On the kind of clear-skied, warm summer evening when people without sleepless, feverish babies to tend to were drinking beers outside and grilling on rooftop decks, we stayed in last night and, for once, did not feel the eensiest bit jealous. We were eating ribs for dinner and we hadn’t even needed to leave our apartment to get them.
I never knew I could make ribs in the oven. I hadn’t even considered it. Ribs were the jurisdiction of trophy-winning Southeastern barbecue gurus, with trademarked rubs and secret mops. They were my friend Molly’s thing, and so we left them to her even though our summer has been woefully short of them since she left us for the mountains again, sniffle. They were not the “thing” of New Yorkers who live in small balcony-less apartments with smaller ovens and absolutely no barbecue tradition or rib religion to draw from, but Harold McGee changed all that. I am giving him a standing ovation as we speak.
McGee found that he preferred ribs cooked in an indoor oven over an outdoor grill and chalked the it up to real estate: there wasn’t enough surface area for large amounts of ribs (estimating 5 pounds for 4 people, or “a couple hundred square inches” of ribs) to keep the cooking temperature even on most home grills. In an oven, he could cook ribs gently and evenly for many hours. And it turned out, so could I. Just shy of six hours after I put them in the oven, these ribs were everything people standing over grills for hours hope them to be: falling-off-the-bone tender, with deeply caramelized crusty edges. We spilled the juices into a saucepan and reduced them until they were a syrupy, intensely flavored sauce and draped it over the ribs and served them with slaw and some porch swings. And sure, we were inside watching
Jersey Shore Pillars of the Earth and not out gallivanting but really, the only thing missing was the ruckus.
One year ago: Plum Kuchen
Two years ago: Garlic Mustard Glazed Skewers
Three years ago: Nectarine and Blackberry Galette
Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs
Adapted from Harold McGee, via The New York Times 6/30/10
My only nitpicking about this recipe is that I found them a little sweet for my tastes. Sugar plays an important part in barbecue, in both flavor and caramelization, so I might be hesitant to dial it back by more than 1/4, but I would increase the salt, and possibly double it. Honestly, you can tweak the rub any which way (add cumin, black pepper or red pepper flakes, more paprike, more chile powder), there’s no way these can come out badly. Last thought: If you’ve got an oven thermometer, watch it instead of your temperature dial. I find that oven temperatures seem to be the most off at the lowest settings (my oven’s “200” was pushing past 250 on the thermometer) and while you can cook these ribs at a higher temperature, you certainly wouldn’t want to accidentally for 6 hours.
5 pounds should serve four people, we halved this and found 2 1/2 pounds to be generous for 2 people and might estimate 1 pound per person next time
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder (ancho is recommended) or paprika
2 teaspoons salt (see Note above about increasing it)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 pounds spareribs, cut into 4 slabs, rinsed and patted dry
2 teaspoons mild or hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or red or white vinegar
Heat oven to 200°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder or paprika, salt, garlic powder, cloves and cinnamon; you can do this easily with a fork. Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil large enough to fold into a packet. Sprinkle spice rub over the ribs, patting it in generously on all sides — you’ll be glad you did. Turn the ribs meat side down and tightly fold the foil to make sealed packets.
Put a rack on a baking sheet (I needed two racks and two sheets; a cookie cooling rack works for this) and place it in the oven. Bake for 4 hours at 200°F, then reduce the temperature to 175°F for another two hours or until a fork easily penetrates the meat. Open each packet carefully and pour the accumulated juices into a saucepan. Boil the juices and reduce them by half, at which point you will have a syrupy sauce that easily coats a spoon. Stir in paprika and vinegar.
Remove the ribs from the foil and either coat them with the sauce or serve the sauce alongside the ribs. (I have friends who consider barbecue sauce on ribs heretic, thus would give them the choice.) For extra caramelization, the ribs can be finished for a few minutes under the broiler, before being coated with sauce.
334 comments on sweet and smoky oven spareribs
Small kitchen? Check. A love of Southern BBQ? Check! Looks like this recipe is right up my (and my Manhattan apt’s) alley :)
i was excited about that article too, but havent gotten around to making it yet. i also want to say a HUGE thank you (THANK YOU) for your website. it has become a staple for me (i too live in a little nyc apartment with an even littler kitchen) and your writing and posts are so inspiring. ive tried lots and havent had one dud yet. i also really appreciate your varied sources, checking those out have led me to many more awesome recipes… im so indebted. also – i feel like were friends. which is weird, but i chalk it up to the wonders of the internet.
Yum! These are gorgeous.
Yay for meat! Love it when you do some good ol’ fashioned soul food. I have a recipe like this that we finish on the grill, but there’s nothing better than reducing a step.
OH my mouth is watering! And I do remember those sleepless nights when my kids were not feeling well. At least you had these ribs to make you perk up and happy! Hope the baby feels better today!
My husband approves of the technique, which is saying a lot from the man who built his own smoker last weekend. They look delicious. I don’t think I could go for grilled ribs, though. The smoker is definitely easier to maintain a consistent temp, though, much like the oven, and I’ve been nothing but disappointed at the grilled presentations I’ve had.
These look great! I am going to add them to my menu for our beach trip. Thanks!
My mom always makes ribs in the oven! In fact she pops them in the pressure cooker first to tenderize them, then finishes them off in the oven. Along with fresh, hot, buttered corn they were a summer staple when I was a kid. Your sauce recipe looks amazing; I love the addition of cinnamon.
I make ribs in the crockpot and they are darn good if I do say so myself!
Tell us more about crockpot ribs!
Honestly, I might try this in the fall but my house couldn’t take 6 hours of the oven on in this heat! But I do have a gas grill with temperature control and might try it on that.
These might be the first ribs I ever cook. My husband thanks you. My hips do not. :-)
@Sherrie – oh do share the recipe for crockpot ribs!
meat. low. slow. yes, please.
You may have just made me my husband and FIL’s favorite person. I totally know what we’re having next Friday when FIL is in town. With fresh picked corn and locally sourced ribs I will be a goddess. Well, I guess a demi-goddess since it’s your recipe, but I won’t complain!
I am so glad to learn of a recipe for ribs in the oven! I can hardly wait to try this. I do hope the Spanish paprika’s not a deal breaker, as I likely won’t find it in my local grocery store of the small town where I live.
Do you have a Trader Joe’s? They carry smoked paprika.
Every inquisitive cook should possess a copy of McGee, and maybe two — the original and the updated — because they really are that useful.
I rarely make ribs because Grumpy thinks he doesn’t care for them, but I think, made right, they are awesome. I love them. Your ribs look delicious and the jealousy is over here on my side because they were on your table and not mine!
I’m thinkin’ these ribs would love a brine. I think you hit on the perfect passive-yet-satisfying cooking project for a preoccupied-with-baby day!
i love ribs…and when you can combine sweet/smoky/spicy in just about anything you can count me in!
We are Southern BBQ folks and don’t tell anyone, but we always cook our ribs coated with a dry rub in the oven. We prefer the smaller baby back ribs, so the cooking time is less…but the taste…there is nothing like it…add some jalapeno or blue cheese cole slaw and you can celebrate summer all year long! I made porch swings last evening and we toasted you and the recipe. Thanks for making Friday night cocktails so much fun.
YUMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY I just ate dinner and I feel hungry again just by looking at your pictures :D (drool)
Wonderful outcome! We love ribs and believe me they are an art form. The wrong temperature and you will be left with some dry chewy mess. I can tell that your BBQ instincts are spot on, you know how I can tell….I can see that the tip of the bones are showing…one of the #1 rib requirements!!
You might be a Manhattanite but your cooking is all southern comfort to me ;0)
And if you happen one day to be riding cross country,you, your husband and Jacob are more than welcome to come and chew on one of these (file:///C:/Users/Guest/Documents/RIBS.htm) ribs at our restaurant.
Mmmm, look how they glisten! Lovely!
I’m soo glad you make meat. I get SOO much crap from people whenever I post a MEAT recipe. What gives? These ribs look like a power aphrodisiac.
Constant (obsessive?) reader, first time commenter. Only problem is I’m speechless and breathless to get into the kitchen NOW.
Get well vibes to the beebster. Cutest baby on the block.
Woah. If I only had an oven! These look fantastic!
About the sugar, how about cooking the brown sugar in a pan for a bit to give it a head start before its turn in the oven? Caramelizing the sugar might help for less overtly sweet ribs. Amping the salt would definitely help too. I’ll have to experiment a bit with how long to cook the sugar so I don’t end up with a burnt mess :D Thanks Deb! Great to know this can work out in an oven.
We just bought a rack of baby back-ribs. Do you think this recipe would work for them? Looks delicious!
see … i’m a vegetarian. but sometimes i think meat looks kind of good, you know? this is one of those times.
This looks so good. drool
These look great! I just posted ribs on my blog yesterday :) There must be something about summer that just screams ribs!
