oven ribs, even better

As I’ve already admitted, I’m a boring preggo. No crazy dreams, sobbing at diaper commercials, middle of the night ice cream binges, pickle benders, sheesh, about the only thing I’ve ever gotten downright stereotypical about — eh, aside from months of frenetic nesting as evidenced by a gardening frenzy, walls! freezer stash and perhaps a few hasty furniture purchases — was when my husband came home from the store without the requested watermelon. How could he! Watermelon is edible air conditioning. It might be the only reason I’ve survived the summer thus far. It was a rough 22 minutes until he got back from the store (a whole block away) with more.

making the dry rub
a very generous rub

And so when a few weeks ago I began inexplicably craving barbecued ribs, I was ridiculously excited to have my first real, actual food urgency. “The baby wants ribs!” I texted a handful of meat-eating friends on a Friday afternoon, knowing that everyone likely had weekend plans and wouldn’t be able to make it, and thus fully underestimating the power of barbecue, like some sort of noob. Nope, not a single person was unavailable after reading the text, as will happen because: ribs. And so on Saturday morning, I sent my son on his two-wheeler down to Pino’s and told him not to come back with anything less than 3 racks (just kidding — I sent his dad along to assist) and got started on what is seriously the easiest and most popular summer party you can have — no grill required.

tightly wrapped foil packet

Seriously, we all need to do this at least once this summer. Promise you’ll do this. You can do this! We’ve talked about ribs before on this site so you might know that I’m a die hard dry rub fanatic, converted by my North Carolina barbecue-obsessed friend Molly several years back. Previously, I’d believed anything with the word “dry” in it should be kept far from my barbecue, thank you very much. Silly Deb, dry rub is more like dehydrated barbecue sauce: i.e. none of the clutter but all of the big loud awesome flavors, crusted right onto the surface of the slow-cooked, fork-tender meat until it melts into its own self-basted sauce. Unlike mopped-on barbecue sauce, it doesn’t try to slip away while your racks are cooking. You cannot mess this up.

from the oven

I’ve been tweaking my dry rub recipe almost as long as I’ve been making it, and I think this summer, I finally got it where I wanted it — with the shortest and I hope most balanced ingredient list to date. I still make them the way Harold MacGee taught us in 2010: tightly wrapped in foil packets in the oven for many hours, but I’ve also found a lot of flexibility in the cooking time, so you can make the recipe work for you, even if you don’t have 6 hours to wait it out. At the time, I lamented that I couldn’t make them on a real outdoor grill or smoker. These days, even if I had one, I don’t even think I’d bother when they’re so low-maintenance and perfectly cooked, every time, from the oven.

getting them ready

And while they’re cooking? Make some pink lemonade, bourbon slush punch, some potato salad, broccoli or classic slaw. How about some cornbread? Some quick pickles? Definitely some popsicles or grilled peach splits. There is no bad way to have a summer party, you’ll only regret the one you don’t have because it seems like too much work. It’s so not. You’ve got this in the bag.

roseanne cash's potato salad
oven ribs don't need food styling

picnics potlucks and barbecues!Picnics, Potlucks and Barbecues: My brain is set to Weekend pretty much the minute June begins. From pink lemonade, to that obsessively good avocado-cucumber salad, a nectarine-almond galette and easy-peasy blueberry crumb bars, I’ve gathered my 70 favorite ways to be the most welcome guest at all of this summer’s picnic and potluck festivities, over here.


One year ago: Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
Two years ago: Peach and Pecan Sandy Crumble
Three years ago: Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime and Mint (don’t miss this! it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.)
Four years ago: Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
Five years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Improved
Six years ago: Horseradish Potato Salad
Seven years ago: Project Wedding Cake
Eight years ago: Lemon Risotto

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Roasted Grape and Olive Crostini
1.5 Years Ago: Rum Campari Punch
2.5 Years Ago: Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs
3.5 Years Ago: Fromage Fort

Oven Ribs, Even Better
Adapted and updated from Molly’s and Harold McGee’s Dry Rub Ribs

For 1 5-pound rack spare ribs; we estimate about a pound of ribs per person. We tripled this recipe for our first ribs party this summer, doubled it for our second. Makes about 1 cup rub per rack. (This is a thick coating and we prefer it this way.)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika (sweet, hot or smoked, whichever variety you prefer)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt (Diamond brand, which is very lightweight; for most others, use 1 1/4 tablespoons; more about why here)
Chipotle powder or ground red pepper (cayenne) to taste
As many cranks of freshly ground black pepper as your arm is in for
1 5-pound rack spare ribs

To finish: 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Tools: If you can find it, a wide roll of heavy-duty foil makes the racks much easier to wrap up. You’ll also want a large rack (cooking cooling sheets, so long as they’re metal and thus ovensafe, are just fine) and a large baking sheet per rack of ribs.

Heat oven to 200°F.* In a medium bowl, combine all of the spices and seasonings. On a piece of foil large enough to wrap around your ribs, place rack of ribs, meatier side up. Sprinkle half of spice rub over rack, patting it on generously, including the sides. Carefully — it can help have a second person hold the foil down while you lift the rack — flip the rack of ribs back onto the foil so that they’re now meatier side down. Pat on remaining rub. Tightly fold the foil to seal packets.

Set a metal rack (a cookie cooling sheet works well here) over a baking sheet and place foil-wrapped ribs on top. Bake for 4 hours, then reduce temperature to 175°F for 2 more hours, or until a fork easily penetrates the meat.

Open packet of ribs very carefully and pour accumulated juices into a saucepan. I find this easiest with one person lifting/tilting ribs packet and the other one snipping a corner and making sure the juices only go where you want them to. Bring the saucepan to a full boil and reduce the mixture until it becomes thicker, syrupy and will coat a spoon — usually by at least half. Stir in vinegar. This is the “barbecue sauce” for those that like it on their ribs; it will be fairly salty and I always warn people to use it judiciously.

Meanwhile, cut the ribs apart and spread them on a serving tray. For extra caramelization, you can spread them back on their baking sheet (sans rack) and run them under the broiler for a couple minutes.

Serve ribs with sauce on the side.

* Let’s talk about timing: These cooking times and temperatures, laid out by the great Harold McGee, require 6 hours. But, real life ensures that I always start them late, and while “low and slow” is the barbecue bible for a reason — you’re always going to get the best meat from the longest gentlest cooking times — you’d be pretty amazed by the results of even 3-hour ribs. Long cooking times are not an exact science. As with humans, heh, some ribs are meatier than others and will take longer. Regardless, if you’re looking for guidelines, here are some other time and temperature combinations that have worked for us in the past:

2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300°F.
3 1/2 to 4 hours at 250°F.
4 hours at 225°F

We’ve also fiddled with combinations, such as a higher temperature at the beginning, and then, upon realizing they’d be ready sooner than we’d need them, turning them down to 175°F for the remaining time. And vice-versa, starting with the low temperatures in the original recipe, and realizing at the 4 hour mark, they were coming along too slowly and finishing them at 300°F. I hope these extra options make it easier, and not more confusing, to make yours at home.

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239 comments on oven ribs, even better

  1. Oh Deb, I have been dreaming of ribs for about 3 weeks now and still have not made any. Now I see them everywhere and I swear in my hallucinative state of longing for ribs some people start to resemble a juicy rack of ribs. It is time and thanks to you, I’ll need not scrub the Weber and just use the oven… Yum.

  2. Hmmm, does this mean I have to go tell my Mother-In-Law that she’s right? Blah, I’m always having to do that! She always makes her ribs in the oven and I’ve told her no way. I’m a grill man, what can I say? You totally remind me of my wife with the whole “the baby wants that” comment. She used to be the same way. Gonna have to try these now =)

  3. Krystal Nelson

    Looks delicious! We just purchased our first (tiny) charcoal grill. I’ve yet to muster up the courage to grill ribs (it’s a lot of money down the drain if things go south!), but think I could start them in the oven and finish them outside to get that smokey-smoke that is amazing. Thanks for the dose of courage!

  4. Jara

    Deb, we made Molly’s rib last night and they were great, but would have totally benefited from adding vinegar at the end. Now I will have to try these again.

