Saturday, February 7, 2015

Best-Ever Sweet Baby Back Ribs Recipe Slow-Cooked in the Oven

recipe for baby back ribs in the oven
 Looking for one of the best baby back ribs recipes to cook in the oven? Then you will love this one! It’s sweet, tender and finger licking good! This recipe similar to a BBQ flavor without all the spices. Think sweet and succulent

The first time I did add a little BBQ to half of the rack on the last step but, in a 2-to-0 vote, hubby and I both agreed they were just fine without the BBQ! And so far, everyone who has tried them has agreed they are awesome just as they are. Keep in mind, this is one of those recipes that you can really do just about anything with, the key making these baby back ribs in the oven- is how low and slow you cook them and then letting them set for an hour on the counter, still wrapped, to absorb all the juices back inside the meat. MMmmMMmm!

If for any reason you do not like the idea of the sweat-smoky taste ribs, you can still use this oven baked ribs recipe and add your own favorite spices. The method used to cook them works with any flavor combo but, this particular one is just OH-MY! Try it! You won’t regret it!

Below you will find a step-by-step recipe with photos for cooking these sweet and tender baby back ribs in the oven – to perfection! You can get a printer-friendly version at Best-Ever Sweet Baby Back Ribs Recipe.

So…Enough babbling! Let’s get cooking!

How to Cook these Awesome Baby Back Ribs 

One of the great thing about this baby back ribs recipe is that the ingredients are pretty simple and usually something you have on hand. It’s also really hard to mess it up. While I never measure the ingredients out, I did for the sake of sharing this recipe but I will tell you it’s not necessary; especially with the spices. You may want to measure the sugar just to get an idea of what you will need the first time you cook them but, after that you will have a general idea and won’t need to measure any more. So for the sake of this recipe, I have listed the exact amounts but, again, please keep in mind it doesn’t have to be exact- after all, you are coating them in the seasons for the most and it is much easier to sprinkle the spices out of the jars than out of measuring gadgets to obtain an even layer.


  • 1  rack baby back ribs- about 3-4 pounds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon cracked pepper (regular is fine but cracked will have a more defined taste)
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder (does not make it hot but, gives it a delicious smoky flavor)

You will also need paper towels two large sheets of aluminum foil about 8 inches longer than your rack of ribs. If you are not using heavy-duty then I suggest 3 layers of the regular (more if needed) as the bones will occasionally pierce the foil and then you end up with a mess.

How to Make these Awesome Baby Back Ribs in the Oven!

Remove the ribs from the packaging and wash with cold water. Remove the membrane and any excess fat. You will usually find that the membrane has already been removed but, not always. The Smithsfield brand, for example, are not always removed. It only takes a minute or two and is vital to ensure your ribs are nice and tender.

Next, pat the ribs dry with paper towels place them on the foil. As you can see in the image above, I go ahead and put both layers of foil down. The foil acts as my work station to keep the counters clean and also to keep from having to transfer the meat and risk the seasonings falling off. After your ribs are dry, turn them over so that the meaty side is face down. 

Season heavily with paprika, give a good dash of chili powder all over, salt well and add plenty of cracked pepper (again, regular ground black pepper is fine. The cracked just adds a more defined flavor. And, of course, if you don’t like black pepper, you can omit it altogether.) 

After you have seasoned the ribs, add about a ¼ cup of brown sugar, spread it evenly across the meat and press it in firmly. This well help keep the seasonings in place when you turn it over. If some falls off, don’t worry… just keep it on the foil and it will end up finding it’s way back when all the juices start running through. If you aren't sure just how much I’m referring to when I say to add a good coating, just continue on down and you will get an idea of what I’m referring to…
After the bone side is prepped, gently turn the ribs over with the meaty side up and season it all over again as you did before. 

Coat well with paprika... It really is hard to over do it. 

Give several good dashes of chili powder.
Add plenty, just don't quite add as much as your did with the paprika! The chili powder doesn't make it hot or spicy. Instead, it gives it a subtle smoke flavor. 

Now, add plenty of salt! Of course, don't make it white as snow but do be generous. You will want plenty of salt because some of it will be washed off with the juices and also to counter-balance the brown sugar. 

This side will require much more than the bone side since this side is where the majority of the meat is and thus- all the flavor. *I can’t stress enough that this will seem like you are over doing it with the seasonings,  but I promise, you aren’t!* There will be a lot of juices cooking out of this meat so the majority of the seasonings will be washed off with the juices. Then, when it cools, some of the juices will be absorbed back into the meat, along with the seasonings thus, creating the best baby back ribs you have ever eaten!

Since this is the meaty side where the majority of the flavor needs to be, you will lay seasonings on a little heavier. Just like with the other side, season heavily with paprika… see the photo below

Almost done…

Now it’s time to add the final and most important ingredient… the brown sugar. You should have about ¾ cups of brown sugar leftover from doing the bone side. Pour the brown sugar on top of the ribs…

And now, smooth the brown sugar all over the ribs pressing down firmly to create a somewhat even coating all over the ribs. Some of the sugar will fall off… just pick it up (along with any of the other seasonings) and put it back on and keep pressing in. Your ribs should look something like this….

Now, gently flip the ribs back over, bone side up, and wrap them in the first layer of foil. Be sure to press down in the center of the ribs –bone side – so there is no air pocket. 

Roll them tight and then scrunch the ends up nice and tight to avoid any leaks. Now, roll and wrap them up in the second layer of foil. (If you are using thin foil, keep wrapping…) If you tear a hole in the foil, just add another layer to insure that it is nice and sealed. You want your ribs to cook in their juices so make sure your ends are nice and tight.

