The Absolute Best Time To Add Sauce To Ribs

No backyard BBQ is complete without the addition of smoked, fall-off-the-bones ribs. There are several variations for both pork and beef ribs, such as short ribs and baby back beef ribs from a cow, as well as spareribs and St. Louis-style ribs from a pig, per Southern Cravings.

Certain regions in the United States are known for preparing ribs in their own unique way — and they're quite proud of their techniques. For instance, if you head over to Texas, you'll likely taste spicy and smoky flavor notes on the ribs, which highlights seasonings like ancho powder and chili powder, via Hy-Vee. The site gives another example with Memphis-style ribs, which showcases subtle sweet notes from brown sugar, as well as tomatoes and vinegar in the sauce.

Speaking of sauce, you may be wondering when you should add BBQ sauce to ribs. Sure, you might be tempted to slather such liquid goodness on the meat during the initial stages of cooking, but according to Kitchn, that's just begging for burnt flavors. Ever wonder exactly why that is and when sauce should mix with ribs anyhow?

The reason lies in sweeteners

Per Kitchn, you'll likely find sugar, honey, or some other kind of sweetener in BBQ sauce, which loves to burn in the oven, on a grill, etc. And because the sauce contains the dominant tasting notes here, burnt sauce equates to burnt flavors on the ribs.

Not to worry though, as Kitchn suggests you can mop your ribs with tangy sauce about 10-15 minutes before they're done. Amazing Ribs adds to this by stating that you can even sauce your ribs up to 30 minutes before they're done if the temperature is at 225 Fahrenheit over indirect heat.

Grilla Grills explains that you could also add a little bit of water to your BBQ sauce to make it thinner. The site explains that since over-caramelized sugars cause a gummy texture. A diluted sauce will help to decrease the likelihood of these burnt flavors and textures. When the ribs are completely off the heat source, feel free to add extra sauce to your liking –- no diluting required.

So whether you're whipping up a batch of old-fashioned BBQ ribs or smoked country-style ribs, be sure to add your sauce about 10-15 minutes before the ribs are done (via Kitchn) or about 30 minutes beforehand if you're opting for the "low and slow" method Amazing Ribs suggested.