  5. JP

    My stomach is growling. Must check COSTCO to see what racks of ribs are going for these days. I think adding corn on the cob and some ice cream sandwiches (how about a meal that you need no fork for?) is just about right. Thanks for the summer fun, Deb!

    1. Anna

      I’ve made ribs in the pressure cooker. They were delicious, but the meat literally fell off the bone when I took them out, so I wasn’t able to finish them in the oven as I’d hoped. I’d still use the pressure cooker again when I don’t properly plan the time to cook them in the oven, but it’s definitely plan B.

  6. Lisa

    Hm, at 200 degrees for 6 hrs, I wonder if you could just use a slow cooker. Recipe sounds amazing, I just can’t stomach the idea of turning on the oven during an AZ summer.

    1. Barb

      I used a big metal old fashioned broaster oven and plugged it in out in the garage. Worked well and didn’t have to heat up the kitchen.

  7. Jane M

    I was also thinking of my slow cooker, only I think it’s just too moisture-eeee and wet! I’ll just crank up my Air – when the old 1 of 21 years gets removed on Thursday and the new more efficient beauty gets installed! Who knew I’d get such an education on Central Air since Friday when the old 1 conked out and leaked water on the freshly painted ceiling of the guest room! YAY FOR RIBS!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. These ribs look delicious. I always make ribs in the oven, low and slow, with a dry rub so this is very similar to the way I do it. I do like to finish on the grill or perhaps under the broiler just to give them a bit of caramelization.

  9. Jo

    Deb, another great recipe. I’ve been making ribs in the oven for a long time on Father’s Day the best yet were accomplished. I bought the baby backs on sale $2.99 a lb for fresh antibiotic free etc pork. Great deal but I wasn’t feel well so I rubbed the spice rub on laid them on parchment wrapped them in heavy duty foil and froze them for several weeks. I defrosted them in the frig and baked them at 350 for almost 3 hrs on cookie sheet. I doctor up Kraft bbq plain sauce – with cider vinegar and wow my best ribs yet. If you find ribs on sale buy then season and freeze for that perfect weekend. Husband was impressed clean up easy since used foil from freezing to cover heavy duty cookie sheet. We live in Phoenix sine June has been 112 no way are we using grill. Take care of yourself & baby, happy 4th.

  10. Anna

    Deb- you read my mind! looking for the perfect rib recipe for the Fourth. If I want to triple, how do I handle that logistically? (different foil, same pan, rack placement, etc.)
    Best of luck to you on the home stretch!

  11. MMMM! I pinned these ribs. I love that you can easily make them in the oven – I always struggle when I crave ribs, because I always think they have to be grilled. This makes it so much easier! <3

  12. deb

    Beef ribs — Amazingly, I’ve never made them so I’m basically just looking at cooking times recommended on other well-reviewed recipes. One says 3.5 to 4 hours at 250, so perhaps cooking time isn’t that different. However, I’d sift through a few more before deciding which time/temp approach to take.

    Another rib alternative — We did a Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken a few years ago using the same technique. You could use this rub or that.

    Enia — You can definitely give them that final caramelizing blast on the grill.

    Tripling these — The hardest part for us was that our oven has only one rack and I’m too cheap/unwilling to further clutter the kitchen to buy large trays for the times I make ribs. This may not be anyone else’s challenge! So, we pushed two big baking sheets together, put my two biggest cookie cooling racks on them, and stretched the three foil-wrapped racks of ribs across them, overlapping them as needed so they were more like fanned out. It was just fine — overlapping them has little to no effect on cooking time with this kind of indirect heat. Ideally, I’d have liked to move the foil packets around — front to back, etc. for more even cooking — but once they’ve been cooking for a while they’re even more unwieldy and filled with juices and it didn’t seem worth the inevitable spillage. I think the rack furthers back was done first. Finally, rather than trying to life the heavy foiled slabs of ribs out of the oven, or two trays at once, my husband just took out the whole oven shelf and put it on the stove and it was much easier to manage.

  13. CeeBee

    I found a recipe/method 95% similar to this two years ago on Pinterest and it’s my go to. And I only do the 300 for 2.5 to 3 hours. It comes out so tender just like that, why keep my oven on for longer? My husband was skeptical. He’s a grill man. He hasn’t put them on the grill since.

  14. Best of both worlds is throwing these on a grill that maintains a solid low temp :-) I’ve done oven ribs since before I had a grill and I love how they turn out, but not so much turning the oven in midsummer (except to make pie). The rub sounds great!!

  15. I. love. ribs. I’ve thought about trying to find a small grill to cart between my basement storage and shared roof, but i think this plus your fake shake shack burgers, i can do everything worthy in the kitchen. thanks!

  16. Lee

    these look amazing, and you’ve once again read my mind! I have a rack of baby backs in the freezer – can I use those or is there a huge difference between them and spare ribs?

  17. Carrie

    Three things:
    a) “Edible air conditioning” !!! I love your writing.
    b) You could add the “gluten free” tag to this.
    c) What is your favorite chili powder?

  18. Nic

    Literally just made a rack this weekend. It’s seriously so much easier than you think. I used Alton Brown’s rub and nommed down.

  19. I need these in my life, like, right now. I am having a backyard shindig tonight and was planning on doing Mexican food. Now I wish I had seen this and planned ribs, cornbread, and slaw! This is just an excuse to throw another get together this week. I’ve always wanted to make my own delicious ribs, and these look exactly like what I envisioned. Thanks Deb for always being my source of amazing recipes!!! P.S. I totally cracked up when you said you sent your little boy to pick up the ribs….if only! haha!!

  20. cb

    Hey Deb, These look awesome! This might be too complicated to even answer, but my husband loves ribs, but is muslim so only eats beef ones. Is there a way to translate this to giant beef ribs? I basically need to make that whole menu you just suggested immediately.

  21. Sharon

    I just made oven ribs last night doing something very similar to your rub. But you can make them much quicker that this and they fall off the bone. I rub them and seal them in the packet, meaty side down, and let them sit for an hour if I have the time or not, then pop them in a 400 degree oven for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Then I open the packet, mop them with the sauce of your choice (I go for a vinegary, Sriracha influenced one and sometimes add liquid smoke if I don’t use smoked salt, rather than the pig candy type) and put them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes more per side. Alternately, you can finish them on the BBQ. Delicious.

  22. Megan

    Deb, do you think this would work with a different cut of meat? My husband hates meat on the bones and Im loving this recipe. I was thinking a loin. What do you think?

  23. kaiza

    Do you think these could be a good make-ahead /how do you think they would travel…would love to bring these to a friend’s party!

  24. Isabella

    Hooooolllld the phone, Deb…
    You’ve never made beef ribs, ever??? You need to! That makes me die a little. I don’t eat pork anymore but I find beef to taste way better anyway, and ribs are no exception. You must.

  25. Kyla

    Oh man, I’m sitting here in the middle of the Australian winter (admittedly not terribly cold) and craving ribs and potato salad so badly after looking at these pictures. And I’m not even pregnant, so have no excuse! Surely ribs can be winter food too…

  26. Wanda

    I’ve always thought that there was no way other than the charcoal grill (I mean no other way that I would consider less than heresy) but this might be the one I try. There is always the balance between the air conditioning and the oven. The air conditioning costs a lot!

    Since you mentioned your calm pregnancy, I must throw in that during my first pregnancy I insisted we put our house on the market because it was too dirty for a baby. We bought the house because it was old. Luckily it didn’t sell before I regained my senses. That old house hits the 100 year mark in 2017, but I now live in another old house. I love them, all of them.

  27. Mmmm! LOVE dry ribs :) The thicker the spice mix layer, the better!

    Although, if we’re making ribs, I’m not keen on inviting other people over. I’ll eat all the ribs myself, thanks ;)

  28. deb

    Isabella — I will make this right very soon. :)

    Carol — I use spare ribs. If making this with baby backs, it will likely be done sooner as they’re smaller and more tender. I’d check in 30 to 45 minutes sooner, or even an hour, if you’re a oven-hoverer like me.

    cb — See my suggestions in Comment #22.