I grew up in NY but live in TX now and only make ribs in the oven. Martha Stewart recipe w/ bbq sauce is my fave, but looking forward to trying this one. Some folks around here ‘finish’ them on a grill for show and to make the bbq sauce get sticky, but flavor & texture is from that longs slow oven.
And how awesome is Pillars of the Earth!?! Except for the uncomfortable liberties taken with Regan and William’s relationship.
This may be a dumb question, but are spareribs pork or beef? I really want this recipe to turn out as good as it looks!
i *just* made these a few weeks ago and they were amazing. of course, since then my oven broke.
i agree on the sweetness. thanks for the modification — i’ll try them that way next time.
Did you broil yours Deb, or are those caramelized straight from the foil pouch?
Liz — Caramelized from the pouch. The rub makes them darker.
Spareribs — Were pork.
Tracy — Why? I cook meat about once every two months (maybe once a month this summer) but when I do, I like it to be something exciting. Something fancy.
Kelly G- You asked the exact question I was wondering too!
Pork or Beef???
Weird! I made beef ribs for my boyfriend last night (I don’t eat meat) and did them in the oven too, being that it’s the middle of winter here in NZ! Great minds huh.
oh. my. word.
Ribs are one of the finer things about summer, aren’t they? Especially when enjoyed with a cold glass of dry rosé. Cheers to summer!
Wow! These look great! I can’t imagine not having a grill to cook on (ok, fine, for my husband to cook on), but it seems like your oven is doing just fine :)
I’ve cooked ribs in the oven for years and it’s the only way to go, IMO. You really don’t need 6 hours – 4 should do it.
I hate the taste of grilled food (I know, I’m odd), so baking ribs is ideal for me.
Please give poor little sick Jacob a hug. He just looked so pitiful in that picture it hurt my heart.
The oven can do so many things I am amazed ever since I got one (yes, I don’t know why it took me so long). Poor little Jacob, hope he’s better already.
I have to say thank you, Deb, for teaching me to cook meat. Most other dishes I had mastered, but my meat always came out bad. I’ve learned so much about cooking meat from different recipes on your blog! I haven’t attempted ribs yet, but now that I have a Smitten Kitchen-approved ribs recipe to try, that might be one of my next projects… after I go to the grocery store!
Low and slow is the way to go….we have been doing our ribs this way for about a year now, and finishing them on the grill or under the broiler. We’ve even bought racks on sale, done a mass roast in the oven, and frozen them at that point, thawing them out and finishing them with guava jelly, fruit purees and so on. It’s a lovely, lovely thing!
We make our ribs in roasting pan and they are the ultimate – we cook for 1 hour after use fresh garlic and season salt rub, and then bbq sauce slather for 2 hours and voila fall of the rib tastiest yet. Posted on my blog.
Will try these however as well for something different.
Great post!! And as always love and envy your photos.
Oh my. Those are incredibly mouth-watering! The color is devine. I swear I can almost smell them!
Don’t you just love your oven… I do!!!! I also love ribs. My husband and I have them twice a year…. Memorial Day and Labor Day. Yes, I know that they are close together. We call those days…. MMMM…. ribs???
Thanks for the post. Love it!
Is that 200 fahrenheit or celcius?
Donald — Fahrenheit
I love ribs and this looks so yummy!!! We’ve never gotten round to getting a grill so this is perfect for us :)
I would love me some of these. Yum!
Oh my god, I’ve wanted Harold McGee’s book so bad but it’s so expensive. Also amazing are these Chinese BBQ Ribs from Gourmet, they’ve become a weeknight staple for me. Thats right, ribs on a weeknight http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chinese-Barbecued-Baby-Back-Ribs-240581
Making ribs in the oven is my dad’s THING, but I think your homemade rub would make them even more incredible. Thanks, Deb!
Mmmm..ribbies! We start ours in the oven with a rub as well. I never thought to reduce the juices and just use it for the sauce. I’ve poured the juices directly into our BBQ sauce, and I’ve always thought it overkill. Your way next time! Thanks, Deb.
I have been dreaming of ribs and since I’m a balconey-less apartment dweller, I’ll be following the great sounding recipe very soon! The low temp will keep the kitchen from getting too hot too, what a bonus, of course even if it is a bit warm we can always wait for them to finish while basking in the A/C in the living room!
my dad marinates ribs in the fridge for three days first before going low and slow in the oven. obscene.
Hot damn! I love you. Finally, a rib recipe for those of us who don’t grill!
And I hope your little snookums is feeling better soon, poor thing.
I live in an apartment where I don’t have access to a grill so this is perfect! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try them!
YUM YES YUM YES YUM YES
Mmm, sweet, smoky stickiness… These look deliciously messy. :D
Crazy. I haven’t had ribs in years, and I wouldn’t have even considered them if it hadn’t been for this post. Thanks for the ribby inspiration! Hah.
1st Deb-I hope your little guy feels better soon! 2nd- I have 1 question about your recipe. When you state: “Boil the juices and reduce them by half… Stir in paprika and vinegar” Are you referring to the smoked paprika? Does the regular paprika go into the spice rub? Thanks
Sheree -I too would love it if you could please share your recipe for making spare ribs in the crock pot!
Simone — Yes, the second mention of paprika. I’ll try to make that clearer.
Hope your little man feels better today. Those ribs are GORGEOUS! SO FRICKING GORGEOUS that I may be forced to succomb to making some!
I just moved, and was looking for a way to thank my husband for all his hard work last week. This looks like a well-timed thank you dinner if I’ve ever seen one!
I have been using another recipe for oven baked baby backed ribs this summer. The recipe called for an oven temperature of 300? for 2 ½ hours, wrapped in aluminum foil. The recipe called for the ribs to be brushed with bottled barbecue sauce but I used a rub. I found that that this time and temperature produced the desired fall off the bone effect. The time and temperature might not be appropriate for the thicker vanities of ribs. I can’t wait to type your rub.
These look delicious. I agree that maybe less sugar would be better. I would also add a bit of heat. It is just so hard to cook outdoors in Atlanta, so oven baked ribs are perfect!
…and the best part? No yucky grill to clean! The hubs would love these.
I have been looking at rib receies for the past 3 weeks but havent gotten around to making anything yet but I think your’s will be the one I try!. Thanks ps do you have a recepie yet for thai green papaya salad? if not can you create one please? thanks
After a few years I have finally, in my opinion, perfected my baby back ribs which I cook in the oven and then finish off on my gas grill, but have also done them under the broiler. I have found that by rubbing the ribs, wrapping 2 racks together in foil, and then placing in the refrigerator from 1 to 3 days makes a huge difference in flavor as the rib penetrates the meat very well.
Oh my!! Those look soooo good. My mouth is watering now.
Just when i’m thinkin’ ” geeze, can that Deb BE more awesome??” re: raspberry brown sugar gratin recipe, up pops this beauty.
I had dry rubbed ribs in the fridge overnight destined for the slow cooker and charcoal bbq finish, but this post saw them circumvented to the oven. A Harold McGee & Smitten Kitchen tag team?? I’m dead and headn’er for heaven.
amazing photographs. made this last night.
My dad used to smoke ribs in a giant cabinet. Lacking the cabinet, I always cook them in the oven then grill them for just a few minutes with create the “bark.” To use southerners, the bark is the KEY! The broiler is a great idea if you don’t have a grill!
BTW-Your baby is too cute!
Deb, they look delicious. My husband does our ribs the old fashion way — outside with several types of wood. We like ours with a little pull — not actually falling off the bone but where you have to knaw on them a little :). I may try the sauce and cut back half on the brown sugar and skip the cinnamon and add a little cumin to it. I like the look ofd the consistency of the sauce. My dad had an old upright freezer he turned into a bbq pit and bricked around it. He actually used soda cans over the smoke stack with different size holes in the can to produce the temperature he wanted. I think he trained my husband well in his bbqing skills.
Girl, I don’t know how you’re turning on that oven in the hot and humid NYC! I just returned from the city two days ago. While I was there, I was hoping for a Deb sighting! :)
BTW, I see you found the knee cap, but where did the thigh go now?
these look so good. thanks for tips on how to adapt the receipe
I can’t believe you were able to do this in an oven. yum!
I just bought some beautiful ribs at the market. Thanks for the recipe!
Fantastic recipe! I am forever (as a New Yorker with no access to a grill on a regular basis) making ribs in the oven, and I love the temp/technique in this recipe. Thanks!
In the South, we frequently start the ribs in the oven, then finish them up in the grill/smoker for that smoky flavor.
Can’t decide which I love more: your fabulous recipes or the heartstopping photos of the cutest baby ever. I don’t suppose you’re planning to sneak any baby pictures into your cookbookr?
Have you seen the Bon Appetit recipe (2003) for Chili-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chili-Rubbed-Baby-Back-Ribs-with-Espresso-Barbecue-Sauce-108240. It’s been my go-to rib recipe because it cooks in the oven and not a terribly long time, either – just an hour and a half. Not a lot of prep work and I can put this together in the am before a afternoon or evening bbq. I also like that the bbq sauce is tweaked with espresso – really perks it up.
