Oven Baked BBQ Ribs Recipe Overview :
- Remove the membrane off the ribs (optional)
- Mix together a barbecue marinade
- Leave marinating overnight
- Put in baking tray, apply dry rub
- Bake for 2 hours
- Remove from oven, pour in rest of the sauce
- Put back in oven for 10 more minutes
1. Ribs : The Ultimate Comfort Food
What is comfort food?
Everybody has a different definition of “comfort food” -- after all, the very concept refers to foods that bring you back to a certain time in your childhood when the world seemed a little bit simpler, a little bit kinder, and a little bit better. Usually this is tied with memories of having a delicious home-cooked meal with people you love. Given the highly subjective nature of individual experiences, it’s a hard thing to replicate across the board.
But it’s true that we can also separate the highly subjective concept of “comfort food” -- the one that’s tied specifically to childhood memories and familial experiences -- with a more concrete definition. Meals that bring about a feeling of consolation and satisfaction based on their material properties more than just the memories they evoke.
We can think of, for example, foods that combine sweet and savory flavors. We can think of foods with a texture and mouthfeel that are pleasing and enjoyable. Meals that are simple but feel sumptuous, the kind of thing you’d only indulge in on special occasions not only because of their high caloric value but also to preserve the feeling of specialness they carry with them.
For myself, and a lot of people in the world, barbecue pork ribs are the perfect example of a comfort food. Few meals are as satisfying as sweet, spicy, fall-off-the-bone tender oven-baked ribs. It meets all our criteria for comfort food, with its mix of flavors and textures as well as, for many, nostalgic appeal. And crucially, this deliciously wholesome meal is extremely easy to make.
You could make pork ribs a number of ways -- slow cooker, barbecue, grill, you name it. But one of the quickest and easiest is by using your home oven. The results are fantastic, and you’ll find that it’s an extremely easy process to follow, even though it might look a little daunting at first.
Yep, oven baked ribs are the kind of thing that a lot of home cooks might be intimidated by, because it looks like a complicated process that should be left to professionals. But those of you who have already made them know that cooking a delicious batch of oven baked ribs is actually extremely simple, and one of the best meals you can prepare for your family.
These pork barbecue ribs are also very enjoyable to cook-- in fact, for a long portion of the time while you’re simply letting your oven do the work for you, freeing you up to relax and/or socialize with the people you’re cooking for. So not only will you be rewarded with a delicious meal but you’ll enjoy the process throughout.
You can accompany these pork ribs with a to-die-for homemade barbecue sauce that you’ll want to start slathering on just about every meal you make. Of course, you should try to control that impulse, as you don’t want to rob this delicious meal of its feeling of specialness. We’ll show you how to make that delicious barbecue sauce mixture later in this article.
That said, let’s talk about the best oven baked pork ribs recipe to create those comfort-food memories for your friends and family.
2. Tools You’ll Need
One of the things we find ourselves most often discussing in this blog is the importance of using the right tools for the job. Not just because it’ll make things easier, but because it’ll turn cooking into the enjoyable creative exercise it always should have been. In essence, if you’re using the correct tools, you’re setting yourself up for success.
When it comes to cooking delicious oven baked ribs, there’s a few essentials you absolutely need. Anytime you’re cooking a recipe that involves large amounts of sauce (as this one does) things tend to get a little messy, so you want to look into getting an apron to protect your clothing.
When you’re preparing your food, you need to ensure that your meat is well protected from contamination as well as reduce the mess in your kitchen, which is why a good cutting board comes in very handy. And since we’re talking about cutting, it should go without saying that a good chef’s knife is an essential kitchen tool for the preparation of ribs.
This 8 inch chef knife from Dalstrong’s Shogun Series X is one of the best chef’s knives you can buy. Not only is it a powerful blade -- made with AUS-10V Japanese super steel, with an incredible edge retention at 62+ Rockwell and hand-sharpened to a staggering 8-12 degree angle per side -- but it is also one of the best-looking kitchen knives you’re likely to find on the market. A true premium knife at an affordable price.
3. How To Make Oven Baked Ribs
A. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the ribs:
Baby back pork ribs
4 pounds (2kg)
Cracked black pepper
Chili or cayenne powder (optional)
B. And for the barbecue sauce mix:
2 cups (500 ml)
Chili or cayenne powder (optional)
½ - 1 tablespoon
In order to make this extremely easy oven baked ribs recipe, you do have to prepare your ribs beforehand. And, believe it or not, this process has given way to a bit of controversy (which shouldn’t be surprising, as just about anything in the food world is fodder for heated debate!).
Skin on or skin off?
What could people possibly find about delicious oven baked ribs to disagree about? Well, it’s mostly one thing: the method of preparation for baby back ribs. Specifically, whether one should remove the membrane/skin off baby back ribs. Some folks swear by leaving the skin on the pork ribs, while others believe it should be removed. Where do we stand?
Well, the membrane is in fact a little bit chewy and may not be the easiest thing to eat. Removing it will improve the texture considerably and make the meal a more seamless, satisfying experience, especially if you have kids in your family.
