Make tender ribs in the oven. These  fall-off-the-bone ribs are rubbed in my own homemade spice rub and sauce and baked to perfection in the oven. 

Ribs They'll Love from Zestuous

Oven Baked Pork Ribs Recipe

I’ve been making ribs for years. I’ve tried boiling them, smoking them, baking them and just plain grilling them. They always turned out just okay.

Then, in 2009, when I lived in Belgium, I finally came up with a technique that worked. My husband entered me into an Army rib cook-off against some burly Soldiers who appeared to be true pitmasters.

I wanted ribs that were fall-off-the-bone juicy with charred, crispy fat. I read through every BBQ cookbook I had and scoured the Internet for techniques. I also did a lot more testing, which my husband enjoyed…he probably entered me into the contest just for the pre-testing.

Here’s all it takes:

1 – Strip ’em 

Remove the silverskin. It’s a membrane that is chewy and leathery. No one wants leathery ribs.

2 – Love ’em

Give your ribs some love with a rub down of Zestuous rub (or your favorite BBQ rub), and bathe ’em nice in some soy sauce and vinegar.

3 –Bake ’em 

Take advantage of the pork fat and bone marrow. Putting the ribs in a pan and covering them with aluminum foil allows the meat to steam in its own juices and the flavorful rub.

4 – Grill ’em

At this point, the meat is already fall-off-the-bone, but you want to get that nice char on the fat for finger-licking ribs.

This easy recipe also includes a homemade Zestuous Sauce made from the pan juices. It’s really easy, but you can use any sauce or grill ’em naked. Your call. You can do steps 1-3 and make the sauce ahead of time, so when it’s time to party, the ribs are ready in 15 minutes.

I actually won the rib cook-off. Those apron-wearing, tong-yielding men had nothing on me. I was super excited, not just for the win, but because I had finally discovered the fool-proof way to make the best ribs.

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Ribs They’ll Love

Make tender ribs in the oven. These  fall-off-the-bone ribs are rubbed in my own homemade spice rub and sauce and baked to perfection in the oven. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 slab pork ribs
  • Zestuous Rub
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional

Zestuous Sauce

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbls Dijon mustard
  • Hot sauce to taste, optional

Instructions 

  • Remove: Using a paper towel, grab the silverskin on the back of the ribs and pull off as much as you can.
  • Trim: If you are using spare ribs, trim the ribs to separate the top portion of meat from the rib cage, and cut into serving-size portions (about 3 ribs per serving)
  • Rub: Place the ribs into a 13×9 pan. Generously rub Zestuous rub all over the meat.
  • Combine: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Pour evenly over the ribs. Cover with foil and bake in a 300-degree oven for 3 hours.
  • Pour: Remove the ribs from the pan and pour the juices into a fat separator.
  • Combine: In a small pot, combine 1 cup of the juices with maple syrup, ketchup and mustard. If you like your sauce spicy, add hot sauce to taste. Reduce over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Grill: When it’s time to eat, light up the grill to medium heat. Grill the ribs just long enough to get the fat on the ribs a little crispy. Baste with barbecue sauce as you grill. This should take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve: Serve with extra sauce. Enjoy you grill master, you!

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 142kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 1062mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 83IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @zestuous
ribs with a side of sauce on a wooden cutting board

Ingredients for oven baked ribs

  • Slab of pork ribs: Typically found in the meat section. You can use St. Louis-style ribs, which area already trimmed or spare ribs. 
  • Zestuous Rub: A dry rub made of onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, sea salt, black pepper and ancho chili powder that adds depth and flavor to the pork ribs during the cooking process.
  • Soy sauce: Usually found in the international foods aisle. Contributes a savory and salty flavor to the marinade.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Typically found in the condiment aisle or with other kinds of vinegar. Adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to balance the richness of the pork.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Commonly located in the condiment or sauces aisle. Enhances the umami and savory notes in the marinade.
  • Liquid smoke (optional): Usually found in the condiment aisle, near barbecue sauces or marinades. Adds a smoky flavor to the ribs, mimicking the taste of smoked meat.