Fairly recently forsaking vegetarianism, the Ribs thing has always scared me…both eating and cooking-wise. But my Southern husband should get ready to thank you a million times over–these look wonderful, and I may just give it a go. Given that we now live in Italy, it may be interesting trying to FIND ribs, but once I work it out, they’ll be destined for my teeny European oven. Hooray!
Absolute perfection! And perfect for a mid-August visiting carnivore: your ribs, my coleslaw, a plum tart. Thank you!
My husband would love me if I made these
Emeril Lagasse does a similar rib in the oven, called Apple Cider Marinated Pork Spare Ribs with the recipe here (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/apple-cider-marinated-pork-spare-ribs-recipe2/index.html). We have not had to use the grill for this recipe and these ribs are fall off the bone tender when done.
Yum. I’ve always made ribs in the oven and now I feel better about my no-grill issues. Now I cook the ribs in the slowcooker first before the oven and they are delish but your sauce looks amazing. Hope your sweet boy is better soon.
Oh, yes, yes, YES! I am all about these ribs. I think I need to make them this week. :D
I just read McGee’s article on oven-cooked ribs too! I didn’t see the accompanying recipe, though, so I just followed the suggestions given in the article. I also rounded up the temperature to 200 F for the whole cooking time, and they came out very tender. I made a spicy ancho chile rub with very little sugar. I was afraid that the sugar would burn during the long cooking time, despite the low temperature, but I guess I needn’t have worried. My ribs were pretty tasty (though looking at your pictures, I want yours!). Mine developed a nice crust from being allowed to cook unwrapped, but the downside was that I yielded only a scant quantity of pan juices. Next time I will use your spice rub and combine our techniques, by cooking the first 4 or 5 hours or so in foil, then finishing them unwrapped.
I’m so glad that you shared this recipe and method! One of my dearest friends (from Georgia so his Southern credentials are legitimate) has sworn by this method for years, and, whenever I’ve been lucky enough to share in the ribs, they have been excellent. His style varies a bit from yours – he doesn’t make foil packets, and he bastes them during the baking process with a thinned barbeque sauce (low sugar here lest it burns). From my somewhat limited experience with oven ribs, they come out perfectly moist and delicious, with just the right touch of crispiness on the outside. I would echo previous comments that getting the temperature right is the key to success here – long and low is the only way to go.
These look totally YUM! Baby back or regular spare ribs?
I feel like I will find someone to marry me if I know how to cook the perfect spareribs – I think you have provided me with the recipe ;)
I’m reading this while I’m trying to cook 18 lbs of ribs on my small grill (frequent rotations going on). Wish I would have read this first, I would have done them in the oven. Next time.
you know, i moved from brooklyn to richmond, virginia and never have i once tried barbecue here. what is wrong with me? nothing– whatever– i’ll make it at home. thanks for the recipe, smit.
These sound perfect for my boyfriends birthday dinner this week. He’s a super slaw fan, how do you think the flavors of the ribs would pair with the mango slaw you recently posted?? Any other suggestions?
Also, I can’t thank you enough for all the work you do to keep this site going. You are bringing such amazing recipes and ideas to the masses. I’m constantly referring to you like a close friend, ‘Deb says this’ or ‘Deb thinks that’. I can’t wait to buy your cookbook, I’d love to support you in just a tiny way, as a little bit of gratitude for introducing me into the tastes and skills of Deb. I’m here to stay.
I can’t eat pork but would love to try this recipe with beef ribs…do I need to do anything different?
I just got a tin of smoked paprika and this is great because it’s done in the oven as opposed to a grill, which I don’t have.
this looks to DIE for! I will absolutly be trying this recipe….. as a matter of fact I’m off tomorrow and i think it’s a perfect rib day!
As a devotee of BBQ Bible – oven baked ribs are the way to go. So much better control & the tenderness can’t be beat. Can’t wait to try this variation!
I’m so sorry to hear that Jacob isn’t feeling well…I hope he feels better soon!
The ribs look amazing, Deb!
Good recipe and really nice pictures! I’m going to have to try this one out. Thanks for posting.
My dh also thinks he doesn’t like ribs and I’m usually reluctant to spend the time making them for this reason. But these look SO easy I think I’m willing to try.
I made these yesterday in my tiny downtown apartment sans outdoor space and grill. I was skeptical, but they came out perfectly. I cut the recipe in half and made 2 pounds of ribs–the perfect amount for 2 (hungry) people. Thanks for sharing!
Okay. This is torture. I’m leaving town for a week on a business trip where I will eat bad restaurant food everyday. I will be thinking of coming home to these babies! I love ribs! Maybe I’ll leave a grocery list for my boyfriend, so that we can cook these the minute I land and get home!
looks wonderful. a new bbq joint just opened up near our place and i’m feeling like it’s gonna be a month of bbq, either there or at home!
Oooo – nothing says summer to me like ribs! Think these could work in a slow cooker (perhaps finished on the grill to get a similar char) in the winter?
How are spare ribs different than baby back ribs? I have never really understood the difference between the types of ribs. Would this work for any type of rib? I absolutely love ribs and want to try this next weekend! Do you have to remove any sort of skin on the ribs?
We are like-minded. My little one had a fever all week and only just started to improve yesterday. And what was for dinner? None other than a heaping tray of ribs.
A porch swing and some saucy ribs…and the Jersey Shore, sounds to me like a wonderful evening!
Definitely making these this weekend!
I make mine this way everytime and the method never disapoints. I do finish mine on the grill. These are great as a make ahead for a lot of company. They can be made ahead of time, even froze, then thawed and finished on the grill. Guest will swear you spent the whole day slaving over the hot coals.
Wow, these look amazing. Your blog is going to be an important part of my life going forward, now that I am moving from a house with a decent sized kitchen AND a grill to a 2-bedroom condo with neither. If you can make these wonderful things in a tiny kitchen AND a baby, I should be fine!
These look fabulous and my hubby would especially love them. Plus, we don’t have a grill, so I especially like this recipe and just saved it!
Could I do this in a slowcooker?
Hey! Mine are in the oven as week speak. I have reached the point where i reduce the heat to 175 and continue cooking for another 2 hours. QUESTION: Do I pour the juices in at this point, or keep them in until the ribs are completely done cooking. I figure the latter, since you want the ribs to sit after they come out of the over. But I had to ask! Thanks!
Excited to make these this week, but I have a question. What purpose does the baking rack on the baking sheet serve? We have a very small oven (though it’s awesome with convection settings) and I was wondering if you thought these would work if I just wrapped them in foil and placed them directly on the oven racks, skipping the baking sheet plus rack option? If the sheet is needed to more evenly disperse heat though…Hrm.
My hubby bought a smoker last summer and these would be fantastic “low and slow”!! Thanks!
I saw McGee at the Tales of the Cocktail conference last weekend. What he had to say about mint, and about shaking egg whites, totally changed my world.
Shannon — Well now you *have* to share!
Janine — It is so air circulates around them, and so it is not pressed against the hot pan underneath.
Katie — I poured them out when it was done.
Hillary — Spare ribs are larger and meatier; they’re from the belly. Baby backs are smaller and less fatty; they’re from the loin.
These ribs look delicious! I saw Harold McGee in conversation with Heston Blumenthal a few weeks ago and he instantly became one of my favorite people. Such a sweet, clever, and interesting man!
Funny how the blogosphere always provides. My father in law recently gifted me with some spareribs and I’ve been trying to figure out what recipe I want to use to cook them.
how have I missed this post! Hubby is going to have to go to the store and collect some ribs for me so I can make this tomorrow!
Deb – any reason you left out the vanilla extract in the original recipe? Apart from it sounding like a really odd addition I mean? :p
Bec — Nope, that was it. Also, I think vanilla extract is very strong. I would have absolutely thought the sauce reminded me of cake.
My goodness does this look ah-mazing! Finger licking good!
Made em, awesome. However next time I’ll brine them overnight in high salt and high acid brine. Also added some Worcestershire sauce and Dr.Pepper to the sauce to beef it up.I served it with a side of old school tater salad. All together a great meal. Thanks for the recipe SK.
I have been doing my ribs in the oven for ages and I never do them without tons of compliments and people wanting the recipe. I have never been to a restaurant where I liked them as much. The meat should be falling off the bone, you shouldn’t have to chew it off. Great photos by the way. Loved them, it made me so hungry. I have to admit that I went to my sister’s in Texas and she had a smoker. I had to have one after tasting hers. Now I finish them off in the smoker for 1 hour, but you do need a deck to do that.
Oh, YES! Indoor oven baked ribs are a GAZILLION times better than on an outdoor grill…Miss my Roomie who used to make them for me;)
Well dang it all, I never considered myself a fiddle-with-the-BBQ-for-hours-just-for-a-few-bony-shards-of-meat kinda gal. But this, now this I might do.
I always make them in the oven. I will try this recipe. Mine is the usual ketchup-honey-worcester sauce, lots of garlic, chile flakes and salt. I don’t even wrap them in foil. Just bake them convex side down for the most part and turn them around at the end for 5 minutes under the broiler. I love them.
