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Oven barbecue ribs, slathered in a sweet and tangy sauce, are seriously easy to make and absolutely delicious. With their bold flavor and fall-off-the-bone tenderness, you may never make ribs any other way again.
These tender and juicy ribs are seasoned with a flavorful spice rub and then slow-cooked in the oven before being basted in barbecue sauce to produce fall-off-the-bone tender meat that is irresistible.
Easy oven-baked ribs are perfect anytime you are craving a hearty and meaty main course.
Great for feeding a crowd, this saucy recipe would pair well with creamy mashed potatoes, fried corn on the cob, and cornbread.
- Ribs - baby back ribs
- Sugar - light brown sugar
- Sugar - granulated sugar
- Onion powder
- Salt - kosher salt
- Paprika - smoked paprika
- Pepper - fresh cracked black pepper
- Ground mustard
- Cayenne pepper
- Ground nutmeg
- Barbecue sauce - your favorite brand
Substitutions and Additions
BARBECUE SAUCE: If you prefer a different flavor profile, you can experiment with different barbecue sauces. Try using a smoky chipotle barbecue sauce for a spicy kick, or a tangy mustard-based barbecue sauce for a different twist.
BROWN SUGAR: Instead of using brown sugar, you can substitute it with coconut sugar or maple syrup for a natural sweetener. Keep in mind that the flavor might slightly differ, so adjust the quantity to your taste.
WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: If you don't have Worcestershire sauce on hand, you can substitute it with soy sauce or tamari sauce. These alternatives will add a similar umami flavor to the dish.
GARLIC POWDER: For a fresher and more intense garlic flavor, you can substitute garlic powder with minced fresh garlic. Use approximately one clove of minced garlic for every teaspoon of garlic powder.
ONION POWDER: If you don't have onion powder, you can use finely chopped fresh onion as a substitute. Approximately one tablespoon of finely chopped onion can replace one teaspoon of onion powder.
PAPRIKA: To add a smoky flavor to your ribs, you can use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.
BLACK PEPPER: For a different flavor twist, you can substitute black pepper with white pepper. White pepper has a milder and slightly earthier flavor that can complement the other spices in the recipe.
HONEY: You can substitute honey with agave nectar or maple syrup. Keep in mind that the flavor might differ slightly, so adjust the quantity to your taste.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar or rice vinegar as a substitute. These alternatives will provide a similar tangy flavor to the dish.
MUSTARD: Instead of regular mustard, you can try using Dijon mustard or whole-grain mustard for a different flavor profile. Dijon mustard will add a tangy and slightly spicy taste, while whole-grain mustard will provide a grainy texture and robust flavor.
Remember to adjust the quantities and taste as you go when making substitutions, as flavors can vary. Enjoy experimenting with these substitutions and additions to create a personalized version of the recipe that suits your preferences and dietary needs!
How to Make Ribs
FIRST STEP: Preheat the oven to 300°F.
SECOND STEP: Add the sugars, onion powder, kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, ground mustard, cumin, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
THIRD STEP: You will need to carefully remove the opaque membrane that covers the underside of the ribs with a small knife.
Lift the corner edge of the membrane and carefully slide the knife's edge underneath. Continue lifting the membrane up while cutting.
Once you have this process started, you should be able to use your fingers to pull the membrane away.
FOURTH STEP: Tear a long piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, long enough to cover the rack of ribs. Lay it over a baking sheet.
FIFTH STEP: Place the rack of ribs, meaty side down and bone side up, in the middle of the foil.
SIXTH STEP: Generously spread ⅓ of the dry rub over the bones and rub into the bones. Flip the ribs over and spread the remaining dry rub over the top of the ribs and rub.
SEVENTH STEP: Crimp the seams of the foil together. Roll up the ends of the foil to seal.
EIGHTH STEP: Bake for 2 hours 30 minutes.
NINTH STEP: Remove the ribs from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to broil.
TENTH STEP: Add ½ cup of barbecue sauce and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
ELEVENTH STEP: Carefully open the foil. Spoon and spread the sauce over the top of the ribs.
To prevent dry ribs, make sure not to overcook them by following the recommended cooking time and temperature in the recipe.
Basting the ribs with sauce during cooking can also help keep them moist.
TWELFTH STEP: Return the ribs to the oven to broil the sauced ribs for 2 to 3 minutes, just to caramelize the sauce.
Remove the ribs from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before separating the individual ribs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of meat instead of ribs for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely try using a different type of meat, such as pork shoulder or beef brisket or spare ribs. However, keep in mind that the cooking time and temperature may need to be adjusted accordingly.
