BBQ St. Louis Ribs (Oven)

4 people
3 hr 5 min

FULL RECIPE HERE: https://biteswithbri.com/bbq-st-louis-ribs-oven/

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These juicy tender BBQ St. Louis Ribs (Oven) are cooked to perfection completely in the oven. They are sweet, salty, saucey, and caramelized on top. They start with a dry rub made up of 5 different spices. Basted with apple cider vinegar, honey, and finished under the broiler with lots of barbecue sauce, these are absolutely irresistible.

Growing up in the south, we had barbecue all of the time. And I love it! We have some pretty famous BBQ joints in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Not only would we go out for barbecue, but my step dad would make it home all of the time too, especially in the summer.


Nothing like hanging out poolside in the sunshine on the weekends and grilling out. And of course sipping on a few cocktails. Basically my ideal weekend, what about you?


Fast forward a few years and I live in a tiny apartment in Seattle. No grill and definitely no smoker. But we have to make do!


So I experimented with a few different ways to cook ribs in the oven. And I am here to say you can make some damn good ribs without a grill or smoker. I think the key is wrapping them and then broiling at the end. You want a nice char and a bit of caramelization on top.


Highlights


  • Easy to make & no grill or smoker needed (apartment friendly)
  • Tender, juicy, sweet, and salty
  • Super flavorful dry rub
  • Brushed in lots of BBQ sauce
  • Basted with honey and apple cider vinegar
  • Perfect for summertime dinner idea


Ingredients

  • St. Louis Ribs: Cut the ribs in half if needed to fit in the pan.
  • Chili Powder: If you are sensitive to heat, you can use only ½ teaspoon of chili powder.
  • BBQ Sauce: Any traditional sweet/smoky BBQ sauce will do. I do not prefer a mustard based sauce but it would work as well. Some of my favorite brands are Stubbs, Jack Daniels, and Sweet Baby Ray’s.


Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located on the .


Instructions

before you start . . .

  • Prep your ribs. I typically cut the rack in half so the ribs fit better in the pan. You will also need to remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. This should be pretty easy to do with your hands.
  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.


Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, and onion powder. On a large piece of foil, place about half of the ribs. Rub the ribs top and bottom with about half of the dry rub, focusing more on the top. Repeat.


Step 2: Fold the foil around the ribs. The top of the ribs will likely still be exposed. So take another piece of foil and wrap it across the top. Secure tightly. Repeat. Line a large casserole dish or roasting pan with foil. Place the wrapped ribs side by side in the pan.

TIP - Press the rub firmly into the ribs.


TIP - Line the pan with foil for easier clean up.


Step 3: Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the top piece of foil gently to just expose the ribs. Brush them with about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 or so tablespoons of honey.


Step 4: Bake for another hour. Gently remove the top piece of foil and repeat the apple cider vinegar and honey basting process from the step above.

TIP - You do not have to measure the honey or apple cider vinegar too precisely. Simply give the ribs a good brush. The measurements are for reference.


Step 5: If the ribs have reached your desired tenderness, remove the foil. If not, bake for another 30 minutes wrapped, then continue after they are tender. Preheat the oven to 350. Once you have removed the foil, brush with about ½ cup of BBQ sauce.


Step 6: Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Move the oven rack closer to the broiler if possible. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to bubble and some dark spots develop on top. Brush with more sauce or pan drippings.

TIP - The ribs should be about 195-200 degrees.


Expert Tips & Recipe Notes


  • Pat the rub. Use your hand and some pressure to press the rub into the ribs. If you just sprinkle it across them, it will not adhere as well.
  • Wrap. I tested this recipe by just placing the ribs in the pan and covering it with foil. The ribs were significantly drier. So be sure to wrap each piece of the rack.
  • Wrap tightly. When in doubt, use another piece of foil. You want the ribs to be completely covered. This prevents the juices from escaping and results in more moist ribs.
  • Don’t skip out on the basting. It might seem odd to brush the ribs with straight vinegar, but it does not at all give them a sour taste. Pork loves acid. It makes the ribs more tender and the natural sugars aid in the caramelization. The sweetness of the honey pairs perfectly with the vinegar.
  • Use a meat thermometer. If you want your ribs to be falling off the bone and super tender, they need to reach about 190-200 degrees. This is the temperature when the collagen begins to break down. Contrary to popular opinion, I like my ribs to have more of a bite. So I normally shoot between 185-190. It is really just personal preference.
  • If you do not have a thermometer, use a fork. After the ribs have finished their second bake (about 2 hours and 30 minutes). Use a fork to check for desired tenderness. It should be pretty obvious if the ribs seem tender when you press on them.
  • Broil. To me this is the best part. That caramelized charred sugar crust on top. It is almost reminiscent of the char you get on the grill. So I keep a close eye on them, but purposely allow some black spots to form. Once again, this is completely up to you.

