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Our super easy Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and delicious! Cook up a rack (or two) for your next game day party!
This is quite possibly one of the easiest pork rib recipes you’ll ever try!
Just a few minutes of prep – then let your oven do all the work. The result is super tender, lip-smacking Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs ready to feed a hungry crowd at your next game day party.
This recipe is written for two racks of pork ribs, but feel free to cut the recipe in half for a smaller group if you’d like. Or, make the full recipe and enjoy leftovers the next day.
What are Baby Back Ribs?
They are the upper ribs of a pig, where the rib meets the spine beneath the loin muscle of the animal. They are shorter in length than spare ribs – ranging in length from three to six inches – and that’s why they are called baby back ribs.
At the supermarket, you might see baby back ribs labeled as loin ribs, back ribs, or pork loin back ribs. This cut is very lean, and they become super tender when cooked low and slow in the oven.
Why You’ll Love Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs
- The layers of flavor from various spice rubs and sauces will make your taste buds very happy.
- These ribs cook up so tender, the meat will literally melt in your mouth with every bite.
- It’s a super versatile recipe – swap up the spice rub and barbecue sauce for different flavor variations.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork Baby Back Ribs – These are typically sold in shrink-wrapped packages, two racks per package. Look for a package weighing six to seven pounds in total.
- Liquid Smoke – You can find this at the supermarket or online here. It’s a liquid flavoring made from condensing the smoke from burning wood. (Use it sparingly – the flavor is quite intense!) Hickory is the most common flavor, but it also comes in other flavors.
- Dry rub – You’ll combine a mix of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika to make a flavorful, homemade dry rub. Or use your favorite store-bought spice rub (this one is a favorite of ours).
- Wet rub – Combine melted butter, honey and brown sugar to create a wet rub that gets slathered over the ribs partway through baking.
- BBQ sauce – Use any brand of barbecue sauce you like. Or make one of our homemade versions such as our Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, this unique Cherry Noble BBQ Sauce or our favorite Homemade BBQ Sauce.
Special supplies needed
- Parchment paper sheets
- Aluminum foil
- Large sheet tray
- Pastry brush
How do I make Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs?
- Pull the membrane off each rack of ribs and pat both sides dry with paper towels.
- Lay the ribs on a foil-lined sheet tray.
- Brush liquid smoke over both sides of the ribs
- Sprinkle the dry rub spice mixture on both sides of the ribs, then cover tightly with parchment and foil.
- Bake low and slow for two hours.
- Brush on the wet rub, cover again with the same parchment paper and foil, then bake for one more hour – or until the pork ribs are tender.
- Brush on your favorite BBQ sauce and broil just long enough to caramelize the sauce.
- Cut the rack of ribs into sections (approximately three or four ribs per person for an entrée portion) or cut into individual ribs if you are serving a platter at a party.
Chef’s Tip – To pull off the membrane on the bottom side of the ribs, pull up a corner of the membrane from the small end with your fingers, then grab it using a paper towel and pull off.
How long do I cook Baby Back Ribs in the oven?
You have some choices:
- If you like your ribs fall-off-the-bone tender, cook for the full three hours as called for in the recipe.
- If you prefer to have some chew to the meat, shorten the first cooking phase to 1 ½ hours, then continue on with the rest of the recipe. (This version will cook for 2 ½ hours plus broiling after.)
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs ahead of time? Yes, you can season and get them ready for baking ahead of time. Keep refrigerated until ready to bake in the oven. OR bake them ahead of time, but leave the last broiling step for when you are ready to serve.
How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
How do I reheat leftovers? You can reheat the rack of ribs in the oven until warmed through, or microwave a portion.
Can I freeze? Yes, you can freeze leftover cooked ribs if you’d like. Then thaw, reheat and add more sauce before serving.
What should I serve with Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs?
- Jack’s Potato Salad
- Bacon Topped Cornbread
- Macaroni Salad
- Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppyseed Dressing
- Boiled Corn on the Cob
You may like these other rib recipes:
- Oven Baked Country-Style Ribs
- Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs
- White Barbecue Sauce Pork Ribs
- Asian Barbecue Pork Ribs
- Barbecue Pork Ribs
2 racks of pork baby back ribs (about 6–7 pounds)
4 teaspoons liquid smoke
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a sheet tray with foil.
Flip the ribs over and grab the end of the membrane on the underside and using a paper towel to hold it, pull straight up and off then discard.
Brush liquid smoke on both sides of each rack of ribs.
Mix the rub and sprinkle ¼ of it on the bottom. Flip each rib over and sprinkle the rest over the top.
Cover with parchment and foil and bake for two hours.
Increase the oven to 325 degrees F.
Melt butter and mix with brown sugar and honey and after the ribs have baked for two hours, remove from the oven and slather on the butter and honey mixture over the tops.
Place the parchment and foil back over and bake for one more hour.
Remove parchment and foil, drain off liquid.
Turn the ribs bottom up and slather BBQ sauce and broil for 4-5 minutes to brown.
Carefully flip and slather on more BBQ sauce and broil for 4-5 minutes more on that side.
Remove from oven and cut into rib sections and serve.
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