These mouth-watering oven-baked BBQ ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and full of sweet, smoky flavor. Slather on the sweet and sticky BBQ sauce, caramelize them to perfection, and serve with cornbread pudding and a dinner salad for a truly crowd-pleasing meal!
Ribs are a favorite for game days, family parties, backyard barbecues or any excuse to get together to enjoy good company and delicious food. This foolproof oven recipe means you can enjoy the best homemade ribs even when the snow is flying or rain is pouring.
Plus, since no grill is needed, this recipe is perfect for even apartment dwellers or those of us who don’t identify as pit-masters!
The *key* to the perfect rack of ribs is cooking them low and slow in the oven so that the meat infuses with flavor and becomes so juicy and tender it falls right off the bone.
Slathering the ribs with homemade BBQ sauce and caramelizing them under the broiler adds the extra touch that will have everyone begging for the recipe–and extra napkins!
It takes some time, but it’s worth it! Don’t keep your guest hungry while the ribs work their magic in the oven– whip up a colorful a crudités platter to keep everyone munching and mingling while they wait!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Ribs: baby back or spare ribs, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
BBQ Sauce: ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt.
*See recipe card for additional notes and ingredient substitutions.*
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Remove the Membrane
Your butcher may have already done this for you. To check if the membrane has been removed; flip the ribs to the bone side and look for a thin, iridescent layer of white tissue. You may need to get the edge started with a small pairing knife, but it should come off easily with just your fingers after that. Here’s a step-by-step on how to remove the membrane from pork ribs.
Why Should You Remove The Membrane From Ribs?
The membrane, or “silver skin,” is the whitish semi-transparent skin covering the ribs’ underside. Sometimes the butcher will have already removed this for you, but if not, you may want to do it yourself.
The membrane can be tough and prevents the dry rub from soaking into the underside of the meat– making your oven-roasted baby back ribs less flavorful. For maximum flavor and fall off the bone ribs, remove the membrane.
Step 2. Season with the Dry Rub
Mix the dry rub spices in a small dish and sprinkle it evenly on both sides of the ribs. Lightly rub the mixture into the meat so that everything is well-coated. Cover the ribs tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours for maximum flavor. Pro Tip: Make a double or triple batch of the BBQ spice rub. This way, you have it on hand for the next time you make these baby back ribs or to use for oven-roasted BBQ salmon.
Step 3. Bake the Ribs in the Oven
Place the ribs (still covered in foil) on a sheet pan and bake them in an oven that’s been preheated to 300 degrees F. After an hour and forty-five minutes, check the ribs– the meat should feel tender and shred easily when pierced with a pairing knife. Take the ribs out of the oven and carefully remove the foil.
Step 4. Brush with Sauce & Broil
Generously brush both sides of the ribs with BBQ sauce. Reserve a little extra to brush on just before serving. Preheat the broiler to its highest setting and place the ribs underneath until the sauce caramelizes (about 3-4 minutes).
Step 5. Slice and Serve
Cut between every 3-4 ribs and brush with more BBQ sauce. Serve any extra on the side.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Baby back ribs come from the loin or right along the back on either side of the spine. They’re shorter and leaner than spare ribs. Spare ribs come from the side/belly area and are larger and meatier than baby back ribs. (St. Louis–cut ribs are spare ribs with the rib tips removed.) Spare ribs and baby back ribs can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Spare ribs take a little longer to cook, typically 2-3 hours vs. 1 ½-2 hours for baby back ribs.
To reheat ribs so they’re as tender and delicious as when you first made them, slather on more BBQ sauce, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and bake in an oven preheated to 250 degrees F. Cook them until they heat up to 145 degrees F, about 20-30 minutes.
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Sweet and Sticky Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs
- 2 racks baby back or spare ribs about 4lbs
- 2 cups BBQ sauce store-bought or homemade
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder/cayenne pepper or hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs
- Peel off the tough membrane that covers the underside/bony side of the ribs. This may have already been done by the butcher but it's always good to double check. Removing the membrane helps the meat absorb more flavor and become more tender. See recipe notes for further instuction.
- Whisk together the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the dry rub mixture evenly over both sides of each rack of ribs. Lightly rub the mixture into the ribs to coat completely. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 20 minutes (or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor).
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Bake the ribs, covered for 1½-2 hours (baby back) or 2 ½-3 hours (spare ribs) until the meat shreds easily and feels tender when poked with a paring knife. Take the ribs out of the oven and remove the foil. Brush both sides generously with barbecue sauce.
- Preheat the broiler to its highest setting and broil the ribs for 3-4 minutes, just until the barbecue sauce begins to caramelize.
- To serve, cut between the ribs and brush with a little more BBQ sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side…and lots of napkins!
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and warm gently over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Ribs: Both baby back and spare ribs work well for this recipe. Look for ribs that are meaty with well distributed marbling and an even thickness.
- BBQ Rub: This BBQ rub is very adaptable. If you don’t have both garlic and onion powder you could double up on one or the other. Smoked paprika can be swapped out with sweet or Hungarian paprika.
- BBQ Sauce: If you don’t have time to make your own BBQ sauce you can use store-bought. This Bone Sucking Sauce is one of my favorites and widely available.
- The membrane, or “silver skin,” is the whitish semi-transparent skin covering the ribs’ underside. Sometimes the butcher will have already removed this for you, but if not, you may want to do it yourself. To check if the membrane has been removed; flip the ribs to the bone side and look for a thin, iridescent layer of white tissue. You may need to get the edge started with a small pairing knife, but it should come off easily with just your fingers after that. Here’s a step-by-step on how to remove the membrane from pork ribs.
Make sure to save extra BBQ sauce to brush on just before serving or serve alongside the ribs.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers:
- Store leftover ribs in aluminum foil, in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat in an oven that’s been preheated to 250 F for 20-30 minutes.