Fall-off-the-bone oven-baked ribs are one of the comfort foods. While ribs are often thought of as something easy to slap onto the grill, not everyone has access to one or wants to brave the weather to grill in the colder, wetter months of autumn. Oven-baked ribs are the way to achieve tender meat-candy goodness without setting foot outside — and they aren’t the least bit intimidating to put together.
Ribs cooked in the oven won’t have the smokey flavor that stems from being cooked over an open flame, but they will be sweet, sticky and tender if cooked correctly. If you want to add a touch of smokey flavor to imitate a grilled taste, you can add a few dashes of liquid smoke.
Oven-Baked Ribs: What To Get At The Grocery Store
When it comes to beef ribs, you can pick them up as a full slab or short ribs. Pork ribs are often easier to find. If you have trouble locating the exact kind you want, talk to someone in the meat department at your local grocery store. Look for racks with an even layer of meat. While you’re at it, ask them to remove the skin membrane on the ribs to save yourself a step at home. (It makes the ribs easier to chew.)
If you’d rather remove the membrane yourself, grab a paper towel and flip your rack over so the meaty side is face down. Using your fingernail, separate the shiny membrane from the bones starting on the smaller end. Once you have a grip on it, use your paper towel to get a better handle on it and slowly peel it back.
Prepping Your Ribs
Dry rubbing with simple seasonings and slowly baking them lead to a scrumptious meal with minimal effort. Grab your seasonings and your favorite sauce. You’re going to want to use both for maximum flavor.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If your rack is too long to fit, simply cut it in half. Your seasoning might contain salt. If it doesn’t, add a teaspoon of coarse kosher salt before adding your chosen seasoning. Then rub your seasoning all over the rack to create a nice even layer. Wrap each portion in foil and place them on a sheet pan.
Slow Cooking Is Key
Roast the ribs for at least two hours before checking the doneness by unwrapping and jiggling the middle of the rack with a pair of tongs. If the surface cracks to reveal an inch or so of meat, they are ready. You can also twist them to check. Either way, if the meat starts to tear, it’s not ready yet.
Set and Forget
It can take several hours of slow cooking for a thick slab of oven-baked ribs to get done. Anywhere from three to five hours is common.
Finish With a Broil
Finish your ribs with a quick broil. Once these oven-ready ribs are done, brush the boney side with sauce and stick it back in the oven using the broil setting. Once the sauce starts to bubble and carmelize, usually after about 2-5 minutes, flip the rack over and brush the other side with sauce. Broil for another 2-5 minutes and then you are ready to dig in.
Some people find eating ribs to be too an messy experience to fully enjoy, with sauce ending up all over their face. You can dig in unabashedly or use utensils; it just depends on how casual you want the experience to be. Serve them however you like!
You can find a full recipe for oven-baked ribs on Lifehacker.