    Carrie — I don’t have a favorite chili powder. Also, when it comes to spice rubs and scaling them, I tend to buy cheap/bulk spices. I know the flavors aren’t as great, but I’m often making cups of rub and that gets might expensive quick with the good stuff.

  29. JanetP

    I used to make ribs in the slow cooker but then tried the oven method and have to say it’s far superior. Much better flavor. I like the idea of 2.5 to 3 hours at 300 degrees — the less time the oven is on in the summer, the better!

  30. I used to rub and then steam mine in the oven – then sauce and bbq to get char. Now I have a smoker. That said, these look intriguing. Heavy foil works great, and spareribs over babyback ribs have more meat.

  31. Anne-Huston

    This is my favorite way of making ribs. Usually I finish them off on the grill with some BBQ sauce. I do have a quick question, wondering if I could cook these in the oven the day before, re-heat in the oven day of party? Either finish off on the grill or under the broiler. We will have limited oven space for the 4th trying to do as much ahead of time as possible. Thanks!

  32. Sasha

    I really want to try this! It looks awesome! I have a question though, instead of putting the ribs foil pack on top of a metal rack, then on top of caking sheet; can I put 2 oven racks in the oven, then put the foil packs directly on the top rack and the cooking sheets on bottom rack? I don’t have oven-safe cookie racks. Thanks!

  33. Pintchow

    Deb, I applaud your patient cravings. The long slow cooking would drive me nuts. The Chinese way is a lot more amenable though probably sacrilegious to BBQ aficionados.
    My mum would basically boil spare ribs for about an hour and then marinade in soy sauce and sugar. Out comes the wok, to shallow fry until caramelised and slightly crispy. She has produced this for friends and family on 3 continents, it never fails. Super comforting..

  34. stephanie

    hi deb, this looks so good. i remember a couple times growing up my dad made ribs in the oven, and they were always amazing. why couldn’t he make them more? i always asked.

    anyway, i’m wondering about the rack. i don’t have such a thing, and i try avoid buying something i’ll only use for one recipe. can i just put the foil packet directly onto a baking sheet/jelly roll pan? or put the packet directly on the oven shelf with the pan on the shelf below to catch any leaking juices? thanks!

  35. Deb, heavy-duty, wide foil: Costco or restaurant supply store. Smoked salt, smoked paprika, and chipotle chili powder make all the difference; it’ll fool everyone but Bobby Flay. Otherwise, it’s perfect. I’d also recommend your readers not to take shortcuts on your time and temperatures; you’ve got them exactly right. Also, beef ribs are the bomb.

  36. 97wilson

    Talk about timing. I just finished smoking my third rack of ribs within a week and the process was very similar to yours. Covered in a spice mix I did 3 hours at 225° in the smoker then double wrapped in foil with foiling juice (1/2 c each honey, apple juice, brown sugar and some pepper flakes and chili powder) in the smoker for another 2 hours and final hour unwrapped. I reduced the foiling juices and served on the side.

    Side note – Emeril Lagasse has a recipe for Apple Cider Marinated Pork Spare Ribs ( which are wrapped in plastic wrap before placing in the over.

  37. Tim

    Hi Deb–so I’m basically doing what you did with ribs and a roof for my 4th of July, minus the roof, plus a tiny deck and grill, hopefully without any of the firework-blocking SF fog we had last year. Onto my purpose: curious what you think about the cornbread recipe you linked here vs. your recent cornbread muffin recipe as a loaf. Which would you prefer to go with ribs and why?

  38. sam-c

    ah man- my mouth is watering. Do you have any idea if it would be possible to do this on the grill? Houses in my neck of the woods don’t have AC, and I melt at the thought of turning on the oven for that long! maybe it will be a winter rib recipe for me.

  39. Dee

    Just heard an NPR segment that uses a dry rub – but uses a pressure cooker when time is short. So, use the rub, add a bit of water to create the steam and THIRTY minutes later, your ribs are ready. You can then add a sauce if you like and pop into a hot oven for 15 minutes to crisp up, but the presenter said it’s up to you.

  40. MissJubilee

    This looks amazing! Sadly it’s been warm-to-hot for over a month now so I can’t imagine turning on the oven for six hours anytime other than overnight or next fall. I will have to come back to this in late September I think. Boy am I hungry now! (Oh yes, congratulations on having your first craving) ;)

  41. lizzyanne

    HI Deb – I do something very similar. Alton Brown has a Rub #9 that you put on the ribs the night before. The next day you add some OJ and Margarita mix and let them cook at 250 for 2-3 hours. You can finish them on the grill but I usually don’t. You also reduce the liquid for a great sauce.You can find his Baby Back Ribs recipe on the Food network sight.

  42. Pam_P

    mmmmm, yessss! After reading Pam Anderson’s recipe a few years ago, I only do ribs in the oven now. We have a community grill, so holiday weekends are no go for tying up the bbq forever. I also love that you use spare ribs! They are my favorite! So much meat and fat, it’s the best ;)

    Thank you, Deb!

  43. maro

    having an impromptu-ish 4th of july get-together just to have a reason to make these ribs and bourbon slush punch. no other reason needed.

  44. Beth

    Love the ease, the flexibility, I think I can do this! We are really trying to limit sugar in our diet – how far do you think I could dial back the sugar in the rub without compromising the flavor too much?

  45. Sasha

    Deb, I need help! I have tried this recipe tonight when friends came over. I cooked 2 racks on oven for 4.5 hours at 225F with great success. They are raving over it! Thank you so much for the best ribs recipe!
    Now, I want to make this recipe with 8-10 racks for party next month. I am a bit confused on how to do this, like:
    (1) What is the best way to cook all of them? Should I cook 4 hours the day before, put it in fridge, and maybe add cooking time for 1 hour + broiling on the party day?
    (2) How many rack of ribs can I fit in the oven for grilling and broiling?
    (3) Can I put 2 layers of ribs package in 2 oven metal rack (1/3 upper and 1/3 lower), and rotate it afterwards? How should I adapt the time and temperature?
    Thank you so much in advance! Sorry for asking so many questions. I love your recipes so much but have no idea on how to scale it up.

  46. deb

    Beth — The sugar and salt somewhat hinge on each other, so if you’re going to cut back one, you should do the other or it will taste out of balance. You can adjust the rub to taste. But, keep in mind that these ribs are not particularly sweet and the sugar can help along caramelization at the end. I wouldn’t reduce it too much.

    Sasha — In Comment #22, I explained how I approached tripling this recipe. However, that’s 3 racks, not 8 to 10! I have no idea what size your oven is or how many racks you can fit in at a time, but I did find it’s okay to overlap them a little (fanned out as much as possible) and that it didn’t have a huge affect on cooking times, because ovens are all about indirect heat. Rotating is good, but not always the easiest once those foil packets are filled with cooking juices — you might instead rotate the entire shelves of the oven. You might find it easiest to make the ribs in two batches and broil them all off before serving….

    maro — Then my work here is done. :)

  47. Deb, I knew there was something that bothered me when reading the recipe…not the recipe itself, it’s perfect. But I read it over again, and it occurred to me that for those who haven’t done ribs before–especially oven-roasted–they should know (or be reminded) to remove the silver skin from the bottom of the rack, or the seasoning will not permeate the meat and the skin will tighten up and the ribs won’t cook evenly. Also, rubbing and resting several hours previous to the oven (preparing the rib rack first thing in the morning and letting it rest in the fridge until cooking time) makes them even better.

    1. Su Just Su

      Deb, how do you keep up with the comments? You’re amazing! Thank-you for a new blend of dry rub flavours to try. I usually go the route of Greek seasonings, heavy on dry lemon, and it’s delicious.

      As for what Cheffzilla commented, exactly! Hook the tip of your knife under the corner of the silver skin on the underside to lift a bit, then grip with your fingers and you should be able to strip away that white connective tissue in one piece! The meat will tenderize so much more quickly.