Put them in the oven on the middle rack with the bone side up and cook for 2 hours… (Yes, two hours! You are only cooking them at 275 degrees so two hours is a must.) You can lay them directly on the rack like I did or, put them on a baking sheet.  I lay them directly on the racks because they usually hang over a baking sheet plus, I usually cook two racks at the time and this allows for me to separate them... I do add a layer of foil to the bottom rack to catch any drips. 

Now, let them cook for two hours... Do NOT peek, don’t touch, don’t move, don’t mess with them at all! Go write a blog post and set the timer for 2 hours and forget they exist until the time goes off…

Ding! The two hours are up! Carefully take out of the oven and set them on the stove, counter-top or wherever you will be least tempted to touch them! *DO NOT OPEN the foil!* Let them rest for an hour. (You can let them rest  longer if need be. I have waited up to two hours and they were fine. Seems like the longer you let them rest in the juices, the more flavorful they are and the better they taste!)

This is the part where you polish up that latest blog post and share it with your social media… R-E-S-I-S-T the urge to even peek at them! Trust me, the original recipe I found said the same thing and I couldn't resist, and it did make a difference. They weren't bad after I peeked… it just made them 97% awesome instead of 100% awesome!

After the hour is up, go ahead and wipe your chin because by now, you will be drooling- just be sure to wash your hands when you are done!!! Set out a baking sheet next to where you will be working with the ribs and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Starting at one end of the foil packet just above the scrunched end, use a fork or knife to poke a hole in the foil and cut a line down the center creating a boat with the juices and ribs still inside. Do not cut to close to the edges or else your juices will come pouring out!

Gently remove the ribs from the foil and place on the baking sheet, meaty side up. You will want to use a long baking sheet. I use this professional grade baking sheet pan because it's long enough to hold the whole rack without anything hanging over the side- you don't want it dripping in the oven! 

TIP: grab the whole rack, not just a bone- yes, you have to get your fingers dirty. On the plus side, once you have them on the pan you can lick your fingers, now! Just be sure to wash them right after.

Once the oven is preheated to 350 degrees, pop them back in for 15 minutes. This will heat them back up and remove any excess juices to keep them from being too tender. 

*Too Tender? How is that possible? I don’t know but it is! If you skip this step, they will be a little harder to cut into pretty ribs. They will still taste fine and be tender but, the presentation may not be as great since the bone will fall right out. The meat won’t fall apart… the bone just slides out. In return, you end up with pulled pork… Just pop them back in the oven for Pete’s sake!*

This is also the time to add BBQ if you would like but, as I mentioned before, they won't need it! You can taste the juices and get a general idea of how the ribs will taste. *I know! Delicious, huh?*

After the 15 minutes are up, remove them from the oven and spoon/baste the ribs with the left over juices. (They will have a dry sheen on the outside- calm down- that’s normal, just baste and they will be nice and pretty, and flavorful and oh-so-yummy!)  

Let them cool for 5-10 minutes; cool long enough that you can touch them without burning yourself… Slice them individually and plate them up! TIP: I like to dip the ribs back in the juice after I have cut them! It adds even more flavor! After we are done eating, I put the leftover ribs in a bowl and pour the extra juices over the top before popping in the fridge.

That’s it! It sounds like a lot due to all the steps, photos and extra non-recipe-required info above but, I promise, they are really simple. Just look at the printable recipe below. It only takes about 5 minutes to prep them to get them in the oven. Then cook for 2 hours, let them rest for an hour, back for 15 minutes and then... Viola! The best baby back ribs you've ever cooked!

PRINTABLE VERSION of this Recipe is available at: 
(Easy-to-print Google Doc)

To make this oven baked ribs recipe the day before, simply do everything above except for the final baking step. Leave them out to cool for an hour or so and then put in the fridge. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and back 15-20 minutes or until heated thoroughly. 

To Reheat Leftovers simply put them back in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes for a whole slab, about 10 minutes for cut ribs or, pop them in the microwave for about a minute, give or take, depending on how many you are reheating. Just don’t overheat them in the microwave or else you end up with that weird nuked taste that microwaves are famous for

Well, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

And then, come back and let me know what you think! And, consider sharing this recipe on your social media! If you aren't cooking them now, you can Pin it to save for later or share it on your Facebook so you will have it in your feed for later! I have created easy links below... 

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This recipe has also been share on the Weekend Potluck recipe round-up! Be sure to stop by and check out all the awesome recipes they have linked-up!

What are your thoughts on this delicious oven baked baby back ribs recipe? Do you think it’s something you would like? Anything you would add or omit? I would love to hear about it! Be sure to post a comment below letting me know what you think about this recipe and then, after you try them, be sure to come back and let me know what you thought about them!


  1. Thank you visiting Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party this week and sharing your post! I have pinned your post to the BBPP Pinterest Board. Have a fabulous week!

  2. Oh, this looks so goooood! What a great idea to slow cook it in the oven. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty - we hope to see you again next week. :)

    Life With Lorelai

  3. These look delicious!
    Thanks for sharing with the Say G'day Party! All your submissions pinned! Look forward to seeing you next week!

  4. Made these ribs 2 days ago. I think I'm addicted. What a wonderful recipe. Omw to the store to get more ribs for a second round.

  5. I made these yesterday and they came out a-MAZE-ing!! I'm so glad at how thorough you are with these directions. It was my first time making ribs and they couldn't have been more perfect! My husband can't wait to buy another set of ribs so I can make them again! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with us.


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