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slow-oven ribs

Recipe: slow-oven ribs

Some of you may wonder if I cook as often as I post (well, lately I haven’t posted as frequently and there is a good reason for that). Um… yes and no. My cooking and baking tend to cluster in that I will make 3-5 recipes in one sitting and shoot them all to blog about eventually. It’s an OCD dream come true really – keeping all of that straight in your head. I suppose it’s very good practice for those times I entertain guests for dinner. In any case, I have days where I whip something up and the little voice (me) in the back of my head says, “Oh, you oughta shoot this” and the other voice (me) in the front of my head says, “Yeah – you can go shoot it…” and those are the days I don’t record what I make.

I have recipes in queue for times when I feel unmotivated or times like tomorrow, when I’ll be out of commission for a day or more and unable to cook or bake anything. I just find it funny that I decided to post about barbecue pork ribs on a day when we finally, we finally got a decent dump of snow here. I’ve been waiting for it all season and of course, leave it to the storm track to arrive right before I can’t take advantage. Ah well…


spice things up with a nice rub



You can use whatever rack of ribs you like. I prefer pork and I like the cut that my local butcher refers to as Saint Louis cut. It has the spare ribs and the flank of extra cartilage and meat below that. I personally don’t dig on baby back ribs. Not as much bang for the buck in my opinion.

it’s called a rub because you rub it in and all over



When you make these ribs, you need to plan ahead. I know – for OCDs and people who are generally on top of things, this is a no brainer. Right. But for those whose idea of a plan is not to plan, give yourself a day and half for this recipe. After getting rubbed, the ribs sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. I know the recipe says 4-24 hours, but 24 will do ya right.

see ya tomorrow



Don’t get too excited when it’s time to take the ribs out of the fridge, because they go into a slow oven for 8 more hours. Patience, young padawan.

into the oven she goes



That low and slow oven renders the ribs to the falling-off-the-bone stage. I swear I love me my barbecue pork, but this is most certainly my favorite of them all. Something really appealing about how cleanly it comes off the bone. That is also the tricky part.

careful not to eat them out of the oven – there’s one more step



Because the rack is now falling-off-the-bone tender, you need to exercise some care when transferring it to the grill. Yes, there is one more step, but it’s definitely worth it. I usually have two large spatulas, two sets of tongs, and my ever-faithful companion, Jeremy, to help me move the rack onto the grill without having it fall apart. I am sure that one day we’ll be grilling for guests and the whole thing will fall on the deck and then the dog will come running…

brush on some good barbecue sauce



Flipping the rack is just as nerve-racking (get it?). Try to keep the entire slab in one rotating plane – that is, no torquing or other application of differential stress on the slab unless you want the above nightmare scenario to play out (and my dog will most certainly come running to your house to eat the fallen ribs – her nose is *that* good). It’s not so bad once you get the hang of obeying those basic principles of mechanics. And when it’s all said and done, you will definitely feel it was worth it. I always do.

you’ll be left with nothing but a plate of clean bones



Slow Barbecue Ribs
[print recipe]

4-5 lbs. rack of ribs (I suggest St. Louis style, pork ribs)
1 cup dry rub
2/3 cup Mutha sauce
2/3 cup random store-brand BBQ sauce like Masterpiece or Bullseye (something with molasses in it – a sweeter type)

dry rub
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne powder
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper, ground
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic

Mix together.

Mutha Sauce
from Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue: An American Roadhouse

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, puréed
2 tbsps garlic, minced
salt to taste
pepper to taste
28 oz. tomato sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce (yiha!)
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsps ground pepper
1/2 tsp allspice, ground

Mutha Sauce: Sauté onions and garlic in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for ten minutes and let the sauce cool. This makes a ridiculous amount of sauce – something like 10-12 cups.

Dry off the rack of ribs. Rub spices over all of the rack. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, but at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 225°F. Place the rack in a large roasting pan (I line mine with foil for ease of clean up) and cover with foil. Bake the ribs for 8 hours. Remove from oven and set the ribs on a rack to let the excess fat drip off (to reduce the grease fire on the grill). Mix the Mutha sauce and random store sauce together. Heat the grill on high for ten minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Place the ribs on the grill for 5 minutes, covered. Flip the ribs and grill for another 5 minutes. Flip again and brush the top side of the ribs with barbecue sauce and allow grilling for 5 minutes. Flip one last time and brush the top side with more sauce. Serve.

