how to keep ribs warm

Last Updated on: 8th November 2023, 08:41 am

Are you craving perfectly tender and succulent ribs? Wondering how to keep ribs warm so they stay deliciously hot until serving time?

Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we will unveil the secrets to maintaining the ideal temperature of your mouthwatering ribs, ensuring that every bite is as satisfying as the first.


To keep ribs warm you can use various techniques like the faux cambro technique, an oven, or even a food warmer depending upon the equipment available.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or preparing a cozy family dinner, these tips will help you serve up piping-hot ribs that will have everyone reaching for seconds.

So, how do you keep ribs warm without sacrificing their tenderness and flavor?

The key lies in proper insulation and temperature control.

After your ribs are cooked to perfection, you can wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and place them in a preheated cooler.

This method creates a cozy environment that retains the heat and moisture, preserving the juiciness of the meat.

By following this simple step, you can confidently focus on other aspects of your meal preparation, knowing that your ribs will be ready to be enjoyed whenever you’re ready to serve.

But these tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to keeping your ribs warm and delectable.

In the full article, we delve deeper into advanced techniques and expert advice from renowned pitmasters and grillmasters.

You’ll discover insider tips on controlling the temperature during the cooking process, selecting the right wrapping materials, and even innovative ideas for reheating leftover ribs without losing their tenderness.

Join us on this flavorful journey as we uncover the secrets to achieving rib perfection, leaving no room for disappointment.

Let’s fire up the grill and unlock the ultimate rib experience together!

How to keep ribs warm if they are cooked hours before serving

BBQ ribs are an excellent recipe to show your cooking expertise to your family and friends.

But you may end up cooking the ribs hours before the arrival of the guests. These are the most common methods that most pitmasters use to keep ribs warm.

MethodRecommended TimeSide Effects
Faux CambroUp to 4 hoursThis may result in a slight loss of moisture
Food WarmerUp to 2 hoursMinimal impact on texture and quality
OvenUp to 1 hourMay cause drying out if left for too long

As a general guideline, you should plan BBQ effectively to serve the ribs warm.

but if you end up cooking ribs hours before serving, then you can use your oven, food warmer, butcher paper, or faux cambro technique to keep them warm.

1-Faux cambro technique

The Faux cambro technique is a really useful method used by most pitmasters to keep the food warm for a longer period.

Faux cambro technique can help to keep your ribs for at least 2 hours while maintaining the heat and moisture at the same time.

Its name is derived from the company that makes the boxes that are used to store food for a long time.

In addition, these boxes can also be used for the transportation of food to different locations while maintaining tenderness at the same time.

It’s an effective technique that can save you from embracement in front of guests.

Although it’s a simple technique, you will still need to be careful about placing towels inside the cooler, otherwise, you will end up injuring yourself.

Things that you will need

The Faux cambro technique can be a huge relief when you want to keep your ribs warm so that the guests can enjoy the original taste when served.

You will have to gather some equipment while your ribs are being cooked so that you will not panic when they are cooked.

  • First of all, you will need a cooler that will be used to store the ribs.
    This should be of high quality and insulated to decrease heat loss.
  • You should also consider finding a couple of barbecue gloves to use while adding towels inside the cooler.
    You should use them to save yourself from getting injured by steam.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned supplies, you will also need some towels to line them along the build of the cooler to enhance the insulation.
  • At the end, you will have to heat some water according to the size of the cooler to fill the cooler with hot water.
    The water should be boiling to give some heat to the internal build of the cooler.

Faux cambro technique; a step-by-step guide

  1. First and foremost, you will need to purchase a cooler large enough to hold the number of ribs you intend to store.
    The size of the cooler can depend on the number of ribs. But you should keep in mind that it should be insulated
  2. Then you should fill the cooler with boiling water for 1 hour before the ribs are cooked.

    It is done so that the internal build of the cooler should heat up and help the ribs retain their heat for a longer time. After pouring in water, you should close the lid of the cooler.
  3. After the ribs are cooked you should place the ribs outside to allow the proper distribution of meat juices and sauce.
    In the meantime, you should remove the water from the cooler to prepare it for storing ribs.
  4. After removing the water, you should wear BBQ gloves to avoid injuring yourself with steam.

    Once you have taken the safety precautions, you should take some dry towels and arrange them along the inner side of the cooler.
  5. After you have prepared the cooler for storing the ribs, you should wrap the ribs in aluminum foil or place them into the aluminum pan.

