There's just something so satisfying about ribs. The sticky-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth tender texture just bursts with flavor. It keeps you grabbing "just one more," and licking your fingers after each one.
But cooking BBQ ribs in the oven? You bet! While true "barbecue ribs" happen over a long process in the smoker, baking ribs is a much-easier alternative. It takes far less time while still satisfying that craving. Oh, and baking the ribs is easier to scale up for a party.
Ribs in the oven are so much less involved than countless trips out to the smoker. While cooking them in the oven doesn't add any of that smoky flavor, they still pack that amazing BBQ taste through the rub and the sauce.
What you Need
- Ribs - Either pork baby back or St. Louis spare ribs work great.
- Baby Back vs Spare Ribs: Spare ribs are a little larger and more marbled with fat, so they can take 30 minutes to an hour longer to cook. Baby back ribs, being smaller and leaner, are great for serving more people and cook more quickly. Both are delicious and it's up to your preference which you go with.
- Dry rub - Make your own or use your your favorite store-bought version. I prefer the rub to be somewhat sweet with a little kick.
- Aluminum foil to wrap the ribs. Heavy-duty wide foil makes it easier to wrap the racks so they don't tear.
- Baking sheet
- Barbecue sauce - Make your own homemade sauce. I love it sweet & tangy. That is so delicious on ribs.
A Note About Salt / Seasoning
Seasoning the ribs with salt is important. If possible, try to prep the ribs and season a few hours ahead of time. This will give time for the salt to fully penetrate through the meat, making the ribs more flavorful and tender. It will still work great though if you have to season right before cooking.
Not all salts have the same sodium level per volume. I use Diamond brand kosher salt. The conversion for different brands is: 2 teaspoons Diamond kosher salt = 1 ½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt = 1 teaspoon table salt.
If your rub already contains salt, then you will want to skip salting it separately. However, if it doesn't contain salt, then the amount should be ½ teaspoon of Diamond kosher salt per pound of ribs.
Finishing the Ribs
The secret to making oven-cooked ribs awesome is the finish. After the ribs are fully cooked and melty tender and sauced up with your favorite BBQ sauce, it's time to finish them. Since the ribs have been wrapped the entire time, introducing them to high heat is going to add even more flavor by caramelizing the sauce a bit and browning the outside.
The easiest way is to use the oven and change it to the broiler setting. Broil for 2 to 5 minutes until they have some nice color, but aren't burned.
If you feel the need to get outside and use the grill, you can totally grill the ribs for this step. Turn them frequently and grill until they have nice color on them.
Yep, absolutely! This keeps them from drying out in the oven so they stay juicy and tender.
Baby back ribs will take approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours to cook at 275° F wrapped in foil. Spare ribs will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. The higher the temperature of the oven, the faster they cook. The thickness of the ribs also changes the cook time.
Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and keep the oven temperature below 300° F to keep them from drying out.
To remove the membrane from the underside of the rack, slide a butter knife under the membrane about 3 bones in, and use a paper towel to peel it back.
More Delicious Pork Recipes
- Smoked Pork Ribs
- Sous Vide and Smoked BBQ Ribs
- Cowboy BBQ Spiced Baby Back Ribs
- Roast Pork Shoulder
- Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder
Prep the Ribs
- Preheat your oven to 275° F.
- Rinse and dry the ribs with paper towels. Remove the membrane from the back side by sliding a butter knife under the membrane about 3 bones in, and using a paper towel to peel it back.
- Evenly season both sides with Kosher salt (see note) and dry rub.
- Wrap and tightly seal the rib racks in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the Ribs
- Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 2 hours. Check the tenderness of the ribs, and continue to bake if they need more time.
- Remove from the oven and remove from the foil but leave on the baking sheet. Rest on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven to broil.
- Baste BBQ sauce generously on both sides of the ribs.
- Place the ribs under the broiler for 2 to 5 minutes to caramelize the sauce a little and add some color. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
- As soon as the ribs are out of the oven, brush on a little more BBQ sauce while they are piping hot.
- Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
- This recipe can be scaled up for multiple racks of ribs. It is best to wrap them separately.
- Either baby back or St. Louis-style spare ribs can be used. Spare ribs are slightly larger and can take 30 minutes to 1 hour longer to cook.
- Season the ribs a few hours before baking if possible to allow the salt to fully penetrate.
- Use ½ teaspoon of Diamond kosher salt per pound of ribs.
- Dry rub: If your rub already has salt, then skip adding additional salt.