Ready for fall-off-the-bone, tender baby back ribs without the hassle of a smoker? Cooked low and slow, these slabs of ribs are coated in a savory dry rub and baked in the oven for the perfect BBQ dish. It’s true, you can enjoy delicious ribs without a grill or smoker!
Ribs are a summertime favorite for parties and cookouts, but they have a reputation for being a little on the tough side. With this easy recipe, there is no “gnawing” at the bone for the meat. These are the best ribs! The tender meat falls right off the bone.
Making baby back ribs in the oven produces a super tender result every time! This process is super easy and the leftovers are just as delicious. Plus, there’s virtually no clean-up and no hassling with a smoker. I love to serve this with pickled onions and my favorite barbecue sauce – Alabama White Sauce!
Why I love this recipe
I love that this recipe makes BBQ accessible for anyone! Using a grill or smoker is intimidating for a lot of people, and expensive! Ever since I discovered you could essentially get the same delicious BBQ from the oven, I was hooked!
Baking ribs keeps the prep work and effort down to a minimum. All you really need to do is rub down the ribs and bake them!
This recipe is ideal for those who love baby back ribs but don’t have a smoker. Also, you no longer have to factor the weather into your cooking schedule! Now, that’s a win!
- Baby back ribs: For this recipe, ribs that are labeled baby back, St. Louis, or spare ribs are your best options. Feel free to explore different types of beef and pork ribs, too!
- Mustard: I use a combination of different kinds of mustards as a binder between the dry rub and the meat. This also works to tenderize the meat further.
- Dry rub: I’m partial to a homemade dry rub, but you can use store bought if you prefer. Rubs that include garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and other spices are the best flavors for pork.
Here are a few kitchen tools I recommend to make this recipe easier:
- Internal meat thermometer – Important for reading the internal temperature of the meat during cooking.
- Rimmed sheet pan or disposable aluminum pan
- Shredding Claws or forks
- Heavy Duty Foil
How to Cook Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
Baby back ribs are the best choice for slow roasting, but this recipe should work for just about any kind of bone-in pork ribs.
Step 1: Remove the silver skin
To remove the membrane from the back of the rib slab, wedge a butter knife between the silver skin and the bone. You should be able to grab a corner of the membrane with a paper towel. Then, begin to pull up and down the length of the ribs.
The great thing about this recipe is that you do not have to boil the ribs. If you prefer to do that step, you absolutely can. But, for the best flavor and moisture, boiling is not recommended.
Step 2: Marinate the Ribs with Dry Rub and Mustard
Place your ribs on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Slather the mustard on the front and back of the ribs, and along the sides of the ribs. Then, apply the spice rub in the same way.
Adding the mustard to the ribs will help the seasoning adhere to the meat. Additionally, the vinegar in the mustard helps to tenderize the meat.
Wrap your ribs in the aluminum foil, folding at the ends. Place on a baking sheet in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
Allowing the ribs to marinate for several hours will give you more flavor, but it’s not necessary. Because of the lengthy cooking time, marinating will occur naturally during the cooking process.
Step 3: Bake the Ribs
When you are ready to bake, stick the meat thermometer into the center of the ribs and place the baking sheet inside of the oven with the ribs wrapped.
Bake at 225°F for about 3-5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F with an internal thermometer.
If desired, open the foil and add BBQ sauce to the tops of the ribs, and place under the broiler until sauce begins to caramelize. Stay close by to the oven when you broil so the sauce does not burn!
I really can’t say enough about using an in-oven meat thermometer during the cooking process. Not using a meat thermometer is a lot like navigating without a GPS.
Meat thermometers guide the cook on how quickly the meat is cooking and an estimated time of completion. It shouldn’t be viewed as a crutch but a helpful tool in every cook’s kitchen.
Using a thermometer can prevent under-cooking and over-cooking the meat.
- Dress up your BBQ plate with pickled red onions, white bbq sauce, or caramelized onions.
- Serve it as a main entree with baked beans, pasta salad, or macaroni and cheese.
Here are a few more side dishes to go with ribs:
Frequently Asked Questions
What temperature are ribs done?
Baking low and slow until the internal temperature reaches 200°F further tenderizes the rib meat.
Do you cook ribs covered or uncovered in the oven?
Wrapping the ribs in foil before baking in the oven seals in moisture and flavor. It also protects them from drying out and becoming tough.
What’s the best internal temperature for ribs?
Technically, ribs are done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F. While you can eat ribs at this temperature, they will be tough, dry, and likely lacking flavor.
Continuing to cook until around 200°F, gives the collagen more time to “relax” for perfectly tender ribs.
How do you know when ribs are done?
When the ribs reach an internal temperature of around 200°F, the collagen will release and create tender, moist, fall-off-the-bone ribs.
Why do you add mustard?
Adding mustard to ribs does two things:
- The vinegar in the mustard tenderizes the meat without adding any flavor.
- It acts as a sealant for the rub, helping the flavors stick to the rack of ribs.
Storing and reheating
Remove the leftover rib meat from the bone and store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Rib meat can be frozen in an air tight container for up to 3 months.
To reheat leftover rib meat, defrost and heat over a medium-low skillet for about 5 minutes, or microwave at 1 minute intervals, until warmed through.
More BBQ tips and recipes
- How Much Brisket Per Person
- How Long to Rest Brisket
- Best Internal Temperature for Pulled Pork
- How Much Pulled Pork Per Person?
- Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
- Can you freeze pulled pork? Freezing, Defrosting, and Reheating Pork Shoulder
Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
- Rimmed sheet pan
- 3 pounds baby back ribs
- ½ cup dijon mustard
- ½ cup stone ground mustard
- bbq sauce of your choice (optional)
Homemade Rib Rub
- 4 tablespoons onion powder
- 4 tablespoons garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons black pepper
- 4 tablespoons blackened seasoning
- 4 tablespoons cumin
- 4 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- Preheat the oven to 225 °F degrees.
- Make the rib rub and set aside.
- Remove the silver skin from the ribs by wedging a butter knife between the silver skin and the bone. You should be able to grab a corner of the membrane with a paper towel. Then, begin to pull up and down the length of the ribs.
- In a small bowl, combine mustards. Then, slather the rib racks with the mustard mixture. Gently pack the rub onto the ribs and mustard.
- Wrap the rib racks in foil, with the seal at the top. Place on a baking sheet in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
- Bake at 225 °F degrees for about 3-5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 200 °F with an internal thermometer.
- Optional: Open up the foil, add BBQ sauce and broil until sauce is bubbly and beginning to caramelized.