grill, in the oven, or in an oven.
  • When you are ready to barbecue your ribs marinated, either way, prepare your barbecue by heating it up to anywhere from 225-325 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of smoker that you have. The time required for cooking depends on what type of smoker you have and how thick the racks are. In general, it takes about two hours to cook a full rack if they aren't too thick. For example, baby back ribs may take two and a half hours while spare ribs can take four hours.

How to get the best ribs

  • To get the best marinade for your ribs, put up your mustard and mix in all of your spices. Use the juice from one or two chicken thighs or necks, depending on how much liquid you want, and let it sit for at least one hour. If you add some garlic and onion it will spruce up the flavor while keeping it healthy. Then use a combination of broth and vinegar as your liquids. You can also add a small amount of fresh juice like citrus or mango if you like, but don't overdo it because it can make your ribs too sweet.
  • Season all sides with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings that you would like to use.
  • Let the ribs sit in the refrigerator for four hours or until you are ready to cook them.
  • After marinating your ribs, preheat your smoker with all of the briquettes in place. You can leave the chimney off if your smoker has a built-in one or remove it entirely. Put the lid on and keep it covered for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow everything to heat up, especially if you have a large rack of ribs or spare baby back ribs. After that, take off the lid and cook them until they are tender, somewhere around 2 hours for some types of ribs and as long as 4 hours for thick ones. You can tell that they are done by the texture of the meat or by the fact that it falls off of the bone. If you are cooking ribs in a smoker, you should also make sure that your smoker is at a consistent temperature of around 225-325 degrees Fahrenheit and have wood chips ready.
  • When they are finished, all you have to do is grab some napkins and enjoy your ribs. If it's not too cold out, you can also serve them with a combination of barbecue sauce and mustard-based marinade.
  • Barbecue sauce is great for tenderizing meat and enhancing its flavor, but it will mask any other flavors and you won't be able to taste the distinctiveness of your meat or herbs. If you can't taste the difference between brands, then you're not eating barbecue.
  • There are sauces that you can use right on your meat that won't mask any of its natural flavors or herbs. For example, if you want to make barbeque sauce that isn't smoky or sweet, just mix in some fresh herbs when it's finished.

What to serve with pork ribs

  • When you serve ribs, it's nice to put out a variety of different sauces and condiments for your customers to try. You can offer them some BBQ sauce and another sauce that doesn't have any added sugar like a mustard base with vinegar or lemon juice. Also mix in some barbeque rubs, salad dressings, and other things that you can use as a condiment on your ribs.
  • You could also make a rub by mixing in the juices from chicken thighs or beef bones, use salt and pepper for seasonings, then add garlic powder, chili powder, and other herbs like thyme or rosemary to enhance the flavor. You should use a rub to coat your ribs prior to cooking them or put them on after they are finished.
  • Add extra seasonings like pepper or hot sauce as you go if you like.
  • When it comes to sides, you can either make your own or buy them from a grocery store. For example, grilled corn on the cob and potato salad is popular in the southern United States, while in other parts of the world people eat baked beans and coleslaw. It's nice if you can make your own since then everyone will know what they are eating and exactly how it was made. You could also offer freshly squeezed lemonade with your food if you want something cold and light that matches well with meaty ribs. 
  • If you do not have a large selection of sides available, you can just offer the ribs and the closest thing to them. If you want to put something on the table, try collard greens, baked beans, cornbread, or potato salad.
  • When it comes to sides, people usually think of steak and potatoes or baked beans, but those are fatty meats that you want to keep in your diet if at all possible. A good side dish should be lean meat like chicken or turkey. It can accompany the rich flavor of pork ribs without overwhelming it. Also, be sure that whatever side item that you serve is intended for a more light meal than something heavy such as mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.

Pork rib tips

  • Add some mushrooms, peppers, or celery to your pork ribs if you'd like. You can also let the ribs marinate in plain barbecue sauce or add them along with your rub. Another option is to make a glaze or barbecue sauce for your ribs by using a maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses combination.
  • You can top your ribs with crackling if you want. Crackling is the shingles of fat that are left over after you pull off the meat from the bone and can be used in a variety of different ways on different types of food. You can use it as a layer on casseroles and other dishes if you have time to prepare them ahead of time.


What do you soak ribs in to make them tender?

You don't have to use a marinade to make your ribs tender, but it can help. Water will work just as well as a marinade, but the acidity will negatively affect the texture of your ribs and make them tough.

If you are going to use water, let it sit for about 15 or 20 minutes so that the temperature is higher when your meat starts cooking, and do not use too much, or else you won't taste any of the spices that you add to it.

What's the best way to marinate ribs overnight?

If you want to marinate ribs for longer than a few hours, then do it in the refrigerator overnight. Larger cuts of meat can stay there for days or even weeks, but smaller ones like short ribs should be done in a few hours. If you put them in the fridge at room temperature prior to marinating, then they will get warm and lose their taste.

If you are going to use a plastic bag as opposed to a container, then put the ribs in the bag with all of your other ingredients so that they can soak up its flavor and aroma.

How long does it take ribs to marinate?

Ribs will take about 2 hours to marinate, depending on the size of the ribs that you are using. When you put them in the fridge for longer than 2 hours, let them sit there for at least an hour before cooking them. You should never place uncooked meat in your fridge and then expect it to keep well because it will spoil faster than it would if they were cooked beforehand. However, it's better to do that than to leave them out at room temperature where bacteria and all sorts of other types of organisms can grow.

Should I marinate ribs overnight?

If you marinate your ribs overnight, make sure that they are in the refrigerator and not on your kitchen counter at room temperature. Poultry, pork, or beef can marinate for up to a few days in the fridge before being cooked but other items should be eaten in a few hours.


This article has shown you how to marinate ribs by giving you a bunch of different ideas on how you can make them better. These are all tricks and tips that we have used in the past and they sure did help us make great ribs.

Ribs are a very popular food that people love to eat. It's hard not to like something that has been cooked until it's so tender that you can bite through it with ease and then topped with a nice spicy rub or barbeque sauce. The flavors that you get from ribs are amazing and they can be quite fun to cook along with the aid of a lot of different internet resources. You can get ideas on how to make the best ribs, how to choose the best cut of ribs and a bunch of other tricks for making great-tasting ribs that you probably didn't even know about.

I hope that this article has given you all the information that you will ever need to make great ribs at home.

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