Slow Cooked Ribs Oven Recipe: Savory And Tender Meat That Falls Off The Bone

If you’re a meat lover, there’s nothing quite like tender, juicy, slow cooked ribs. Slow cooking is a great way to infuse a lot of flavor into the meat while keeping it moist and tender. With this easy-to-follow slow cooked ribs oven recipe, you can achieve results that rival your favorite restaurant’s ribs, without needing any fancy equipment.

Food Science behind Slow Cooking Ribs

Slow cooking is a cooking technique that allows meats to be cooked at low temperatures for a long period of time. This low and slow cooking process helps to tenderize the meat, breaking down the tough connective tissues while also infusing flavors.

When you cook ribs, you’ll notice that they have a lot of connective tissue, which is why they become quite tough when cooked quickly. Slow cooking the ribs allows the connective tissue to break down, resulting in meat that’s tender and fall-off-the-bone delicious.

Selecting the Right Ribs

To start with this recipe, you will need to choose the right type of ribs. St. Louis-style ribs and spare ribs are good options to use with this recipe, as they have enough fat content to remain juicy and flavorful even after hours of cooking. Baby back ribs or country-style ribs can also work well. However, be aware that baby back ribs tend to be smaller, which might impact the final cooking time.

When selecting ribs, look for ones that have a bright red color and relatively even marbling throughout. Avoid ribs that have an excessively bright or dull color and those with excessive fat or gristle.

Cleaning the Ribs

slow cooked ribs

Before cooking the ribs, it’s important to clean them properly. Start by rinsing them under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a sharp knife to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. If you leave them, the ribs may become tougher and more difficult to eat.

Cutting the ends of the rib bones is also a good idea as they tend to be sharp and may go through the foil or cooking bag which will lead to leaks.

Preparing the Ribs

slow cooked ribs

Once you’ve cleaned the ribs, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. You can infuse lots of flavor into your ribs with a dry rub or marinade. A dry rub is a mixture of herbs and spices that can be rubbed onto the meat before cooking, while a marinade is a liquid mixture that the meat will sit in before cooking.

For this recipe, we’ll use a dry rub. The rub I recommend is a blend of brown sugar, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. You can mix the rub to your preference, but go lightly with salt factor since too much will disappoint with salted meat.

After preparing the rub, massage it into the ribs, making sure that the meat is coated evenly. Be sure to rub the mixture into the meat rather than just layering over, and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or up to overnight to allow flavors to penetrate.

Tips to Cooking Perfect Slow Cooked Ribs

oven baked slow cooked ribs

Slow cooking ribs is a great way to ensure that they’re tender and flavorful, but only if you do it correctly. Follow these tips to make sure your ribs turn out fabulous.

  • The temperature of the oven should be 250°F. Higher temperatures will cook the ribs too quickly and may not break down all the tough connective tissues, while lower temperatures will lengthen the cooking time.

  • Low and slow cooking time is crucial. At least 3 hours and/or up to 5 hours with wrapped ribs in foil or cooking bags.

  • Keep the ribs moist by adding liquid to the cooking bag or foil. Arrowroot-based BBQ sauce works great for this.

  • Be mindful when checking the doneness of your ribs. Use a fork to poke the meat between the ribs gently. If the fork easily goes in without resistance, then your ribs are ready.

  • Take care not to overcook the ribs! Overcooking them will not only make the meat dry but can also negate all the hours of tenderness and flavors.

  • When removing the foil or cooking bags, be careful as the steam found in makes the environment hot. Use oven mitts and move the foil away from your face.

Slow Cooked Ribs Oven Recipe:

oven baked slow cooked ribs

Now that we’ve covered the preliminaries let’s get to the meat of the matter, the recipe.


  • 2 racks baby back ribs

  • ⅓ cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1½ teaspoons cumin

  • Arrowroot-based BBQ sauce or regular BBQ sauce

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil or cooking bags

  • Oven mitts


Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Prepare dry rub: In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cumin.

Prep the ribs: Clean the ribs by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. Then using a sharp knife, trim the ends of the rib bones.

Apply dry rub: Massage the dry rub all over the ribs making sure the mixture is evenly applied on all sides of the ribs.

Set in foil or cooking bags: Place each rack of ribs in individual pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil or cooking bags. Drizzle a light layer of BBQ sauce over the ribs then add a little bit of liquid, like apple juice or white wine, to the foil or cooking bag.

Wrap the ribs: Wrap the foil or cooking bag around the ribs, making sure it is well sealed.

