How To Make The Best Rack Of Ribs In The Oven

Are you craving a savory and succulent rack of ribs but don’t have a grill or smoker available? Don’t worry; making a delicious rack of ribs in the oven is just as easy and satisfying. With some preparation and patience, you can create an impressive and finger-licking meal that will impress your family and guests.

Selection of the Ribs

Before starting, it is essential to select the right type of ribs. You can choose between baby back ribs, spare ribs, or St. Louis style ribs. Baby back ribs come from the upper part of the hog’s rib cage and are shorter and curved. They are more delicate and tender, with a sweeter, milder flavor. Spare ribs come from the lower part of the rib cage and are meatier and fattier. St. Louis style ribs are spare ribs that have been trimmed down to a more uniform and rectangular shape.

When selecting ribs, look for meat that is moist, shiny, and pinkish. The bones should be thick, and the meat should be well-marbled with fat. Avoid ribs with dry, discolored, or sticky surfaces, as this indicates spoilage or poor handling.

Cleaning the Ribs

Before cooking, make sure to remove the thin membrane that covers the back surface of the ribs. This membrane can be tough and rubbery, and can prevent seasoning and smoke from penetrating the meat. Using a butter knife, loosen the edge of this membrane and pull it away from the meat in one piece. If you have difficulty, use a paper towel to grip and pull.

After removing the membrane, pat the ribs dry with paper towels. This will help the seasoning to adhere better and prevent excess moisture from steaming the meat.

Preparing the Ribs

rack of ribs

To achieve a tender and juicy rack of ribs, you need to take a few extra steps before cooking. First, season the meat generously with a rub or marinade. A rub is a dry mixture of spices, herbs, sugar, and salt that can be rubbed onto the surface of the meat. A marinade is a mixture of oil, acid, herbs, spices, and flavorings that can be brushed onto the meat and left to marinate for several hours or overnight.

For a simple rub, mix 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Rub the mixture onto both sides of the ribs, massaging it into the meat.

For a basic marinade, mix 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of mustard, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder. Brush the mixture onto both sides of the ribs, covering them evenly.

After seasoning the meat, let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Tips for Cooking Ribs in the Oven

rack of ribs

Cooking ribs in the oven requires attention to detail and patience. Here are some tips to ensure your ribs turn out perfectly:

  • Preheat your oven to 250°F. Low and slow cooking is the key to tender and juicy ribs.

  • Place the ribs on a baking sheet or roasting pan, bone-side down. If you have a wire rack, place the ribs on the rack to allow air to circulate and promote even cooking.

  • Cover the ribs with foil or a lid to trap the moisture and prevent them from drying out. It is essential to create a tight seal to prevent steam from escaping.

  • Bake the ribs for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on their thickness and type. After the first hour, check the ribs every half hour to make sure they are not overcooking or undercooking. If the meat starts to pull away from the bones or shows signs of charring, it is starting to dry out and overcook.

  • During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil or lid and brush the ribs with your favorite sauce. This will help to caramelize the surface and add a flavorful glaze.

  • Let the ribs rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the meat to reabsorb its juices and make it easier to cut and serve.

Recipe for Oven-Baked Ribs

oven baked rack of ribs

Now that you know the basics, here is a recipe for making oven-baked ribs:


  • 1 rack of baby back ribs (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon of cumin

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

  • Foil or lid for covering

  • Your favorite BBQ sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F.

  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.

  3. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels.

  4. Mix the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to make a rub.

  5. Rub the mixture onto both sides of the ribs, massaging it into the meat.

  6. Place the ribs on a baking sheet or wire rack, bone-side down.

  7. Cover the ribs tightly with foil or a lid.

  8. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the thickness and type of ribs.

  9. Remove the foil or lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce.

  10. Let the ribs rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


oven baked rack of ribs

There are countless ways to customize your oven-baked ribs. Here are some ideas:

  • Change the rub or marinade. Experiment with different combinations of spices, herbs, sugars, acids, and oils to create your signature flavor.

  • Use a different sauce. Substitute BBQ sauce with teriyaki sauce, honey mustard, or hot sauce.

  • Add liquid smoke. If you miss the smoky flavor of grilled or smoked ribs, add a few drops of liquid smoke to the marinade or rub.

  • Broil the ribs. For a crispier surface, put the ribs under the broiler for a few minutes after brushing them with sauce. Watch carefully to prevent them from burning.

  • Finish on the grill. If you want to add some grill marks and smokiness, finish the ribs on a hot grill for a few minutes.

Doneness Check and Adjusting Time

To check if the ribs are done, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F and letting it rest for at least 3 minutes before serving. However, ribs can be cooked until they are fork-tender, which means they have reached an internal temperature of 195°F to 205°F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bones and any pockets of fat.

If the ribs are not yet done, continue to cook them for another 30 minutes and check again. If they are drying out or becoming too dark, lower the temperature to 225°F or cover them with foil to prevent further browning. Conversely, if they are not browning enough, increase the temperature to 275°F or remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking.


Making a rack of ribs in the oven is a fantastic alternative to grilling or smoking, and it allows you to enjoy the rich and meaty flavor any time of the year. With the right selection, cleaning, preparation, and cooking techniques, you can create a dish that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Experiment with different rubs, marinades, and sauces, and don’t be afraid to adjust the time and temperature to achieve your desired doneness and texture. Now, invite your friends and family, and get ready for some finger-licking good food!

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  • FAQS On Rack Of Ribs Oven Recipe

    What Is A Rack Of Ribs?

    A rack of ribs refers to a cut of meat taken from the rib section of the animal, usually pork or beef. It typically consists of a set of 10 to 13 ribs that are attached to the sternum bone. Ribs are known for their juicy and tender meat, making them a favorite choice for barbecues and grilling.

    How Do I Prepare A Rack Of Ribs For The Oven?

    To prepare a rack of ribs for the oven, start by removing the thin membrane on the back of the ribs. This can be done by sliding a knife under the membrane and lifting it away from the meat. This step is important as it ensures the ribs will be more tender and allows the flavors to penetrate better. Once the membrane is removed, you can proceed to season the ribs according to your preference, whether with dry rubs, marinades, or sauces.

    What Is The Recommended Cooking Temperature And Time For A Rack Of Ribs In The Oven?

    For a rack of ribs in the oven, it is generally recommended to cook them at a low temperature of around 275°F (135°C) for approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. This slow and low cooking method helps in breaking down the connective tissues, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. However, it is important to note that cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the ribs, so it’s always a good idea to check for doneness using a meat thermometer.

    Should I Cover The Rack Of Ribs While Cooking In The Oven?

    While not mandatory, it is generally recommended to cover the rack of ribs while cooking in the oven. This helps in retaining moisture and preventing the meat from drying out. You can use aluminum foil to cover the ribs loosely, allowing some air circulation. However, if you prefer a slightly crispy exterior, you can leave the ribs uncovered for the last 30 minutes of cooking to achieve a desirable texture.

    How Do I Know If The Rack Of Ribs Is Done Cooking In The Oven?

    To determine if a rack of ribs is cooked to perfection, you can use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, without touching the bone. The internal temperature should reach around 185°F (85°C) for pork ribs and 203°F (95°C) for beef ribs. Additionally, the meat should be tender and easily pull away from the bone when gently twisted with a pair of tongs. If these conditions are met, your rack of ribs is ready to be enjoyed!