Just fifteen minutes of prep time, and the rest is hands-off for these Oven Baked Pork Ribs. They’re the perfect combination of sticky bbq sauce and fall off the bone tender, while still being juicy. They bake low and slow creating the most tender texture, and can be made with Baby Back, Spare, Country, or St. Louis style ribs. They’re naturally gluten-free and dairy-free and can be sugar free as well with the right BBQ sauce. You’ll find all the tips below for how to make these crowd pleasing ribs.
I love ribs on the grill, especially from a smoker grill. But here’s the thing… you need 6 hours to cook ribs that way! And while it’s 100% worth that effort, I crave ribs more often than I have 6 hours to cook them. Enter oven-baked ribs which are way easier and pretty much hands-off.
These ribs cook low and slow while covered in the oven which is what keeps them both juicy and produces that ‘fall off the bone’ tenderness you’re looking for. These are sure to become a regular favorite with their sticky goodness.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pork Ribs – baby back, country style, St. Louis, and spare ribs all work here. Baby back are super meaty, but spare ribs are my #1 favorite overall. They have a bit more fat between the ribs which means they bake up extra tender, juicy, and perfectly moist. And as a bonus, they’re usually cheaper as well.
- BBQ sauce – your favorite BBQ sauce is perfect here. I use Kinder’s Organic mild BBQ Sauce which has great flavor. Although it has a fair amount of sugar in it, like most tasty BBQ sauces. I also love Primal Kitchen’s sugar-free BBQ Sauce as well, although it lacks smokey flavor, so you can also add a touch of liquid smoke if desired. Finally, you can follow my recipe for homemade BBQ sauce listed in my Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken. That way you can also choose how much sweetener you want to add to the sauce.
- Spices – a simple mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and smoked paprika add a lot of flavor here. I love using smoked paprika for the touch of smokiness it adds, but you can use regular as well. I buy bulk packages of smoked paprika at Natural Grocers, and I promise you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it. It’s great on deviled eggs and in taco seasoning as well.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven and mixing the spices together for the dry rub.
Step 2: Next place the ribs in a covered baking dish, or on a lined baking sheet. Rub the ribs with the avocado oil, then evenly sprinkle the spice mixture over the top. Cover and bake until tender, 2-3 hours. If you’re using a baking sheet, wrap the pan tightly with foil.
Step 3: When the ribs are tender, increase the oven temperature to broil, and brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce of choice. Bake again uncovered until the sauce bubbles and lightly caramelizes on the top of the ribs.
Step 4: Remove the ribs from the oven and carefully slice them between the bones. Serve with more BBQ sauce if desired.
Ways to serve this
- Enjoy these with your favorite side dishes like potato salad, my Summer Slaw with Creamy Cilantro Dressing, and corn on the cob, for a picnic or summer meal.
- In the winter months, try pairing these ribs with my Best Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans.
- Or for the ultimate comfort meal, pair these ribs with my One Pot Mac and Cheese and Best Roasted Broccoli.
Anywhere from 2-3 hours on average. It depends on the type of ribs you use and will vary depending on thickness as well. Baby back ribs cook a bit faster around 2 hours, and all the spare ribs I’ve done have been closer to 3 hours.
Low and slow at 275ºF will give you fall off the bone tender ribs that are still juicy. I’ve also ‘rushed’ the cooking a bit at 300ºF which also works, but it’s better to keep the temperature low.
- To store – place any leftovers into a sealed container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.
- Reheat – place them in a covered oven-proof dish and reheat at 300ºF until warmed through. Or for a single serving, you can add them to a small skillet with a few tablespoons of water, cover, and simmer until warmed through. (Also you can microwave for the easiest option.)
- To freeze – place any leftovers into an airtight sealed container and freezer for 1-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating as directed above.
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to check the ribs about 30 minutes before the cooking time is up, the cooking time varies from rack to rack. I’ve made these lots of times and the cooking time is always a bit different. Baby back ribs cook the fastest and are often ready just before 2 hours.
- You can easily test the doneness of the ribs by using a paring knife to check. If the knife slides into the meat between the bones easily, they’re tender and ready for sauce.
- Make your own BBQ sauce by following the recipe for it in my BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Or for sugar-free, try Primal Kitchen which makes a great one.
I really hope you enjoy these Oven Baked BBQ Ribs! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Oven Baked Ribs
- 2 pounds ribs - baby back, spare, country style, or St. Louis all work
- 1 tbsp avocado oil - or olive oil
- 1 cup bbq sauce - plus more for serving
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sea salt - or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 275ºF.
- If you have a covered 9×13″ baking dish, this works well, otherwise line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Remove the tough membrane from the back of the ribs. Then lay the rack of ribs on the baking sheet, or cut them in half to fit into the covered baking dish.
- Stir together the spices listed, then evenly coat the ribs with the spice mixture.
- Cover and bake for 2 – 3 hours, checking at 1 1/2 hours or so to see if they’re tender. I use a pairing knife and if it inserts easily between the bones without resistance, they’re ready.
- Baby back take about 2 hours, and some spare ribs can take as long as 3 hours.
- When the ribs are tender, remove them from the oven and turn the oven to the broil setting.
- Brush the bbq sauce evenly over the ribs, then return them uncovered to the middle rack of the oven. Broil just until the sauce bubbles on the ribs and begins to caramelize, 3-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately with extra bbq sauce if desired.