Oven-baked baby back ribs are mouthwateringly juicy, fall off the bone tender, and when slathered with tangy barbecue sauce, just plain finger-licking’ good!
This recipe for the Best Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs and Rub is for you if you love BBQ ribs but don’t love standing outside in the heat for several hours cooking them or don’t have a grill!
Southerners and barbecue:
Folks in the South take their barbecue very seriously. There are countless articles and reviews of different barbecue restaurants and barbecue contests to decide which is the best. But ultimately, it’s a highly personal and subjective matter.
In other words, what is a killer barbecue sauce, rub, or recipe for one person is not necessarily another person’s favorite. And, the debate about the merits of wet vs. dry rub goes on and on.
Barbecue aficionados live, eat and breathe the stuff. There is even a Florida BBQ Association whose mission is to promote, through education, family-friendly fellowship, and competition the uniquely American tradition of barbecuing meat over natural wood or charcoal-fired heat and smoke.
What are baby back ribs?
In case you are wondering, baby back ribs do not come from baby pigs! They are called that because they are shorter in comparison to regular spare or St Louis style ribs.
Here is a testimonial from a reader who says: “Oh my goodness! I followed the recipe exactly, and the results were fantastic! I bought the Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce you recommended. I can’t wait for summer to come so I can try these on the grill. Thank you so much for publishing this recipe! I’ve never felt confident with cooking ribs in the oven, and now I know they’re going to come out great every time….”
Have I convinced you yet? The convenience of being able to cook the pork in the oven instead of standing over a hot grill wins every time in my book!
Unfortunately, one thing that you don’t get with this oven-baked recipe is a smokey barbecue flavor. But these ribs are tasty and delicious in their way.
How to get a smoky taste:
- If you really can’t live without the smoky flavor, you can always add a small amount of liquid smoke to your BBQ sauce.
- You can also add smoked paprika or smoked salt to the barbecue sauce.
- Or, you can purchase barbecue sauce with a hickory smoke flavor.
- Finally, check out my tips to see how to finish the racks on the grill to get that smoky taste.
What to serve with baby back ribs?
Looking for sides to serve with this dish? Check out these delicious options:
- Southern Potato Salad,
- Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese
- Southern Fried Green Tomatoes
- Summer Pasta Salad
- Southern Cheesy Corn Pudding
- Easy Southern Corn Salad
- Potato Broccoli Salad with Vinaigrette
The list goes on and on. If you would like to peruse more options, here is a link to all of my side dish recipes.
How to remove the membrane or silver skin:
- Turn the ribs meaty side down.
- Insert the blunt edge of a small knife blade under the membrane on the bone side of the rack. You want to pry up a corner of the membrane. Remove the blade and then insert your finger to loosen up the skin even more.
- Then, grab the corner of the membrane with a paper towel and carefully peel it off down the length of the ribs. If the membrane tears, repeat the steps above until it is all removed.
You can also check out the video above to see how it’s done! If you leave the membrane on, it can become tough and rubbery as it cooks. It can also prevent the dry rub from penetrating the meat.
You can also ask your butcher to remove the membrane for you.
How to make the baby back ribs dry rub:
One other thing that sets this recipe apart is the tantalizing and spicy dry rub. This unique baby back rib rub lends just the right balance of sweet and tangy taste to the ribs. It’s what makes them ever so flavorful.
Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the dry rub liberally all over the front and back of the meat and gently rub it in.
How to cook baby back ribs in the oven:
For the best flavor, let the meat sit with the dry rub on them for a minimum of 30 minutes. Or, you can refrigerate the pork and let it sit for up to 24 hours. Overnight is best!
When you are ready to cook the pork, first, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
How long to cook oven-baked baby back ribs?
Before cooking the ribs, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the package on a baking sheet with a rim. Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for one hour and thirty minutes. Or, bake until the meat starts pulling away from the bone and is tender.
When the pork is done, open the foil packet and pull it back. Brush on your favorite barbecue sauce. Turn up the heat to 350 degrees and let the racks cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Slice the meats between the bones and serve immediately with plenty of napkins and extra barbecue sauce!
Sharon’s Expert Tips:
- If you prefer you can cook the meat in a slow cooker or crockpot. After they have marinated in the rub, add to your slow cooker and cook on low 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. When the ribs are done, remove from the slow cooker and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush on your favorite barbecue sauce and bake at 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes or until the barbecue sauce caramelizes.
- To finish the baby back ribs on the grill instead of the oven; when they are done, preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Place the slabs of meat on the grill grate and generously coat with your favorite BBQ sauce. Grill the slabs on both sides until the BBQ sauce is browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes per side.
The Best Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs and Dry Rub Recipe
Oven-Cooked Baby Back Rib Ingredients:
- 2 racks baby back pork ribs about 1 1/2 lb each
- 2 cups barbecue sauce we like Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce
Baby Back Ribs Dry Rub Ingredients
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Remove the membrane from the back of the slabs by using the blade of a small paring knife to pry up a corner of the membrane. Then grab it with a paper towel and peel it off down the length of the meat.
- Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the dry rub liberally over the front and back of the rack and gently rub it in.
- For the best flavor, let the meat sit with the rub for at least 30 minutes, or you can cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- When ready to cook the meat, wrap the slabs in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet with a rim. Place them in the oven and cook for one hour and thirty minutes or until the meat starts pulling away from the bone and is tender.
- When the pork is done, open the foil packet completely and brush on your favorite barbecue sauce. Turn up the heat to 350 degrees and let the meat cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately with plenty of napkins!