BBQ Ribs

Two slabs of BBQ ribs on a piece of foil with a dish of sauce and a spoon nearby.

A barbecue-lovin’ friend of mine in the South says it’s important to cook these BBQ ribs until they finally give it up and say (with the proper Southern accent), “Okay, I guess I’ll go on and be tender now.” The key to knowing when ribs are cooked properly is that the bone will pull out easily without the meat sliding completely off.

I like my sauce on the spicier side, not too sweet and with a nice tang. Add a bit more sugar or honey if this is too tangy for you. This recipe makes enough sauce for 3 slabs, without extra for serving; double the sauce if you like saucy ribs. If you like, after the BBQ ribs are finished in the oven, grill them for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat to crisp the edges before serving. Look for New Mexico red chile powder in the Hispanic section of your local market.–Kim Sunée

LC Messy Fingers Note

Behold, the oven method for BBQ ribs that’s perhaps the most magnificent reason ever to incur messy fingers. Wet naps, come hither! The sauce ain’t nothing to sneeze at, either, though it’s defiantly in the tangy camp. If you’re a sweet sauce sorta guy or gal, adding a little extra sugar oughta do the trick for you.

BBQ Ribs

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 3 H, 25 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
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  • For the ribs
  • For the dry rub
  • For the spicy tangy sauce


Ready the ribs
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Pat the ribs dry. If desired, remove and discard the silverskin (that’s the tough, silvery membrane on the underside of the ribs), using a sharp knifepoint to cut into the skin and a paper towel to grab the skin and remove. Place the ribs on the baking sheets.
Make the dry rub
Combine all of the rub ingredients in a bowl. Using your fingertips, massage the rub into the ribs, coating both sides evenly. Bake the ribs, uncovered, for 2 hours.
Make the spicy tangy sauce
While the ribs are in the oven, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
Cook the ribs
After the ribs have cooked for 2 hours, brush the ribs with some of the sauce. Wrap the ribs tightly in the aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour more, or until the meat is tender and the bones come away from the meat with a mere tug. Unwrap and serve the BBQ ribs at once with the remaining sauce—if there is any—on the side.
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  • To remove the membrane or silver skin from a rib, use the tip of a small knife to loosen a corner and then grab the membrane with a paper towel and slowly pull it off.

Recipe Testers Reviews

I've spent quite a bit of time searching for the perfect way to make barbeque ribs in my kitchen, and I believe this oven method for preparing ribs solves my problem. The hands-on time for this BBQ ribs recipe was MAYBE 15 minutes. The overall time was about 3 1/2 hours. The sauce did NOT thicken (I believe it was never intended to thicken). Although the sauce isn't like a thick store-bought sauce, my baby back ribs were nicely caramelized when I removed them from the foil. The ribs were tender and beautiful. The rub was very good. The sauce—well, sauce flavors are subjective. I prefer a sweeter, richer sauce with a deeper tone, whereas this sauce, although good, was VERY tangy. I cannot stress enough, though, that, this oven method is utter perfection and I'm certain to use it rom this point forward!

When ribs are this good, you don't even need to make side dishes. This was true tonight when these ribs kept disappearing. I've always made baby back ribs, but when I went to my butcher and asked for 9 pounds of pork ribs, he suggested spare ribs and explained that slow cooking this higher-fat rib slowly renders the fat to produce tender, juicy perfection. (I didn't realize until I got home that a little over 10 pounds of ribs was only 2 slabs, as the spare ribs are much wider than baby back ribs.) The rub comes together in just a few minutes and is plenty to cover the slabs in a thick layer. About 90 minutes into baking the ribs, I made the sauce. When given the option of honey or brown sugar, I used honey. The sauce also only takes a few minutes to put together. It seemed very watery at first, but after cooking for 15 minutes thickened up quite a bit. When I took the ribs out of the oven after the first 2 hours, they already looked dark and wonderful. I slathered about half the sauce on the ribs, wrapped them tightly, and put them back in the oven. Because my slabs were larger than the recipe called for, I needed to cook my ribs 90 minutes longer than the recipe states. The final product was a perfect blend of tangy with just a little heat—not too sweet and not too hot. Truly the perfect blend of flavors. It's the easiest rib recipe I've ever made and has the best flavor, too. I will definitely make this again and again!

These BBQ ribs and sauce are very good prepared this way. The flavors come together very well and the sauce has a nice bit of kick to it but nothing too harsh. Although almost any ribs would turn out well, I feel this method is more aimed towards meatier baby back ribs. (I used spare ribs, and although they came off the bone nicely, they did seem a bit dry.) I finished some of the ribs on the grill with some of the sauce. This isn't necessary, of course, but it does caramelize the sauce a little and adds a nice finish to the ribs. There wasn't a lot of sauce left after brushing and basting the ribs, but if you're careful, you can have around 1/2 cup or so to set on the table.


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  1. One of the things that could make the finished product a little better would be to unwrap 10 mins before the end and broil them to make the BBQ sauce all crispy and caramelized.

  2. As my Ronnie Reagan era kitchen is hotter than Hades in the summer – do you think these could be cooked on a gas grill set real low?

    1. I do, Sam. Leave Reagan in the kitchen and step outside. I would cook them indirectly until beautifully tender.

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