Cook the ribs: Place the sealed ribs on a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 3 hours (minimum) to 5 hours (maximum) depending on meat thickness and size.

Unwrap and check doneness: After the required cooking time, carefully remove the foil or cooking bag from the ribs as the steam inside can cause burns. Using a fork, gently poke between the ribs. If the fork goes in smoothly with no resistance, your ribs are ready.

Glaze the ribs: Brush a thick layer of BBQ sauce on both sides of the ribs to glaze them. Set them on a baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes for the sauce to caramelize or until you achieve your preference of glaze.

Serve: Once you’re satisfied with the glazed ribs, serve them immediately and enjoy the juicy tender meat.

##Variations of Slow Cooked Ribs

Slow cooked ribs are incredibly versatile, and there are countless ways to customize the recipe to suit your preferences. Here are some ideas to switch up the recipe:

  • Substitute the dry rub with a wet marinade. This can be a mixture of your favorite BBQ sauce, honey, and a little soy sauce.

  • Try different flavors in the dry rub. You could add a bit of cayenne for a spicy kick, or use Italian herb seasoning for a Mediterranean twist.

  • Experiment with different liquids, such as beer, to add additional flavors to the cooking bag or foil.

  • If you prefer smoky flavors, try using a smoker or pellet grill instead of an oven. Alternatively, you can add a bit of liquid smoke (a little goes a long way).

  • After removing the ribs from the oven, you can also place them on a grill for those nice char marks.

Overcooking or Undercooking Ribs?

Getting the perfect balance of tenderness and flavors when cooking ribs can be challenging. Overcooking the ribs will cause the meat to dry out, making it tough and difficult to eat. Undercooking the ribs, on the other hand, can lead to tough and chewy meat, not to mention potential health hazards.

If you’re concerned about undercooking ribs, cut them down the middle between the bones to ensure they are thoroughly cooked. If the meat is bright red near the bone, it’s not cooked through and needs more cooking time. If the meat is pink or opaque, then it’s perfectly cooked. Tuck the ribs back inside the bags or foil and continue slow cooking.

On the other hand, if the ribs are overcooked, unfortunately, there’s no going back. You can attempt to glaze the dried meat with a lot of sauce, but it might not mask the overcooked taste.

Wrapping Up

That’s it, you have all you need to make your best Slow Cooked Ribs Oven Recipe at home. It might take a little bit of effort, but the result is so worth it.

Remember to choose the right ribs, take care when seasoning them, wrap them in foil or cooking bags with a little bit of liquid, put it in the oven for a minimum of three hours but maximum of five, remove it, glaze it with BBQ sauce, and broil it for a couple of minutes before serving.

With these instructions, your ribs will come out savory, tender, and juicy, the perfect addition to any summer BBQ, or any other occasion that calls for slow-cooked rib indulgence.

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  • FAQS On Slow Cooked Ribs Oven Recipe

    What Temperature Should I Cook Slow-cooked Ribs In The Oven?

    To achieve tender and flavorful ribs, it is recommended to cook them at a low temperature of around 275°F (135°C). This allows the connective tissues in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in tender and melt-in-your-mouth ribs.

    How Long Should I Cook Slow-cooked Ribs In The Oven?

    Cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the ribs, but on average, it is recommended to cook them for about 3 to 4 hours. This extended cooking time at a low temperature ensures that the meat becomes tender and juicy.

    Should I Cover The Ribs While They Cook In The Oven?

    Yes, covering the ribs while they cook is essential to retain moisture and maximize tenderness. You can use foil or a tight-fitting lid to cover the baking dish or roasting pan. This helps create a steamy environment, enhancing the slow cooking process.

    What Kind Of Seasoning Or Rub Should I Use For Slow-cooked Ribs?

    The choice of seasoning largely depends on personal preferences, but a classic dry rub can work wonders for slow-cooked ribs. A simple combination of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar creates a flavorful crust on the ribs as they cook. However, feel free to experiment with your favorite spices and ingredients to customize the flavor profile to your liking.

    Can I Use Any Type Of Ribs For Slow Cooking In The Oven?

    While various types of ribs can be slow-cooked in the oven, baby back ribs and spare ribs are the most commonly used. Baby back ribs are smaller and more tender, while spare ribs are larger and meatier. Both types can produce fantastic results when slow-cooked, so it ultimately depends on your personal preference. Just ensure that the ribs are fresh and of good quality for optimal taste and texture.