WOW! Looks amazing!! You had me at spareribs!! Nomlicious!!
Love your pictures!! Great job!!
AMAZING. SIMPLY. AMAZING.
As a Southeastern cook who comes from a large BBQ tradition, these look good! I almost always cook my ribs in the oven and then finish them up on the grill for maybe 5-10 minutes.
These look fabulous and I’m itching to make them. I, too, cannot sing the praises of smoked paprika enough for imparting a smoked flavor either on or off the grill.
Questions: 1) Would it benefit the ribs to sit, with rub applied, in the fridge for a few hours before cooking? 2) We like ribs a little chewier, not fully “fall off the bone.” For that consistency, should it be a slightly higher temp for less time?
Thanks for the recipe!!
Andrea — You can definitely apply the rub to the ribs earlier, even a day or more, and keep it in the fridge. But IMHO, the relative “extra” flavor is only slight. I know barbecue gurus swear by the long-sitting with the rub but with 6 hours cooking time, it’s got plenty of time to seep nicely into the meat. If you don’t want yours falling off the bone, you should check them after 4 hours, before turning the oven down. It may be enough for you.
Wow….I’m now starving!!!! I’m thinking that I will have to try this out tonight now. I like the seasoning choices as well. I’ll probably mix in a little Pleasoning seasoning as well just to add a little of my own touch. I can’t wait, thanks for the recipe!
FINALLY! A reason to use the smoked paprika we got on sale earlier in the year. Thank you Deb.
These were awesome & so easy. My husband is kinda a rib snob but said these were some of the best. He was hovering thinking he was going to have to grill these post oven and was so surprised when I told him they were almost done. Love low maintenance yummy food. Thanks again for a ‘keeper’ recipe.
These look absolutely mouth watering! I don’t have my own secret rib rub recipe so always looking for the perfect one to try!
Thanks. Trying this today & hoping all goes well.
My dear lord, woman! I will make these TOMORROW. I am running to the butcher right now to grab the requisite pork. You see, I am a downtown Torontonian with no outdoor space to speak of either. And anything that’s as good (or better) in the oven, than on the grill (gasp) is A-OKAY by me!!!
These look awesome! It is my opinion that my dad makes the very best ribs, but now I’m totally tempted to try these and see how they match up :) The fact that I can make them in the oven? AMAZING!
Oh my gosh!!! These were so awesome! Better than any other ribs I’ve ever made before. I forgot to take the ribs out of the freezer yesterday to thaw over night so I actually put them in the oven completely frozen and they still turned out great. My oven runs hot so I cooked them for 5 hours on the lowest temp. Also, I only did 1 lb. and didn’t end up with a lot of liquid to reduce into the sauce so I added a little beer to the pan before reducing. Super good!
I made this tonight and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I didn’t read the recipe correctly and added the pimenton with the rest of the rub… Which turned out fine. Otherwise followed it to a tee. It was sweet, but I like my pork sweet. The most amazing thing was that I did nothing. Literally. I rubbed the spices on and 6 hours later it was ready. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. I served it with the arugula, fingering, and green bean salad – a good pairing. Thank you!
you do not know how good that looks. the someone who’s having that for dinner is very lucky
I prepped these yesterday and drooled all afternoon while they slow-baked in the oven. At about hour five, I started checking on them and tasted the sauce.
Holy hell! It was super spicy.. I immediately flashed to the moment I grabbed the cayenne pepper instead of the chili powder.. 2 tablespoons worth of fire.
I pulled them out of the oven, dumped the sauce, did my best to scrape the rub off, basted them with Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce, and prayed.
Magically, they were a dream! Delicious, with a definite kick. But, delicious for sure.
I second doubling the amount of salt..and a brine may be a good idea to get the meat salted to the bone. Added cumin, a bit of clove and upped the garlic powder as well.
I cook/bake all the time and this was one of major boo-boos. Luckily, these ribs seem indestructible!
I’m just getting ready to make these now… I don’t want my oven running for 6 hours (we rent, and our oven doesn’t have the best “seal” so it lets A LOT of heat out). Do you think it’s okay if I boil them for a little while first before popping them in the oven, for say… 2 or 3 hours? I’d finish them off under the broiler, like you suggested as well.
Yum, yum, yum….made these tonight here in tropical asia where it is always summer. Loved the flavor. Hubby thinks I should reduce the sugar next time…but there will be a next time! Definitely need to check my oven temperature – I’m cooking in Celsius and the meat didn’t fall off the bones but the flavor was absolutely delicious. I think the oven may have been too cool actually. I salted the meat before I put on the rub thinking that might help. Also, I used what they call here “soft” ribs because that is what I could find. Thanks! Oh, and I served it with your broccoli slaw and some au gratin potatoes.
OMG! I am now a goddess! I really liked the blend of spices. This was such an easy meal to prepare. I was worried that the hot oven running for so long would really heat up my house, but it wasn’t bad. We raise a few pigs each year to butcher and I have always dreaded cooking the ribs, not now! Thanks for the great recipe.
Hi Deb –
I’m a long-time listener and a first-time caller :) I have a question about the slab size – my ribs are cut into 2 large slabs, b/c I didn’t see the note about 4 slabs when I went to the butcher. As long as they fit in my packets, do you think they will still work out ok? I am a big baby about cutting raw meat – don’t know why, I just am – so I’d rather not have to do it at home. Plus, I don’t have a cleaver or anything, so I would really slaughter the meat.
This is a fantastic idea. And it combines most of my fave rub ingredients. Score! Can’t wait to try it. Although may wait for the fall as it is too hot to turn my oven on.
Did you use light or dark brown sugar?
Also when you call for ” 2 tbsp chili powder (ancho) or paprika” which paprika are you calling for here: Spanish or Hungarian? I am unable to get ahold of ancho powder at the moment, however, do you think I could use ancho chilies in adobe instead (and how much would you suggest)?
Thanks in advance!
Chiles in adobo are very hot; I’d use them extremely sparingly. You can use any paprika you have on hand; if you have a Spanish smoky one, I think it would produce an even better taste but both will work. You can also play around, some sweet paprika, some hotter, a smidge of chipotle; you won’t get a bad rib, either way.
mm, i too bookmarked this recipe back in june; just waiting for a time when i want my oven to be on for 6 hours. oh, and when i can take off a whole day to watch them!
Are the degrees in Fahrenheit or Celcius? I live in Belgium and over here we use Celcius, but 200° C seems like a lot.
Sarah — Fahrenheit.
America’s Test Kitchen (the Entertaining Magazine) had an oven baked rib recipe in the last year that was amazing! It used Russian Caravan Tea (or something similar, the tea smelled like campfire) in the pan under the ribs to impart a smokey flavor. There was also mustard in the recipe. They were amazing, but I feel like you could add the tea leaf smoking technique to this recipe as well.
And, I LOVE your blog. Thanks!
Made these for our picnic dinner tonight and got rave reviews! Loved them myself. I no longer feel sad about not having a barbecue.
Those look awesome!
I will be trying those tomorrow as I too live in a condo without grill space.
I cooked these tonight! I was worried about the long cooking time, as I had started them at 4pm and thought omg they wont be ready till 10pm! I had less than 1kg worth of ribs, and by the end of the 4 hours, I checked them and they were already amazingly tender and falling off the bone. The flavour is amazing and my boyfriend is devouring the last of them as I type right now! Thank you for such a great recipe. By the way, this is the first time I have ever cooked ribs in my life!!
I made these tonight; my husband and I had a USA themed dinner with the ribs, corn on the cob, southern fries and watermelon lemonade. It was so good but I’m so full! I’ve never done ribs at home before but I’m sure I’ll be doing them again now.
Yowza! You’d think that in SLC I’d have an ample porch; instead I’m on the 10th floor at the top of a hill with an awesome view across the Great Salt Lake–and no access to outdoor cooking. I haven’t found barbecue here of any kind that pleases me, and being a Yankee I have no tradition to fall back on. Flash to me looking forlornly at the lovely-looking ribs at the meat counter as I buy steaks to fry (lousy electric broiler!!). So I can’t wait to try these–you may have redeemed my eagle’s-nest apartment!
Wow, these look incredible. The people on rec.food.cooking already make fun of me and my partner because he boils his ribs before baking them; let’s see the fun they’ll have with this. ;-)
I always used to start my ribs this way, then put them on the grill at the end for grill marks! But, I wonder if you could do this in a Dutch oven instead of on the pan with the foil? These could be great comfort food in the winter months. . perfect for a Sunday, slow cooked all day. . .mmmmmmmmmm!
I originally found your blog when I was looking for a good red velvet cake recipe and I went on to make the chocolate babka too (both are great!), but this recipe really wowed me. I started mine today about lunch time and they were ready about 5 hours later, even after adjusting the temp down about 15 degrees F. Thanks so much for the temperature advice, obviously my oven is running hotter than I thought.
