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Learning how to cook baby back ribs may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite easy. There are many different ways to make baby back ribs. You can make them in the oven, on the grill, deep fry them, or even cook them in a slow cooker. It is not so much about the skills needed to make the ribs, but having the patience to allow them to marinate long enough and cook them slowy.
Patience is needed because baby back ribs are best when cooked slowly. Sure, you could probably cook them in about 15 minutes if you are impatient – but they will not have the same flavor or the tenderness at all! The average cooking time for baby back ribs is about two to three hours. Making them slowly takes more time, but it is well worth it if you want them to be tender and the “fall off the bone” type of baby back ribs that many people love and desire.
One of the best and easiest methods for cooking tender ribs is by cooking them in the oven. It is also very convenient to make them in any types of weather or climate – if you’re in the snow and craving them, you can make them without worrying about firing up the grill!
There are also many different methods of making the ribs. Some people prefer them “dry”, or without barbecue sauce. Others enjoy them wet, sticky, amd messy and dripping with BBQ sauce. There are literrally hundreds of different variations and recipes for making the baby back ribs, depending on what type you like and the different flavors that you enjoy.
The most important step in cooking them is the preperation. By planning to make them the day before, you can allow them to marinate overnight or for several hours for the best results and the most flavorful and tender ribs possible.
Here is our easy step by step guide on how to cook baby back ribs in the oven:
You Will Need:
1-2 Racks of Ribs per person (depending on how much you and your crowd like to eat!)
Your Favorite Dry Rib Rub
Baking Dish or Large Roasting Pan if cooking for a crowd
Barbecue sauce (You can use the pre-made bottled kind or make your own with one of our barbecue sauce recipes)
1. First, you will want to make sure that you picked the best possible cuts of meat available. Often they are sold in the stores ready to cook straight out of the package, though you may need to trim the white membrane on the bottom off if it has not been done already. If you get your meat at a store with an in-house butcher, you can request that he or she does this for you.
2. Next you will want to rinse the meat in cold water and then pat dry. Using your favorite dry rib rub recipe, you’ll want to really rub the seasonings into the meat. Don’t just sprinkle it on and hope for the best, really rub it in, like you’re trying to make it part of the meat. You can’t rub it too much, only too little, so don’t hold back when applying the seasonings to the meat.
3. Once the ribs are seasoned, the next step is to wrap them tightly in foil. There are various opinions on the right way and wrong way and the easy way to do this. You can wrap each rack of ribs individually, or you can simply line the baking dish or roasting pan with the foil and wrap them all together that way. Some believe that spraying the foil with cooking spray will help keep it from sticking to the foil. If this is your first time making ribs, do what you are comfortable with – you can always try the other different methods the next time! Place the wrapped rubbed ribs (try saying that three times fast!) in your refrigerator and let them marinate for at least 2-3 hours, 6-8 hours or overnight is preferred. (Remember: Cooking ribs is all about patience!) Note: Some people at this point will add the barbecue or braising sauce and let it marinate in that, you can do this if you wish, or you can wait until later to add barbecue sauce.
4. When you are ready to cook the ribs, pre-heat your oven to between 225-275 degrees. Cooking times and temperatures will vary depending on your altitude and even your oven. Many ovens are not actually the temperature they say they are! While the oven pre-heats, remove the ribs from the fridge to bring them to room temperature. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes – you do not want to leave them out of the fridge for more than 1 hour.
5. After about 2 hours of cooking, you will want to check on the baby back ribs to see how they are doing. The meat should be tender and just about finished, though you can continue cooking it longer if you wish and it does not seem to be drying out. If you would like to add barbecue sauce to the baby back ribs, this is a good point to do it and allow it to bake for an additional 15 minutes on each side.
6. After the ribs are done, you can then serve it with your favorite side dishes and of course add more barbecue sauce to it with a basting brush if desired.
There are many other ways to cook baby back ribs in the oven, but this easy step by step guide should help you get started to making some very delicious baby back ribs on your own!