Cooking Stuff

Where Stuff Is Cooked

Barbecue Spare Ribs from the Oven

From the Vault: This one is a wicked old post, way back in ’09. The pictures aren’t great, a lot of them were taken at night and all of them were taken before I really had any idea what I was doing. But the recipe is solid, I’ve made it a bunch of times and it’s always fantastic. Just reposting it here makes me want to make it again…

one rack of spare ribs

for the rub:
4 tbls light brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt

1-2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (optional)
liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 225, place a deep sided pan of hot water (I used a jelly roll pan) on the bottom rack. Mix together all the rub ingredients making sure to break up any lumps, particularly of the brown sugar. Trim the skirt off the ribs and remove the membrane. Rub one or two of the garlic halves all over the pork. Brush both sides with liquid smoke, if desired. Rub the rub generously on both sides of the ribs. Put the ribs on a roasting rack over a sheet pan and let cook for 4 hours, turning once halfway through. After 4 hours brush them with BBQ sauce and let cook for another hour.


Ok, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: is this “real” barbecue?

I don’t f*@#^&g care.

I don’t want to hear “oh, it wasn’t done in a smoker/grill/whatever, so it’s crap”. If you want to be like that, dandy, that’s your prerogative. But I don’t want to hear it and you are missing out on some seriously awesome ribs if you turn your nose up to these.

If you don’t have access to a grill or smoker or whatever then whip these up and you will be happy with the results. Unless you are a purist, then you can just go to a BBQ joint if you don’t have the equipment you feel you need.

Whew, sorry. In doing my research for this recipe I came across a great deal of venom from BBQ zealots towards people who dared to make ribs in the oven and I just want to nip that in the bud. I don’t need any of that crap here.

The only thing these were missing was that smokey flavor and if I had remembered to brush them with some liquid smoke before putting on the rub they would have had some. Or if I had used smoked paprika, but I didn’t have any. Or I could have made my own BBQ sauce and put liquid smoke in that. None of these are the same as a smoker, but they are still good options. And on the other hand, doing them in a smoker (if I had access to one) wouldn’t have made my apartment smell so good. So, pros and cons all around.

I want to give props to Cary over at Bakespace who suggested this method. A lot of people gave me good advice over there, but due to space and equipment restraints this is the one I picked. So, here we go.

Ok, spice rub time: brown sugar, chili powder, mustard powder, thyme, fresh black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and paprika.

Mixed together with the lumps broken up.

Well, most of them anyway. Next I took my great big slab of pig. Folks, this is not a drill. This is a full rack of spare ribs.

Three and a half pounds of porky goodness. I am going to cook it. It will be fantastic. Now, I read several articles about trimming a rack of ribs. I wound up ignoring a lot of the advice. I don’t care if I have those edge bits that have small bones and cartilidge. I did however trim off the skirt from the back, that’s this flap of meat.

I wound up tossing it in the freezer, I will do something with it at some point. I also did my best to get off the membrane, but frankly I’m not sure how well I did. I must have done ok though because we didn’t notice it when we ate. Now I didn’t have any garlic powder to put in my rub, so I cut a couple garlic cloves in half and rubbed them all over the pork.

I don’t know if it did anything or not, but the ribs sure weren’t lacking flavor. Next time I’m going to make the rub the night before and rub some garlic on kosher salt to make fresh garlic salt for it. Anyway, then I rubbed the rub all over the ribs.

Now to get them in the oven. I had to cut the rack in half, there was no way the whole thing was fitting in my tiny oven. Plus the only roasting rack that is a decent size is a V shaped one for roasting poultry. It did a fine job, in fact a flat one wouldn’t have worked out for me. Again, due to my tiny oven.

I have the roasting rack in an aluminum foil lined baking sheet to catch the drippings and keep my oven from being a mess. On the bottom rack I have a jelly roll pan full of water. Which I forgot to get a picture of. Oops. Heh. I tossed the garlic cloves that I rubbed on the pork into it, I don’t know if it added flavor but it sure smelled nice. Ok, the oven is preheated to 225 and the ribs go in, bone side down. And let me tell you, after about a half an hour the aroma coming out of there is unreal. When my girlfriend came home from work the first words out of her mouth were “Oooooo it smells goooood in here!”. Two hours after they go in they come out and get flipped.

Two more hours of olfactory pleasure (or torture, depending on how hungry you are) and they get flipped again,

but this time brush them with BBQ sauce first.

And then again on the other side. Now this step is optional, with that rub you don’t *need* sauce. But on the other hand, BBQ sauce rules. And after another hour in the oven (no need to turn it up or broil it) it turns into this sticky glaze that you just want to rub all over your face.

Ok… maybe not quite so far. At least, you may not. But it is really good. And there you have it, oven barbecued ribs.

I had a hard time taking pictures of this particular dish once it was done. Not just because it was so delightfully messy, but because my girlfriend didn’t want to leave them alone long enough to let me snap the needed photos.

But once I was done we demolished them.

Is this a low fat, weight loss friendly meal? Oh hell no. But it is wicked, wicked good. I will be making this again.

Filed under: barbecue, pork, slow cooking

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