Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: May 12, 2023

Ribs are a favorite cut of meat to cook in a smoker. It is often one of the first meats that beginner smokers attempt to smoke.

Many people forget that the resting process can be as important as the smoking process and can influence the final outcome of the ribs.

From our extensive rib smoking experience, we have some expert tips for resting your perfectly smoked ribs!

Quick Summary

  • Understanding what happens when meat is rested will show why it is important to include this aspect as part of your rib cooking or smoking process.
  • Different types of ribs need different rest times due to the nature of the meat and the thickness of the meat on the ribs.

Ribs will require different resting times depending on the type of ribs being cooked and the thickness of the meat on the ribs.

The main tip for resting is to find a balance between resting time and the food becoming too cold to serve!

Our rib resting recommendations will solve this problem for you and take your rib cooking to new heights of flavor and juiciness!

How Long Must Ribs Rest After Smoking?

Top view of ribs resting on a grill

If you watch any chef cocking any cut of meat, there will invariably be a resting period for the meat before it is sliced and served.

Many people starting out on the adventure of smoking their own meat are unaware of how important resting meat is, even when coming out of your smoker.

One of the big questions new smokers ask is how long should the meat rest when taken out of the smoker before being cut and served?

We are talking about ribs, particularly since this is the cut many people who are new to smoking try out first.

Before we get into the timing details, it is important to know why resting is a crucial part of smoking meat and should be included in your process.

Also Read: How Long a Turkey Needs to Rest?

Why Resting Smoked Ribs Is Important

Smoked ribs on cutting board and leaves vegetable under the meat with fork

Most meat will benefit from a period of rest after cooking, and we will look at the science behind resting meat and its benefit.

When meat is subjected to heat during the cooking process, the moisture and juices in the meat fibers move out of the fibers into the spaces between them.

If the meat is cut immediately after being removed from the smoker, all these juices between the meat fibers escape and run out of the meat [1].

When the meat is allowed to rest, it allows the meat fibers to re-adsorb these juices, distributing them evenly throughout the meat.

When the meat is cut after a period of resting, the juices will remain in the meat fibers, increasing the juiciness and flavor of the meat.

Resting meat will continue to cook internally after removing it from the heat.

Thus, it is important to take the meat off the heat slightly before it is completely done, and it will reach optimal temperature while resting.

Serving cold meat is as bad as not letting the meat rest at all, so a balance must be found for resting the meat long enough to benefit the flavor and juiciness without the meat becoming too cold to eat.

This is where optimal resting times are crucial to get the balance right.

How Long Should You Rest Pork Ribs After Smoking?

Pork rib on wooden cutting board

Pork ribs are a favorite on the barbeque or the smoker and even taste delicious when done in your kitchen oven!

The optimal resting time for most types of pork ribs is between 10 and 15 minutes. Since each rack of ribs is different, rest smoked ribs with thick meat for a longer period than when you rest ribs with thinner meat.

If you have a mixed amount of thick and thin meat ribs, rest ribs with the thinner meat for 10 minutes and slice them up.

Once you have finished slicing the thinner ribs, the thicker ones will be rested enough to be sliced as well.

Rest smoked ribs for a shorter period than beef ribs because the meat on pork ribs is often thinner than beef ribs.

If pork ribs are left to rest beyond 10 to 15 minutes, the ribs will become cold.

How To Rest Pork Ribs

Pork ribs resting on wooden cutting board with plain white background

Resting your pork ribs requires some know-how to do it correctly. Placing them on a cold surface when you rest ribs uncovered is not the right way to rest the meat.

The cold surface of a plate and exposure to the air will simply suck the heat out of the meat, and the ribs will become cold.

The best way to rest ribs is to wrap them in aluminum foil immediately after taking them out of the smoker or off the grill.

The foil helps retain heat around the meat to aid the final cooking internally and prevent the meat from cooling too quickly when you rest ribs.

Another method, which is termed “tenting with foil,” is to not wrap the meat entirely with foil while you rest ribs. Simply place the hot ribs on a wood cutting board and lightly cover them with aluminum foil.

Use enough foil that you can tuck it under the edge of the ribs all around and leave a peak, like a tent, above the meat.

This provides some airspace above the meat, which heats up from the ribs and helps insulate the ribs, acting as a mini-oven.

How Long Should You Rest Beef Ribs After Smoking?

Close up image of a beef ribs cut on plate

Beef ribs are typically longer and have thicker meat than pork ribs and pork butt.

This additional thickness of the meat requires a longer rest time for ribs to allow the internal juices to be re-absorbed by the meat fibers and distributed evenly throughout the meat.

The recommended time for all types of beef ribs should be rested after cooking is 30 minutes.

This is almost double the resting time of other ribs, such as pork ribs.

Beef is generally tougher meat than pork, which is why you must rest ribs longer to help promote tender juiciness to the beef ribs and enhance the flavor.

Resting beef after smoking ribs for this amount of time requires a different resting method to other ribs to prevent the ribs from simply cooling down to room temperature.

How To Rest Beef Ribs

Freshly cooked beef ribs close up image

Resting beef after smoking ribs requires a different method to other types of ribs to allow sufficient time for the meat to re-absorb juices without the meat cooling down too fast.

To rest your beef ribs properly after smoking ribs, you will need sufficient aluminum foil to completely wrap the ribs and an empty cooler box or ice cooler large enough to accommodate the ribs.

When the ribs are cooked, remove them from the smoker or grill and immediately wrap them completely in aluminum foil.

Place the aluminum foil-wrapped ribs in the cooler and close the lid.

Allow the ribs to rest for the allotted 30 minutes in this environment.

The combination of the foil and the insulation provided by the cooler let the ribs rest without losing too much heat in the process.

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, take the ribs out of the cooler, unwrap them, and slice.

The next step is the best part; sit down and enjoy your succulent, juicy ribs cooked to perfection!


Resting your smoked, grilled, or oven-cooked ribs can enhance the juiciness and flavor of the ribs, contributing to the overall enjoyment of eating these favorite family meals!

The next time you cook ribs, try our resting recommendations and take your ribs to the next level of perfection!


  1. https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-have-juicy-meats-steaks-the-food-lab-the-importance-of-resting-grilling
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