      For those who don’t want to heat their already summertime-hot home with the oven for six hours; let the dry rub act as a marinade on the foil-wrapped ribs in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Then cook at 300F for two and a half hours, unwrap and apply sauce and bake another 20-30 mins to get those ribs all sticky and yummy.

      1. deb

        I have a sickness! :) I do fall behind and then try to catch up but I started keeping up with the comments when I started with the site in 2006 and just can’t let go of reading the real conversations here, answering questions, and of course, removing the occasional junk comment.

  48. Karen

    Hi, Deb!
    So, here you are, so close to your due
    date, & not only do you have all your
    family and personal friends but you also
    have ALL of us out here in fandom
    wanting to check and make sure, ” Have
    you had the baby yet?” (This thought rises
    it’s nosey head when you don’t post for
    Perhaps you could just type a line
    (daily) “Still here & breathing!” Unless
    that would be too depressing?!?
    I’m praying for you & your little one!

  49. Thanks for this yummy recipe and cheffzilla thanks for the tip about the silver skin, I had no idea about that. Because of a medical condition (endometriosis) I don’t usually eat meat (and therefore don’t cook it much), but I will have it from time to time like when I am having guests, so its really handy for me to learn all these tips that are perhaps obvious to those people who cook meat a lot.

  50. boyalien

    Related to cheffzilla’s comments above, I was wondering why there is no instruction on how to prep the ribs…removing silver skin, cutting away excess fat….which leads me to my question – were the spare ribs trimmed St. Louis style? Or not? Please and Thank You!

  51. Gerty

    This is one easy sounding recipe. Will definitely make this weekend with watermelon for dessert. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the 4th.

  52. Hullo.
    Thank goodness that you live in a city, in an apartment, without the benefit of a massive grill on a massive deck, overlooking a massive yard. You bring hope and comfort to your urban brothers/sisters.

    We’re making this today as a kind of pre-Fourth of July blow out dinner. And I am so stoked to try it!

    Thank you!!

  53. Lauren

    I went the 4-hour route and cooked a batch of molasses baked beans in the oven at the same time. Might as well maximize oven usage, and since beans need to go low and slow, too, and happen to be an excellent foil for ribs, it’s a perfect match. These ribs rock. Finished them on the grill to get a nice sear/caramelization, which took them from great to holy cow (err, pig). And that bbq sauce?! I wanna slather it on everything. I forgot to put the vinegar in, but I did add a bit of tomato paste to the sauce, which rounded out the flavor.

  54. Alicia

    This look delicious, perfect for the summer. Just two quick questions.
    Do I need 1 cup of rub per 5 pounds of ribs? Is that right?
    Have you tried to cook them the day before and then finish them on the BBQ?

  55. Gretchen

    Made this with Country Ribs. They were incredible. And while I’m not a big vinegar user, in anything, this was perfect. Served with cucumber salad and a quinoa salad. Dessert is your pineapple upside down cake. Thanks for a great holiday, Deb!

  56. Leslie

    Did these for July 4th today — along with your Spring Salad with New Potatoes, a carrot salad, and your Key Lime Pie Popsicles for dessert. Yummy all round!

  57. Mary

    I never comment on recipes but felt compelled to on this one. Wow! So delicious. This was only my second time making ribs and I will probably only make them like this in the future. I put them on the bbq after the oven for a bit of caramelization and used the sauce from the foil packs. Side dishes were potato salad and grilled asparagus. Thanks for a great recipe!!!

  58. Natalie

    Awesome recipe! I just took the ribs out of the oven and they are so tender and tasty. I halved the recipe because it’s just me, but I may make a trip to the butcher tomorrow to repeat it!

  59. Stephanie

    I made these yesterday (put the rub on the day before) and they were amazing and well received. Love the step of simmering the juices and adding vinegar to make a little sauce. It was nice to have space on the grill for the other proteins!

  60. NancyNS

    I made these two days ago. It was amazingly tender and delicious and not as sweet as I feared. We can’t wait to make it again!

  61. Adrienne K

    Thank you for this recipe! I made three racks from Costco for my family party yesterday. Everyone raved about them – my dad couldn’t believe this was my first time making ribs. I did not use Diamond salt but Morton’s, so I used the lower amount – I think I would use the full amount next time. And I omitted the cayenne and noticed that the sauce had quite the kick even without it.

    Because we ate at my sister’s and I had to cook them there, we baked them for 3-hours in the 300 degree oven. I served them with your roasted grape tomato pasta salad – this is my new favorite salad! I add chopped English cucumber and omit the cheese.

  62. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for posting this! I made them with great success and little fear thanks to you. We didn’t have plans for the 4th, just plans to make the ribs and then the party showed up. I think if you make it, they will come. : )

    We had kids eating with us to after I reduced my syrup I added half a bottle of sweet store bought bbq sauce; perfect!

  63. deeee

    Ok, ribs are in the oven….THEN I had an idea. Why fuss with the foil…wouldn’t a turkey bag work? Less mess, and I think it would be easier to get the sauce out to thicken it.

  64. Juan

    What is the difference between the chilli powder and the cayenne? My ribs came out INCREDIBLE but very spicy. I used 1 tablespoon of cayenne as replacement for 3 tablespoons of chilli powder.

  65. Kate

    I made your ribs yesterday for a party of 30 and they were such a hit that I didn’t even get one! I was so disappointed that I went back out to the store to get another rack for dinner tonight. I added half a teaspoon cayenne to to the rub and used baby backs, both times. Since the baby back rib meat is more tender, I did 4 hours at 200 yesterday and 2.5 hours at 300 today and they came out the same–falling off the bone. Way to go Deb!

    1. I’m so glad you posted this comment!

      This is the recipe I want to use for a big Eclipse party Monday, but have never made it before. In order to have everything done on time, I was hoping to partially cook them the day before. Thanks for testing this method! It’s saving my sanity.

  66. You’ve done it again, Deb. You’ve wowed my guests again and subsequently made me look like a rock star. I made 3 racks for our 4th party on Saturday, baking them exactly as you suggested (4hrs @ 200, 2hrs @ 175) and they were per.fect. Seriously, amazing.

    For the leftovers (of which there were few), I reheated the ribs in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes, wrapped in a foil packet with some of the extra sauce I saved and they were still amazing! Thank you for another winner!!

  67. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    Reiterating what many others have already said–these are fabulous. I made the ribs, the RC potato salad, your cabbage/lime/peanut slaw, and cornbread for my husband’s birthday dinner; we had the cracker ice cream sandwiches for dessert and he proclaimed it his favorite bday meal so far. Thanks again for making me look like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen! :)

    And also a shout out to cheffzilla (#68) for the tip about removing the silver skin before applying the rub. You (and your readers) are top-notch Deb.

  68. Lynda

    I made these for the 4th, and everyone loved them. I doubled the recipe, baked 2 large racks of baby back ribs (nearly 10 lbs.) and fed 8 adults generously. I was always afraid to try ribs in the past — and I have been cooking for over 40 years! Awesome!! Thank you.

  69. Allison

    Deb, have you done this with country style ribs? I see that some others have used them with this, and with good results, but we did this last night and found some of the meat to be pretty dry. Maybe it’s b/c I rushed and did it at the 4 hour setting? I love the recipe and will be doing it again with a different cut of rib soon, but was just wondering!

  70. These look so good! And I love dry rub too. I’m not exactly a grill master, so I love that you can put them in the oven. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  71. Awads

    Since I am usually pressed for time, I use the par-boiling method to cook ribs. Just boil the racks (baby backs, cut in half) for 15 minutes, slice into single ribs, toss in some sauce (homemade Franklins!) and place in oven or on grill for another 20-25 minutes. Comes out delicious everytime!

  72. you make it look soooo easy!
    Ive never tried a dry rub before, ive always just marinated the meat for a while before hand in the sauce. you are so right about it sloshing around.
    I can’t wait to try this on the weekend.
    Thanks for sharing!

  73. Lisa

    I made this for dinner tonight, my first attempt at making ribs. They were DELICIOUS, and I loved the sauce, too.

