No grill or smoker is needed for fall off the bone tender and juicy ribs. Fire up the oven for the easiest baked baby back rib recipe. Coated with your favorite rub and glazed with your favorite BBQ sauce, you can be the rib master.
Welcome to the less-fussy path to rib heaven. Just clean, rub, wrap in foil, and bake. Oh, so easy.
Ribs are a religion to some, requiring hours of fussing to create the perfect ribs. They must be parboiled (please don't), smoked, or whatever else they think is critical. I'm not saying great smoked ribs aren't worth the work, but sometimes you need easy.
Many years ago, I decided ribs should be cooked somewhat like I cook brisket. It's tough but responds to long cooking at a lower temp, sealed in foil. It works great. I have been doing this for 40+ years with no changes in technique.
The idea is straightforward. Prep the ribs by removing the membrane and applying a nice rub. Seal in foil. Then it is "low and slow" time in the oven. Open and drain, then brown under a broiler or on the grill for a few minutes with some sauce.
It is a low 5. Lower to leave room for the smoker or grilled ribs.
🐖What are Baby Back Ribs?
Back ribs come from the upper part of a pig's rib from where the rib meets the spine and is next to and inside the loin. They are shorter than the bigger spareribs, so they are called baby back ribs. St. Louis ribs are spareribs trimmed of some bone and cartilage waste.
The inside of the ribs does contain a membrane that lines the chest cavity and needs to be removed before cooking.
👨🍳How to Make Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
- Trim the ribs of loose bone chips or trimmable fat. Remove the membrane.
- Pat dry with a paper towel. A light coat of good quality liquid smoke can be applied at this time. Apply the dry rub of your choice—a commercial rub or the suggested rub in the recipe.
- Wrap tightly in foil.
- Place in an oven 250°to 300° on a foil covered rimmed baking sheet or directly on an oven rack with the baking tray on the rack below.
- Bake until 185°+ and the ends of the ribs are showing.
- Drain any fluid. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce of your choice. I do both sides.
- Place under the oven broiler or on a hot grill and brown of the ribs.
♨️Other Cooking Options
I have three ways to cook baby back ribs. I have my gas grill. How to Grill Baby Back Ribs on a Gas Grill. I can add smoke and get smoked baby back ribs.
I have my low and slow crockpot method Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs which is excellent.
And I have this old reliable recipe that I use more than the others combined since I'm lazy.
🥣What Dry Rub to Use
I frequently use a premade rub with this recipe since it is all about laziness. I get Gates of Kansas City rub when I order their BBQ sauce.
But here is an excellent homemade rub that I keep around during grilling season. It is a version of my 8:3:1:1 Dry Rub using brown sugar and spices. If you want some heat, add a little cayenne pepper.
4 tablespoons (¼ cup) brown sugar - light or dark
1 ½ tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon table salt = 1 ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt = 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Approximate Baking Time
The size of baby back rib racks varies, as do ovens, so only estimated times can be given. If starting with frozen ribs, add about 30 minutes.
|Oven Temperature||Convection Oven Temperature||Approximate Baking Time|
|250°||2 ¾ to 3 hours|
|275°||250°||2 ½ hours|
|300°||275°||2 to 2 ¼ hours|
|325°||300°||1 ½ to 2 hours—lower temperature recommended|
|350°||325°||1 to 1 ½ hours—lower temperature recommended|
👨🍳When are the Ribs Done?
The internal temperature of the rib meat should be 185°+, and the ends of the ribs should be showing. Determining that the ribs are fully cooked is more important if cooking frozen ribs.
No, you can cook with the membrane on and eat around it. I have seen a few experts suggest it will become tender with cooking—it doesn't seem to work for me.
Yes. I commonly cook prepared ribs still frozen using this method. When I buy a package of three racks of ribs, I will cook one fresh and trim, season, and foil wrap the others before cooking. They are good in the freezer for 3-4 months.
If cooking frozen prepared ribs, it will add about 30 minutes to the cooking time. Determine when the ribs are fully cooked by the internal temperature of greater than 185° and the ends of the ribs showing.