36 nibbles at “slow-oven ribs”

  1. Aoife says:

    That sounds amazing. Can you reduce the recipe? Would that make it easier to move around?

  2. Martin says:

    I have a question… at winter time, when it is more difficult to use my out-door grill (as I live in Sweden), is it possible to do the last part of the recipe in the oven?

  3. HolyBasil says:

    Jen – using your bbq in the snowy winter – you rock. This is where I repeat those Food Network characters and say that Smell-a-vision would be a great thing right NOW.

    Seriously though, I think the last step of grilling is a great way to get that smoky flavor without having to render the rib meat in a smoker. As for flipping the meat, I think I can run faster than Kaweah :)

  4. peabody says:

    Lots of work, but I am sure those are well worth it.

  5. Kevin says:

    This looks so good. The meat does look like it is falling off the bones.

  6. jenyu says:

    Aoife – I think you could reduce the recipe. Just that I like the entire slab for presentation and effect :) hee hee.

    Martin – Oh sure, I think broiling in the oven for the last bit would be sufficient, although grilling really does a better job. I think the whole thing will taste lovely no matter what!

    HB – Unless it’s below freezing or a wind storm (or too much snow to get to the grill) we’ll use it! Like fire :) And I’ll tell Kaweah to put her running shoes on – ha ha ha.

    Peabody – Most definitely, lady!

    Kevin – That’s what I love most about slow-cooking :)

  7. Gretchen Noelle says:

    This really does sound delicious. I hardly order ribs because they are never that great, but this take my breath away. I may actually be willing to go through all these steps, subbing some of the peruvian chiles and working around the BBQ step since I don’t have one. Very tasty looking indeed! Thanks!

  8. jenyu says:

    Gretchen – chiles sound lovely! I hope it works out for you. I’m sure you can finish them up under a broiler instead of on the grill. Good luck!

  9. Maggie says:

    Hi Jenyu

    I wrote you earlier to thank you for the awesome pulled pork recipe which I made and which my friends and significant “other” raved about. I’m now writing to tell you I took your advice and made the barbeque rib recipe, using the same rub, and they came out just like you said. Really, really tasty. Even though it was windy and a little rainy I gutted it out to get the grilled taste as you recommend. Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes with pics; the pics are so helpful.

    Happy Holidays for Maggie & Phil in Los Gatos, CA.

  10. jenyu says:

    Maggie – woohoo! More bbq converts! :) So glad you liked it.

  11. Steven! says:

    Hey, could this recipe also work on beef ribs?

  12. jenyu says:

    Steven – sure thing.

  13. Ray Noble says:

    Thank you. I’ve just planned my next outdoor event centered around your ribs.

  14. jenyu says:

    Ray – good on ya! BBQ is fabulous anytime :)

  15. The Eleven Essential Flavors of BBQ%u2026 says:

    [...] Slow-Oven Ribs Recipe [...]

  16. Mike P says:

    Jen,

    Do you ever put any additional liquid in the pan with the ribs while they bake to provide additional moisture such as, water or chicken broth?

  17. jenyu says:

    Mike – nope, never tried that before. They are quite moist as it is (um, I think the fat takes care of that aspect) and I don’t typically add liquid as it tends to steam the meat rather than let the dry heat do its work.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Jen,

    I am wondering what you do with the extra mutha sauce? It seems like it makes a lot and you probably don’t use it all at once time, so do you freeze it, and if so, how long does it keep?

    Thanks!

  19. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – hi there! Well, I store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It keeps for a really long time. Ummmm, 6 months at least (I have a jar and I used some of the sauce just last weekend, and it’s still awesome). And yeah, the recipe makes a lot, so I’d be pissed if it spoiled ;)

  20. Robert says:

    Jen,

    I’m so glad to have found this recipe! I’ve always wanted to try this kind of slow-cooking, and with a large group of friends gathering for a cookout tomorrow night, now’s the perfect time to have a try. I’ve got four slabs rubbed & resting right now, and plan to cook them overnight tonight. I assume that post-oven cooking, they’ll keep all right in the fridge during the day, and can be finished on the grill that evening?

    I’ll let you know how it goes! :^)

  21. Robert says:

    Jen,

    Worked like a dream! Thanks so much for sharing!

  22. jenyu says:

    Robert – awesome! Thanks for the report and yay for you!! :)

  23. Matt P says:

    Jen: Have you tried to smoke the ribs first ( 1 hour), then go to the oven?

