Baking ribs in the oven is so easy. It takes a few hours, but apart from basting the ribs occasionally with BBQ sauce, it's pretty much hands-off.
The ribs literally fall off the bones when done, and the BBQ sauce becomes nicely caramelized. Even the leftovers are great!
There's no need to fire up the grill! These amazing ribs are slowly baked in the oven until the meat is tender, juicy, and literally falls off the bones.
I love ordering pork ribs at BBQ joints, but this is actually a surprisingly easy recipe to make at home. It requires some time commitment, but hardly any effort.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these delicious ribs. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Avocado oil spray: A neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, making it perfect for cooking.
Pork spareribs: I get a whole slab rather than individually cut ribs.
Smoked salt and black pepper: You can get smoked salt on Amazon (I included a link in the recipe card below). It greatly enhances the flavor of this dish.
For the homemade barbecue sauce: tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, smoked salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and maple syrup.
Baking pork ribs in the oven is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to spray the ribs with oil and lightly season them with salt and pepper. Then bake them for one hour in a 275°F oven.
After one hour, brush the ribs with a third of the barbecue sauce and return them to the oven for one more hour.
Repeat this step two more times. The last time, for the final hour of cooking, reduce the oven temperature to 250°F.
After 4 hours, the ribs will be extremely tender. All the tough tendons have melted, and the meat literally falls off the bones as you cut the slab into individual portions.
The BBQ sauce darkens and caramelizes in the oven. It should be very dark but not burned. So if you think that it's darkening too much, you can loosely cover the ribs with foil during the final hour of baking.
Frequently asked questions
The homemade barbecue sauce that I use is not very sweet. But it still has a fair amount of sugar from the tomato paste and the balsamic vinegar.
So if you prefer a less sugary sauce, I suggest you try this tasty North Carolina BBQ sauce. It's wonderful!
And needless to say, you can use whatever BBQ sauce you prefer, homemade or store-bought.
It's easiest to cut them when you place them on a cutting board bone- side up and use a sharp chef's knife.
When they're bone-side up it's easy to locate the bones and cut in between them. You can cut the slab into one or two-rib portions.
I don't cover them, but I do baste them with BBQ sauce every hour, which keeps them from drying out.
However, if you notice that the sauce is darkening too much, you can loosely cover them with foil during the final hour of baking.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- For the first stage of baking, you can add spices in additon to salt and pepper. Try garlic powder and smoked paprika.
- Instead of oil, you can bruss the ribs with melted butter.
- You can use any BBQ sauce that you like. I especially enjoy using this North Carolina-style BBQ sauce.
- You can replace the maple syrup with any other liquid sweetener or with stevia. It's also fine to omit it.
I like to serve these ribs with one or two of the following cauliflower-based side dishes that closely mimic the traditional favorites:
- Cauliflower mac and cheese
- Cauliflower potato salad
- Cauliflower tots (I make them ahead, since they require a hot oven, and reheat them before serving).
Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days, in an airtight container. Gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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Amazing Oven-Baked Ribs
- Avocado oil spray
- 3 lb. pork spareribs
- ½ teaspoon smoked salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon smoked salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (real or sugar-free)
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Place the ribs in the pan, bone side down. Spray them with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake the ribs for 1 hour, uncovered.
- Meanwhile, mix the barbecue sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, then divide it into three small bowls.
- After one hour, take the ribs out of the oven and carefully drain the pan juices. Brush the top of the ribs with a ⅓ of the BBQ sauce and return them to the oven. Wash the basting brush with warm soapy water.
- Repeat this after one more hour - brush the top of the ribs with another ⅓ of the BBQ sauce and return them to the oven. Wash the basting brush with warm soapy water.
- After one more hour, brush the ribs with the remainder of the sauce. Reduce the oven to 250 degrees F and return the ribs to the oven for one final hour.
- After 4 hours, the meat will be very tender and will fall off the bones. The top will be dark and deliciously caramelized. Remove the ribs from the oven, cut them into individual ribs, and serve.