FAQs

How do you store leftover ribs?Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Why do you bake ribs covered and uncovered?The covered portion of the baking process allows the ribs to become tender and still remain moist. The uncovered portion is where the caramelization begins. If you do not uncover them, you are basically just steaming the ribs.

Why are the ribs not tender?It is likely because they did not cook enough. Like I mentioned above, the ribs needs to get over 190 degrees for the collagen to break down. St. Louis ribs have to be cooked longer than baby back ribs to achieve a similar tenderness.

Should I wrap ribs in foil?Yes! This will create the most tender ribs. You will also want to cook them uncovered but for the first few hours, they should be wrapped.

What temperature do I cook ribs on?I recommend 275 degrees. You want to cook ribs low and slow. Any higher will cause the ribs to dry out more.

What is the difference between St Louis ribs and baby back ribs?St. Louis ribs are larger and the rack is more uniform. They lay much flatter. They also contain more bone compared to baby back, but they have more fat. And fat equals flavor.

Do spare ribs take longer than baby back ribs?Yes. Like I mentioned above these will take longer than baby back ribs to reach the same tenderness. This is because they have more bones.

Do ribs get more tender the longer they cook?Yes, but there is a sweet spot. They will also begin to lose moisture. So you really do not want to completely over cook them. But ribs are technically overcooked in the sense that pork only needs to reach 145 degrees. However, ribs need to break down more.

At what temperature do ribs fall off the bone?Between 190 and right over 200 degrees is when ribs will begin to fall off the bone. Do not cook them past this.


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Recipe details

  • 4  people
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 3 Hours Total time: 3 hr 5 min
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Ingredients


  • 2 ½ - 3 pounds St. Louis style spare ribs, about 1 large rack, membrane removed & cut*

Dry Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon chili powder*

Basting

  • about 3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • about 2-3 Tablespoons honey
  • ¾ cup or more BBQ sauce*

Instructions


Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, and onion powder. On a large piece of foil, place about half of the ribs. Rub the ribs top and bottom with about half of the dry rub, focusing more on the top. Repeat.
Fold the foil around the ribs. The top of the ribs will likely still be exposed. So take another piece of foil and wrap it across the top. Secure tightly. Repeat. Line a large casserole dish or roasting pan with foil. Place the wrapped ribs side by side in the pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the top piece of foil gently to just expose the ribs. Brush them with about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 or so tablespoons of honey.
Bake for another hour. Gently remove the top piece of foil and repeat the apple cider vinegar and honey basting process from the step above.
If the ribs have reached your desired tenderness, remove the foil. If not, bake for another 30 minutes wrapped, then continue after they are tender. Preheat the oven to 350. Once you have removed the foil, brush with about ½ cup of BBQ sauce.
Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Move the oven rack closer to the broiler if possible. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to bubble and some dark spots develop on top. Brush with more sauce or pan drippings.

Tips

  • Chili Powder: If you are sensitive to heat, you can use only ½ teaspoon of chili powder.
  • BBQ Sauce: Any traditional sweet/smoky BBQ sauce will do. I do not prefer a mustard based sauce but it would work as well. Some of my favorite brands are Stubbs, Jack Daniels, and Sweet Baby Ray’s.
  • Pat the rub. Use your hand and some pressure to press the rub into the ribs. If you just sprinkle it across them, it will not adhere as well.
  • Wrap. I tested this recipe by just placing the ribs in the pan and covering it with foil. The ribs were significantly drier. So be sure to wrap each piece of the rack.Wrap tightly. When in doubt, use another piece of foil. You want the ribs to be completely covered. This prevents the juices from escaping and results in more moist ribs.
  • Don’t skip out on the basting. It might seem odd to brush the ribs with straight vinegar, but it does not at all give them a sour taste. Pork loves acid. It makes the ribs more tender and the natural sugars aid in the caramelization. The sweetness of the honey pairs perfectly with the vinegar.
  • Use a meat thermometer. If you want your ribs to be falling off the bone and super tender, they need to reach about 190-200 degrees. This is the temperature when the collagen begins to break down. Contrary to popular opinion, I like my ribs to have more of a bite. So I normally shoot between 185-190. It is really just personal preference.
  • If you do not have a thermometer, use a fork. After the ribs have finished their second bake (about 2 hours and 30 minutes). Use a fork to check for desired tenderness. It should be pretty obvious if the ribs seem tender when you press on them.
  • Broil. To me this is the best part. That caramelized charred sugar crust on top. It is almost reminiscent of the char you get on the grill. So I keep a close eye on them, but purposely allow some black spots to form. Once again, this is completely up to you.
Brianna May
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