  74. Gail

    hi smitten friends – I have to cook for a crowd on our upcoming vacation. Any ideas of good recipes on this site that you’ve found scale up well, even dramatically? (20-25 people)? These ribs sound like they’d fit the bill. Any other ideas? Thank you!

  75. deb

    Chefzilla/tips about removing silverskin — Sorry I didn’t see this sooner. (I’m slower than usual these days!) Honestly, I’ve never done it and never knew I was missing out; the recipe certainly works with it on. But I’d like to try it next time and see. I’m sure I’ll be converted.

    B. Boudin — I think it could be delicious on a brisket, but you’ll have to invite me over for some so I can say with certainty. :)

    Gail — I think most recipes will scale up well, but it’s also about how many dishes you want to make. (You can make single batches of many dishes, or scaled-up batches of fewer.) For 15 people, I wanted to make fewer dishes and doubled the Roseanne Cash Potato Salad, doubled the Broccoli Slaw, we bought corn (which we forgot to put out, and never needed) and made a 9×13 of cornbread. For 11 people, I made a single broccoli slaw, single potato salad, a single batch of Ina’s cole slaw and an 8×8 of cornbread. Both were more than enough food.

    Juan — Chili powder is actually a blend of spices — usually chili peppers but also cumin, oregano and garlic powder — and not always particularly hot. 1 tablespoon of cayenne is A LOT of heat (as you learned) as it’s straight ground hot red peppers. I’m sorry you learned the hard way! (I’ve done this before too, so I know.)

    Alicia — I like to use 1 cup of rub per 5-pound rack. It’s a lot, but it tastes great in the end. I haven’t finished these on a grill because I don’t have one, but no reason not to. Just crank it up at the end so they get a little caramelization. They should reheat just fine.

    Karen — Thank you. Another reader said I’m supposed to use this website to keep people informed. :) I was going to say “if the site goes really quiet, I’m probably otherwise engaged” but it’s been quiet just because I haven’t been cooking much besides freezer meals (although: new recipe today!). I promise that although this site may not be the first or second to know when the baby gets here, I’ll share any good news soon. I think I had a Welcome Jacob post up by the third day in 2009. He was too cute not to share with the world!

  76. Keith

    Deb, would this rub work for Lamb ribs? My wife recently stopped eating pork for medical reasons. I don’t want to tempt her

  77. teddy


    I found something different on a Youtube channel called cooking and conversation. It’s this Ivy league educated guy who teaches you how to make common food items but blends it with conversation about subject matter that we ALL can identify with, and he’s pretty funny too. He’s not politically correct , which is kind of refreshing. Check it out.

  78. Nancy

    Ms Deb – I never order ribs. I never eat ribs. I never make ribs. I made these ribs. They were fantastic. I still may never order them, but I will, for certain, make them again, just the way you did. Thank you.

  79. Jane kim

    I made this today complete with potato salad, buttermilk biscuits, and the blueberry crumb bars. It was all so delicious. To be honest I did not know what to expect in terms of how the ribs were going to turn out. Never had dry rubbed ribs. But as soon as we all took our first bites everyone’s eyes grew wider in unison because without even saying a word to each other we were all agreeing how damn delicious these ribs were! The sauce was also amazing and went so wel with the ribs. A++++ for the recipe! Thank you!

  80. Cathy

    I made these tonight accompanied by fresh corn. For the BBQ sauce, about 45 minutes before the ribs were done cooking, I started reducing a can of fire roasted tomatoes with the cider vinegar mixed in. About 15 minutes before the ribs were ready, I added the liquid from the ribs and continued to cook it down. It was less salty that way, I think. I poured some of the sauce over the cut ribs before running them under the broiler for a few minutes. It was all delicious! Needless to say, not a rib nor a kernel of corn was left. Thank you!

  81. Nan C

    These were amazing! The rub, combined with slow cooking resulted in a perfect summer mainstay!! Made for a small crowd ( my favorite), and ALL were exceptionally pleased; in fact we love ’em!! THANKS

  82. Isa

    My husband said these were the best things he’s ever eaten – PERIOD! And this was my first attempt at ribs, period. We thickened the sauce a bit at the end with a little faux roux (cornstarch mixed with water) and our guests liked it so much they put it on their corn on the cob. Highly recommend this recipe – we were a bit intimidated but needn’t have been!

  83. Dee

    These were great! My fiance (a serious bbq lover) was shocked that ribs could be so delicious without a smoker or grill. I baked them at 200 for the full 6 hours (needed that oven temp for Ina’s baked beans) and they were super tender.

  84. Julia Johnson

    These were amazing! I made them for a July 4th bbq and there was nearly a fistfight over the last rib. I made slight modifications, using smoked hot paprika and a smoked salt to increase the bbq flavor. Baked at 300 for 3 hours. I reduced the cooking liquid and brushed it on the ribs before finishing them briefly on the grill to caramelize the exterior. No other sauce required! I’ll never use another rib recipe.

  85. JLB

    We don’t eat spare ribs so I wanted to try this with short ribs and was looking at other websites for timing as you suggested in one of your comments. Why do all the short rib recipes call for braising before putting them in the oven. That seems like more of a winter meal. Will it affect the taste if I don’t braise first? Thanks and good luck on push day!

  86. NancyS

    My first try at cooking ribs…..and they were amazing! Followed your recipe to a T and everyone loved them. My biggest challenge was in figuring out how to cut them….

  87. Pam

    Made these for a potluck and they were the crowd favorite! I prepped and finished them all by myself and didn’t find it too challenging (though maybe a bit messy) when flipping/turning the ribs. Thanks, Deb!!

  88. Kim

    I made these for dinner last night and they were a huge hit, even with my significant other who is somewhat indifferent about ribs! Since there were only two of us, I bought a smaller rack and had some rub left over. I am obsessed with roasted chickpeas right now, so I tossed sprinkled a little rub over them before I tossed them in the oven and YUM. Very pleased!

  89. How do you check these with a fork when they’re sealed up in foil? Is there a way to figure out if they’re near to being done without unwrapping them?

    Is the primary purpose of the baking tray to catch drips, or is it to prevent radiant heating from the element? I’m not sure whether to prefer a large insulated rimless sheet or one that could hold some liquid if necessary.

    Also, now I know I have a smaller kitchen than you. Two baking sheets on one oven rack? I can barely fit a rib rack in my oven without turning it diagonally! Also, my oven doesn’t even go down to 175, but that has less to do with its size than its quality.

    1. deb

      Senkelat — I just peel the foil back very carefully (the packets are puddled with juices, so VERY carefully) and check it in sections. The tray is to catch drips, better to use one with a small rim. I used 9×13 baking sheets (quarter sheets) in my older very tiny oven; my current one is big enough for two next to each other, but there’s only one rack. No reason not to cut the rib racks down to the size that fits. I found they cooked just fine when overlapped, but more evenly if you can switch the foil packets around mid-baking. If your oven doesn’t go low enough, just assume your ribs will probably be done sooner and keep an eye out.

  90. Kim in MN

    I am in the process of making these wonderful sounding ribs, and it occurs to me as I wrap them in foil, would a Reynolds brand Oven Bag work instead of foil? Just curious. My family has loved every recipe I have made from your site- thank you for THAT difficult feat!

  91. Kim in MN

    So, several hours later, I can say that these ribs were the most tender and juciest of any recipe I have made so far in my quest for the PERFECT ribs. I used baby backs as I had several in the freezer. I would like to know more about the science of creating a tasty rub – not that this one was lacking, but I would just like to vary the flavor on occasion. The sauce was very good, definitely not a typical BBQ sauce, but delicious nonetheless.

  92. Susan

    After rushing through the comments I’m still not sure you said anything about using meat ribs instead of pork ribs. Hard to tell whether you said meat ribs would work as well.

  93. Susan

    Oh P.S. Deb, I’m new to your site and its nice to taste someone’s cooking who LOVES food. And your little girl is precious.

  94. Puss N Boots

    Dear Debs
    Congrats on little one I’m on granddaughter 4 due to flurry of activity this year such a joy.
    In the UK not seen commercial “Chilli” powder. To save experimentation can you suggest a ratio of ingredients – personally I never buy premixed/ ground spices. Grind my own fresh from whole spices.
    P xx

  95. deb

    Susan — Thank you. I never made these with beef ribs, but weighed in on what I thought might work in Comment #22. Hope that helps a little.

