“How to Cook Ribs in the Oven” is a question I hear fairly often. So let’s talk about how to get tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs without ever firing up your grill!
So…how to cook ribs in the oven. For some reason, ribs scare a lot of people. I suppose it’s because the last thing anyone wants to do is serve tough, dry ribs; not many things sound less appealing. But cooking ribs until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender is as easy as, well, turning on your oven and tossing them in. Okay, a few more steps might be involved but that’s really the gist of it. The one thing you want to always remember is that important phrase: low and slow. You just can’t rush good ribs, even in the oven.
These ribs are SO GOOD – the meat really does just fall of the bone and they get sooo tender. The trick to how to cook ribs in the oven isn’t difficult although you do need some time. I always start off with my favorite dry rub for ribs (it’s only five ingredients but it adds a good amount of flavor) then cook them for about 4 hours at 300F. After that, I use a trick that I learned from my sister: I refrigerate them overnight. She claims it makes the ribs more tender and I am not one to argue when I’ve tasted her ribs on more than many occasions and they’ve always been fantastic. Whether or not this step does, in fact, make the ribs more tender or not, one thing I do know is that it allows more time for the rub flavors to infuse the meat. More flavor = better ribs! What I especially love about this method for cooking ribs is that I can make them ahead of time and just toss them on the grill or under the broiler when it’s almost time to eat. Anything that takes away the guessing game of when dinner will be ready is a winner to me.
Another little trick that not everyone knows is to always remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. It’s very easy to do and it’s crucial to truly tender ribs. If you’re not sure how to remove the membrane or what I’m talking about, there’s a great tutorial here. It will slip off quite easily and, once you do it the first time, you’ll already have the hang of it and can easily do it every time. Details for how to cook ribs in the oven are below and, I assure you, after just one time using this easy method, you’ll be hooked!
- 2 racks spare ribs, baby backs will work but they won't need as long to cook
- Your favorite barbecue sauce
Dry Rub (optional but recommended)
- 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Place tinfoil on a large baking sheet. Remove the membrane from the bony side of the ribs (there is a great tutorial here (it's extremely easy but necessary). Pat the ribs dry and place on foil-lined baking sheet.
- Rub the top and sides with the dry rub, taking care to slightly massage it into the meat. Using more tinfoil, cover the ribs and crimp the foil together, taking care not to cover the ribs too tightly. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the meat falls from the bone. Start checking after two hours although I typically leave mine for a good four to make sure they get as tender as possible.
- Remove ribs from oven; refrigerate overnight (optional step but recommended).
- Remove ribs from refrigerator and, using your hands, remove any congealed fat from the ribs. Allow the ribs to come to room temperature, then douse with your favorite barbecue sauce. Broil the ribs a few inches from the top of the oven until the sauce starts to bubble; take care not to let it burn. Remove ribs from the oven and serve immediately with more barbecue sauce on the side.