How to determine when ribs are done

Nothing says summer like a big plate of juicy ribs. Combined with a delicious sauce or rub, such as a simple sweet sauce for country-style ribs, this scrumptious dish is a crowd-pleaser for backyard cookouts or family gatherings. Whether you choose to grill, smoke, or bake them, knowing how to cook ribs properly is an important life lesson, which includes knowing how to tell when your ribs are ready to serve and eat.

There are many types of ribs you can choose to make, and the skewer test (also known as the toothpick test) is a reliable method for checking their doneness. This test comes in handy when your meat thermometer is missing or on the fritz. Plus, it is fairly straightforward. Once you think your ribs are done, insert a toothpick or small skewer through the meat. Your ribs are ready if the toothpick or skewer offers little opposition when going through the meat. On the other hand, should you encounter some opposition, then you need to cook your ribs longer. Some ribs may require multiple skewer tests throughout the meat because it may be thicker in some areas than others.

Why the skewer test is the best method for checking ribs

Ribs separated beside barbecue sauce

The skewer test is great because you can quickly tell whether your ribs are ready to come off the barbecue or not without needing any extra equipment. All you need is a toothpick or BBQ skewer to do the test, which many people already have in their pantries. It is also great because, unlike other methods of checking the doneness of ribs, it won’t affect the quality of the meat or interrupt its cooking cycle.

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There are, however, other ways to tell your ribs are done besides the skewer test that do not require a toothpick or BBQ skewer, such as using a pair of tongs to shake the meat to see if cracks form on the surface. Either way, combine one of these tests and these expert tips for cooking ribs, and you’ll have the best ribs on the block.

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