Why You Should Pat Ribs Dry Before Cooking Them

Whether you decide to roast or grill ribs for your next barbecue, there are a few essential steps to take during preparation to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Most people remember the obvious, like removing the membrane or rules surrounding when to add your dry rub or sauce, but there is another crucial step in fine-tuning ribs. You can't forget to — drum roll please — pat your ribs dry before cooking them!

It might sound simple which is why a lot of people overlook it, but the reason for doing so is an important one. The preparation for your meats in general, which should include patting them dry, will make a huge difference in the end result. It's a step that shouldn't be missed and will create a lot of flavor. It really all comes down to science. "Science?" you may ask. Well at the end of the day, cooking is chemistry, and creates scientific reactions. You may not be signing up to be a scientist, but trust us, it's simpler than you may think.

So, why pat ribs dry?

Removing the excess moisture from the ribs before cooking will do a few things. Even if your ribs are marinating, it is advised to pat them dry to help prior to cooking. According to the Kitchn, using paper towels to pat the meat dry increases the contact the meat has with the pan or grill and reduces the amount of steam created while cooking. This steam will, in turn, stop the meat from browning properly. Without it though, ribs will be able to create a delicious crust, adding additional flavors and aromas, due to the Maillard reaction.

Joseph Provost, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at the University of San Diego, told The Washington Post that meat should be as dry as possible before cooking so that the energy created by the heat can go straight to the food instead of evaporating moisture. This science holds true for ribs. Amazing Ribs notes to always ensure meat is dry before cooking for this very reason. Not only do they have to be pat dry before, but marinating and basting can also prevent the ribs from browning.

So, next time you're cooking up some ribs, be sure to grab a kitchen towel or a roll of paper towels; you don't want to forget this important step for the ultimate flavor.