    Puss N Boots — It should be so simple, but there’s a huge range in ingredients and proportions for chile powder. This one looks pretty simple and basic, but adjust it to taste so the heat doesn’t overwhelm, unless you want it to. (Oddly enough, most commercial chile powders aren’t even that hot.) As you can see, it has a lot of ingredient overlap with the rub itself.

    JW — And not a pork butt/shoulder? I guess they’d be my first choice for barbecue. Regardless, I think it could work, it’s more about adjusting the cooking time. I think it would need a lot less.

  96. Diana

    Had these for supper tonight. Fabulous! Finally, ribs that are spicy, tasty but not gooey with slopped on sauce. You are right–dry rub is the way to go. Thank you!

  97. Liz

    Hi Deb – why do you put the ribs on a a wire rack above the baking sheet? How do you think the ribs will turn out if I put them directly on the sheet (after they have been wrapped in foil)? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Liz — It’s mostly about letting some air circulate beneath them, as you would on a grill. I don’t think they’ll be ruined directly on a sheet, but they might have a browned side where they touch.

  98. This recipe is perfect for me. I’m a long time BBQ’er, (as opposed to griller,) and we’ve just moved into an apartment where grills and smokers are not allowed. So I will surely us this recipe.

    Few things. First, I always add cumin to my rub. But then, I love cumin.Secondly, I recommend chipotle chili rather than regular for a nicer smoky flavour. Finally, the rule is never use sugar with a beef rub. Pigs like it; cows don’t.

  99. Rich

    Deb, was looking for oven cooked rib recipes when I came across yours. I’m a pretty good amateur chef in my own mind, but it’s fun to see how others have adapted or made a recipe their own. You had me at the paragraph with times and temps.
    Thank you.. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your writing style, and plan to bookmark/subscribe to your site. Please keep cooking and writing about it.

  100. Nadia

    Thank you Deb for tested and reliable recipes! I have to admit that I’m a bit crazy in doing this but for my hubby’s bday party we decided to have ribs despite the large crowd attending. I hadn’t tried this recipe before but I’ve tried others of yours and they never fail. Our plan was to cook them tender the day before (since it’s been so hot around here) and reheat/char on the grill before serving. I made 35 lbs (7x this recipe)! =D

    I didn’t have big enough baking sheets so I used dollar store disposable baking sheets put together to make 1 big one. This worked really well. I used whatever racks I had on top of that. We ended up using a whole roll+ of the heavy duty aluminum foil! Because of lack of time, I decided to try to cook them all at once, staggering them to try to get as much air flow as possible. Because of my own carelessness, I punctured some packs while getting them into the oven but I “patched” them asap using another layer of foil. In the end it was still a mess but worth it! Most were done at 3.5 hours with a couple big meaty ones done at 4.5. Next time I would probably increase the oven temp since I kept it at 300 (but hopefully next time I’ll make a sane amount in 2 batches).

    The ribs came out amazing and very delicious. Guests raved! I made the sauce on party day so I was able to separate most of the fat and leftover spice chunks. It came out delicious, unique and not salty at all. Next time, I’ll try your sauce recipe full fat and all to compare! I bet it’s even more delicious. THANK YOU AGAIN!

  101. Krystle

    These ribs were delicious!! Made them last night for my stepmom’s birthday and paired it up with the martha’s mac and cheese and it was phenom! These were my first hand at ribs, ever!! So I was overly happy when I prepped the ribs and then became giddier when they were cooking cooked and smelling AMAZING!! End result: Everyone loved them!! I wanted to do the sour cream cheddar biscuits but ran out of time and was afraid to try anything else new (but I’ll get to that next time). Thanks again xo!

  102. June

    Just made this updated recipe exactly as written for dinner tonight, and my family decided we much prefer the earlier version (Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs – July 2010). I’ve made the earlier recipe at least a dozen times and it’s always a crowd favorite.

    My biggest tip is that despite how much everyone loves flexible cooking times, I think 6 hours is the only way to go. It makes a huge difference in how tender and flavorful the meat is.

    Bottom line: stick with the original dry rub – it’s fantastic!

  103. Lindsay

    We made these on Sunday and couldn’t believe how easy and delicious they were. My husband cooked them for only 4 hours bc we can’t read and missed the directions about lowering the heat for an additional 2 hours, but they were still great. Next time we’ll follow directions better. We’re not a fan of vinegar BBQ sauces, so we slathered them with Montgomery Inn sauce at the end and let them bake uncovered for a few minutes. Served the ribs with bacon braised collard greens and felt very Southern.

  104. stephanie

    we had these last night for dinner. i had every intention of getting up at a normal time monday morning, letting the rub sit, and getting them in the oven to make the preferred times work in time for dinner. but then, i was hungover. and i accidentally woke up at 12:30pm. so i hustled to get them in the oven ASAP by 1pm – i started them at 200 and then after three hours when it seemed my oven was struggling to keep that temp i nudged them up to 225, and then after four hours i nudged it again to 250, paranoid that we wouldn’t eat until 8pm. well, at 6pm i finally checked them, and they were “fall off the bone tender” which i understand to be overdone, but you know what, they were still freakin’ delicious so who cares!

    i made the rub with your measurements up until the cayenne & the black pepper, of which i had neither so i improvised with a scant teaspoon of berbere (a north african spice blend that is like cayenne on fire) and a couple of teaspoons of penzey’s bbq rub which has a few ground peppercorn ingredients among other things. the smallest rack of ribs i could find was a little over 4lbs and i found the amount of rub to be just right.

    didn’t have a rack so i just put the foil packet directly on the oven rack and put the sheet pan underneath to catch drips. i also found when it came time to dump the drippings into a pot, putting the foil packet on the sheet pan and then molding a spout using the corner of the pan to help you worked awesome. (so you’re holding the sheet pan, not the unwieldy foil packet.) the sauce tasted great but was a bit too fatty for me (tums to the rescue!), but boyperson loved it.

    we had the ribs with your perfect corn muffins & the vinegar slaw from your cookbook, everything was excellent! take that, january in boston.

  105. Cat

    You made my Sunday dinner with this recipe, and won over my mom’s boyfriend for life!

    This is one of the best recipes I’ve gotten from your site, and almost fool proof!

    Thank you for helping my make my first attempt at ribs a successful joining of families!

    Served with:
    Your spring new potato salad
    Dairy free iron skillet cornbread
    Blueberry jam

  106. Did these tonight. Sorta’ of a combination rub of all three you have worked with plus. Def love a bit of cloves, just bit & dry mustard along with cumin, touch of ginger, pinch of espresso powder & then the usual suspect, cut back on the salt, garlic powder, cayenne, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, red pepper flakes…. After your warning about the sauce being too salty I cut the salt by to one Tbs. & it was just perfect. Really wanted to use the sauce from the foil so cutting back the salt worked just fine. THX!!!

  107. Leslie

    I’ve made these twice this month and they are so easy and truly foolproof. I did 2 racks yesterday and they fit side by side (not stacked) on cookie cooling rack. I made collard greens and mashed yams and poured some of the reduced juice on the collards. It was SO delicious. I pulled them out after 6 hours and they were falling-off-the-bone. I think I’ll check at 5 hours next time. They stayed hot wrapped in the foil (juice drained already) for a half hour while I finished everything else.

    I love ribs but rarely fixed them because they were such a hassle. Thanks Deb!

  108. Teri

    Made these this weekend and they are delicious! I have a pork loin in the crockpot now with the remainder of the rub. Hoping for pulled pork as delicious as the ribs.

  109. Elise

    Thanks for once again providing an amazing recipe. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and impulse-bought ribs when I found them 50% off.

    A few modifications:
    -I ran out of cayenne, apparently red pepper flakes are a great replacement.
    -I’m on vacation and don’t have my cookie cooling sheets so I put the foil-wrapped ribs on the oven rack and placed pans for stray drippings on the rack below.
    -Next time I’ll pour off some or all of the juices early and get started boiling it down before I’m ready to broil the ribs. Boiling the sauce down took way longer than expected and eventually I just decided the ribs didn’t need it.

