Last Updated on July 30, 2021
Many people think that the only way to make delicious, barbequed food is on a grill or in a smoker. However, that’s not quite true. Using only your home equipment, you can actually make quite good food, and ribs are no exception. In fact, I’d say that ribs are probably the one piece of barbeque that can turn out the best from your oven!
You have a few options when it comes to cooking at home as well, either slowly or quickly cooking your ribs.
1. Slow Cooked Oven Ribs
For this, you crank your oven down quite low. Below 300 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect; 275 is a good starting point, but you can go even lower if you plan to cook longer.
Then prepare your ribs how you like. You can remove the membrane from the back if you prefer, but I personally like to leave it on. It’s a bit of a tradeoff. While I really enjoy the snap that the little bit of skin gives, it does make your ribs a bit tougher. This is especially bad for people with sensitive teeth, but really anyone can sympathize with getting meat stuck between their teeth, and the membrane does make this a bigger problem.
Likewise, rub with your preferred blend of spices. A good, simple option is a little bit of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Replace the garlic powder with crushed fresh garlic or minced garlic if you have it , but apply it separately after the dry spices have been rubbed on, or even as part of the sauce (to be added later).
You can customize this spice blend however you like. I like to add some cayenne pepper (though not much) to the blend, and if you want a Cajun flair, that plus a bit of basil and oregano goes a long way, which essentially makes a blackened steak rub for your ribs.
However you prepare them, once the oven is preheated throw them in there on your preferred platform of choice; a glass dish or a baking pan works just as well. Whatever your choice, LOOSELY cover your ribs with tin foil to keep a bi of the moisture in.
Cook for around 3 hours, or 4 if you want extra tender ribs or yours just don’t seem done yet. They’ll be completely cooked and ready to eat once you hit an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but they’ll be a bit tough at that point. For best results, wait until the internal temperature is at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit; your mouth will thank me.
Once cooking is completed, the final cooking begins. About 10 to 15 minutes before time is up, prepare your sauce, particularly if you’re making it from scratch.
What I like to do here is add the pork run off from the ribs into the sauce base (replacing an equal amount of water in your preferred recipe) for that extra kick of flavor.
Add your sauce to the ribs, and crank the heat up on your oven to at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook (uncovered, this time) an extra 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce has caramelized around the tips of the rib bones.
And that’s it! It takes a while, but it’s quite worth it. Cut, serve, and enjoy.
However, if you’re in a bit of a hurry, you can take a shortcut.
2. Fast Method (Optional)
This method is much the same as the previous, except you’re going to be cooking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time.
Preheat your oven, remove the membrane (if you want) and rub down your ribs.
Now, thoroughly encase your ribs in a tin foil “pocket”. This should take two pieces, one of which needs to be slightly bigger than the other. Crimp the edges around each other to form a loose seal; it doesn’t need to be airtight but it shouldn’t allow the steam to escape too easily either.
With this method, you’re going to be cooking for somewhere between an hour and 15 or 30 minutes (75 to 90 minutes), or until internal temperature hits 190 degrees Fahrenheit or a bit above.
And then, same as above, crank the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit or a bit higher, slather your ribs in the sauce, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until caramelized.
These ribs come out great, though be prepared for them to be a bit juicier than ribs cooked the other way. They’re tasty, but won’t quite have that same texture; it comes out closer to tenderloin on a bone than anything else.
This could be considered a desirable property, and I think it’s pretty good. However, it IS different, so be prepared for that.
READ MORE: Excellent BBQ sauce.
3. Bonus Recipe: Slow Cooker Ribs!
Ribs cooked in a slow cooker are very interesting, because if you’re not careful you’re going to end up with pulled pork rather than ribs.
However, it can be done, and is a great recipe for a busy day.
For this one, you’ll definitely want to marinate your ribs overnight, with whatever seasonings you prefer. This is a bonus for other options, but imperative here.
Toss them in your slow cooker (if they don’t fit, toss the rack in half and stack the pieces on top of each other) and cook on low for at least 6 hours, and up to 8; err toward the 6 (this makes this better for a busy weekend with a ton of errands than a work day).
When the cooking is done, whip up your sauce and toss them in a preheated 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 to 15 minutes, as usual.
These will likely be the most fall off the bone ribs you’ve ever had, similar to ribs served at a certain fast casual dining establishment known for its ribs…but a whole lot tastier. Still, this has the :almost too juicy” problem in spades, so consider reserving the pork juices for another recipe rather than adding most of it back into the sauce.
Leftover pork fat makes for great fried rice!