Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs

4.6
(809)

These oven-baked baby back ribs are seasoned with a homemade dry rub, then glazed with barbeque sauce and baked until tender and delicious. If you're in the mood for a little virtual trip into summer, give this technique a try. It works with literally any dry rub and barbecue sauce combo.

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Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings

Did you know you can make restaurant-worthy baby back ribs in the comfort of your own kitchen? Well, you can! You just need a good recipe — and that's where we come in. This top-rated recipe produces tender, juicy ribs that you'll want to make again and again.

What Are Baby Back Ribs?

Baby back ribs (also called pork back ribs) come from high on the back of the hog, where the loin muscle meets the backbone. This lean cut of pork is extremely tender and flavorful. Baby back ribs can be smoked, grilled, or baked. They're usually seasoned and often served with a sweet and savory barbecue sauce.

Baby Back vs. Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are cut from the bottom portion of the rib cage, while baby backs are cut from the top portion of the rib cage.

Baby back ribs are leaner and cook faster than spare ribs, their heavier counterpart. Some people say spare ribs have richer flavor because they're more marbled, but baby backs are more popular because they have more meat and are more tender.

How to Cook Baby Back Ribs in the Oven

Make perfect baby back ribs in the oven by following a few simple steps. You'll find Chef John's full recipe below, but here's a brief overview of what you can expect:

Prepare Dry Rub

Mix ancho chile powder, white and brown sugars, salt, black pepper, cumin, dry mustard, cayenne, and chipotle pepper in a small bowl.

Season and Bake

Place the rack on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Prick the rack several times with a knife. Season liberally on both sides with dry rub, then seal tightly in foil. Bake until tender and cooked through.

Glaze, Bake, and Repeat

Remove the rack from the oven, let cool slightly, and open the foil seal. Completely coat the rack in barbecue sauce, brushing it on all sides. Return it to the oven (with the foil open) and bake for about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven again and brush again with barbecue sauce (on the meat side only). Repeat this process about four times, then cut and serve.

How Long to Cook Baby Back Ribs

This recipe generally takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to cook. However, racks vary in size — bigger racks might take longer to cook, while smaller ones might be ready more quickly.

Turn to your digital food thermometer for the most precise results: Ribs are technically safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, but they will be most tender and juicy between 190 and 200 degrees F.

What to Serve With Baby Back Ribs

Complete your meal with one of these traditional side dishes for baby back ribs:

Sweet Restaurant Slaw
Boston Baked Beans
Caesar Salad Supreme
Homemade Mac and Cheese
Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Hungry for more inspiration? Explore our collection of Quick and Easy Barbecue Side Dishes.

How to Store Baby Back Ribs

Store your cooked baby back rib leftovers in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in storage wrap or aluminum foil. Properly stored baby back ribs will last for up to four days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Love, love, love this recipe," says Dorita. "My family doesn't want to go to a barbecue restaurant anymore. They like the ribs cooked following Chef John's way better. They come out soooo ... tender and full of flavor. We are hooked."

"I really liked this method of cooking the ribs – wrapping in foil kept them moist and tender and minimized cleanup too," according to Lynda McLean Falloon. "I didn't have any dried chipotle chile pepper so I substituted paprika."

"This is a 10 star recipe – the best and easiest method to make ribs," raves Allrecipes Allstar

Baking Nana. "As indicated, use your favorite dry rub and your favorite barbecue sauce, but use this low and slow method. For make-ahead 'ready to barbecue ribs,' I usually coat the ribs in the dry rub and wrap tightly and let sit in the refrigerator overnight."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ancho chile powder

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup salt

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper

  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs

  • 1 cup barbeque sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

  2. Mix ancho chile powder, white and brown sugars, salt, black pepper, cumin, dry mustard, cayenne, and chipotle pepper in a small bowl until combined.

  3. Place rib rack, meat-side down, on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Prick back of the rack several times with a knife.

  4. Generously apply a coating of dry rub to all sides of the rack. Store any remaining dry rub in an airtight container for future use.

  5. With the meat facing down, fold foil around the rack to create a tight seal. Transfer to a sheet pan.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until tender and cooked through, about 2 hours. Remove and cool 15 minutes.

  7. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  8. Open foil, drain and discard any accumulated juices and fat. Brush barbeque sauce on all sides of the rack.

  9. Turn the rack on the foil so the meat is facing up. Return to the oven, leaving the foil open and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush another layer of barbeque sauce on the meat side only. Repeat baking and brushing with sauce 4 more times, for a total of 50 minutes baking time.

  10. Cut rack into individual rib segments and serve with more barbeque sauce.

    an overhead view of baked BBQ baby back ribs partially sliced on a cutting board with a ramekin of BBQ sauce nearby.
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

Chef's Note:

You will not need all of the dry rub for one rack of ribs. Use what you need to coat the rack, and store the rest in an airtight container for future use.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of dry rub. The actual amount of rub consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

488 Calories
23g Fat
52g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 488
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 88mg 29%
Sodium 782mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 42g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 459mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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