  110. Carolyn

    Just finished making and devouring a rack of these. Made the recipe exactly as written (6 hours in the oven) and they were awesome. The liquid was fully reduced in less than 5 minutes and my husband loved the sauce, so I wouldn’t skip it! Served this with the horseradish potato salad on this site and my husband and I thought the whole meal was excellent. Thanks Deb!

    1. deb

      You could start with half a teaspoon and taste a pinch. It should have some kick, it’s going to be distributed over a lot of meat and will have many hours to mellow in the oven.

  111. Diana

    I’ve made these twice. Excellent recipe, but I did find them very salty so the second time I reduced the salt by half. Also added 1/2 tsp of chipotle chili pepper. Perfect. My husband says these ribs are excellent and don’t even need the sauce because they are so moist. Thanks for an easy, delicious dinner!

  112. Kathryn A

    These were very tasty!

    Strangely I had very, very little liquid at the end. Too hot for too long? Foil pouch not tight enough?

    I used separated ribs rather than a rack (that’s how they tend to sell them here) but don’t think that would make a difference.

    No matter, I really enjoyed them and the texture and flavour of the meat was fantastic.

      1. Hello!

        I was hoping to make this recipe but happen to have 5 lbs of baby back ribs not spare ribs. Are there any important changes I should use in the process?


        1. deb

          If making this with baby backs, it will likely be done sooner as they’re smaller and more tender. I’d check in 30 to 45 minutes sooner, or even an hour, if you’re a oven-hoverer like me.

  113. Elean

    Just made this and ate way too much. So tender I couldn’t cut the ribs apart; the meat just fell off the bones.
    I used 1/2 tsp of cayenne. I’d double it next time (we like things a little spicy).
    Only criticism: now my belly is too full for dessert.

  114. Monica Johan

    Hi Deb! I was wondering which of the two ribs recipes of yours will go better with your mac and cheese. This or the sweet smoky oven ribs? Thanks :)

    1. deb

      This is a slightly improved/streamlined version, so basically either. If you’ve made one or the other before and loved it, stick with it.

  115. I made these last week, and they were completely amazing. I’m usually not a rib fan, but these were so perfectly flavored I adored them. I baked them at 250 for a bit more than three hours, and then finished them for a bit on the grill. Everyone loved them so much I have to repeat them this weekend.

  116. Most amazing rib recipe – I’ve been making this recipe for several years now – it’s one of those recipes everyone asks for when they’ve eaten some. I’ve also frozen leftovers (only available if I make a rack for me only) – they are still great nuked to defrost & finished in the oven!

  117. Melinda

    So, for the life of me I can’t find your recent (Instagram???) post about a party you were hosting, but I’m basically stealing your entire menu, including these ribs. SUPER dumb question coming at ya: What style of ribs did you use? I have several racks of baby back ribs in the freezer I’d like to use, but yours seems so much… longer? I’m terrible identifying and substituting cuts of meat, so apologies for the silly inquiry, but I want them to be as stellar as yours look!

  118. Kelly Behrens

    How do you tell if they’re done?! And how often and how do you check them? And what tells you they’ll need more or less time at a higher or lower temperature?! HELP!!! :)

    1. deb

      All the time arrangements work — i.e. more time at a lower temperature or less time at a higher. You can choose what works for you. In general, the “lower and slower” the more tender the meat but I don’t think it tastes compromised when baked faster. You want meat that would almost shred or tear easily with a fork. If the bones are loose, or beginning to loosen, within the meat, this too is a sure sign.

  119. Carrie

    Hi Deb-
    I’m serving these tomorrow for dinner and wondering your thoughts on making them tonight vs tomorrow. Have you reheated before? Could I do the 6 hours tonight, refrigerate, bring to room temp tomorrow and then quick broil right before serving? Are there other combinations for cooking that you recc?

  120. I have made this recipe at least a dozen times since finding you, Smitten Kitchen. I get so many compliments that I feel awful accepting – you did all the work and the recon!

    I have a couple of questions. The first is: what is the purpose of the cookie cooling rack that the ribs sit on; does it change the cooking process or product in some way?

    The second, is this: based on the way I’ve done these ribs. Why not do the rub and leave them to sit? (This is the way I do them: make the rub the night before and leave them to marinate, over night at least, in a Ziplock bag or large container). This gives you the opportunity to coat the ribs in the rub and to really massage it in there, without the precarious maneuver of flipping over the rack. Yes, the rub is then wet, but this is going to happen anyway with cooking and I find you still get the “crusty rub” texture if you don’t skip the broiling step after the cooking is done.

    I’ve seen many a BBQ show, etc where a dry rub is left on overnight, which is what gave me the idea. Either way, thank you for sharing this. It has changed the way I make ribs, for the better!

    1. deb

      First, thank you. The cooling rack is to help air circulate around the ribs. About leaving the rub on to marinate, no reason you cannot, I just haven’t found any lack of flavor infusion in the several hours they cook with it on. Glad you’re enjoying the ribs — and you are actually doing all the work. I only make them once a year. :)

  121. Caryn

    Would the spice rub, if tripled, adequately coat 15 lbs of ribs? I am cooking six racks and live in a small town where some of the listed spices are Unavailable. Should I just cook three racks or would six racks with three servings of your rub recipe be tasty enough?

  122. Jill

    I made these on a Sunday afternoon so they could cook while I stacked wood. I kept coming in to the house wondering when I’d be able to smell them. I think I had wrapped them so well in the heavy duty foil that I trapped the scent! Or maybe the low oven temp did that? Either way, as soon as I opened the tinfoil, everything smelled amazing. I have no idea what kind of ribs I used, as I had grabbed a pack from the freezer stash of “this was ridiculously cheap” sale meat my husband had bought. They were AMAZING. I kept coming back to the kitchen thinking “I’m not really a ribs person…and yet, here I am”, to pick away at them and dip them in the sauce that thickened beautifully. Thank you, Deb! Your recipes never fail me. (I’m going to try the Apple Sharlotka tonight – can’t wait!)

  123. Ali

    Made these bad boys this weekend and boy did they not disappoint. I did an even mix of 1 T smoked and 1 T sweet paprika with 1/2 t chipotle pepper and they were amazing. (Nice smoky flavor but not spicy.) I had two picky eaters who even asked for seconds! I also used baby back ribs instead of spare ribs and I cooked them at 275F for 2.5 hours and they were perfectly cooked. I finished them off on the grill for some extra char and brushed them with the reduced drippings from the foil packets. Thanks Deb for another winner! Love you and your 5-star recipes! Xx

  124. Have made this recipe several times, but this weekend (because life happens) we had to partially cook these (250 degrees for about 2 hours) and then had to put them in the refrigerator. We made them the next day, heating them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees and then finished on the grill and they were amazing! I think this will be our technique from now on. Thank you for such a flexible, delicious main.

  125. Marilyn

    I’ve been using a recipe for ribs on the grill done in an hour from Weber. Dry rub racks, cut each rack in half and double wrap in foil. Cook on medium direct heat for an hour, turning packets every 15 minutes, over and back to front. Remove from foil and baste with BBQ sauce and grill for 10-15 minutes. Delish!

  126. Heidi

    What kind of beef ribs do you recommend using (if we don’t eat pork). Why do you ‘tweak’ the rub? how? Thanks -love your recipes!!

    1. deb

      Thanks. I’ve never beef ribs them so I’m basically just looking at cooking times recommended on other well-reviewed recipes. One says 3.5 to 4 hours at 250, so perhaps cooking time isn’t that different. However, I’d sift through a few more before deciding which time/temp approach to take.

      This commenter says they cook in the same amount of time:
      Someone else advises to not use sugar, but I’m not sure I agree until I try it:

  127. Seraphina Chew

    For whatever reason, this tasted better the next day? Maybe because I had too many the day I made them, but the leftovers were really good! I think my oven runs hot + I did not wrap them tightly enough because my ribs were not fall off the bone tender and slightly tough, but really good nonetheless. Planning to make them again – thanks for the recipe!