  24. jenyu says:

    Matt – nope, I have never tried that. Have you?

  25. bima says:

    Hi there, I don’t know if you will ever read this post, but I have to get this off my chest. I have tried this recipe twice! Both times, it was overwhelmed with the taste of chili powder! I thought maybe it was the type I was using, so I did some research, found another type and used it again in the quanity as stated in your recipe. Again, TOO MUCH CHILI POWDER! Oh, and really? 8 hours? I took them out at 4 because I was getting this winkling feeling that they would be overcooked, but left them in the oven, becuase that is what you said to do. I was right! 30 BUCKS RUINED RIBS, AND I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM EXCEPT MAYBE RINSE THEM OFF AND POUR SOME RIDICULOUS BBQ SAUCE ON THEM! I am so embarrassed now. The people who are hosting the party are foodies and this is the slop I’m bringing!! THIS RECIPE DOES NOT WORK!!!

  26. jenyu says:

    bima – obviously you and I are not making these ribs the same way. The recipe works for me, works for others. I’m sure if you gave exact details of what you did, we’d find out where your technique may have deviated from the one in the recipe. As it is, your frustration and your comment aren’t very helpful for anyone. And as you may or may not have figured out by now, it’s never a good idea to try a recipe out for the first time when entertaining (I know this from experience).

  27. Robert says:

    @bima: As the kids say, “crai mor, n00b”. I’ve used Jen’s recipe numerous times, and it ABSOLUTELY works, in multiple variations. If your ribs were overcooked in 4 hours, your oven either runs waaay too hot, or you tried to hurry the process by jacking the temp. And if you’re old enough to have a kitchen, you ought to know how to alter a recipe to taste. Recipes are guidelines, pal, not magic spells.

  28. Will&Pamela says:

    Just so ya’ know, I have this page bookmarked. Thank you for this amazzzzing recipe!

  29. Caroline says:

    I wrote about this a while ago on my blog, but never got to thank you for sharing this recipe! I made this according to your recipe, and they were a hit! Such a fantastic combination of spices. You can find my posting of it here if you are interested: http://engineerandanoven.blogspot.com/2010/08/ribs.html – Thank you again! I don’t think I’m making ribs with any other recipe from now on!

  30. Jennifer says:

    Best ribs I have ever had. This is a fabulous recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jen – if I half the amount of ribs, does this change the cooking time, or should I leave them in there for 8 hours still?

  32. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – hrmmm, i think they need to cook for a minimum amount of time to break down any connective tissue, but… 8 hours might be a long time for that amount of meat. maybe start checking at 4 hours to see if the bone slips out easily. if not, cook it another hour or two and keep checking? good luck!

  33. Cristina says:

    I used your cooking method (with my own similar sugar-free dry rub and BBQ sauce) to make some St Louis style ribs for Father’s Day, and they were the best homemade ribs I’ve ever had. My dad usually does some sort of pre-grill cook in the oven, usually about 1.5 hour with the ribs is some kind of liquid. They taste okay, but they aren’t amazing, and there is a ton of meat left on the bone, and loads of gristly fat. But not with your low and slow method! Hot diggity damn where they ever perfect! I cut the slabs in half before transferring to the grill so that i wouldn’t end up with a mess on the ground, because my dog would probably have fought yours for the fallen bits. :)

  34. Cristina says:

    “were”, that is. Thanks for posting such a spot-on amazing recipe for successfully melt-in-your-mouth ribs!

  35. porkbierbelly says:

    Hello,

    I just tried this for the 2nd time, using only the dry rub. The first time, I halved the dry rub recipe for 2- 3lbs of ribs and used 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt. The second time, I made the full dry rub recipe and used 1/4 cup iodized salt as it called for and sadly it was too salty. I loved the rub the first time and still enjoyed the ribs the 2nd time but I would recommend to others to either reduce the salt in the recipe if using iodized or start with small amount if using kosher and taste before seasoning the meat.

    Thanks for sharing, it’s a keeper.

  36. Sandra says:

    The BEST rib recipe EVER!! Thank you! My family devoured it (and they are picky!). I didn’t have the time to make the mutha sauce so I just used Lucille’s Original BBQ sauce. It was amazing. I let it marinade for 24 hours and baked at 275 degrees for about 3 hours due to a lack of time. It still was tender and almost fell off the bone.

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