Baby Back Ribs That Are Both Easy And Delicious

When you think of a great rack of baby back ribs, what season comes to mind? Probably summer, the traditional time for drawn-out low-and-slow cooking sessions accompanied by cold drinks and good company on those long, warm days. But let's re-think that thinking some, because honestly, there's never a bad time for great ribs. 

Chef and food writer Kate Shungu of Gift of Hospitality says: "I love making ribs when the weather is chilly. They're a comforting main dish that pairs well with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or roasted potatoes. While the grill is heated for the ribs, you can also add some veggies like asparagus or zucchini spears to the grill" and make a whole meal of it. 

And at the risk of sparking up the never-ending debate about BBQ, Shungu says: "This recipe works well with St. Louis-style ribs." For reference, according to Eater: "St. Louis–cut ribs ... are spare ribs with the rib tips removed." Ready to make your own? Here's how.

Gather your ingredients to make these baby back ribs

When it comes to great baby back ribs, how you cook them matters every bit as much as the ingredients you use, which is really no surprise given that this recipe calls for all of six ingredients, one of which is the rack of ribs itself. 

You'll need a rack of ribs (weighting about two and a half to three pounds), a third of a cup of brown sugar (dark or light, both are fine), two teaspoons of paprika, two and a half teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and the BBQ sauce of your choice.

Pre-heat the oven and prep your baby back ribs

First things first, pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Now, place the rack of baby back ribs on a clean, flat work surface and turn it upside down so the curve is facing the ceiling. Locate the white membrane on the bottom of the rack and slide a sharp paring knife under it to loosen it on one edge of the ribs. Then, grab the edge of the membrane and pull it off the ribs and discard the membrane. 

And yes, this is a rather visceral step, but don't skip it! "If you're having trouble removing the membrane, just do the best you can" to get as much as you can off, says Shungu. "Sometimes, it comes off easily, and sometimes it doesn't — and sometimes the butcher may have removed it already."

Rub the baby back ribs with spices

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, and garlic powder, and then rub the mixture onto both sides of the baby back ribs. Make sure you thoroughly coat the ribs, as you'll want all that delicious flavor to be evenly distributed over the meat. Don't worry, though — these baby back ribs aren't only going to be dry-rubbed. This lovely, simple spice blend will add a bit of savory goodness and will help beautifully balance a sweeter BBQ sauce slathered on hours later.

Bake your baby back ribs

Place the baby back ribs on a sheet pan and cover the rack with foil, then pop the pan into the pre-heated oven on the center rack. Bake the ribs for three to three and a half hours, or until the meat is very tender — a knife should be able to slide easily through the ribs. This is low-and-slow cooking, so it's hard to go wrong here. However, if it makes you feel more confident, feel free to use a meat thermometer so you know exactly when to pull the ribs from the heat.

"The ribs are fully cooked in the oven, and they can fall apart easily because they are so tender," says Shungu. "Use two long-handled grilling turners to place the ribs on and off the grill."

Grill the baby back ribs then sauce them up

Heat a grill to medium-high heat, then place the rack of ribs on the grill and cook for it for two to three minutes, or until grill marks appear. Then, flip the rack and repeat on the other side. 

Now, heavily brush each side with your desired preferred BBQ sauce, close the lid, and cook the ribs for two to three more minutes, or until the sauce is warmed through. Now serve the ribs immediately with additional sauce for dipping. Ideally, you'll serve the meat with potatoes, veggies, corn bread, or whatever else sounds like a delicious pairing to you.

Baby Back Ribs That Are Both Easy And Delicious
5 from 28 ratings
When you think of a great rack of baby back ribs, what season comes to mind? Probably summer, but you can enjoy this recipe year-round.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
3.5
hours
Servings
1
rack of ribs
baby back ribs grilling
Total time: 3.75 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 rack (2 ½ to 3 pounds) baby back ribs
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 16 ounces barbecue sauce
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rack of ribs on a work surface and turn it upside down. Locate the white membrane and slide a paring knife under it to loosen it on one edge of the ribs. Grab the edge of the membrane and pull it off the ribs. Discard the membrane.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, and garlic powder. Rub the mixture onto both sides of the ribs.
  3. Place the ribs on a sheet pan and cover with foil. Bake for 3 to 3 ½ hours or until tender (a knife will be able to slide easily through the ribs).
  4. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the rack of ribs on the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Brush each side with barbecue sauce, close the lid, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until the sauce is warmed through. Serve immediately with additional sauce for dipping.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 270
Total Fat 14.8 g
Saturated Fat 5.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 61.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 14.2 g
Sodium 411.6 mg
Protein 17.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe