Oven BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
No grill or smoker? No problem! These BBQ Pork Spare Ribs are baked in the oven, until tender and falling off the bone. This is the easiest way to make spare ribs, and they’re shockingly delicious given how simple they are to prepare! Pair with a side of Homemade Cornbread and Coleslaw and you’ve got an incredible meal.
These oven ribs give grilled ribs and smoked ribs a serious run for their money. And I say that as someone who LOVES grilling and using the smoker.
I grill meat every day, and have made my share of outdoor recipes like Grilled Ribeye, Smoked Pork Butt, and Grilled Chicken Breast, but sometimes it’s more convenient to make something in the oven because it doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like outside.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Perfectly glazed sauce with no burning – We will cook the spareribs partially covered and then partially uncovered so that the meat is perfectly cooked and the sauce firms up just enough without burning.
Truly tender meat – The meat will be the perfect amount of tender. Juicy and properly cooked, but not falling apart and disintegrated.
3 Ingredients – All you need here is spare ribs, salt, and barbecue sauce. Use your favorite storebought sauce or make your own BBQ Sauce from scratch. As long as you’re using a delicious barbecue sauce, these will have great flavor, and be nicely tender.
Simply baked in one pan in the oven – These pork ribs are very straightforward to pull off. We will cook them the entire time in a tray in the oven.
No fancy equipment needed – I originally published this method in 2011, back when I didn’t have a grill or any fancy meat-cooking equipment. Nothing special is needed to make them. They’re very easy.
For this recipe, we will be using st. louis style spare ribs. While you can use other pork ribs (further commentary is at the end of the post), these are the most meaty ribs of all.
They are also the most pleasing to eat, in terms of not having noticeably gristly bits or connective tissue.
Step by Step Guide:
As an overview, the process for how to cook spare ribs in the oven is incredibly simple:
- Season the meat with salt.
- Cut racks into individual ribs.
- Baste ribs with sauce, and bake while covered.
- Baste two more times, and cook uncovered, with a higher temperature for the final hour.
Season the Meat with Salt
Remove the ribs from the packaging, and pat dry with paper towel if the meat is excessively wet.
Season each rack of spare ribs with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, concentrating most of it to the meaty side of the racks:
If you wish to add extra ingredients here, like black pepper, Sazon Seasoning, or a dry rub, you may do that now as well, but it’s not necessary. Most barbecue sauces have a lot of ingredients and flavor.
If you do decide to do spices here, choose a spice rub that focuses on staples like garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder or paprika. This Pork Rub is perfect. Or if you go Carolina style with your selected barbecue sauce, you could add some extra dry mustard.
Cut Meat Into Individual Pieces
Cut the racks into individual pieces by cutting in between the bones:
Place the pork spare ribs on a rimmed half sheet pan and drizzle with about 1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce:
If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, my homemade bbq sauce recipe is incredibly flavorful with smoky, sweet, and spicy notes. But sometimes I use store-bought to make prep easier.
Toss every one of the bone ribs in the sauce until evenly coated:
Arrange the bbq spare ribs on the rimmed baking sheet in a single layer, placing them meaty side up:
Cover the pan with heavy-duty foil, crimping the edges of the foil tightly. You really want to create a seal here:
Bake the spare ribs for 1 hour and 45 minutes in an oven set to 300 degrees F, then remove the aluminum foil. The oven-baked ribs will look like this:
It is normal for them to look fairly unglazed at this point.
Baste with more sauce
Take half the remaining barbecue sauce and baste the ribs:
Increase the oven temperature to 350F, then continue baking them uncovered for 30 minutes, and they will look like this:
They’re starting to get some caramelization on the edges, but they need another layer of sauce.
So baste the spare ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce, about 1/3 cup:
Another 20-30 minutes in the oven, and finally, they should have a wonderful glaze to them from the sweet sauce:
I really like when they’re not wet or too saucy, but more like “sticky” and glazed.
By being patient and using slow cooking in the oven, the exterior is caramelized and glazed, but not scorched. This is essential for sauces that use a lot of dark brown sugar, molasses, or other sweeteners.
The spare ribs are now ready to be plated, and served with your favorite sides.
Great Side Dishes That Pair Well
For a different flavor profile, these Sticky Chinese Spareribs are another one of my favorite rib recipes. Enjoy!
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Yes, any kind of pork variety will work here for your selected rack of ribs. St. Louis style is my preferred because they are nicely cleaned up with the breastbone and cartilage removed, and they are uniform in shape. You may also use baby back or country style ribs, and cooking time should be similar. Baby backs may be done 30 minutes earlier, but go by tenderness.
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
I prefer to reheat in a 300F oven, wrapped in foil, for about 20 minutes, until warmed through. You can also microwave them, but it’s always tricky to get even heating when you have meat on the bone. If the ribs are frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge first, or defrost in the microwave.
Yes, just make sure the pieces are cooking in a single layer on the pan. If you use two pans and have multiple racks in your oven, it should work great, and no additional cooking time is needed.
I think so, but the convenience factor of storebought is sometimes hard to resist. Because the glaze cooks so much on the meat, it may not be as noticeable in the end as when you’re dipping in homemade bbq sauce, so don’t sweat it if you’re picking up a bottle from the store.
Even though these are made in the oven, you can use a bbq sauce that has liquid smoke in it, or you can use a spice rub that includes something like ground chipotle, which is smoked jalapeno peppers. This naturally adds a smoky flavor as well.
Oven BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
For the Spareribs:
- 4 to 5 lbs st. louis-style pork spare ribs* (2 racks)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 18 oz bbq sauce 1.75 cups, either storebought or homemade
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Remove the ribs from the packaging and pat them dry with paper towel if the meat is excessively wet. Then season the ribs with the salt, concentrating most of the salt to the meaty side (and not the bony side).
- Slice in between the bones to cut the racks into individual ribs.
- Place the ribs on a rimmed half sheet pan, and pour 2/3 of the barbecue sauce on top (which should be about 1 cup of sauce). Toss well, until each piece is evenly coated with the sauce. Then place the ribs all meaty side up.
- Cover the pan very tightly with foil, and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil and baste the ribs with half of the remaining barbecue sauce, about 1/3 cup. Increase the oven temp to 350F and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes.
- Baste the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and bake for another 20-30** minutes, until the barbecue sauce is caramelized. They should no longer be saucy and wet, but sort of sticky and glazed. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in October 2019. Originally published May 2011.