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Easy Oven Baked Ribs

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If you don’t own a smoker or have access to it right now, don’t worry. Our comprehensive recipe guide will teach you how to make these easy oven baked ribs!

oven-ribs

Oven Baked Ribs

Learn how to make ribs in the oven! Barbecue ribs usually have a rich, smoky flavor. While this flavor is unique to outdoor cooking equipment, it is possible to make delicious, succulent ribs in your oven.

The meat on these ribs will be tender and pull away from the bone once you take a bite, but not a second before. Reaching this point will require precise timing, but don’t be intimidated. These ribs can be forgiving, and the oven’s low temperature will help you achieve perfection.

Please note: this is not authentic barbecue. True barbecue requires smoke to alter the flavor and surface of meat chemically. The oven will not create smoke (hopefully), and though these ribs are a decent replacement for BBQ ribs, they will be different.

oven ribs - raw with seasonings
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What you’ll need

  • A rack of spare or baby back ribs*
  • 1/3-1/2 cup (120 mL) of rib rub
  • 1 cup (240 mL) barbecue sauce
  • A large cooking tray or sheet pan
  • A wire rack
  • Aluminum foil
  • A sharp knife
  • A basting brush
  • Paper towels

*The rack of ribs can be either baby back or spare ribs. The pictures here are of spare ribs. Baby back ribs are smaller, have less meat, and will require a shorter cooking time. Both of the required times are included in this tutorial. Two slabs of pork ribs can be made simultaneously without altering the cooking time as long as there is at least an inch of room in between them.

removing-membrane

Oven Ribs – Preparing the Rack

Cut off any loose or excess meat and trim bone ends. Remove any flaps of meat on the bone side of the spare ribs. Save those rib scraps for later.

Whether it is baby backs or spares, the membrane (or silver skin) on the bone side must be removed. The membrane is a non-permeable barrier that prevents flavors from penetrating the meat. It even stops water from getting through. To remove this membrane, lift the corner with a butter knife. The film is very slippery but easy to secure with a paper towel. It can take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, peeling away the membrane is simple.

raw ribs with BBQ seasoning
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Rubbed and Ready

To get the right flavor on the ribs, you’ll need a proper BBQ rib rub made of salt, sugar, garlic powder and spices. These flavors combine with the juices from the ribs that penetrate the surface of the meat to form a delicious outer crust. We recommend starting with a Kansas City or Memphis-Style spice rub. Apply seasoning evenly to both sides. Optional step: apply a thin coat of mustard on the meat before seasoning with dry rub.

seasoned ribs on a wire rack
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Elevate the ribs on a wire rack over a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. This allows for airflow to circulate, eliminating the need to flip or turn the ribs during cooking.

Broiling Oven Ribs

Sure, you can place the ribs in the oven to cook, and they would turn out fine, but a quick pass under the broiler will crisp up the surface and caramelize the sugar in the rub. Remember that sugar burns at 265 degrees F/130 degrees C. This means that it is crucial to keep a close eye on the ribs during broiling so they do not burn.

broiling ribs
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The rub should start to bubble and sizzle. This is the perfect time to remove the ribs before anything starts to burn and smoke. It might be necessary to turn the rack around to get an even sear on the top surface but don’t worry about flipping them over. We are only interested in creating a crust on top. If your oven doesn’t have a broiler, you can skip this step.

Low and Slow

Let the oven cool down to 250 degrees F/120 degrees C. This is the temperature at which you will cook the ribs. For half of the cooking time, the ribs will remain uncovered.

Cooking Times: For spareribs, plan on a total cooking time of 4 hours. For baby back ribs, plan on a total cooking time of 3-3 1/2 hours.

foil-wrapped-ribs

After 1 1/2-2 hours of cooking, wrap the ribs with a sheet of aluminum foil. They don’t need to be wrapped tightly, just covered and tucked around the edges. Doing this will hold in moisture and prevent the ribs from drying out.

When the ribs have thoroughly cooked, they will be limp but not tear or separate when picked up on the end. The meat will have pulled away from the bones about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. Temperature-checking ribs is made easy by using an instant-read thermometer. Stick the probe into the meat, avoiding contact with the bone. Look for a temperature above 165 degrees F/75 degrees C. If the temperature is above this, don’t panic. Overcooking is not the issue, but ensure that the ribs do not become dry.

Saucing Oven Ribs

Saucing is strictly optional. However, oven cooking will leave these ribs lacking in flavor. Barbecue sauce will add key ingredients that leave them tasting a bit more authentic. Use a good quality barbecue sauce for ribs like our Kansas City Rib Sauce or Classic BBQ Rib Sauce. Remember that the sauce you use should match the flavors of the rub.

applying sauce
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To sauce:

  1. Remove the cooking tray from the oven, unwrap the ribs, and brush the sauce over both sides.
  2. Get it everywhere.
  3. Return the ribs, uncovered, to the oven to bake in the sauce. This step can be repeated several times to layer the sauce and to create a sticky rib that everyone will enjoy. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F/95 degrees C for repeated saucing. Barbecue sauces, like the rub, will burn at high temperatures, so it is best to keep the cooking temperature low. Allow 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time between each application. Barbecue sauce is also an excellent fix for ribs that seem a little dry.

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Carving Oven Baked Ribs

With the ribs completely cooked, it is time to remove them. Unlike meats cooked at high temperatures, these should go from the oven to the cutting board to the plate (or hand) as quickly as possible. The best way to slice ribs is by standing them upright on their side with the exposed bone end up. A good sharp knife should slide down between the ribs easily. If you have the bone side towards you, it is easier to see where to cut.

Serve with a side of corn on the cob, potato salad, and additional barbecue sauce on the side. See recipe card below for storing leftovers.

oven-ribs

Easy Oven Baked Ribs

If you don’t own a smoker or have access to it right now, don’t worry. Our comprehensive guide will teach you how to make ribs in the oven!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 384kcal

Equipment

  • A large cooking tray or cookie sheet
  • A wire rack
  • aluminum foil
  • A sharp knife
  • A basting brush
  • Paper towels

Ingredients

  • A rack of spare or baby back ribs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup 120 mL of rib rub
  • 1 cup 240 mL barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • Remove loose or excess meat and trim bone ends, including the flap of meat on the bone side of the spare ribs.
  • Next, remove the membrane on the bone side by lifting the corner with a butter knife. Secure it with a paper towel and carefully pull it off.
  • Season both sides of the ribs and place them on a wire rack over a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Turn on your oven broiler, and broil the ribs for a minute or two until the sugars in the rub start to bubble. Watch for burning.
  • Remove the pan with ribs, and set the oven to a low temperature 250 degrees F. It will take several minutes for the oven to cool to this temperature after broiling.
  • Once the oven reaches the target cooking temperature, place them back into the oven and let them cook for 2 hours ( 1 1/2 for baby backs).
  • After this time, remove the ribs carefully, wrap them in foil, and place them back in the oven for 2 more hours (or 1-1 1/2 for baby backs).
  • Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F. Remove the ribs once more, unwrap them, and place them bone-side down on the wire rack. Brush liberally with BBQ sauce.
  • Place them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the ribs, and let them rest on a clean cutting board for a few minutes.
  • Turn them so the ends of the bones are facing upward. Carefully slice downward with a sharp knife to separate the ribs.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Store leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 8 weeks. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 679IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 7mg

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