This recipe for the Best Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs and Dry Rub is for you if you love BBQ ribs but don’t love standing outside for several hours over a hot grill, or are looking for an easy way to cook them in the oven!
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! The convenience of being able to cook them in the oven instead of standing over a hot grill wins every time in my book!
What are baby back ribs?
In case you are wondering, baby back ribs do not come from baby pigs! They are called that because these pork ribs are shorter and smaller in comparison to regular spare ribs or St Louis style ribs. Baby back ribs are also very meaty and relatively low in fat compared to other types of ribs.
How to remove the membrane or silver skin:
- Turn the ribs meat 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 my video 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 dry rub:
What 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.
How to season your ribs with the dry rub:
Sprinkle the dry rub liberally all over both sides of the ribs and gently rub it in. Be especially generous on the meat side.
For the best flavor, let the meat sit with the 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!
How to cook the ribs:
When you are ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Before cooking, wrap the racks of ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the package on a baking sheet with a rim. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the ribs for one hour and thirty minutes. Or, cook until the meat starts pulling away from the bone and is tender.
How long to cook ribs in the oven at 350 degrees:
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 ribs between the bones and serve immediately with plenty of napkins and extra barbecue sauce!
How to get a smoky taste:
One thing that you don’t get with this oven-baked recipe is a smoky barbecue flavor. But these ribs are tasty and delicious in their own right. If you really can’t live without the smoky flavor, you can try:
- Adding 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 them?
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 more options, here is a link to all of my side dish recipes.
How to store and reheat leftovers:
Leftover ribs can be stored tightly covered in the fridge for three to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.
To reheat leftovers in the microwave, place on a microwave-safe plate, top with a spoonful or so of barbecue sauce, and a piece of wax paper and heat for a minute or two or until they have warmed up. I also usually add a drop or two of water on each rib to keep them from drying out.
To reheat leftovers in the oven, top with a few spoonfuls of barbecue sauce and a few drops of water and wrap securely in aluminum foil. Pop them in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until they are warm.
Ribs that have been frozen should be defrosted in the fridge overnight before reheating.
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.
If you would like to finish the baby back ribs on the grill instead of the oven, when they are done, preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Grease the grill grates well and place the racks on the grill. 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.
If you like recipes like this, you might also like these popular recipes:
- The Best and Easiest Grilled Chicken and Rub Recipe
- Reverse Seared Pork Steaks on the Grill
- Simple Lemon Grilled Whole Chicken
- Easy Grilled Bone-In Pork Chops and Marinade
- Easy Grilled Beer-Can Chicken on a Big Green Egg
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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!
*This recipe was originally published on September 24, 2017. Republished on May 21, 2020 with new photos, a “how-to” video, and expanded directions and tips.