Can I make these ribs in advance for a party?
Yes, you can make the ribs in advance for a party. After cooking, let them cool, wrap them tightly in foil, and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve, reheat them in the oven or on the grill until heated through.
Can I use store-bought barbecue sauce instead of making my own?
Yes, you can use store-bought barbecue sauce if you prefer. However, making your own sauce allows you to customize the flavors to your liking.
Are baby back ribs the same as spare ribs?
Baby back ribs are shorter than spare ribs and are from the ribs attached to the backbone, while spare ribs are from the lower portion of the pig’s ribs. Other types of ribs include country style and St. Louis style.
How to Serve Ribs
Classic Barbecue Feast: Serve these ribs as the star of a classic barbecue feast. Pair them with traditional sides like coleslaw, cornbread, and baked beans.
The smoky, tangy flavors of the ribs complement the cool and crunchy coleslaw, while the sweet cornbread adds a delightful contrast.
The savory baked beans offer a rich and hearty accompaniment that perfectly balances the robust flavors of the ribs.
Southern Comfort: Indulge in a taste of the South by serving these ribs with classic Southern comfort foods.
Accompany them with creamy macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and buttermilk biscuits. The creamy and cheesy macaroni pairs beautifully with the smoky ribs, while the earthy and slightly bitter collard greens provide a refreshing contrast.
Don't forget the buttery and flaky biscuits, which are perfect for sopping up any remaining sauce!
Asian Fusion: Incorporate these ribs into an Asian-inspired meal for a unique and delicious fusion experience.
Serve them with steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables, and a side of spicy Sriracha sauce.
The tender ribs pair wonderfully with the fragrant jasmine rice, while the crisp and vibrant stir-fried vegetables provide a refreshing balance.
Drizzle some spicy Sriracha sauce over the ribs to elevate the flavors and add a delightful kick.
How to Store Ribs
IN THE FRIDGE: To store leftover cooked ribs in the refrigerator, let them cool down to room temperature. Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or place them in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss and keep them from absorbing any strong odors.
Refrigerate the ribs within two hours of cooking. Properly stored, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Before consuming the leftovers, ensure they are heated thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
IN THE FREEZER: To freeze cooked ribs, allow them to cool completely in the refrigerator before packaging.
Wrap each individual rib or the entire portion tightly in aluminum foil, or place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. Label the package with the date and use within three months for optimal flavor.
REHEATING: When it's time to enjoy your frozen or refrigerated ribs, there are a few reheating methods you can choose from.
Regardless of the reheating method you choose, always ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165°F before serving.
Oven Reheating: Preheat your oven to 250°F and remove the ribs from the refrigerator or freezer and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
If they are frozen, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the ribs loosely with another layer of foil to prevent them from drying out.
Reheat in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
Grill Reheating: Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush the ribs with a thin layer of oil to prevent sticking and place them on the grill.
Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with any leftover sauce or glaze, until the ribs are heated thoroughly.
Microwave Reheating: For a quick reheating option, you can use the microwave.
Place the ribs on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe lid to retain moisture.
Reheat in short intervals of 1-2 minutes on medium power, checking for doneness after each interval.
From the rich and tantalizing marinade to the slow-cooked tenderness, these ribs are guaranteed to be a showstopper at any gathering.
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Ribs and Dry Rub
- 2½ to 3 pounds baby back ribs
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2½ teaspoons black pepper, fresh cracked
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup barbecue sauce, your favorite brand
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Add the sugars, onion powder, kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, ground mustard, cumin, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- You will need to carefully remove the opaque membrane that covers the underside of the ribs with a small knife. Lift the corner edge of the membrane and carefully slide the knife's edge underneath. Continue lifting the membrane up while cutting. Once you have this process started, you should be able to use your fingers to pull the membrane away.
- Tear a long piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, long enough to cover the rack of ribs. Lay it over a baking sheet.
- Place the rack of ribs, meaty side down and bone side up, in the middle of the foil.
- Generously spread ⅓ of the dry rub over the bones and rub into the bones. Flip the ribs over and spread the remaining dry rub over the top of the ribs and rub.
- Crimp the seams of the foil together. Roll up the ends of the foil to seal.
- Bake for 2 hours 30 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to broil.
- Add ½ cup barbecue sauce and the 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Carefully open the foil. Spoon and spread the sauce over the top of the ribs.
- Return the ribs to the oven to broil the sauced ribs for 2 to 3 minutes, just to caramelize the sauce. Remove the ribs from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before separating the individual ribs.