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Last Updated on December 21, 2022

Pork spare ribs are undoubtedly the most beloved dish in the world. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

When that fall-off-the-bone meat starts releasing its sweet juices, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the flavors and taste. It literally melts in your mouth!

If you want to be the master of baked pork spare ribs and learn how to make them as delicious as described, then you must check out the recipe prepared below!

pork spare ribs with chopped parsley on top

The Pork Spare Ribs Tradition

Pork ribs are a tradition of various cuisines around the world. Just look at America and how crazy everybody gets when you serve them a plate of nicely baked ribs.

It’s a custom to gather your friends around for some backyard cooking. Making mashed potatoes, tender spare ribs combined with BBQ sauce, and your favorite beer – what could be better?

But not everybody is blessed with sunny days throughout the whole year. Hence, to satisfy our craving for ribs, even when the backyard is filled with snow and rain, we must turn to the oven!

Learning the best oven-baked ribs recipe will allow you to enjoy this meal every day, all day.

Ingredients

pork spare ribs with spices

The best part about this recipe is that you only require the basics! There’s no overthinking here.

You just need time and patience since it does take a few hours to get that fall-off-the-bone tender effect and juicy taste.

To make delicious barbeque pork spare ribs in the oven, make sure you have the following:

  • Spare ribs or baby back ribs,
  • Spice rub/Dry rub,
  • Barbecue sauce (you can get a store-bought BBQ sauce or make your favorite homemade one).
Spices for dry rub for pork spare ribs

For the Dry Rub

To spice it up, add:

  • Chilli powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander

Extra Things to Have On Hand

  • Paper towel
  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil

How to Remove the Membrane From Ribs

Before your cooking begins, you must first learn how to remove the membrane. It’s not a must, but it’s highly recommended if you want the ribs to melt in your mouth.

  • Find the thin, translucent white tissue covering the rack;
  • Use the point of a blunt knife and gently slide it under the membrane;
  • Use your fingers to pull the rest of the membrane away from the bones.

If you’re having trouble, just grab a kitchen towel, and you’ll have a much better hold of the membrane.

The Cooking Action

Dry rub on pork spare ribs

Making tender spare ribs is no rocket science since the oven does most of the work.

Before starting, ensure you have the patience for that slow cooking process because you need time to cook the best ribs!

To make this recipe a success, follow the steps below and enjoy devouring your luscious pork spare ribs.

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Don’t ponder too much about the internal temperature; all ovens tend to have a will of their own. Hence, when you cook, let your visual perception guide you.

2. Remove the membrane. Follow the instructions above to ensure your spare ribs end up with more flavor and taste.

3. Season the ribs. Generously season both sides of the rib rack, concentrating a bit more on the meaty side, using your dry rub. For extra heat and flavor, go for the one with the ‘burning’ spices.

4. Place the ribs onto the baking sheet or a roasting pan. It’s best to place the meat side up. Cut your full rack in half if necessary.

Pork spare ribs wrapped in foil

5. Sandwich the ribs with aluminum foil. This will help them become super tender; just make sure you don’t cover them too tightly.

6. Place the ribs in the oven. Cook ribs until the meat falls easily from the bones – 3 to 3 1/2 hours. After that, remove the foil and continue to the next step. Make sure to check the ribs after two hours. Note that baby backs cook faster – approximately 2 1/2 hours.

7. Add the BBQ sauce and return the ribs to the oven. Coat the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes to juice up the ribs. To change it up a bit, try Worcestershire sauce.

Tips to Boost up Your Pork Spare Ribs Recipes

Oven-baked ribs are delicious; hence they probably don’t need any boosting up. But, there are some alternatives to the oven-baked method that you might find to be easier and more convenient.

Precook in Your Instant Pot for Instant Pot Pork Spare Ribs

If you want to cut down on the oven cook time, try precooking the meat.

Use an instant pot for about 45 minutes, and then bake in an oven for additional 30 minutes. Make sure you rub all the spices nicely onto the ribs (salt and pepper being the most important ones).

To bring in the heat, add your favorite chili powder. Don’t skimp on the BBQ sauce! Serve and enjoy.

pork spare ribs cut into pieces on top of butcher block paper

Louis-Style Spare Ribs

An additional tip to make your ribs a bit juicer is to cut them beforehand. You’ll be making Louis-style ribs, which many find to be irrespirable.

Hence, before you cook spare ribs, cut them into individual pieces. Seasoning them will also be easier, so be free to go wild with the BBQ sauce.

They cook faster than a full rack, so that’s a plus for those in a rush.

Try Using Beef

Next to pork recipes, you’ll also find alternatives that use beef.

Beef ribs have a higher amount of protein and iron and a higher calorie count; hence, they have a stronger and more filling taste.

To properly bake your beef ribs, you might need a bit more time, but as mentioned above, check after 2 hours and cook until you find the texture perfect.

You can boost up the barbecue sauce to add more flavor to the meat. Coat both sides of the rib rack, and if you have a certain spice you like to combine with the beef, then, by all means, be free to do so.

Serving Tip

Pork spare ribs will have you staying home at dinner every night!

The best recipes are a combo of spare ribs and potatoes. Yes, it’s a classic, but one with whom you won’t make a mistake.

When served together, the potato will absorb all the flavors from the barbecue sauce and the meat, leaving you in awe. Add a couple of beers, and you’ll have a full dinner package!

If you haven’t tried this recipe, then it’s about time you do so.

Prepare, serve and enjoy!