Zestuous Sauce

  • Maple syrup: Often found in the breakfast or baking aisle. Provides sweetness and a hint of maple flavor to the sauce.
  • Ketchup: Commonly found in the condiment aisle. Adds a tomato base and sweetness to the sauce.
  • Dijon mustard: Typically found in the condiment or mustard aisle. Adds a tangy and slightly spicy element to balance the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional): Usually found in the condiment aisle. Adds heat and an extra layer of flavor to the sauce, adjusted according to personal preference.

Substitutions: If you don’t want to make the Zestuous sauce, feel free to buy store-bought sauce or make your own homemade barbecue sauce. 

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to make oven-baked ribs

  1. REMOVE: Using a paper towel, grab the thin outer membrane on the back of the ribs and pull off as much as you can.
  2. TRIM: If you are using spare ribs, trim the ribs to separate the top portion of rib meat from the rib cage, and cut into serving-size portions (about 3 ribs per serving)
  3. RUB: Place the ribs into a 13×9 pan. Generously rub Zestuous rub all over the meat.
  1. COMBINE: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Pour evenly over the ribs. Cover with foil, place in the middle position of your oven and bake in a 300 F-degree oven for 3 hours. The temperature allows the connective tissue to break down, resulting in tender ribs.
  2. POUR: Remove the foil-wrapped ribs from the pan and pour the juices into a fat separator.
  3. COMBINE: In a small pot, combine 1 cup of the juices with maple syrup, ketchup and mustard. If you like your sauce spicy, add hot sauce to taste. Reduce over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  1. GRILL: When it’s time to eat, light up the grill to medium heat. Grill the ribs just long enough to get the fat on the ribs a little crispy. Baste with barbecue sauce as you grill. This should take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
  2. SERVE: Serve with extra sauce. Enjoy, you grill master, you!

✔️ PRO TIP

Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the ribs reaches at least 198 F-203 F degrees .

ribs with a side of sauce on a wooden cutting board

How to serve oven baked ribs

Cut up your ribs and pair them with some Roasted Sweet Potato Salad and Sweet Microwave Corn on the Cob for a perfectly balanced meal.

Storage

Leftover oven baked ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you cover oven baked ribs?

Yes. I cover the rack of ribs in tin foil to prevent the meat from drying out. 

How long should ribs be cooked in the oven?

3 hours.

How do I reheat oven baked ribs?

Preheat your oven to 250 F degrees. Place ribs in a baking dish and cover with foil.Bake until the internal temperature reaches at least 130-140 F degrees. This may take 10-15 minutes. 

What types of ribs can I use for this recipe?

Feel free to use whatever type of ribs you like. Some great options are St. Louis ribs, baby back ribs and spare ribs.

Here are some differences between pork ribs: 

St. Louis ribs are a specific cut that comes from the belly area of the pig. They are trimmed from spare ribs, are meatier and have a higher fat content compared to baby back ribs. 

Baby back ribs, also known as loin ribs or back ribs, are taken from the upper part of the pig’s ribcage, near the spine and the loin muscle. Baby back ribs are leaner and more tender than spare ribs, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a lighter and more delicate rib.

Spare ribs are taken from the belly of the pig, located closer to the stomach. They are larger and flatter than baby back ribs, with more bone, fat, and connective tissue. Spare ribs have a rich flavor and are known for being more substantial and hearty.

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.


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7 Comments

  1. What a feast! Really like how it turned out in the end.

    What kind of grill are you using?

    Ray

  2. Christie, thanks for bringing these fantastic ribs to the BBQ. I hope to see you again soon. Cheers

  3. Hey! I like these ribs! I wonder if i can get Worcestershire sauce anywhere in our country.. never seen it before though. Greets from LF

    1. Hi Looking FANCY. You can make these ribs without the Worcestershire sauce. Just using soy sauce would be fine. Enjoy!