It all comes down to personal preference. Some folks really do love the chewiness of the membrane, while others want their ribs to be as tender as possible -- literally falling off the bone. Like most things in cooking, there’s no one definitive answer. Ultimately, it’s entirely up to you -- you might even want to prepare two different racks of ribs to make your mind up!
Have fun with it. There are no right or wrong answers.
How to remove the membrane
That said, here’s how to remove the membrane/skin off baby back ribs:
- Turn the ribs over with the bone facing up. Slide a knife under the membrane at one end of the rack.
- Use the knife to loosen the membrane off the bone.
- Grab a sheet of paper towel and use it to hold onto the membrane, peeling it easily off the back of the ribs. It should come off quickly and in one piece.
There you go. You’ve removed the skin off your baby back ribs and you’re ready to start preparing it. Feel free to weigh in on the controversy yourself!
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s possible that the butcher or shop where you bought your ribs has already removed the membrane, so it’s possible you might not find it at all.
We want to marinade our ribs to make sure we infuse them with as much delicious flavor as possible. Since we’re keeping this recipe as simple as we can (while still feeling like a gloriously decadent meal), we’re going to keep the marinade simple and easy to make as well.
These are the ingredients for a delicious marinade.
- BBQ sauce. Homemade or store-bought? Honestly, either option is acceptable. If you’re in the mood for something quick and easy, you could pick up a high-quality BBQ sauce from a supermarket. But if you really want to make something special? Homemade barbecue sauce is the way to go. Make sure to check out our detailed recipe on the best BBQ sauce with brown sugar you can make at home.
- Olive oil. This is fantastic for texture, as it will make your ribs crispier and more caramelized as it interacts with the BBQ sauce.
- Garlic. One of the most magical ingredients around. This will add a delicious touch, not to mention a nice kick, to your barbecue sauce mix.
- Worcestershire sauce. Adds depth of flavor to this already amazing barbecue sauce mix.
- If you’re a heat lover like I am, feel free to add in some chili or cayenne powder, or optionally some hot sauce! A little bit of sriracha really livens up this recipe.
Some folks are fans of applying liquid smoke, which, as the name implies, gives it a smokey flavor more closely resembling the traditional BBQ feel. I'm not much of a fan of liquid smoke, so I don’t incorporate liquid smoke into my recipe.
You can leave your ribs soaking in this delicious marinade in your fridge overnight, so that it really mixes in with these flavors. If you’re in a hurry, you could leave it for as little as four hours, but we strongly recommend planning ahead and letting it marinade overnight.
To do this, place the ribs on a container, then pour your marinade in. Be generous here -- you want to make sure the entire rack is soaking in the marinade. That said, you do want to leave about half of this BBQ sauce mix available for cooking. Then simply stick in your fridge and let it soak in.
Easy oven baked ribs recipe
2 hours and 15 minutes
2 hours and 25 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Take your marinated ribs and dry them thoroughly, then move them over to a baking sheet or tray lined with foil or parchment paper.
- Apply your dry rub: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili or Cayenne powder. Sprinkle this seasoning over the dribs and then drizzle with oil. Rub the rib rub vigorously over the ribs on both sides.
- Cover the baking sheet or tray with foil and bake your ribs for 2 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the oven, remove the foil and spread the tops with the remainder of your sauce mixture.
- Bring your oven up to 460°F (240°C). Move the ribs back to the oven, this time uncovered. Bake it for another 10 minutes. A good tip here is to change your oven settings to broil (or grill) on medium-high heat to char and caramelize the edges for about 3 minutes.
- Then let the ribs rest for 10 minutes, allowing its juices to settle before slicing.
There you have it. Easy, delicious, finger-licking oven baked ribs with an incredibly addicting sauce. The very definition of comfort food. You can use this same recipe for beef ribs and it’ll turn out incredible.
A note on spiciness
If you’re anything like me, you’re a fan of the heat. You want your ribs to not only be tasty, juicy, and tender, but you also want them to have a kick to them -- something that burns so good and leaves you wanting more. For this reason, I always top my oven baked ribs off with a bit of extra hot sauce at the very end of the process.
Which hot sauce? Well, of course, there’s a variety of flavors. Some people are down with the more vinegary taste of brands like Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot, or Gringo Bandito. Others prefer the garlicky sweetness of Sriracha, or even less common sauces like Secret Aardvark Habanero. Again, it all comes down to taste.
My recommendation -- as an avid capsaicin aficionado -- is to be considerate of the people you're sharing your meal with. Not everyone is a fan of spicy food, and everyone has different tolerance levels. A meal that’s way too spicy is bound to ruin dinner for someone. So maybe keep the hot sauce to your own individual serving.
Also, remember that these sauces sometimes contain sugar, so apply them at the end of the process to avoid them burning.
4. Toppings & Sides
When it comes to barbecue ribs, there are some perennial favorites that have accompanied the meal for decades. I’m not sure exactly how these pairings came about, but they’re some of the most iconic in the culinary world, coming from traditional southern cooking.
Whether you’re making oven baked ribs or cooking them on a grill or smoker, these classic dishes offer some of the greatest flavor combinations. Here are five of our favorites.
