Baked Baby Back Ribs
Low-and-slow baked baby back ribs feature a zesty dry rub, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, and tender, fall-off-the-bone meat!
Servings 4 - 6 people
FOR THE DRY RUB:
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup smoked paprika
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 8 teaspoons chili powder
- 8 teaspoons onion powder
- 8 teaspoons garlic powder
FOR THE RIBS:
- 2 racks baby back ribs (about 3 ½ lbs. total)
- 1 cup bbq dry rub
- Barbecue sauce, for basting and serving
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ingredients for the dry rub. Set aside.
Prepare the ribs by removing the shiny, thin membrane (or silverskin) that covers most of the backside of the ribs. To do so, use a knife or fingernail to pry up a corner of the thin membrane from one edge of the ribs. Grab that with a paper towel (for grip) and slowly pull it up. Once a good portion of the membrane is free, you should be able to pull the rest off in one quick motion.
Pat the ribs dry and rub the bbq dry rub onto both sides of the ribs (store any extra dry rub in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 6 months). Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (or you can do this step up to 24 hours in advance, just keep the ribs covered in the refrigerator).
Place the ribs on the baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil. Transfer to the oven and roast until the ribs are done and a knife slides easily into the thickest part of the meat, about 2 hours.
Remove from the oven. Turn the oven to broil. Brush both sides of the ribs with barbecue sauce and broil until the sauce starts to bubble and caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Alternatively, you can transfer the ribs to the grill for 3-5 minutes per side to achieve the same caramelized exterior.
Let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes. Cut between the bones to separate the individual ribs. Serve with extra barbecue sauce for dipping.
- Don't be shy with the dry rub! I use about ¼ cup on each side of a rack, for a total of about 1 cup on two racks. You need a lot of seasoning to penetrate and flavor the meat as it slowly roasts.
- Let the ribs come to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking. This helps them cook evenly. If you put cold ribs in the oven, you will likely need to increase the baking time.
- Wrap the ribs in foil while they bake. Sometimes referred to as the "Texas Crutch," the foil cover helps speed the cooking process, ensures that the meat is tender, and prevents the ribs from drying out.
- The total cooking time will vary, so check your ribs towards the end. Two hours is a general suggestion, but smaller racks may be done in as little as 1 ½ hours, while larger racks or racks that are cold when they go into the oven may require about 2 ½ hours.
- For sticky ribs with a great finish, take the extra few minutes to baste them with bbq sauce and pop them under the broiler or onto the grill. Broiling the sauce causes the mixture to boil on the surface of the ribs, releasing moisture and creating a thicker, stickier coating. The thick sauce adheres better to the meat and the flavor is more concentrated.
- Add cayenne to the dry rub for a spicy kick.
- Use St. Louis-style spareribs instead of baby back ribs. The cooking method is the same, you'll just need to increase the total baking time to at least 3 hours.
- To finish the ribs on the grill (rather than under the broiler), roast the ribs until tender, baste with barbecue sauce, and then transfer to a very hot grill for 3-5 minutes on each side, until the outside of the ribs is nicely caramelized, crispy and charred.
Serving: 1/6 of the recipe | Calories: 724kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 966mg | Potassium: 855mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1834IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg