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Nothing should stand in the way of great ribs—come rain, negative temperatures, or lack of grill. Luckily, this recipe yields falling-off-the-bone, smoky-yet-sweet-yet-spicy, crispy-on-the-outside ribs, created entirely in your oven. Kate, Recipe Hunter

Kate Edeker

THE RECIPE

Really Good Ribs in the Oven

Perfect ribs, no pit required

How to Make Really Good Ribs in the Oven

Ribs are no longer exclusive to sunny summer days. Tender and juicy meat is possible in your oven, given a little patience. Wrapped in foil and cooked at a low temperature for three hours, these ribs have a flavor that can hold their own against any classic outdoor recipe—the rub is a perfect combination of savory and sweet. The final step, a quick blast from the broiler, leaves the ribs browned and a little crispy on the outside without drying out the perfectly moist interior. For step-by-step instructions, check out our essential guide to making really good ribs in the oven.

Ribs in the Oven

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 racks of pork spareribs (St. Louis style, if you can find it)
  • 6 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and ketchup. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, sweet paprika, chili powder, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  2. If your butcher hasn’t removed it for you, remove the silverskin from the underside of the ribs. Spread the mustard-ketchup mixture in thin, even layer over both sides of ribs. This will help the rub stick to the ribs. Liberally sprinkle the rub over both sides of the ribs, pressing it in to stick. Wrap each rack tightly in plastic wrap with the meat-side facing up so the ribs are forming a bridge and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Combine the apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and minced garlic in a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds to combine the flavors.
  4. Tear a long piece of aluminum foil and set one rack of ribs (with plastic wrap removed) in the middle. Place another piece of aluminum foil on top and crimp the long edges together tightly, rolling up towards the center of the ribs. Pour half of the liquid into one open end of the pouch, crimp both open ends closed, then tilt the pouch back and forth a few times to distribute the liquid evenly. Repeat with the other rack of ribs.
  5. Place both pouches on a baking sheet and bake for about 2 ½ hours or until tender. To test for doneness, carefully open one of the pouches and twist one of the center rib bones. If you feel it just starting to loosen, the ribs are ready.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, open one end of each pouch, and carefully pour any liquid into a bowl. Turn the broiler on high. Open the pouches and broil the ribs until well-browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. If you want to add sauce, simmer the reserved liquid on the stove until thickened then brush onto the ribs just before serving.

  • Mary Kotan-Brookstein

    Well! There are hundreds of ribs-in-the-oven recipes on the internet. I was searching for a “method” more than a recipe as the ribs I had purchased are St. Louis Style with a KC Style rub already on them (from a local Kroger/Bakers/Dillon). I have never purchased ribs this way as I always just get the regular rack of ribs and season/trim them myself. However, as I was reading your recipe with the apple juice/Worcestershire/cider vinegar/garlic addition to the package, I thought, “this might be ok”. I am a good cook on my own and typically just read and do my own thing. So I did not have apple juice (but had white grape juice) did not have cider vinegar (but had balsamic and seasoned rice vinegar). I read your directions quickly and went to combine the ingredients. After taking a 1/2c of grape juice, a 1/4 cup each of balsamic and seasoned rice vinegar, the 2tsp of Worcestershire with a few cloves of finely minced garlic and some smoked sweet paprika to add to the bbq experience. I put this combo in a pan on the stove and brought it to a boil, stirring it to make sure it didn’t burn. Then I poured 1/2 into each foil package and put them in the oven for 90 minutes. As I looked back to see something at the end of 90 minutes of baking time, I discovered my error.

    HORROR!! It says 2tsp of vinegar, not 1/2 cup. “OMG Holy Terror, I just ruined dinner”, I thought. I had another hour to wait to see just how awful they would be. Knowing that my guys would eat anything I prepare (because even my goofs are typically pretty good), I just continued. At the end of the cooking time, I asked my cousin to taste. He said, “WOW, these are the best I have ever had. What did you do?” I told him I had made a major mistake with the recipe and he said, “screw them up this way every time, please.” THEN my husband called to inform me he was “kidnapping” a good friend and bringing him home to dinner. Knowing this good friend also likes my cooking, I said, “ok, there is plenty.” As the rest of the guys arrived I gave each a taste of my “faux pas” and it was agreed these are, hands down, the best ribs any of us have ever eaten. Not just in the oven, the best ever.

    While I can not comment on your rub recipe, it is fairly close to most of what I find to be a delicious addition to ribs. The smoked paprika, in my opinion (not just sweet, but smoked) makes all the difference in the world. I see you used both and that may make a difference.

    Thanks for helping me create the perfect meal for my guys and me. It is absolutely a keeper. I will try your rub recipe next time but stay with the 1/2 cup of vinegar instead of teaspoons.

    • Datdamwuf

      I’ll have to try your mistake :). Reminds me of the time I meant to sprinkle about a teaspoon of basil on a pot roast and didn’t realize there was no shaker top. Turns out 4 times as much basil was awesome.

      • Mary Kotan-Brookstein

        Oh, yeah, most mistakes turn into new recipes. I am just glad this one was so good.

        Hubby just asked if he we could have them again for dinner tomorrow. I said we are having prime rib and he said, “oh. Ok” but his tone was almost disappointment. Unusual as we both love a good prime rib!