If you like this Dry Rub For Ribs recipe, you’ll love:

Cowboy Burgers

Copycat Hormel Chili

Hamburger Steak with Brown Gravy

Did you make and love this recipe?  Give your review below.

spork spare ribs on a piece of butcher block paper with herbs on top
Yield: 4

Pork Spare Ribs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

The best dry rub for your pork spare ribs that is sugar-free and can be made in your oven.

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with a spoon until well blended.
  3. Lightly apply this rub to both sides of your rack until it is well coated. There will be some rub left over which I typically don't apply to the ribs. You can if you would like but it is a strong flavor.
  4. Next take two sheets of aluminum foil and sandwich the ribs Place them in your oven to bake for 3 – 3.25 hours.
  5. The meat should be falling off the bone by the time they are done. 

Notes

Precook in your Instant Pot

I recently started precooking my pork spare ribs in my Instant Pot to cut down on the oven cook time and make them fall of the bone deliciousness.

  1. Place your ribs in an Instant Pot with 1 cup (0.24 l) of broth.
  2. Close the lid and press the Manual button and set to 45 minutes.
  3. Let the ribs natural release and then coat with the spice rub.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the ribs on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. When the ribs are done, slather in BBQ sauce and devour.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 806mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

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48 Comments

  1. Looks great but I wouldn’t mess it up at the end by putting sauce on it. I’m more of a meat, dry rub, heat/smoke, done kind of rib guy. I usually sear mine on the grill & then smoke for an hour or so and then finish in the oven for a couple of more hours but when its as hot as it is here right now (100+) I probably won’t use the oven at all. The cocoa sounds like a nice touch. A couple of tbs of instant coffee works too.

  2. Here I come to save your day…sort of: NoMato products http://www.nomato.com/

    They have a ketchup, a “tomato” sauce, and a BBQ sauce with no tomato in them. I too am allergic to tomatoes, and this is what I use myself.

  3. I’ve been making my own version of this recipe for years. However, I use a black enamel roasting pan (the kind that comes with most ovens). I line the pan with heavy-duty foil for easy cleanup, then flop in a rack of ribs and season as desired. You can also add onions, quartered turnips, carrots, asparagus, parsnips, etc. for a complete meal. Add about 3/4’s cup of water to the pan and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Bake at 325 degrees for about 3-1/2 hours, or until meat is fork tender and falling off the bones. Uncover and bake at 375 degrees for another 15 minutes to brown the meat.

    We think ribs fixed this way are much better than grilled. Another advantage: If you have to be gone for a while, this dish can be prepared a few hours in advance with the oven set on Delayed Start.

  4. I tried these for the family Sunday dinner. There were ‘yumm’ noises around the room and very little conversation during the meal. We will be making them again, thank you so much for this different-from-our-usual take on ribs. PS..I live with a bunch that would have been disappointed if I hadn’t done this, so, with all due respect to your recipe we did add an ingredient: smoked paprika, about 1 teaspoon.

  5. Sorry, but this recipe has too much cacao for me and my wife; it overpowered all the other flavors. I’ll try a variation with 1 tsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder next time.

  6. If you do happen to have a grill, I would lightly rub ribs in olive oil, apply the rub liberally, and let sit over night. Add charcoal to the grill and light according to directions… while the coals are getting hot, place the grate for the grill on the rack so it is very hot. Place the ribs on the rack and let the ribs brown on both sides….. then slow coke them for 3-4 hours at 275F. This gives the ribs that charcoal smokey taste and flavor with the convenience of oven baking. πŸ™‚ I use the mesquite coals since they will have a nice smokier scent.

    1. Thank you so much Neal! I really appreciate the feedback. You’re either eating a mess of ribs every week or have been using it on other dishes. I’d love to hear more.

  7. The rib recipe sounds good. I usually use country style ribs as they are meatier and cheaper. I will comment on the results.
    I have had the heartburn problem with coffee and sometimes tomatoes. I put a small amount of baking soda in the pot of coffee and that works. Since I have gone grain free and added probiotics to my diet , I no longer have the problem with tomatoes.

  8. Mine are in the oven now….I’ve never ever made ribs before, but was happy to see this sugar-less, grill-less recipe. I have some sugar less BBQ sauce I made, so I may use a bit of that towards the end, but I think I prefer a drier rib to a sloppy saucy one. Thanks! ~Missy

  9. Tried these Saturday on some baby-backs. Did one rack using this cacao-based recipe, and another rack with a rub based on Coconut palm sugar and chili powder. Both were dry-rubbed, sat for two hours then smoked for 4 hours. All tasters liked this one best. It has a nice, rich taste that melds with the smoked pork beautifully without being overwhelming. Did NOT slather with sauce to eat, but I’m sure it would have been tasty that way too. I think I used a half-teaspoon of cayenne- it could have used a little more. Thanks Chica! Great post.

  10. What a hit! The flavor was delicious, not overpowering… Doubled the rub recipe for 3 racks of pork back ribs, and there was a bit left over. I didn’t have cacao or much time to cook, but had unsweetened cocoa, and adjusted the cooking time and they were fall of the bone delicious! Cooked at 350 for 30 mins, then at 250 for 90 mins, opened the foil placed the ribs meat-side up and broiled on high for a short amount of time until the outer layer of meat began to crisp. Easy and delicious!! Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper!

  11. I just got our first grill. Why have yours always turned into a rust pit?! And oooh, ribs! I haven’t had these in years. I’ll have to see if I can find some beef ribs!