An easy recipe for cooking ribs in the oven. The baked ribs literally fall off the bones when done, and the bbq sauce becomes nicely caramelized.
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 falls off the bones.
I love ordering ribs at bbq joints, but this is actually a surprisingly easy recipe to make at home in the oven. It requires time, but hardly any effort.
The ingredients you'll need
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make this delicious recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below:
Avocado oil spray: A neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, very appropriate for cooking.
Pork spareribs: I get a whole slab rather than individually cut ribs.
Smoked salt: You can get it on Amazon (I included a link in the recipe card below). It greatly enhances the flavor of this dish.
Black pepper: Freshly ground is best.
For the homemade barbecue sauce: tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, smoked salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and maple syrup.
How to bake ribs in the oven
It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Spray the ribs with oil. Bake them for one hour at 275°F.
Brush with a third of the barbecue sauce and return to the oven for one more hour.
Repeat this step two more times. The last time, reduce the oven temperature to 250°F.
After 4 hours of cooking, 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.
What bbq sauce to use?
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 aged balsamic vinegar.
So if you prefer a less sugary rub, I suggest you try this tasty North Carolina BBQ sauce. It's wonderful!
And needless to say, you can use whatever barbecue sauce you prefer, homemade or store-bought. Just make sure that any store-bought sauce you get isn't loaded with sugar.
It's possible that a higher-sugar barbecue sauce will darken too much during baking. If you notice your ribs becoming too dark, loosely cover them with foil during the last hour or two of cooking.
What side dishes go with oven-baked ribs?
I like to serve them with one or two of the following cauliflower-based side dishes that closely mimic the traditional favorites:
- Cauliflower mac and cheese
- Cauliflower potato salad
- Or cauliflower tots (I make them ahead, since they require a hot oven, and reheat before serving)
What about leftovers?
Leftovers of these oven-baked ribs keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days, in an airtight container. Gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
More recipes that you might enjoy
If you like fatty pork meat, you should definitely check out my very easy recipe for delicious country-style ribs. They are wonderful!
And these oven-baked pork belly strips are a real treat on the weekend. I like them better than bacon!
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Oven Baked Ribs
- Avocado oil spray
- 1 3 lb. rack pork spareribs
- ½ teaspoon smoked salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- ⅓ cup aged 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 parchment paper. 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 drain the pan juices. Brush the top of the ribs with a ⅓ of the BBQ sauce and return 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 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 look very dark, but it is NOT burnt! Just deliciously caramelized. Remove the oven baked ribs from the oven, cut into individual ribs and serve.