Whether you’re cooking the pork ribs in a smoker, on the grill, or even in a crockpot; pork ribs are truly one of the most succulent and tantalizing cuts of meat for sure.
But one day I came across this interesting research paper published on Sappo.org.
It clearly states that freezing pork ribs and pork loin for longer duration of time causes changes in their taste, tenderness and flavor.
Even though, chemical processes are slowed down during freezing of the meat; it still affects the oxidative stability of the pork ribs.
This in turn leads to the reduction of the meat tenderness and freshness after few days of freezer storage.
The fact is most pork ribs that are being sold at your local grocery store or even at butcher’s shop are sold in the form of a frozen meat.
That is why there are great chances that you aren’t going to cook all the ribs in one go.
In such a case, you might be wondering if you can refreeze pork ribs without any health issues.
The short answer is definitely Yes.
You can surely refreeze pork ribs, as long as you do it properly.
But as already mentioned above, the quality, freshness, tenderness and water holding capacity of the meat does suffer each time it’s frozen and defrosted.
My main objective in this article is to tell you how long and how many times you can refreeze your pork ribs safely.
In the end, I will also mention the method to identify if the frozen pork ribs have gone bad.
So, I recommend to read this article till the end.
Table of Contents
- FAQ Related to Refreezing of The Pork Ribs
- Is It Healthy to Refreeze Already Frozen Pork Ribs?
- How Many Times Can You Thaw and Refreeze Pork Ribs?
- How Long Can You Leave Raw Pork Ribs in the Fridge?
- How Can You Tell if Pork Ribs Have Gone Bad?
FAQ Related to Refreezing of The Pork Ribs
Is It Healthy to Refreeze Already Frozen Pork Ribs?
If the pork ribs have been thawed in your refrigerator for quite a few days, then it’s safe to refreeze them.
However, refreezing raw meat isn’t recommended if the pork ribs were not defrosted in the refrigerator earlier.
Whether the pork ribs are healthy to cook up after being defrosted, completely depends on the method used to thaw them.
Sometimes, you thawed your pork ribs over the counter to cook for dinner.
But, later on you decided to cook another item.
In that case, you shouldn’t refreeze the pork ribs if they were left out for more than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F.
Generally, you shouldn’t refreeze pork ribs that’s been defrosted or frozen over the counter.
The main reason behind it is because it can attract a lot of bacteria when it reaches room temperature, that is 40-100°F (4-38°C).
So, if you refreeze the pork ribs after freezing it at room temperature, then you’re going to be basically refreezing meat which is often infected with bacteria.
That fact is you freeze pork ribs to surely inactivate microbes, bacteria, yeasts and molds present in the food.
But, still these microbes can become active again once the meat is refrozen.
In this case, it does not matter whether you do it over the counter or in the fridge.
Defrosting pork ribs in your refrigerator and then refreezing is the best way to ensure that the meat stays fresh and tender.
It also remains healthy for consumption for few weeks without any infections.
How Many Times Can You Thaw and Refreeze Pork Ribs?
You can thaw and refreeze pork ribs as many times as you want.
But you need to remember the following criteria to get the best results possible.
1. The pork ribs should be stored in the refrigerator during the thawing process.
2. You can refreeze pork ribs after 3 to 4 days after thawing in the refrigerator.
3. The pork ribs must not be left out over the counter for more than 2 hours prior to refreezing.
4. Pork ribs shouldn’t be left out for more than an hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C) prior to refreezing.
But pork ribs are in their freshest state when bought unfrozen from the grocery store or from a butcher’s shop.
If you buy frozen pork ribs, then remember that they have already been “frozen”.
Therefore, you will have to thaw them in the fridge if you’re going to cook them the same or next day.
However, freezing and thawing pork ribs does affect its quality after few days.
So, you may notice moisture loss, color and odor changes, and increased oxidation due to rich source of fat and protein in the meat.
This may affect the overall tenderness and juiciness of the pork ribs.
That is why, it’s best to refrain from thawing the meat and refreezing it too many times. (Source: Healthline.com)
Due to these reasons, I will not recommend you to thaw and refreeze your pork ribs several times.
How Long Can You Leave Raw Pork Ribs in the Fridge?
Pork ribs can remain in the fridge for up to 5 days if it is uncooked.
If the meat is cooked already, then you can store it safely up to 4 days at max.
Even though refrigerating pork ribs does considerably reduce the chances of bacterial growth, it does not prevent it entirely.
To reduce the chances of bacterial infection while keeping pork ribs in your fridge, you should ensure that your refrigerator is clean, and free from any liquid spills.
Furthermore, it is also a good idea to store pork ribs in airtight bags or vacuum bags such as FoodSaver BPA Free Vacuum Sealer Bags.
These vacuum bags are multi-layered and BPA free which creates airtight barrier around the meat.
The external bacteria can not enter easily inside these bags.
This helps in lengthening the freshness period and maintaining the original flavor and taste of your meat.
This is why these bags are safe to store pork meat for longer durations inside the freezer.
And don’t forget to always check the expiration date, so that you’re not using meat that might make you very sick after its consumption.
It is also very important to maintain the temperature in your refrigerator at 40°F (4.44°C).
If your refrigerator doesn’t have a temperature display, you can use an antibacterial fridge thermometer to keep tabs on the internal temperature at all times.
It is very important to know the internal temperature reading of your freezer or refrigerator all the time.
In order to prevent premature meat spoilage and to lengthen the freshness of the meat, it is really essential to store it below 40 degrees F.
This is the main reason why you should know the fridge you are using to store your meat is providing the same temperature level.
Fridge thermometer will do this job much easier for you.
How Can You Tell if Pork Ribs Have Gone Bad?
The easiest way to tell if pork ribs have gone bad is by simply looking at its color, skin, and the smell.
If you notice that the color has changed to a grey or greenish hue, then you should consider it not ok to cook and consume.
Next, the texture of the meat can also give you a good hint whether the pork ribs are spoiled.
If you feel any slime on the texture, the pork ribs aren’t worth cooking up.
Lastly, if you notice a sulfuric odor or rotten egg like smell that’s difficult to ignore, then in most cases, those pork ribs should be disposed in the trash.
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The bacterial infection and exposure to oxygen air causes these three changes in the pork ribs.
Extreme change in the color, texture and odor can occur even at refrigerating temperatures.
Speaking of odor, vacuum sealed pork ribs may develop an acidic smell or sulfuric smell.
This usually goes away after you wash and dry rub the meat.
But if the smell still persists, you should toss the pork ribs out, and not spend time cooking them at all.
Spoiled cooked pork ribs may not showcase the same factors as uncooked meat, but will have some type of sour odor to them.
I know you want to savor the taste of your pork ribs, regardless of cooking them on the grill or crockpot.
In this case, you should use the pork ribs as soon as you bring them home from the store.
If you’re marinating pork ribs, you can do so and then store them in the fridge or freezer immediately.
However, I highly recommend not to leave pork ribs out on the counter for more than an hour, because they may invite harmful bacteria.
Uncooked pork meat can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months, and for a much shorter amount of time after thawing, and then refreezing.
But thawing and refreezing pork ribs often isn’t a good practice, as this may affect the overall quality of the meat.
That’s why refrain from too much of thawing and refreezing of your pork ribs.
Once or at max twice is ok.