    Make sure the meat juices have been distributed evenly throughout the ribs.
  6. After that, you can just place the ribs inside the cooler and close the lid to avoid heat loss.

    You should consider checking the temperature frequently while adding the ribs to make sure the cooler does not lose its temperature.

voila ! you just saved your ribs and can keep your ribs warm for about 3-4 hours.
But you should consider storing them for 2 hours to make sure they remain in original form.

2-Use food warmer

Food warmers are also an efficient way to keep the ribs warm. These are designed specifically to keep the food hot while maintaining its tenderness.

They are specifically designed for this purpose and are often used for the transportation of food to different places.

Food warmer can help you store ribs for about 2-6 hours.

They are effective for maintaining the heat of food and can maintain the temperature for several hours.

However, you should consider storing ribs for 2-6 hours to make sure the ribs retain their original form and don’t get lost.

Food warmers are insulated, and food stored inside them is not affected by the external weather.
The temperature of the food is maintained by retaining the heat for a longer time.

In addition, they are also helpful in keeping the ribs moist.

They also come in various varieties, which can vary in their efficiency to avoid the heat loss of the food.

The price is justified by the quality of the insulation, but you should consider storing them for a few hours. Otherwise, the food will become sappy.

3-Plan the bbq effectively

Although ribs can be kept warm for a few hours by different techniques, it’s better to plan the cooking effectively to avoid the hassle of storing them later.

You should preferably complete the cooking  1 hour before serving, and then you can store them until they are served to guests.

Use weather forecast frequently

But if you start cooking earlier, make sure to finish cooking no more than 4 hours before serving. Although it can be stored for a longer time, the ribs will lose their tenderness.

you can use butcher paper to wrap ribs and keep them in the smoker without over-smoking,

4-Utilize the oven

if you looking for how to keep ribs warm then you are probably not aware of the oven technique.

An oven is also a useful piece of equipment to store the ribs for some time.

Although it’s less effective than other techniques, it’s still useful if you can’t use other techniques for some reason.
But before using it you should keep some precautions in mind.

Oven should only be used for storing ribs for 30 minutes

Things to keep in mind

  • The first thing to remember is that the oven is intended for storage rather than cooking.
    So you should not place the ribs at a higher temperature, which can result in drying out of ribs.
  • Secondly, you should consider maintaining the current temperature of the ribs and not increasing the rib temperature because it can affect the flavor of the ribs.
  • You should preferably store the ribs in the oven for only 30 minutes and no more than an hour at the far end.
    Heating for more than 1 hour can result in the drying out of ribs.

A step-by-step guide to storing ribs in the oven

  1. First of all, you should place the ribs outside after removing them from the smoker to allow proper distribution of the meat juices and sauces between the ribs.
  2. Then you should set the oven temperature to the lowest possible temperature.
    Most of the ovens have a 150–170 lowest temperature. You should set the lowest temperature to avoid drying out the ribs.
  3. After that, you should place the ribs inside a roasting pan and cover them with aluminum foil.
    It is done to retain the moisture and tenderness of the ribs. You can also add a sauce if you want to avoid the ribs drying out.
  4. At the end, you can place the ribs in the oven to keep them warm.
    But make sure to only place them in the oven for 1 hour maximum.

Frequently asked questions

keeping ribs warm is important, but there are also some other issues regarding retaining the quality of ribs. let’s discuss them

How do you keep ribs moist after cooking?

to keep your ribs moist, you should consider avoiding evaporation by wrapping the ribs in a foil or increasing the moisture by spritzing them with vinegar or other juices

How do you reheat spare ribs without drying them out?

to reheat your ribs you need to place them in an oven or slow cooker and try to heat them low and slow.

while doing so, make sure that they don’t come in contact with direct heat.

how long to cook ribs

cooking time depends on the type of ribs. spare ribs take longer to cook than loin area ribs.

usually cooking time for ribs can take anywhere from 5-6 hours at smoking temperature. however, if you want to cook them early then you can do so by increasing the temperature.

similarly to avoid cooking them early and avoid the hassle of keeping them warm, you can cook them at low temperatures and ideally start cooking 6 hours before serving.


Ribs can be kept warm by using different techniques, but nothing can match the flavor of the ribs that are freshly taken off the smoker.
So you should consider planning efficiently to serve the guests in the best way possible. 

Jakob miller