Those of you who have tried making smoked ribs at home are probably aware of how tiring and exhausting it can be. This is mainly because smoking ribs isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot more than an expensive smoker and pieces of meat to get you started. So, why is it so difficult to smoke ribs? Let’s find out!
The core of the problem is all about having a spacious backyard or lawn to set up your smoker. If you happen to have a large enough backyard at home, then you’re good to go. If not, you’ll just have to end up going to fancy restaurant or order in to savor the mouthwatering ribs.
Smoking the perfect ribs require a lot of hard work and experience. If you lack in either of these two factors, chances are you’ll end up with an under-cooked or over-cooked piece of meat. Patience is basically the key to making the meat tender and juicy. Therefore, if you are not a pro yet, you should try making ribs in the oven.
Advantages of Cooking Ribs in the Oven
Oven baked ribs are the best ribs. The meat on the ribs is usually very hard, complex and it takes hours to get it cooked to perfection. If you want the ribs to be tender and juicy from the inside, all you need to do is bake it in the oven at a low temperature for a long time. Once cooked, you’ll see the meat automatically coming off from the bone with each and every bite.
You’ll also notice how you won’t have to spend hours controlling the heat as you would have while using a smoker. The only thing you have to do is put it inside the oven and wait for half of the time to pass away. You’ll only need to peek in once or thrice to see if everything is alright in there. An attempt to making a single slice using a knife is all that will take to have a good idea about the tenderness of the meat.
However, the only thing that you’ll need to buy is a rack to bake on. This will allow the meat to be cooked on all sides.
- Buying the Correct Ribs
As mentioned before, it takes quite some time to cook ribs due to the complex tissues of the meat to come undone. However, while buying pork ribs, you’ll have more options in hand if compared to beef ribs. For pork, you’ll find baby ribs, country style ribs and spare ribs. Now, spare ribs are usually larger in size and require a longer time to cook than baby ribs.
Baby ribs, on the other hand, are comparatively smaller and contain less fat. The meat of the baby ribs is a bit softer than the spare ribs. However, baby ribs are more expensive than spare ribs but once you know how to cook it perfectly, you’ll understand how all the hard work and expense is totally worth it.
- Preparing the Ribs
Pork ribs usually have a thin membrane on the surface and it has to be removed if you want to prevent your meat from being way too chewy and hard. If you are used to cutting vegetables and meat with a knife, you will be able to get rid of the membrane on your own. You only need to slice through a small portion of the membrane to get started.
The next step is to use your hand to pull off the rest of it. If you feel that the meat is too slippery, place a paper towel to hold it before pulling it off. This usually takes a single attempt but if you’re not comfortable with using a knife, you can always ask your butcher to do it for you. However, grocery stores usually get rid of the membrane beforehand to make cooking easier for you.
Now, before you head off to start cooking the ribs, keep them in the freezer for a good 2-8 hours. Please keep in mind that if you keep it inside the freezer any longer, the meat will become very soppy.
How to Make Pork Ribs In the Oven
Baby back ribs or spare ribs are usually the most common slices of pork meat that people tend to make for special meals or during holidays. Whatever the occasion, pork ribs can never go wrong and if cooked to precision, they taste heavenly. If you happen to be a huge fan of pork ribs, make sure to give this method a try!
Note: You’ll be able to make 6 to 8 serves.
Prep time: About 20 mins.
Cooking time: It will take about 2 to 3 hours maximum.
- 5 pounds of pork baby back ribs or spare ribs
- 1 cup if spice rub
- ¼ cup of Dijon mustard
- 1 cup of barbecue sauce (Keep some more for serving it)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
- Aluminum Foil
- Pastry Brush
- Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Wire Cooling Rack
- The first step is to make sure that the heat is able to circulate the slices of meat properly. For this step, you’ll be needing a rimmed baking sheet along with an aluminum foil lined on it. Now, place a wire cooling rack and put the ribs on it in a sole layer.
- Seasoning is one of the most crucial steps of making ribs in the oven. For a more intensified flavor, you can season the ribs and keep them in the freezer overnight. This will allow the flavors to penetrate through the meat to give more flavor to it.
For the seasoning, if you want to add liquid smoke to give the meat a smokier flavor, you’ll have to combine it with the mustard. Use a brush to coat it on each side. Take the dry rub and drizzle it on both sides of the meat. Use your hand to tap gently on the meat to ensure that the rub doesn’t fall off.
- Now, place the oven rack below the broiler in the oven and make sure to keep a few inches between them. Broil the ribs for about 5 minutes until you see the sugar particles bubbling. Wait until it is brownish in color.
- For the next step, place the oven rack in the middle and fix the temperature to 300° If you are baking baby back ribs, set the timer at 2-2.5 hours. For the spare ribs, use 2.5-3 hours for cooking. However, make sure to conceal the ribs with aluminum foil when the timer is halfway through in order to keep them from being dry and chewy.
- Pause the timer before 30 minutes and coat the ribs with your preferred barbecue sauce. (Do not forget to use the aluminum foil as a cover once you’re done)
- The last step is to use a knife to see if it cuts through the meat easily. If so, take the tray out and let it rest for a couple of minutes. At this point, you can cut through the meat to separate the ribs. Once cut, place them on individual plates and add a bit more of that barbecue sauce and serve it.
Do not forget that the barbecue sauce is a key ingredient for your ribs. Most people usually tend to buy the sauce from the grocery stores to be more precise. However, if you want to make your own barbecue sauce and need a good enough recipe for it, you can surely try out the one mentioned below.
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard or Dijon
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- A bit of hot sauce
- ¼ diced medium red onion
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 can of tomato puree or sauce
Take a pan and heat it for about 2 minutes. Then pour in the olive oil and dump in the onions. Heat and stir it for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for about two minutes and then lower the heat. Combine the cumin with the tomato paste and put it in the pan. Stir it until even and then add the tomato puree along with the rest of the ingredients until it has turned into an even mixture.
You can add more spices if you want at this point to your liking. You can blend the sauce to get an even finer texture. If you want a thinner texture, add in a little bit of water while blending it. This sauce can be kept in the freezer for about 3 months for later use.
Making the perfect dry rub requires your knowledge of different spices. However, if you still don’t have a special recipe for your dry rub yet, you can give this one a try!
- ¼ cup cumin
- ¼ cup granulated onion
- ¼ cup black pepper
- ¼ cup mustard powder
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 1/8 cup cayenne pepper
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/8 cup chipotle or ancho
- ½ cup paprika
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
The key is to mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl in the right amounts. Use small measuring cups for each of the ingredients and add the brown sugar at the last. You can either whisk the ingredients or put them inside a zip-lock bag. Once sealed all you need to do is shake it until the mixture is even.
Use the mixture to sprinkle and pat on the meat to ensure that it sticks to it. You can keep the seasoned meat in a plastic bag overnight to accentuate the flavors.
It is not necessary for you to follow the exact recipes stated above because you can always improvise once you get an overall idea of how to make ribs in the oven. If you tend to forget certain steps, make a note before heading off to cook the best ribs of your life. Hopefully, the recipes mentioned above are all that you’ll require to get the job done with perfection.