  128. Marybeth Sullivan Kass

    The hit of our July 4th cookout which is saying something because we also had prime rib cooked on a spit over an open fire. Made them low and slow in the oven, then wrapped in foil to keep warm. Brought them up to our pool club to be finished on the grill. Tender, moist and delicious

    1. deb

      You might be able to do it with frozen but I’m not sure how much time to add — 1 hour? Possibly more? I wouldn’t start the actual cooking time until they’re thawed in the middle.

  129. Maryann

    When making an especially thick rack of ribs, 6 hours was not long enough to have truly tender ribs. Also, I did not enjoy the flavor profile of this rub. It tasted too much like chili.

  130. Bekki

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am unable to have tomatoes (and a bunch of other things) so I thought this type of thing was no longer in my diet. These were AMAZING. I changed the spice mixture, using Penzey’s Bavarian mix (plus a little more garlic, dried shallot and salt) and I thought the flavors went really well with the pork.

    We only used a 2 lb rack of spare ribs which was about right for 1 adult and 2 9 year olds. It took about 3.5 hours at 250. I also applied the rub a few hours before cooking.

  131. CRG

    Love this recipe but am not sure I am getting the full benefit. There was two of us and my rack was only 1.3 pounds so cooked for an hour at 300. Should I have cooked longer?

  132. Steph

    This was a winner! Made it with a 3 lb rack of baby backs, only 1 TB paprika (because thats all I had) and cooked at 225 for 4 hours and 300 for an hour. Finished each side under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. So good! Crispy and tender and not sloppy or messy. We ended up using the sauce as a gravy on our mashed potatoes…

  133. MommaJ

    Wow, these were sooo disappointing. Even after the full six hour’s of cooking, the meat wasn’t fall off the bone tender, as I think spare rib meat should be, and the dry rub added very little flavor. So we were just chewing on chunks of bland pork. Maybe the sauce would have helped, but we prefer our ribs un-sauced, and good dry rubbed ribs shouldn’t need sauce to be flavorful. Big pass.

  134. robin steed

    Hi There- I don’t seem to receive the email confirmation to receive your newsletter- a real downer! Can someone help please?

    All the best.


  135. Julie MacDowall

    I made these ribs for dinner last night. Followed the recipe exactly except halved ingredients using only one rack and smoked paprika. Baked at 225 for 2 hrs, 250 for 30 mins and 275 for 30 minutes. They were fork tender, then we threw them on the gas grill for about 15-20. I did not make the finishing sauce instead using up some homemade barbecue sauce from the fridge.
    My husbands comment, ” these are the best oven ribs you’ve ever made.”
    I agree….these are awesome. Thank you for this recipe, I will be making many more of these. I served them with a Kale salad. Now about that Salad…….. Lol

  136. Cherie

    Hello and love your recipes. If I am only making one slab of ribs, would you reduce the cooking time? Baby back, St. Louis…what kind are your favorite? Thanks.

  137. Emily Camille Myers

    I made these the other day for the 3rd time.

    Before reducing the drippings down into a BBQ sauce, I added a glug of tamarind chutney from my local Indian grocery store. Tastes amazing! Thanks Deb.

  138. Ellie B

    I made these ribs tonight and they were fantastic. Thank you for a great recipe. I have a questions: I plan on making them for a larger number of people. Would using two pans with racks alter temperature and timing in any way?

  139. Sally K

    I used country style ribs instead of spare ribs and baked them for 3 hours at 300˚F. They were falling apart tender and delicious!

  140. Helena

    I’m so ready for this! My stepson has been asking me to make ribs but it’s so hot in our apt! I think I’ll get these in the oven early in the morning when it’s cool and then stick them on the grill just before dinner to warm up and give them a little extra flavor. Thanks, Deb!!!

  141. Ellen

    Hello! Making these tomorrow for a special dinner but could only find 3lb racks of center cut spareribs. Do you have any suggestions on how to adjust the cooking time and/or oven temp to be sure not to overcook? Thanks so much!

  142. rzh

    I followed this recipe exactly, with the broiling at the end, and it was ok. The ribs certainly weren’t “fall off the bone” tender—I think they needed more heat. Won’t make again.

  143. Ilana

    I made these last night with beef back ribs and they were delicious! I used about 4.25 lbs ribs and a half batch of rub (I didn’t realize I was low on various ingredients), and did them at 250°F for 3.5 hours. They could have gone longer but I’d started them later than I should have and was hungry. The sauce wasn’t too salty, possibly because of the smaller amount of rub.

    I reheated the leftovers off the bone with a bit of tomato paste mixed into the sauce for pulled beef sandwiches. Yum!

  144. delicious. i put the rub on last night, cooked them up today. i used pink Himalayan salt and went with 1 1/4 TB because I am very sensitive to overly salty foods. in retrospect, I do think they needed more (for 4lbs) but they are perfectly DELICIOUS. very well-balanced. but it’s THE SAUCE for me!! i had a little half rack in addition to the full rack (still in the oven on hour 5 very low) so it was easy to cut the corner of the foil for a little bbq sauce test. OMG GLORIOUS! i guess I found the spices in the rub pretty mild on their own — but when concentrated w vinegar? WOWSERS. that little test half-rack is in belly now! it fell apart like butter at 4hours / 225°F. When I get to serving the full rack to friends I will def put them under the broiler for some crisping. Thank you for another winner!

  145. Laurie

    You make me want to throw a ribs party! If I were to cook multiple racks, would I wrap them individually, or stack them and wrap them together? Would the cooking time change?

    1. deb

      If I don’t have room in my oven for a tray for each, I stack them and move them around once or twice while cooking so they cook evenly (but they honestly might even if you don’t rearrange). Cooking time shouldn’t change.

  146. Anna Stuart

    I’ve got baby back ribs – not spare ribs – and they’re pretty short. I’m assuming this recipe would work fine, just maybe a shorter cooking time?

  147. Mary Ruth Cummins

    I have never cooked ribs before. I don’t even LIKE ribs, until now. Thank you Feb! They are fabulous!

  148. Great recipe, but I am cooking these ribs on the grates of my pellet grill. Should the ribs cook meat side down? I generally cook ribs bone side down.

    I’m afraid the the foil packet will leak if the seam isn’t on top.

  149. Ann Robinson

    I did this with country style pork ribs in my 1940’s oven. Probably went a little too long, as the juices were pretty caramelized. They were just delicious! I used chipotle chili powder as I was out of the other, and loved the added smokiness. Can’t wait to try them again with a rack of ribs. Thank you for another great recipe!

  150. Hillary

    These were excellent! I made 1 rack of baby back ribs (2.25 lbs) and did it for approximately 3.5 hours at 250 degrees. Fall off the bone tender. I did do the broiler for a few minutes too. Sauce was nice as well. Would make again. Served with shaved Brussel sprout salad and corn bread.

  151. Lia+Finney

    These are so good!! Have made several times now, and love the slow and low approach. Last week, I cooked a 3# rack at 200 for 5 hours, then turned heat up to 325 another 2 hours-absolutely perfect! I am thinking of doing these in slow cooker-would have to cut obviously-but makes sense that it would work. Love country ribs done this way as well. Thank you for sharing!

  152. Kathleen

    1st time I’ve made ribs. Didn’t totally follow directions LOL, but the foil/oven situation made it all easy – thx for the technique! These were so good, it won’t be the last time I make ribs!

  153. Whitney

    Have these in the oven right now for a party this afternoon. Serving with your roasted tomato pasta salad, broccoli slaw, and carrot and white bean burgers for the vegetarians. I may be grill-less, but I can still throw a barbecue!

    Also, if anyone else likes a more traditional bbq sauce with ribs like I do – I serve these with the nytimes recipe for simple bbq sauce, but use the spice mix from this recipe instead of their recommendation. It works great!

  154. Carol Streleckis

    I added the two teaspoons of vinegar to my rub before realizing it should be added later. My rub was still dry, but it clung to the ribs. I’m hoping for the best!