I ended up adding a tad more vinegar to mine and just a little less sugar, I like my barbecue sauce a bit more sour.
They went great with baked sweet potatoes.
YUM! I made this today. I’ve never made ribs before in my life! I was so proud of myself. Strangely, after 6 hours the meat was still pink so I had to turn the heat up to 400 and cook them for about 30 minutes longer. I guess I now know my oven runs cool, not hot! Thanks for the recipe!
These look soooo delish! Did you use kosher or table salt?
I made these yesterday. The cooking technique was great and they were super tender, but I wasn’t a big fan of the spices. I think the cinnamon and cloves gave it an odd flavor. I didn’t think it was too sweet just a bit odd. Next time, I will use a different rub, but the technique was great and I will definitely be using again.
Wow, this looks fabulous! One question- how do you do those nifty 4-photo collages? Any ideas on how to replicate that on a wordpress.com blog?
Stephanie — It’s HTML, it has nothing to do with the publishing platform. You just use four smaller photos and they fall into lines, depending on the width of your text area.
I’ve just become something of a ribs fanatic but I do put them on the grill, but not really ON the grill. I’ve been cooking them with ambient heat; I put mine in a turkey roaster on one side of the grill and the heat comes from the other side of the grill; making your grill an oven of sorts and if available; keeps your kitchen cool in the summer too!
I always make my own sauces too and most recently had a throwdown with some neighbors. Though I LOVE a bourbon, molasses based sauce, I was amazed and in love with a cherry chipotle sauce; primarily a combination of cherry preserves and adobo chile (not too hot; never the point for me as I like taste first, a bit of heat later). The fruit brought the sweet component typically achieved with molasses and brown sugar and it was GOOD!
But mostly wanted to mention something I’ve been doing that I think helps them get tender and stay moist. I pour some liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan; sometimes beer, sometimes bourbon with water and I guess, in a real pinch, I would consider using ONLY water. Wasn’t my idea, but I am grateful for that tip since the results have always been so tender and so moist. Making myself hungry just thinking about it now…all your fault of course!
After spending last week in NC I returned to Atlanta with eastern NC BBQ, a quart of vinegar BBQ sauce, plus heirloom tomatoes and peppers from the fabulous Raleigh Farmer’s Market. Needless to say I have been in Hog Heaven. Then, I saw this recipe and had to extend the pork quest one more night. So I made them. It’s yummy good and the rub is fantastic! I made the rub with a mix of chile powder, paprika and a pinch of chipotle powder along with the other ingredients listed in the recipe ~ what a savory sweet flavor it imparts to the meat and the sauce. A true taste of summer :-)
Yum. Made these last night in my NYC apt ! Slurp-off-the-bone yumminess. I tweaked the salt and sugar ratio as I prefer savoury, too. Thanks !
I made these last night, I had all the ingredients except the ancho chile powder, I used 1/2 paprika, 1/2 cayenne.
The meat was falling off the bone tender and in all ways this was an easy and nice way to make ribs without a BBQ, but I didn’t like the spice mixture so much. I think what turned me off were the cloves. I love cloves in curry, gingerbread,etc. but I think the mix of sweet, savory and fragrant spices wasn’t my fave. But in all other ways this is fantastic and I will probably try it again, leaving out the cloves, maybe replacing it with ground mustard.
Good recipe and really nice pictures! I’m going to have to try this one out. Thanks for posting.
I made this last night. They were super tender, falling off the bone. I thought they were way too sweet, even with the reduced amount of sugar. But my husband loved them. I think, last night, I learned that I don’t like ribs that much. So tonight I’m trying it with chicken breast (bone in, skin on), 350 degress for 45-55 minutes. Good luck to me!
I live in the “burbs” so we have space for a gas bar-bue and a smoker but I made these for dinner last night and they were amazing. Even the leftovers today are better than anything that’s come out of the smoker or the grill.
Cooked these last night, but didn’t have the time (4 hours only) so upped the temperature a bit and they came out great. Instead of Ancho chile used a Turkish Aleppo Chili that is pretty mild and a Spanish smoked paprika that we get in from Felix Reverte (paprika and saffron growers in Spain), so the kids were happy. Also, reduced the sugar and increased the sugar like you suggested. No ribs leftover and kids wanting more, so must be good.
Dear Smitten Kitchen, It seems in addition to being an incredible cook, you are also somewhat psychic! I have had a pack of ribs in my freezer for a few weeks and not had a clue how to cook them! Now though, I’m printing out this great recipe and will be cooking ribs this weekend so thank you!
I was dying to make these since your post…they were amazing! The sauce turned out lovely too. Thank you!
Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful!
We enjoyed these tonight with our neighbors. Served with gorgeous ripe tomatoes (sliced and salted), grilled corn and slaw. The reduction was superb. We poured about 1/4 over the ribs and served the rest along side… Delish!
I always find these recipes around midnight!
Guess I am staying up…
I have these in the oven right now and have had for the last 6 hours. I bought pork b/c that’s all our store had. The meat is not close to being done, so I’m thinking this must be for beef ribs. It’s unfortunate b/c my children are starving and we might still be 2 hours away from dinner, not sure. The odor of the cloves is a little overwhelming so I’m worried about that with the meat, but we’ll see. Am not very hopeful or enthused at this time, plus out quite a bit of $$ for the cost of the ribs. I hope they’re at least edible at some point this evening.
Heather — I used pork ribs. Do you have an oven thermometer? I find that ovens can be the most inaccurate at the lowest temperatures.
Just under 6 hours at a low temp? Sounds like I’ve finally found the right thing to cook along with slow-roasted tomatoes.
These look delicious – Just a quick question, do you think that you could use a slow cooker for these ribs?
Deb, I did use one but when I looked at it later remembered I was concerned about it still being good b/c it’s really old. I turned the oven up to 350, put on the convection fan and let it cook another hour. It did the trick, the kids and I loved the ribs. Thanks!
These are baking in the oven right now! They are coming along great, and I can’t wait to eat them with your zucchini & almond pasta salad pairing (also in progress!).
these sound delicious! I definitely shouldn’t be reading your blog just before dinner time. We don’t have a bbq here in London (and the summer is pathetic) so this recipe is perfect!
I reduced the sugar and added some chipotle to my sauce — and my guests pledged their undying affection for my culinary talents at our cookout.
follow-up to my earlier post — they were amazing. tender, but not overly flaky. and oh-so-juicy. i didn’t have all of the spices on hand – so i substituted in red cayenne pepper for chili and onion powder for garlic powder. still deeee-lish! thank you SK!
My husband decided to make these as a surprise birthday present for me (he knows I love anything you make, Deb) and they were just fabulous. I worked 12 hours and thus had a stupid birthday, but when people ask me how it was, I can’t leave out the ribs. Yum!
Hi, I have made these luscious ribs twice now. First time I burned the sauce, the neighbor came to the door and I talked to her too long. The second time, WA LAAA perfection! These are the ribs to make when you want to impress your guests… this is defiantly a keeper! I love your recipes!!
My Wife and I just finished eating. Great recipe! I tried to make them look like the picture to send to a buddy of mine, (he will undoubtedly be jealous) but I couldn’t get the bones to stay in the meat… Oh well. Definitely gonna add this to my arsenal. Thanks.
These. Were. FANTASTIC. We absolutely loved them. Served them with a side of slaw and some sweet potatoes with chipotle sour cream. My husband and I both commented on well these would do at a dinner party. Another great recipe you have helped add to the recipe box!
I’ve been dying to make these ever since you posted this and finally got a chance to last night for a dinner party. Everyone raved. This was a big party (20+ people), so I made about 16 lbs. of ribs. I was a little skittish about doing it on that scale, but they were perfect. The only problem I had was with the sauce, which reduced as planned but didn’t thicken or get syrupy at all. I might not have cooked it long enough, considering there was so much more of it than the recipe has. Regardless, everyone slathered it on and loved it. Thanks so much for this site, it’s a lifesaver!
Deb-Thinking about trying these for tomorrow night (my West Village teensy kitchen sounds a lot like yours). My only question is-could I use a small roasting pan w/rack? I only have one rimmed cookie sheet and cooling rack and I’ll be making the ribs for 4.
I don’t see why the pan you use should matter so much… just that the packets are sealed. Enjoy!
My husband was just saying how he was craving ribs today. I will be making this ASAP!!! I just bought a slab of ribs yesterday!
Wow! Only the second time I’ve eaten ribs – I did these in the crock pot. I cut up several potatoes and mixed them with a tad of olive oil and S&P, and laid them in the bottom, then prepared the ribs just as you, Deb, but laid the foil packages over the potatoes. They cooked for about 3 hours on high, then on low for another hour. I did broil them for a few minutes while I worked on the sauce. The potatoes were perfectly done with just a hint of the sauce and the ribs were fall-off-the-bone perfect. Fabulous! A new family favorite :)
Harold McGee is awesome :D
The ribs came out beautifully! I agree that the rub was really, really sweet. I’ll definitely tone down the brown sugar next time and add some more savory spices– cumin maybe? I’m not a hot spicy fan so I’ll have to do some experimenting. :)
I tried Laurie Colwin’s method for oven spareribs this summer. They were tender and delicious, and incredibly easy.
Mine are in the oven now!
I have tried many recipes from your website and pretty much loved them all, until this one. The method was great – no worrying about charring them on the grill, and the meat came out beautifully cooked – but the flavor was only eh (that’s the sound I made when I ate them). I had cut back the sugar and upped the salt, as you suggested, but the combination of sweetness and chili just didn’t taste to me like barbecued ribs are supposed to taste. I’m hoping you’ll adapt another recipe to use this method so that we can get the ideal combination of flavor and ease of preparation.
I’ve never had great success with ribs…on the grill or in the oven. I think I’m too impatient to cook ribs properly. But I’m willing to keep trying. Something tells me this is the recipe for me…I’m bookmarking and trying out sooooon. thanks!
These ribs are unbelievable looking. Since I just moved to the west coast from my home state of Texas…I might be drooling and totally inspired. Going to try them this week! I miss good bbq!
I cooked these today. REally awesome method and I say that as a born and bred Southerner. I didn’t use all of the rub so my ribs weren’t too sweet. I did up the salt a little. Also, it took almost 8 hours in my oven for these to get really tender. I did check the oven temp and it was always right on target. After a taste test I did add 1/2 cup barbecue sauce to the boiled down sauce and that improved it greatly for our Southern tastes. Last, I finished them off in a very hot oven to get everything nice and caramelized. This recipe and method is a keeper.
My local grocery chain had spareribs on sale this week so I took the opportunity to make these. I had 2.8lbs of ribs in the package for my husband and I, so I halved the recipe (except for the salt – for some reason I put the full amount in… maybe I subconsciously remembered your comment about adding more salt to them?). Had problems with my crap oven keeping the right temperature. Couldn’t keep it at 200 degrees – it seemed to hover between 225-250 and my ‘warm’ setting was only at 150… no happy medium, so I baked it less time than called for.
As far as taste/flavor/etc. they were really delicious but I think having the full amount of salt was a mistake. I get why you felt they were too sweet – they didn’t taste so sweet when I first tried it but as I continued eating them they seemed to become more and more sweet to the point of where I, too, felt them to be too sweet.
I’ll be making these again but I’m definitely going to cut the sugar and leave the salt at the lesser amount.
It’s still way too hot in Florida to do anything in the oven, but I have been doing these in foil packets inside of the crock pot and they are fabulous. Low for about 6 hours seems perfect. Collect the juice from the foil and any that has leaked out in the pot and you can still do the sauce.
I tried this with a rack of wild boar ribs today, and it came out pretty well. I didn’t cut the sugar nor did I double the salt. I did find I wanted a bit more vinegar in my glaze at the end, however.
I think that it’s well worth planning ahead a bit and either marinating or brining pork (or boar), and I think it would make have made a difference if I had done it this time, even with the slow-cooking in the rub. Next time I’ll definitely be doing that the day before.
i can’t wait to try these out using my new stove-top smoker (best birthday gift ever)
Aaron — Nice! Be sure to bring some to the park, okay?
Thanks for another great recipe (and writeup), perfect to warm the place with on a cold day!
I made the mistake of adding the vinegar into the rub, and together with using mashed instead of powdered garlic, the ribs came out not as caramelized as I would like. They were delicious nonetheless, to the point where all was devoured in no time. But that’s just another excuse to make it again soon!
Oven ribs are the only way, even with a big enough grill. I start by marinating in beer for a day to help the meat start to tenderize. Next day pat dry the meat and then add the rub; like you say, it’s up to personal taste – brown sugar, salt, smoked paprika, dried basil (helps substitute that over sugared taste), onion powder are my base. For those with a love for kick, add chilli powder and / or paprika depending on how much kick you want. Let that sit for at least a couple of hrs the fridge, remove ribs and bring to room temp then loosely wrap in foil tray after adding coke (about half a can) to help with moisture for 3 – 4 hrs at 250. Fall off the bone guaranteed!
I made these today and they’re a dream. I upped the salt a bit (1.5-fold) and substituted garlic powder for fresh garlic (1 clove = 1/8 tsp dry) because I wouldn’t know what to use it for otherwise. Worked well. I live in Europe where the ovens are in degrees Celsius and had so much in my mind when I made this that I set my oven to 200 degrees Celsius! I realized my mistake an hour later. The meat came out tender despite this. Thanks for a great recipe!
I follow you from Rome, Italy and just wanted to thank you for this recipe!
my step-son is a big fan of the Simpsons and asked me to cook spare ribs like those so much beloved by Omer Simpson and I decided to go for your recipe here.. I just used a little less sugar at the beginning and used Italian good quality balsamic vinegar for the sauce + a small teaspoon of honey.. simply delicious! thank you,
They are divine! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
This is strange you didn’t know about making ribs in the oven, in France it’s the common way to do ribs.
Anyway that looks delicious !! Wantz a bite !
I made these last Friday and they were amazing! They were so tender and kind of sweet then spicy! Thanks!
I made these yesterday – lovely texture and very tasty but I agree, a little too sweet for me. Will definitely cook again the same way, but will look for a more savory rub. Thanks!
The butcher separated the ribs. Can I still make those tightly wrapped and perhaps cooked a little less? I looove ribs and I have no grill either..
I like this recipe a lot and would like to adapt it for a slow cooker. Does anyone have any experience using the slow cooker for ribs? If so, any pointers for this particular recipe? Many thanks!
Tired again tonight, reduced the sugar by half and it was still delicious!
*Tried, tried again tonight. (Thought clearly, I am also tired.)
I made these for dinner tonight and loved them! I happen to like sweet stuff and the combo of sweet and savory flavors was delicious. I did use 3 t. of salt instead of 2 – I am wary of salt. 4 t. seemed like a bit much for me. Thanks for finally giving me a successful way to cook ribs :)
I remember when you posted these, I lived in an apartment and was immediately in love with the idea. Now, though in a house, these still seemed like the perfect thing to make on a day off. And they were DAMN GOOD. They had such great heat without being spicy, and my boyfriend and I both adored their sticky sweetness. This recipe was SO worth the wait. I never cook with pork but this recipe has me so motivated now! I’m in love.
Planning these for my parents’ visit this weekend. Would there be any benefit to slowing the cooking time further? That is, cooking at, say 180 for 8 hours versus 200 for six hours?
Wowzers! Just cooked these in my apartment in london and they were DELICIOUS! So totally easy and so fabulous. My first smittenkitten recipe will not be my last.
My dh also thinks he doesn’t like ribs and I’m usually reluctant to spend the time making them for this reason. But these look SO easy I think I’m willing to try.
These are the best ribs ever! Very easy to make and so delicious. It was pouring rain here yesterday and I wanted something comforting for
Sunday dinner. I experimented and instead of adding the vinegar in the reduction at the end, I added rum. We had these with cole slaw and Ina Garten’s cheddar ( I added thyme) biscuits. Smitten Kitchen rocks!
Can I use this recipe with beef back ribs?
Sam — I haven’t tried it but you have experience cooking with them in the oven, see no reason why not. You will probably have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Thanks Deb- I actually did cook them in the oven and they were amazing. I had to do 5 racks, so I did Pure convection at 200 for 6 1/2 hrs and then basted them with sauce and turned up heat to 375 to get them sticky for about 10 minutes. fell right off the bone. Thanks. The recipe was a success!
Of all the kitchens I have tasted Ribs…Smitten’s version are thee most Divine!!!
Totally worth messing the oven but eish 5Kg’s weight gain since indulging on this recipe.
I have now made this 3 times and today as well-I have one addition-mix two tablespoons of instant espresso powder. Seriously. It’s the secret to my homemade bbq sauce and is now my ‘secret’ for this recipe as well. The way it adds to the flavor is out of this world.
They’re in the oven… again. And I’m in the kitchen impatiently waiting and drooling. Just have to whip up some ancho-butter to schmear on the corn. SOoooooo Good.
Hi Deb. I’m going to try cooking ribs for the first time (for my boyfriend’s birthday), and your recipe looks so yummy! Just one question – I’m in New Zealand where ribs are normally sold cut into individual portions rather than in slabs. Any tips on if/how I should adjust the cooking time and temperatures?
Added an extra tsp salt and 2 tsp smoked paprika to the rub and it came out very well.
Took the ribs out of the foil (deliciously tender!), turned the oven up to 150C in grillmode, brushed them with the reduced syrup and put them in for a final glaze for a few minutes.
Served with a Maker’s Mark highball and the simple slaw recipe. So good, I’m definitely making this again!
This recipe is amazing. I’m currently making it for the second time (for my in-laws) and my entire (tiny apartment) smells delicious. Thank you!
farenheit or celcius ! 4 hours at 200 c is burned ribs
Farenheit. Will update recipe to note this.
We made these ribs for the first time last night and were completely blown away. Best ribs I’ve ever eaten in my life. Thanks for sharing! :)
Holy moly, these were good! My dad has made ribs on the grill his whole life, and this was my first time making my own ribs. I hate to say it but mine were better!
Just wanted to say: forget turkey. I’m making ribs for thanksgiving!
I’ve had this bookmarked for a long time & finally decided to make it last night. I’m sorry to say that it was quite a disappointment :( I think the flavors were quite good & I will prob use the rub recipe on future grilling recipes. I think what I didn’t like was the way the meat cooked in the oven. Instead of the fat getting crispy & carmelized like it does when it cooks on a grill, it didn’t cook down at all so there was quite bit of fat left making it hard to just bite into without getting a big mouthful of fat. I’m thinking that maybe a leaner cut like baby back would work better for this type of cooking as opposed to spareribs. They also just looked gross, nothing like the pretty pictures you posted! There’s something to be said for grilled ribs & I guess I’m glad I tried it but I will just stick to grilling them from now on!
How do you recommend altering the recipe if you only have about 3-4 hours of cook time? These look absolutely amazing <3
just found this and am going to try it out tomorrow for dinner it looks and sounds very yummy will have to give a update on what the family has to say about it
I’ve made this a few times, and love it, and I always bake them at 400 for 45 minutes. It works out well for me, so it would be worth a try for you.
Late to the party, but so glad I found this recipe! Boy were they good! Easily the equal of the outside-on-the-grill ribs my lucky friends with country houses make, and IMHO better (though I would never tell them that) because of the long slow cooking. I think we’re going to make some more on Memorial Day.
I saw this and had to try it. I doubled the recipe so I would have extra. they turned out so good that there were no left overs. Second time I used thick cut country style ribs because that is what I had in freezer. 325 for 2 hours. They turned out great. Next time I will try this with different cut of meat just depends on what is left in freezer. So Good. never fail. can use it many ways.Enjoy
I made these last year with spare ribs and it was amazing! This summer I want to do this with baby back ribs. How much shorter cook time do you imagine? Thanks!
Did you prepeare the recipe yourself?
I am reading the article on the nytimes.com website and don’t see the recipe?
Looks fantastic! I’ve done the Jamie Oliver one a few times with some success, but will definitely try this version next
Trying this out for a weekend BBQ. Were you using a convection oven? If not, how much time would you suggest shaving off? I have heard you reduce time by 1/3, so I am considering 3 hours then one hour at the lower temp, unless you were convecting originally. Rub smells great.
Jen — Sadly, I don’t have and have never used a convection oven but I’d go by recommendations others make.
So by best friends JUST made these and I. AM. HOOKED! They made them in a slow cooker, cooked on high for about 3 to 3.5 hours. They had to stack the slabs on top of each other, starting with bone-side down followed by meat-side down, so that the meat of two slabs are touching.
If you’re like me and you love baby back ribs, you can make those in a slow cooker by setting them on high for 12 hours. By the end they’ll just fall off the bone by picking them up.
Remember, many oven recipes can be converted into slow cooker recipes by converting the time as follows: for every half-hour of cooking time, cook on high in the slow cooker for an hour, or two hours on low.
Made these tonight for an obscenely late dinner (finished at 10:35, and that was with cutting out one of the lower temp hours). But isn’t that true smitten kitchen fashion? They are one of the top ten things I’ve made from your blog, right up there with channa masala, and the famed broccoli slaw! Thanks for helping me conquer ‘fear of cooking slightly expensive meats!’
Deb, Last week I got an email from Wegmans with a $5.00 coupon off ribs, then your post that included a link to this recipe. I considered it a sign! Asked the hubster what he thought and his response was “she’s never led us astray.” Made these Saturday for the opening of college football. My husband kept saying over and over “Oh my” “Oh my”. As always, thanks for the hit!
are the spareribs pork or beef?
Tahlia — Pork.
Should the brown sugar be packed?
can u do them in the slow cooker?
i sent my aunty to the shop and she came back with spare ribs that are really meaty but not on the bone. like these http://leonjane.hubpages.com/hub/Easy-Pork-Spare-Ribs-Recipe can i still use them for this recipe? and i have about 6.5lbs – what do you suggest for cooking time/heat? do you think i could do them in the slow cooker? any tips?
The first time I made these, I made the mistake of picking up lamb riblets instead of pork. Let me just say that they were absolutely GLORIOUS and we have never tried another meat since! We make these religiously, this recipe is amazing (: sometimes we even use the spice rub mix on other meats that are going to be grilled and they come out all caramelised and golden — soooo good!! 10/10 MUST TRY
I made these for dinner tonight but didn’t put them in the oven until 4pm. To keep from eating dinner at 10pm, I put them in at 250F for two hours and then lowered the oven to 200F for one hour. They were absolutely delicious and incredibly tender. If you want to save some time then I would certainly suggest these changes. I don’t think they could have tasted any better.
Deb, these were amazeballs. We halved the recipe but followed it as written. May become the new summer Sunday night tradition. I served it alongside the scallion slaw you posted with the tequila chicken. Match made in heaven. Thank you!!
Ha! I love it. “I slow-and-low-ed (yeah, I just verb-ed that)…” Not only did you verb “slow and low,” but you immediately followed that up by verbing “verb.” Well done! (And can’t wait to try this new technique, too! :)
tasted it!!! so delicious!!!
Hi Deb! I have made these ribs now many times and absolutely love them!
Can you tell me how to adjust the cooking time/temp for “back ribs” though? I have always done them with spares, but I have back ribs this time.
Hi, would this recipe work with short ribs as well? How does this effect the cooking time? Thanks!
I am doing two racks at about 5 lbs each on different levels in the oven. Does doing two racks affect the cooking time?
Luci — I haven’t found that to be the case. It does affect circulation a bit, so make sure you switch them around, top to bottom, rotate them front to back, throughout.
In my 5th wheel my oven’s lowest setting is 300 degrees, think it is still possible for me to use this recipe? Maybe tweak the time?
Chastane — They’ll cook faster, but ribs can definitely be done at 300. I don’t know the exact time estimate offhand (though this recipe says 2.5 hours, it can’t hurt to skim the comments and see if people who tried it agreed if they tried spareribs).
If I cook 2 lb of ribs, do I cut the cooking time in half? I’ve been cooking my ribs for 4 hours now but they certainly aren’t falling off the bone.
The ribs should not be falling off the bone at 4 hours at all. It’s only another 2 after that a fork should easily pull some meat back.
Just made this recipe with 6 pounds of baby back ribs and it was awesome! Absolutely worth the 6 hours and the tricky job of draining the juices. Small tweaks: changed temps to 175 and 150 (lower temp for the smaller pieces of meat) added cumin and extra paprika to the rub (couldn’t find the smoked variety in my local grocery store) and after taking out of the oven, I put each foil packet into a paper bag since that’s what I’ve always done to ensure my ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender.
Can I apply this rub the night before to marinade the meat
Justin — I wouldn’t do it too far in advance because it can draw out moisture and become a bit runny; then you wouldn’t get a nice crust of spice.
Hi Deb, I’d like to make these for a Friday night dinner — but I work all day and don’t want to eat at midnight. Are there any steps I can do the day before, perhaps the first four hours — and then store the foil packs in the fridge and bake for 2.5 hours more the next night? Thanks so much!
I definitely think that these ribs would be forgiving. You could also just rewarm them on night two. We’ve often reheated them for a few days (back in foil packets or in a baking dish covered in foil) at a lowish oven temperature and they’re still amazing on day three and beyond.
Ugh ugh ugh. For the love of God, do NOT just follow the instructions to cook for 4 hrs then 2 more after that without checking on the progress!!! I made back ribs for the first time and all the recipes online recommended the same cook time. I think mine were done at around 3 hours or so, and definitely by 4 hours, but I naively thought I needed to keep it in longer.
My ribs came out totally hard and chard and it was a waste of 5 lbs of deliciousness that it could’ve been. I was SO devastated, especially after spending 5 hours on this. *sigh*
I think my oven was cooking at a slightly higher temp than was indicated on the dial. I’ve got a trusty old gas stove but I guess the temps are a bit temperamental when it’s super low.
I’m so so sad. :(
Has any body used this rub on the grill
Justin — Not this one exactly, but a similar one. Read more here. It works wonderfully and I wish it were summer right now!
Thanks Deb I can’t wait to try this when the weather breaks
This recipe…is old, but I finally tried it tonight and it was excellent. Got two big thumbs up from my Texas husband. Thanks, Deb, for always sharing such great recipes.
This looks delicious!!! …the sugar & spice mixture also looks like it’d be a great way to spice slow cooked chicken – just with a little added butter maybe. Will be trying both recipes soon!!!
My kids love ribs in the summer and asked for them again last weekend. Toronto got a little chilly though so I tried these oven roasted ones. Took the ‘you can’t screw these up’ advice, used small side ribs, added more paprika & salt, less sugar, and left them in for 6 hours. Whole family agreed it was the best meal they’ve ever had. thank you so much!
