how to keep ribs warm

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Last Updated on: 23rd October 2022, 12:53 am

Smoking ribs is a complex process and can take several hours. But if you end up cooking ribs before the serving time, then it can be a problem to keep them warm.

To help you with that we have put together a complete guide to keeping ribs warm. Let’s get started.

How to keep ribs warm if they are cooked hours prior to  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.

As a general guideline, you should plan bbq effectively to serve the ribs warm. but if you end up cooking ribs hours prior to 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 of the pitmasters to keep the food warm for a longer period of time.

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

It’s 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 transportation of food to different locations while maintaining the tenderness at the same time.

Its really effective technique that can save you from the embracement Infront 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.
  • And at the end, you will have to heat up some water according to the size of cooler to fill the cooler with hot water.
    The water should be boiling hot to give some heat to the internal build of the cooler.

Faux cambro technique; 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 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 hot 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 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 the 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 into an aluminum foil or place them into 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 the heat loss.

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

It is an effective way to keep your ribs warm, and you 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 it’s tenderness.
They are specifically designed for this purpose and are often used for the transportation of food among different places.

They are really effective for maintaining the heat of food and can maintain the temperature for several hours.
Although you should consider storing ribs for 2-6 hours to make sure the ribs retain their original form and don’t get loosy.

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 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 obviously justified by the quality of insulation, but you should consider storing them for 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 hastle of storing them later.
You should plan the cooking by keeping in mind the serving time.

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

But if you start cooking earlier, make sure to finish cooking no more than 4 hours prior to 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

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.

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 higher temperature, which can result in drying out of ribs.
  • Secondly, you should consider maintaining the current temperature of the ribs and not go for 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.


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
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