Yes, but they are bigger and will usually take about 30 minutes longer than the smaller baby back ribs.
I serve with extra sauce for dipping and provide a bowl for the bones. I prefer my Gate's BBQ sauce from Kansas City or my homemade Memphis Barbecue Sauce. Cooks Illustrated like Bull's-eye Original or Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce. But use the sauce you love.
For side dishes, mac and cheese or a potato side dish are always present. A side salad, baked beans, or corn on the cob are favorites.
📖Classic BBQ Recipes
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
All you need are the ribs, a rub, and sauce of your choice.
Clean the ribs by stripping the membrane off the inside of the ribs. Trim any fatty areas as much as possible and look for bone chips from the processing.
You may use the rub of your choice or make the suggested rub. ¼ cup brown sugar, 4 ½ teaspoons diamond crystal kosher salt, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir together in a small bowl.
Pat dry with a paper towel. A light coat of good quality liquid smoke can be applied at this time. Sprinkle heavily with the rub and rub in on all sides.
Seal tight in aluminum foil (heavy-duty is better). You may freeze at this point if you want. If ribs are frozen, add 30 minutes to the cooking time, and you can go to the oven from the freezer.
Cook at 300° for approximately 2 hours. Place the ½ sheet pan the next level down to catch any dripping if the foil leaks.
Remove from the oven, open one end of the foil packet, and drain the fluid and fat. If you are precooking for later, re-wrap and refrigerate or freeze. To eat now, place on the sheet pan and open.
Lightly brush a sauce of your choice on top (bottom is optional).
Finish under a broiler or on a grill for about 4-5 minutes (per side if you did both sides) until crusted with good color.
Easy Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs
- 1 slab baby back ribs - pork spare ribs also are fine here
- good quality liquid smoke - optional
- 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
Suggested rub or use ½ cup of another rub
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 ½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Clean the ribs by stripping the membrane off the inside of the ribs. Trim any fatty areas as much as possible and look for bone chips from the processing.
- You may use the rub of your choice or make the suggested rub. ¼ cup brown sugar, 4 ½ teaspoons diamond crystal kosher salt, 11/2 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir together in a small bowl.
- Pat dry with a paper towel. A light coat of good quality liquid smoke can be applied at this time. Sprinkle heavily with the rub and rub in on all sides. If you are using my suggested rub, you only need half the recipe per slab of ribs.
- Seal tight in aluminum foil (heavy-duty is better). If you have time, refrigerate at this point for 2 hours or even overnight. Even 30 minutes will get some extra flavor. Also, you can freeze at this point if you want. If you freeze, add 30 minutes to the cooking time, and you can go to the oven from the freezer.
- Cook at 300° for approximately 2 hours. Place the ½ sheet pan the next level down to catch any dripping if the foil leaks. Or leave it on the pan.
- Remove from the oven, open one end of the foil packet, and drain the fluid and fat. If you are precooking for later, re-wrap and refrigerate or freeze. To eat now, place on the sheet pan and open.
- Lightly brush a sauce of your choice on top (bottom is optional).
- Finish under a broiler or on a grill for about 4-5 minutes (per side if you did both sides) until crusted with good color.
My Private Notes
- You may cook as many at a time as will fit your oven but do not stack.
- Use the sauce and rub of your choice.
- You can cook spare ribs the same way but they will take about 30 minutes longer since they are bigger.
- You can freeze after the rub when wrapped tightly with foil. You freeze for 3-4 months and cook still frozen by adding about 30 minutes to the cooking time.
- To strip the membrane, it is easiest to start at the thin end and loose with a butter knife then pull with a steady pull at about a 45-degree angle to the ribs.
- Estimated cooking times for other oven temperatures are listed in the post.
- Ribs are done at 185°+ and rib ends showing.
- Brown up with a little sauce on a grill or under a broiler.
- For the rub: 1 teaspoon table salt = 1 ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt = 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published January 10, 2010. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Editor's Note: This recipe was originally published on January 10, 2010, which was the second week of the blog. The photos have been reshot, but mainly the text has been completely rewritten, but the recipe is the same.