I made these tonight to rave reviews. I used 2.5kg of baby back ribs, cooked at 100C for 4 hours, then basted and grilled (broiled) at 190C for 15-20 minutes (for anyone in New Zealand, I sourced these from The Aussie Butcher). The foil parcels worked really well at keeping the ribs moist, as they were quite lean. They also did not yield much ‘juice’ after cooking so I bumped up the sauce with ketchup, chilli sauce, more sugar and whiskey. I served with coleslaw and sweet corn on the cob. I would definitely make ribs again using this method – thank you!
Have you considered doing this with brisket?
Ben — I haven’t but it sounds delicious. Are you, perhaps, from Texas? :)
Another year gone by using this recipe. It’s just so good. I’ve used it from home in Canada to winter home in Ft.Lauderdale and everyone that has had these ribs are just loving them. I have made a slight tweek with the salt,but left the recipe basically in tact. Also works with riblets, chops and chicken.Baked beans and collards are my favorite sides in the winter.Learned about collards from friends in S.C. Friends from Scotland are trying them next.
Confession: I misread the recipe and thought they cooked for only two hours rather than six. Oops.
They are out of the foil, in a plastic bag, in the fridge now.
Question: Should I rinse them off and restart tomorrow? Or should i let them stew in the rub overnight?
Margaret — Put them back in foil tomorrow and continue cooking them. It shouldn’t be a problem.
But should I rinse them off or let them stew?
Dang, there is some poetic food writing in that second paragraph! Makes me need to eat these ribs!
I meant to make this on Friday… ribs in marinade, everything ready. Well, that went on hold and, shudder, we ordered pizza.
So we had them on Saturday (still in their Friday marinade) and we went down the slow cooker route: 4 hours on high. I forgot the sauce. We had them with rice and corn… very leftover-y. But it smelled divine and tasted almost as good.
I made ~3 lbs. for two adults and a kindergartener… should have made the whole recipe! We have one lonely rib as a leftover.
Fantastic, easy, tasty.
Rah, Rah, Rah!
Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!
Margaret — Sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. No reason to rinse the deliciousness off! Hope it all turned out.
Technique was great. Used a 2-lb rack of baby back ribs (had bought b4 I found the recipe), and I cut back the rub quantity and the cooking time (about 2.5 hrs at 200F and 1 hr at 175F). My (name brand) oven did poorly at maintaining an even low temp…but it still worked out fine. Quantity was good for two adults (even had a few ribs leftover for lunch)…but had a few side dishes as well.
For the rub…
Did cut back the sugar by almost half (against Deb’s advice) as I don’t like very sweet sauces. The cinnamon and cloves gave the ribs a scent/flavor reminiscent of Chinese five-spice powder. They were very good….but five-spice is not my favorite, so would adjust accordingly next time. Now that I know the technique is good, it’s easy to vary the rub ingredients. Recommend making the glaze, and following the step under the broiler to give extra caramelization.
My guy’s just spent a year working in a no-pork country, so I’d love to surprise him with these when he gets home this weekend! This’ll be my very first foray into cooking meat though, so I’m feeling a bit nervous ….
– Would they suffer from being cooked during the day and then quickly reheated/caramelized under the broiler 2-3 hours later after we got back from the airport? (And if that’s alright, should I do the sauce part pre or post airport?)
– Do I need to adjust the cook time or temp at all if I’m only making enough for 1 person?
Kat — You can definitely cook them in two stages. I don’t find that fewer ribs need less time, although you can always peak in an hour sooner, just to be safe. Good luck!
I do oven ribs a lot. I boil the racks first for at least an hour to melt off the fat, get them tender and remove some of the porky flavour (don’t look at me like that). Then I coat them in barbecue sauce (sweet is key) and broil, flipping so both sides are well caramelised. Beyond.
I have baby back ribs instead of spare. Cooking your recently suggested Father’s Day menu of ribs, broccoli slaw, R.C.’s potato salad, corn, cornbread, strawberry lemonade and the strawberry cheesecake ice cream cake. I tried scanning the comments for suggestions on altered cooking times on the baby back ribs but didn’t find a clear answer. Any thoughts?
Amanda — Sorry, I don’t have a clear answer because I always get spareribs. I promise to update when I audition this with baby back. That said, from what I’ve read, they’re smaller and will take less time. This recipe, for example, says 225 for 3.5 hours and although I haven’t auditioned it, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
It was great, thanks!
Just made these with baby-back ribs and the results were very tasty, although I think I may have cooked them a bit longer than they needed. After about 3.5 hours at 250ish and ~45mins at 175ish, they basically fell off the bone. (I didn’t have the 6 hours for the original recipe, and I have another oven rib recipe that suggested those times if you didn’t want to do a full 6 hours.) I’ll have to try again with a bit lower time/temps next time.
Still very tasty, especially with the sauce reduction. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
These were delicious prepared per recipe! Had them the first dinner of 2017. What a way to start the year. YUM!
Deb, had to tell you. We made these this weekend as exactly as written and they were perfection. My husband said “man have we ever made anything from smitten kitchen that we didn’t like??” (No). I seized the opportunity immediately. “No. Does this mean you will try the roasted cabbage and sausage dish now???” I’ve been dying to try it – seems different and one of those dishes that will be surprisingly good but he’s been (understandably) hesitant. These ribs got me the green light!!
Hello, I think that it is great that you have the passion to cook. And to share this well needed recipe. For many non cooking or BBQ type individuals. But they love the taste of BBQ. And the dining experiance and sharing of a good old time. It might be a good idea to add something to the preparation of the rib meat. Removing or asking the butcher where they purchase the ribs from. To remove the membrane skin off the bones. On the bottom of the ribs. If you don’t do this before hand. The finished ribs will be very chewy and tough to eat. Many ,many people think that they did something wrong in the cooking. But 80 % of the time, they did not prepare the ribs by doing this very important step. I really loved cooking this recipe and the fun and simplicity of it. M Cozy , Le Cordon Blu Alumni – Paris,France
These were SO GOOD! My boyfriend did an “oh my Jesus” exclamation when he tried them. I added the additional salt in the form of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and a couple dashes of cayenne but did everything else as is. I will definitively be making these again soon.
Can you make this recipe using baby back ribs instead of spare ribs?
Should be a problem.
You mean Should be a problem or Should not be a problem?
Whoops — should *not*
Any suggestions on reheating if I make ahead of time? Thanks!!
These are a showstopper. The easiest and most delicious recipe ever. My picky four year old could not resist!!! Again and again, Deb, your recipes never disappoint me!!! Thank you!!!!
FANTASTIC. One of the best (and easiest) things I’ve ever made. Don’t skimp on the last step of reducing the sauce — it’s definitely worth it.
Can you leave out the sugar?
You’d have to remove most of the salt too because they balance each other.
I made these several years ago and they were a huge hit! Must do it again.
Could I make this up to the wrapping in foil and then refrigerate overnight before cooking? I’m thinking of doing this for my husband’s birthday on Sunday, but we have a busy morning and early afternoon, so the timing might not work out if I can’t do some advance prep. Thanks!
Could these be rubbed and wrapped in foil the day before so that they could just be popped straight into the oven in the morning?
I liked the technique and the way the meat falls of the bone. Simple easy! But I used St. Louis cat ribs and the fat made it impossible to use as sauce, even when well trimmed.
Next time, and there will be a next time, I use Baby Back Ribs
I was first introduced to these ribs last year at a dinner party. It only took one breath in when walking into the condo to know that my friend had prepared something very special. I’ve since made this recipe three times- the first time as written, then I’ve tweaked a couple things here and there- just riffing on an already amazing chord progression. I hope the author doesn’t mind too much.
I always double the rub (I know, completely excessive but wonderful for the sauce), I used Demerara brown sugar (coarser crystals), I added one tablespoon of ground coffee and 2 tablespoons of cumin. I’ve found that the cumin gives it a little bit of mystery…
Have you ever had something so good that you are just filled with gratitude for the person who put such wonderfulness into the world? These ribs did it for me. Thank you, Smitten- this recipe rocked my world.
The best and worst part of making these ribs was the tight foil packets. There are a lot of ‘em. Makes the oven baking easy and keeps the ribs just the right amount of moist. BUT: how in heaven’s name do you check for tenderness toward the end? Take them out, uncrimp the foil (don’t burn your hands), don’t lose the juices, re-wrap? AND: pouring juices out of those foil packets? Again, wait til they aren’t cool but are cooled enough to touch, unwrap, hold gingerly, pick up and pour without juices tilting out over the counter instead of the saucepan?
Don’t get me wrong, they tasted good (less cinnamon for me next time). Perfect degree of tender with still a little chew. Boiled down sauce was delicious and not thick—thought I’d be disappointed about that, but I. Was. Not. However, I have to say, it was not easy.
P.S. Full spill coverage is important. Wear a chef’s jacket, not a regular apron.
I can’t wait to try these!
Would this work for beef short ribs?