Can You Refreeze Pork Ribs? (Explained for Beginners)

Can You Refreeze Pork Ribs

If you have thawed more pork ribs than you use, you might wonder whether or not you can refreeze the remaining ones.

If you are a total beginner, this can be daunting. You want to keep the quality of the food intact for later use.

So, can you refreeze pork ribs?

You can refreeze pork ribs anytime as long as they are thawed in the fridge. Pork ribs will remain safe to eat even after freezing and thawing several times. The only issue is the overall quality of the meat.

Thawing and refreezing can negatively affect the texture and flavor of pork ribs. In the long run, you may lose the taste of the meat depending on how well you store them.

Why refreezing pork ribs is not often recommended?

Although refreezing is very helpful in saving leftover pork ribs, many won’t recommend it (including me).

The main reason for it is that refreezing could potentially ruin the texture and taste of the meat.

Here are the main reasons why refreezing is not often recommended:

1. The meat might have been contaminated

The problem with refreezing pork ribs especially if they are thawed at room temperature is safety.

Leaving meat outside the refrigerator is too risky. Foods are prone to bacterial contamination when left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Refreezing will not kill the bacteria. The 0 degree Fahrenheit in the freezer only prevents the bacteria from growing rapidly.

This is one of the reasons why refreezing is discouraged especially for meat thawed at room temperature.

2. Refreezing deteriorates the pork ribs quality

Freezing pork ribs and other types of meat can deteriorate the overall quality of the meat. This happens especially if the meat is not properly stored.

Freezer burn is the common problem that negatively affects the texture and taste of the meat.

Although freezer burn will not cause harm, you won’t enjoy the expected taste of the meat anymore.

If refreezing is your only option to save pork ribs leftovers, make sure that they are placed in a nice vacuum seal.

This way you can minimize the possibility of freezer burn.

Can you refreeze cooked ribs?

You can absolutely refreeze cooked ribs. This is safer than freezing thawed pork ribs.

However, make sure that after cooking, you did not leave the cooked ribs for too long at room temperature.

Both raw and cooked meat are not safe when outside. They are vulnerable to bacterial growth.

If you have leftover pork ribs that are left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, refreezing is not a good idea.

As mentioned, the cold temperature in the freezer will not save the contaminated cooked meat. It can only prevent the bacteria from multiplying quickly.

Can you freeze uncooked spare ribs?

Yes, uncooked spare ribs can be frozen. Freezing is the best thing you can do to keep the spare ribs in their best quality.

If you plan to cook it the next day, you just need to thaw it in the fridge. In most cases, frozen meat can take overnight to completely thaw.

Thawing in the fridge takes a lot of time. But it is the safest way.

If you are in a hurry, this is not the best option. You can try running tap water to thaw frozen spare ribs.

How to Freeze and Thaw Pork Ribs?

Freezing pork ribs is simple and straight forward. However, there are a few things you need to remember to do is properly.

Here’s how you can freeze and thaw pork ribs:

1. When freezing, use a zip lock plastic

The first thing to remember when freezing meat, in this case, pork ribs is that they should be placed in a sealable plastic bag.

A sealable plastic bag allows you to remove the air from the inside of the bag. As you might already know, the air inside the bag can cause a freezer burn to the meat.

Freezer burn can cause deterioration of the meat’s overall quality. This is the main reason why you want to remove as much air as possible from the inside of the plastic.

If the meat is already vacuum packed, then you are all set. There is no need to transfer the meat to plastic container.

2. When thawing pork ribs, choose the best strategy

When it comes to thawing pork ribs, there are three ways you can do. The first one is thawing in the fridge.

In my opinion, thawing in the fridge is the best one because it keeps the meat safe from bacterial contamination.

All you need to do is to leave the frozen pork ribs in the fridge overnight and cook them in the next morning.

However, the only problem with this is that it takes time. If you needed that meat to be thawed quickly, this is not the best option.

The second thawing method you can do is running tap water or submerging the meat in the water.

This is a quicker solution and also safe.

The third and final one is thawing on the countertop. But I do not recommend this thawing strategy unless your current situation leaves you no option.

If you go on this route, make sure that you do not leave the meat for more than two hours.

The bacteria can grow rapidly in this type of environment. Cook the meat immediately before the bacteria and other pathogens contaminate it.

How many times can you refreeze ribs?

The good thing about pork ribs is that you can freeze and thaw them over and over again as long as they are stored in the fridge uncooked.

Safety wise, you can safely eat refrozen ribs. But if you thawed pork ribs at room temperature, you cannot refreeze them.

The same safety rule applies to them. Any meat that is left at room temperature for too long is not safe to refreeze.

Can you freeze smoked ribs?

You can freeze leftover smoked ribs. If you plan to freeze smoked ribs, make sure that you do not put sauce on them.

Place the portion that you want to freeze in a zip lock and pop it in the freezer. If you can, use vacuum sealing container.

It is the best approach to keep the pork ribs’ quality intact for several months.

If you are ready to use the ribs, just thaw them in the fridge for several hours then reheat them in the oven at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until the fats start to come out of the ribs around the end of the bones.

As soon as you see the fat starts to render, that means that the ribs are heated through.

You can safely freeze half cooked pork ribs. This helps the ribs retain tender juicy texture.

However, if safety is your main concern, I recommend cooking the pork ribs fully before freezing. This is a safe strategy.

But always remember though that frozen cooked ribs are good when you eat them within weeks or few months.

Although they are safe in the freezer, freezing for too long can cause them texture and taste issues.

Final Thoughts

Freezing pork ribs is pretty much like freezing any meat. However, refreezing it can be a little bit different story.

You can only refreeze pork ribs if they are thawed in the fridge and not at room temperature.

If the ribs are thawed in the fridge, you can refreeze and thaw them several times as you want.

But if the ribs are thawed at room temperature, you cannot refreeze them. Bacterial contamination can be the main issue in this case.

If you want to learn more about freezing foods, feel free to visit this guide.


Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), United States Department of Agriculture