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Low and slow cooking gives you super tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone pork spare ribs with very little hands-on time and full-on flavor!
Pork spare ribs have long been my go-to for ribs. The meat is rich, flavorful, and the perfect vessel for your favorite BBQ sauce or spice rub.
Now, I know that they say patience is a virtue, and in this case, it really is. These spare ribs start with a super flavorful dry spice rub before they head into the oven for a nice slow cook, (but not too long, just a couple hours and you’ll have the tastiest ribs!) then they get a quick finish with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Trust me, the wait is worth it!
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to make these juicy, flavor-packed spare ribs:
- Spare Ribs – you’ll start with 3 ½ pounds of pork spare ribs
- Coconut Sugar – 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar add a nuttiness and the perfect amount of sweetness to the rub.
- Paprika – 1 tablespoon of paprika gives a subtly sweet and peppery taste.
- Garlic Powder – a ½ tablespoon of garlic powder adds depth and fullness of flavor.
- Onion Powder – a ½ tablespoon of onion powder enhances the savory notes of the rub.
- Cumin – a ½ tablespoon of cumin adds richness and warmth.
- Chipotle Chili Powder – a ½ tablespoon of chipotle chili powder gives a subtle heat to the rub.
- Salt – a teaspoon of salt helps bring all the spice flavors together.
- Pepper – a ¼ teaspoon of pepper adds additional depth and spice.
- Homemade BBQ Sauce
These ribs really are a blank canvas for flavor! Here are some ideas of how you can adjust depending on what you’re in the mood for:
- Adjust the heat – for more or less spice, adjust the amount of chili powder in the dry rub.
- Add smokiness – use smoked paprika and ancho chili powder to add a subtle smoky flavor to the rub.
- Sub the coconut sugar – if you want a really traditional rib dry rub, substitute brown sugar for the coconut sugar to get a really caramelized cook on the ribs.
- Use a different sauce – the options are endless here! Use your favorite homemade or store bought sauce for your ribs. Here are some ideas for different takes on BBQ sauce: Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, Keto BBQ Sauce, Paleo BBQ Sauce.
How to Cook Ribs in the Oven
The process is so easy and only takes a few minutes of prep. Here’s how you’ll cook your spare ribs in the oven:
- Preheat the oven – to 275℉. For super easy clean-up, prep your baking sheet by lining it with foil and then adding a layer of parchment paper (this is completely optional).
- Make the dry rub – while the oven is preheating, add all the spices for the dry rub to a bowl and whisk together.
- Rub the ribs – generously season both sides of the rib rack with your dry rub and place them meat side up on your prepared baking sheet.
- Cover and bake – cover your baking sheet with foil and bake for 3 hours. The steam will help cook your ribs and keep them moist, so resist the urge to peek at your ribs while they are cooking.
- Make BBQ Sauce – if you’re preparing a homemade BBQ sauce, prepare your sauce while the ribs cook and then store it in the fridge.
- Coat the ribs – once the ribs have finished cooking, remove the top foil and coat the top of the ribs in BBQ sauce.
- Increase heat and finish cooking – bump the heat on the oven up to 350℉ and cook your ribs uncovered for an additional 3-5 minutes to help caramelize the sauce. Watch carefully so that you don’t burn the BBQ sauce.
- Serve and enjoy! – remove the ribs from the oven, serve and enjoy!
Dry rub or BBQ sauce?
I know people feel strongly about this, geography tends to play a big role (there is a big difference between Memphis-style ribs and St. Louis-style ribs), but I say both! And, it really comes down to preference.
If you like a “neater” rib (because BBQ sauce gets messy, there’s no way around it!), use the dry rub and then finish the ribs uncovered at the end to add some caramelization and crisp to the outside. You can also season your ribs with a simple salt and pepper, cook them, then add your favorite BBQ sauce to finish them.
I personally love the flavor of both the rub and the sauce on the meat.
What to Serve with Ribs
These ribs are super tasty along with a wide variety of sides. Some of my favorites include mashed potatoes, potato salad, coleslaw, or cornbread.
More Favorite Pork Recipes
- Pork Tenderloin Dry Rub
- Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Chop with Apples and Cinnamon
- Best Grilled Bone In Pork Chops
- Pork Chili Verde
- Teriyaki Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
- Perfect Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Chop Sous Vide
- 3 1/2 pounds of pork spare ribs
For the rub:
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 275℉. For super easy clean up, prep your baking sheet by lining it with foil and then adding a layer of parchment paper (this is completely optional).
- While the oven is preheating, add all the spices for the dry rub to a bowl and whisk together.
- Generously season both sides of the rib rack with your dry rub and place them meat side up on your prepared baking sheet.
- Cover your baking sheet with foil and bake for 3 hours. The steam will help cook your ribs and keep them moist, so resist the urge to peek at your ribs while they are cooking.
- If you’re preparing a homemade BBQ sauce, prepare your sauce while the ribs cook and store it in the fridge.
- Once the ribs have finished cooking, remove the top foil and coat the top of the ribs in BBQ sauce.
- Bump the heat on the oven up to 350℉ and cook your ribs uncovered for an additional 3-5 minutes to help caramelize the sauce. Watch carefully so that you don’t burn the BBQ sauce.
- Serve and enjoy!
I had high hopes but was disappointed and am currently recooking the ribs as the 275 temperature for 2 hours was not enough and the meat is still raw. I’ve seen another recipe suggesting same temperature and 3.5 hours – perhaps a typo here then..?
On a positive note, the ingredients for the rub are good!
Melissa Guevara says
Hi Edita, we are sorry to this was your experience! We are glad you enjoyed the rub, but we always want your full experience to be positive. While we have tested this recipe several times successfully, we will take your feedback into consideration when looking at the recipe. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. -Team F&F
I have to agree with the other review. At 2 hours, the meat was only 135 degrees, despite following instructions to the T. Had to cook another hour and a half at 350 to get to proper rib temperature/texture. My family was very, very hungry by then. And yes, the rub was fine but the extremely late dinner kind of outweighed that.
Melissa Guevara says
Hi Briana, we are so sorry to hear this was your experience. We have taken your feedback into consideration in re-testing this recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. -Team FF
These came out delicious! Despite the reviews above, I was called to give this recipe a try. I followed the cooking instructions except I cooked them on convection and after 2 hours i turned the heat off but left them in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.
Melissa Guevara says
Hi Denyse! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and sharing your feedback with us! We are definitely retesting the cooking time/temp since there have been a few people who have run into issues. We are glad that you enjoyed them! -Team FF
With other people having concerns with the time/temp of this recipe. I bumped the initial temperature up to 300 instead of 275. My ribs were at a perfect 190 at 2 hours and came up another 5-10 degrees after caramelizing the sauce. They were delicious and perfectly cooked to fall off the bone.
Brandi Schilhab says
Thank you for that feedback, Seth!