One of my favorite summer foods is ribs, but these tender oven-baked BBQ ribs are a perfect choice year-round. You don't have to have a smoker or grill for incredible flavor and results. Instead, use this recipe to make some of the best "fall off the bone" incredible ribs you've ever tasted. If ribs have been daunting in the past, don't worry! This recipe is perfect no matter how experienced you are in the kitchen.
Oven Baked BBQ Ribs
Over the years, I've tried many different ribs. Classic Memphis barbecue is a favorite, but a close runner up has to be a good old fashioned Texas barbecue. I've enjoyed ribs, though, from Oregan to South Carolina and everywhere in between. Nearly every region has a sauce or cooing method. This one just happens to be my personal favorite.
The secret to cooking ribs is in the slow cooking process. Grilling them just isn't enough to get that tenderness you want. So, you need to find a process that allows a lower heat setting and slow cook time. A typical gas or charcoal grill won't work, but a smoker is ideal.
The problem is, not everyone has a smoker or room for one. My solution? Baking them! Trust me, you'll never look back once you've tried this delicious recipe.
What Ribs are Best for Baking?
Over the years, I've made many a rib with different options available, but ultimately it comes back to the "baby back" pork rib. These offer the best marbling while still having a large amount of meat. They are readily available in any grocery store plus the price is great.
The only other "rib" option I have had success with making are pork "country-style ribs". These are boneless strips of pork steak that are cut into a rib shape and filled with marbling. They too need a slow cook time, but the result is great with much larger amounts of meat per pound of rib.
How Long Does it Take to Bake Ribs?
Your cook time will depend some upon the temperature and also upon the number of ribs being cooked. Generally, a rack of ribs will take 1 ½-2 hours to cook. I find that cooking at a low heat setting of 250°F for around 4-5 pounds of ribs is ideal for 2-hour cook time.
This is typically the window of cook time I recommend. Start with 1 ½ hours, then check the meat to see the internal temperature and tenderness level. Continue cooking for another half hour in 10-minute increments if needed.
Do You Cook Ribs Bone Up or Bone Down?
I find the best results making them meat side down. When I bake ribs, I coat them with my dry rub and oil, then place them on a lined baking sheet.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place the meat side down. The extra fat on the bone side of the rib will cook down and add more flavor as they bake. You can flip them when you stop to baste the ribs for even cooking. Just rotate back and forth as you cook remembering to baste frequently for optimum flavor and moisture.
Do I Need to Flip Ribs While They are Baking?
Yes! I have seen recipes that "set it and forget it", but this is not one. For the best results, I find baking in 30-minute increments between basting is best. Every time I stop to baste the ribs with more sauce, I flip them.
This gives a good flavor and sauce ratio on all sides, plus it allows the fat to render down into the meat as it slowly cooks. When working with baby back ribs, it's an easy process since the ribs come in smaller rackers and are easy to handle.
How Do You Know When Ribs Are Done?
Ribs must reach 145°F internally to be safe for eating. However, just reaching that temperature isn't enough. Many preparation methods can bring the ribs to that temperature in a short time. The secret is in cooking them slowly so they retain juices, get tender, and easily slide off the bone.
I check for the correct internal temperature first, then check to see if the meat is tender enough to pull or tear off the bone without needing a knife. Cutting each rib apart with a knife is recommended for serving, but ultimately you want the meat to have pulled away from the bone to make it easier to eat.
What Should I Serve with BBQ Ribs?
Classic ribs call for the best side dishes! They are truly incredible all by themselves, but I know there is nothing more comforting in a barbecue meal than to bite into a tender rib served alongside your favorite sides.
You always need a good side that is a bit starchy and definitely cheesy. My two favorites are Southern-style baked mac and cheese or these cheesy homestyle scalloped potatoes. Both are a perfect baked dish to go with ribs. Another hot dish is this easy cheesy zucchini rice. It's delicious and super creamy.
This grilled sriracha corn on the cob or this Mexican corn salad happens to be some great sides that we've enjoyed with barbecue. For a more Tex-Mex flavor, this black bean and corn quinoa salad is a hit every time. Of course, I can't go without mentioning this bacon wrapped brussels sprouts dish for a veggie addition to the plate.
- Pork baby back ribs
- Olive oil
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Granulated garlic
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Barbecue sauce
- Garlic powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- Liquid smoke
How to Make BBQ Sauce
In a large bowl, mix together the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, liquid smoke, and salt. Stir to combine then set aside until time to brush on the ribs.
How to Bake BBQ Ribs
Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, garlic powder, granulated onion, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, white pepper, and cumin.
Coat all sides of the ribs with the dry rub and then brush with olive oil.
Place them meat side down on the baking sheet.
Cover the ribs with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 30 minutes.
While the ribs are cooking for the first 30-minutes, you will mix the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, liquid smoke, and salt together in another bowl.
Divide this in half, reserving half for dipping after the ribs are cooked completely.
Baste the ribs with any juices in the pan, then add a thin layer of barbecue sauce and flip the ribs so they are bone side down and meat side up. Cover again with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
Baste the ribs again, then add more barbecue sauce and cover to bake for another 30 minutes.
Remove the aluminum foil from the ribs, and coat with barbecue sauce and flip one more time. Place back into the oven, uncovered, and cook in 10-minute increments for another 30 minutes until the internal temperature reads 145°F and the meat is fall off the bone tender.
Serve with additional barbecue sauce for dipping.
If you prefer to pick up a ready-made spice rub or barbecue sauce, feel free to do so. I like making my own combination as shown, but that doesn't mean it will be your favorite. One of my favorite ready-made blends is the Gusto Rubs of the State barbecue blends.
- 3 lbs pork baby back ribs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cups mild barbecue sauce (any brand)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil;
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, garlic powder, granulated onion, chili powder, paprika, salt, peppers, and cumin until combined;
- Coat the ribs on both sides with your spice blend, then brush with olive oil and place onto the baking sheet;
- Cover the ribs with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 30 minutes;
- While the ribs are cooking, blend the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt then divide into two bowls and set aside;
- Remove from the oven, flip the ribs, baste with the juices, and ¼ of the barbecue sauce blend, then cover again and cook for an additional 30 minutes;
- Flip the ribs again, baste with more the juices in the pan, and cook for an additional 30 minutes;
- Baste the ribs again with another ¼ the barbecue sauce (or half of the half you put aside), flip them, and then recover and cook for another 30-minutes;
- Remove the foil from the ribs, flip them again, and coat with the juices in the pan before cooking in 10-minute increments until the internal temperature has reached 145°F and the meat is falling off the bones and tender;
- Serve cut apart and with additional sauce for dipping.
Use any barbecue sauce you prefer for basting the ribs.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 815Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 1761mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 40gProtein: 63g