Let’s set the scene: You've got an intense craving for saucy, tender ribs, but don't have access to a grill. Heartbreaking, we know, but that's where these BBQ oven-baked ribs come in to save the day. Now, you can make tender, fall-of-the-bone ribs in the comfort of your own kitchen, no matter the time of year or your living situation. If this is your first time baking your ribs, here’s how to nail them:
The secret to tender ribs.
The key to cooking great baked ribs is a balance of low temp, lots of time, and moisture retention. We cook ours at 300° for 2 hours under a tightly wrapped layer of foil. Don’t skip covering your ribs with foil—it ensures that not too much liquid escapes while the low-slow cook breaks down the connective tissue. When cooking, be sure to lay them bone-side down to create plenty of airflow around the rack. Then, baste with sauce and broil for a few minutes to caramelize and crisp the crust.
How to prep your ribs:
First things first: Rinse your ribs. Usually, ribs come vacuum-packed and can be sitting in liquid that you definitely want to wash away. Run under cold water, pat dry, then peel off the “silverskin.” This is the shiny, white piece of membrane that sits on top of the bones, on the cupped side of the ribs, that makes things tough and chewy once cooked.
The membrane should come off pretty easily, but if not, use your paring knife to help loosen things up. Pierce the membrane with a paring knife and run it as far under the membrane as you can to start loosening it away from the ribs. Once you're able to get the tip of your knife under the membrane, you should be able to easily pull it off the ribs. Every now and then you'll find a rack that has the membrane already removed. If you're not sure or if you'd rather not bother with it, ask the butcher at your favorite grocery store.
All about the sauce.
Everyone’s fave part of eating ribs has got to be the sauce. Ours is deliciously sweet, savory, and sticky, like a next-level classic bbq sauce. Trust us—it’s so much better than anything that comes from a bottle. Prepping beforehand? The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Serving ideas for ribs.
We love serving these saucy ribs with some of our favorite BBQ sides, like our red potato salad, mashed potatoes, air fryer corn on the cob or hearty baked mac and cheese. If you’re serving a crowd, the last thing you want is to run out of ribs! To ensure everyone gets plenty, make sure you have at least 4-5 ribs per adult, which is about 2-3 servings per rack.
If you have any leftovers, they can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen, tightly wrapped in foil, for up to 3 months.
For The Ribs
- 2 lb. baby back ribs
- 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
For The Barbecue Sauce
- 1 1/2 c. ketchup
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. molasses
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. If your ribs have a thin membrane over the bones on the backside, remove by carefully sliding a knife under membrane and then peel it away.
In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, pepper, paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne. Rub mixture all over ribs and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake until very tender, 2 hours.
Meanwhile make barbecue sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomato paste, brown sugar, water, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, and paprika. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Turn oven to broil. Remove foil from ribs and brush both sides with barbecue sauce. Broil until sauce just starts to caramelize, 2 to 4 minutes.