Classic macaroni and cheese
Who doesn’t love the cheesy, creamy goodness of macaroni and cheese accompanying the sweet and spicy barbecue ribs? It doesn’t get much better than that. You could make them crunchy, too, sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs and additional fixins like bacon and chives. This is my number-one pick for an easy oven baked barbecue ribs side.
Garlic mashed potatoes
This is another absolute classic -- delicious, buttery mashed potatoes cooked with garlic for extra flavor. Some folks also add a bit of parmesan cheese at the very end to make this classic side dish even more satisfying. A nice potato salad also fills this role nicely.
This is another classic of southern cooking that we absolutely recommend trying paired with oven baked ribs. This was one that was new to me until very recently and I can confidently say that I’ve become a convert. You can cook these collards with smoked ham hocks or even turkey drumsticks.
Crispy corn fritters
Also known as “hush puppies” -- these are an absolutely delicious companion to any barbecue. Corn kernels off the cob which are then folded into cornmeal batter with cayenne and scallions, and then fried to crispy, golden perfection (while staying fluffy inside).
Sticking with the “corn” theme, there’s no denying the deliciousness of cornbread and its ability to soak up BBQ sauce, serving as the perfect foil for a nice stack of ribs. Not only is this a great side, it also makes for a great cleaning implement as you wipe your dish clean to capture every last bit of flavor!
5. How To Store Oven Baked Ribs
We love barbecue ribs, but if you’re the kind of person who goes a little overboard when cooking and ends up with some leftovers (which you may be doing on purpose because you know the absolute thrill of reheated barbecue leftovers), you might be curious as to how long you can safely keep them stored in your fridge.
Well, the answer to this question will depend entirely on your storage conditions, so listen up.
To maximize the shelf life of your cooked pork ribs, not only for safety but also for quality, refrigerate them in a shallow airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil. By doing this, you’ll be making sure your cooked ribs are as safe as possible, and they will last in your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
For most of us, that’s more than enough time to consume the leftovers (heck, in my case I’m not sure they’d even make it past dinnertime) -- but if you feel you want to further extend the shelf life of your ribs, you can freeze them.
To freeze your oven baked ribs, cover them in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag, or wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap. They will maintain their best quality for 2 to 3 months, but will continue to remain safe after that time.
Once you’ve frozen and then thawed your oven baked ribs, you can keep them for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before heating up. If you’ve thawed them in a microwave or in cold water, you should eat them immediately.
6. Frequently Asked Questions About Ribs
Should oven baked ribs be covered?
Yes, oven baked ribs should be covered for the bulk of the cooking process, as per our recipe above. Two hours into baking, remove the ribs from the oven, add in your sauce mixture, and then place back into the oven uncovered for ten additional minutes.
How long does it take to cook ribs at 275?
At 275 degrees, ribs will usually take 3 to 4 hours to cook.
How long does it take for ribs to cook in the oven at 350?
At 350 degrees, ribs take about two hours to cook. This is the recommended cooking temperature for our recipe above.
How do you keep ribs from drying out in the oven?
Aluminum foil! This nifty little tool is one of your best friends when it comes to ensuring that your food doesn’t dry out in the oven. They will hold the moisture rising from the ribs under the foil, preventing them from drying out.
Do ribs get more tender the longer the cook?
Yes -- the longer you cook your ribs, the more tender they will be. However, make sure to take all the necessary precautions to avoid drying your ribs out.
Can you overcook ribs in the oven?
You can overcook any meat in the oven. This is why it’s important to follow the temperature and time instructions provided above to ensure that your ribs are juicy, tender, and falling off the bone instead of flaky and dry.
Should you remove the membrane from the back of the ribs?
As we noted above, this is a surprisingly contentious issue! Some people who grew up accustomed to the chewy membrane may have a sentimental attachment to it, and indeed you might find yourself enjoying it if you’re trying it for the first time. My personal stance is that removing the membrane makes for a better experience altogether, as it results in juicier and more tender ribs.
What is a dry rub?
As the name implies, a dry rub is a mix of dry ingredients (specifically, seasonings) that you rub all over a piece of meat before cooking it. It’s a great way to infuse your meat with flavor without risking burning anything (remember that many sauces contain sugar (and BBQ sauces in particular contain brown sugar), which does have a propensity to burn!). Dry rubs are also sometimes known as “spice rubs” or “rib rub,” which is an adorably alliterative name.
How do you know when ribs are done in the oven?
When ribs are finished cooking, you’ll see that the meat will draw back and expose about three-quarters of an inch of the rib bone. When the “knuckle” of the third rib bone begins to poke through, the ribs are finished. However, if you want to make absolute certain, a meat thermometer is always a useful tool to have around the kitchen.
Can I cook my ribs on the grill after cooking them in the oven?
Absolutely. In fact, this is a fantastic way to cook your ribs. You can cook them in the oven until they’re about ready, then slap them on the grill and baste them with BBQ sauce for a nicely charred result. This is great for when you’re serving ribs at a party!
Written by Jorge FarahBorn on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.