If you haven’t baked spareribs yet because it’s intimidating, this recipe will show you how easy it is to slow roast pork ribs in the oven. The tangy homemade sauce is quick and simple and tastes so great!
A nice slow roasted pork rack slathered with a homemade BBQ sauce is one of those dishes you need in your recipe book. A crowd pleaser, it’s perfect for a family dinner or tailgating.
It’s so easy, it really only requires 10 mins prep and the rest of the time the ribs are just baking slowly in the oven. It’s what I call the busy cook’s favorite recipe!
For the sweet and sour or tangy sauce, I bet you already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge, which makes this recipe easy and no frills!
Recipe Notes, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
How Long To Bake Ribs So It Falls-Off-The Bones
To bake any meat to be tender and fall-off-the-bones, you need to cook it low and slow. For this recipe, bake it at 275F for 4.5-5 hrs.
If you shorten the time, you can still bake ribs in the oven, but the results will not be the same. There is just something magical about slow heat and prolonged cooking that makes meat absolutely delicious.
Some people swear that the secret for fall-of-the-bones ribs is to remove the membrane (white piece of skin on the back on the ribs). To do that you need a very sharp knife and some practice.
The easiest way peel the membrane is to pick a corner and carefully insert the tip of the knife between the meat and the membrane to separate it.
Once you have enough to get a good grip, use your hands to slowly pull the membrane back, removing it from the meat. The membrane might break or be stuck in some places, so use your knife to remove any remaining pieces.
It takes some getting used to and you might need to repeat the process several times if the membrane keeps breaking. This will depend on how thick the membrane is to begin with. The thicker the better to be able to remove it.
The decision to remove the membrane or not comes down to two factors.
First, if the rack of ribs you are purchasing still has the membrane on – most of the ribs I’ve purchased have had most of it removed.
And second, what your preference is. Some people prefer to have it off and some grew up eating ribs with the membrane on, so they don’t mind it, but it will be a bit chewier and will not fall-of-the-bones.
Since most of the ones I’ve purchased at my local grocery stores, Sam’s or Costco have had it mostly removed (just a very thin, translucent film of membrane), I’ve not seen a huge difference in how the pork ribs cook or the texture after it’s baked.
The other important tip to make sure your pork ribs are as tender and juice as possible is to make sure to either double-wrap the pork in foil to prevent it from drying out or to cover the roasting pan with foil and make sure the foil is tight enough the pan to not let out moisture. The steam will make the meat extra tender.
How to Make Homemade Tangy Barbecue Sauce
The secret to any great rack of ribs is the sauce. That is why barbecue pit masters guard their sauce recipes as prized possessions. This homemade sweet and sour bbq sauce is far from being a secret or difficult and it’s what I like about it.
I have all the ingredients on hand, all the time, so when the craving for bbq baby back ribs strikes, all I have to do is buy the pork rack.
The sweet and sour sauce is a mix of sweet ketchup and brown sugar with the tartness and acidity from the apple cider vinegar and mustard. It’s a marriage made in heaven!
Make sure to slather it on a few times during the cooking process to make the slow roasted, tender ribs extra delicious!
Serving Size for Ribs
I recommend that you allocate half a pound of ribs or 4oz of meat (without bones) per person.
In this recipe, the spareribs rack I used weighed 4.5 lbs, so it wielded around 8 servings.
Another way of thinking about servings is how many ribs are in a rack. This one had 14 ribs and it’s roughly 2 pieces per person. The larger ones yielded more meat so 1 rib per person, while the smaller ones were 2 pieces. Feel free to adjust the serving size based on the appetite of your family or how many side dishes you want to offer with it.
The type of rib rack you use also affects the serving size, so let’s talk about their differences next.
Spareribs vs. Baby Back Ribs
Although this recipe will work for both spareribs and baby back ribs, you should know that there are differences between them and adjustments you will need to make depending on which cut of pork you purchase.
Spareribs, the meat I used in this recipe, come from the belly of the pig. It’s a larger and flatter piece of meat and has more more fat.
This means it takes longer to cook, but the extra fat gives it extra flavor and prevents the meat from drying out.
Baby back ribs are smaller and curvier and come from the back of the pig. The meat is leaner and as such, takes less time to cook. It’s easily recognizable in the grocery store, because it’s pretty rectangular.
If you prefer learner pork, then go for baby back ribs and if you will be making this recipe with baby back ribs, I recommend the following adjustments:
- Tightly wrap it in foil to prevent it from drying out.
- Instead of 4.5hrs, cook it for 3hrs.
- Adjust the serving size to half a rack per person.
How to Finish Ribs in the Oven
Once the ribs are tender and cooked properly, you will want to add the delicious tangy bbq sauce and finish it off by broiling it.
The broil process caramelizes sugars in the sauce, and give it that glazed, sticky finish.
Remove the foil and brush the homemade bbq sauce deliberately on the spareribs on both sides. Then broil for 3-6 mins.
As with most meats, you want to let the pork rest for 5 minutes before using a knife to cut in between the bones. This allows the juices to spread inside the meat and not run out when cut, keeping it moist.
What Can I Serve With this Recipe?
There are some amazing side dishes that go well with baked ribs. Here are a few options:
- Baked Beans
- Cornbread or rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Fried Okra
- French fries
How To Store Leftovers and Reheat it?
If you have any leftovers, wrap them tightly in foil and refrigerate up to 2 days. To reheat it, the best way is in the oven. Turn it on at 275F and reheat for 10-15 mins or until the desired temperature.
You can also freeze these ribs after cooking it. Wrap it in double aluminum foil and freeze it up to 1-2 months. Thaw it and warm it up in the oven.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you’d like to try other flavors, check these out:
Slow Roasted Spare Ribs in the Oven
- Baking Sheet
- Aluminum Foil
- Sauce Brush
For the Baked Spare Ribs
- 4.5 lbs spareribs
- coarse kosher salt and black pepper
For the Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Preheat oven to 275 F.
- Rinse ribs and pat dry.
- Turn the rack upside down and carefully insert a sharp knife underneath the membrane to separate it from the meat.
- Once you have enough to grab a hold of it, slowly peel it back from the remaining meat.
- Place the pork on a large baking sheet and season it liberally with coarse kosher salt and black pepper.
- Cover ribs with foil and bake it for 4.5 hours at 275 F.
Applying the barbecue sauce
- Mix all the barbecue sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Once ribs are cooked, remove them from the oven, take off the foil and increase temperature to 450 F (broil setting if you have it). Set the oven rack close to the top.
- Brush the ribs liberally with the sauce on both sides, starting with the bottom (bone side).
- Put the spare ribs back in the oven and bake for 3-6 mins or until sauce caramelizes or the bones begin to char at the tips. Pay close attention to oven to make sure not to burn the ribs.
- Take ribs out, let it sit for 5 mins and then place it on a cutting board and cut in between the bones.
- Membrane: please see section above in blog post which talks about how to remove the membrane if you choose to do so.
What recipe should I make next?