What Are Baby Back Ribs?Baby back ribs (also called pork back ribs) come from high on the back of the hog, where the loin muscle meets the backbone. This lean cut of pork is extremely tender and flavorful. Baby back ribs can be smoked, grilled, or baked. They’re usually seasoned and often served with a sweet and savory barbecue sauce.
Baby Back vs. Spare RibsSpare ribs are cut from the bottom portion of the rib cage, while baby backs are cut from the top portion of the rib cage.Baby back ribs are leaner and cook faster than spare ribs, their heavier counterpart. Some people say spare ribs have richer flavor because they’re more marbled, but baby backs are more popular because they have more meat and are more tender.
How to Cook Baby Back Ribs in the OvenMake perfect baby back ribs in the oven by following a few simple steps. You’ll find Chef John’s full recipe below, but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:
Prepare Dry RubMix ancho chile powder, white and brown sugars, salt, black pepper, cumin, dry mustard, cayenne, and chipotle pepper in a small bowl.
Season and BakePlace the rack on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Prick the rack several times with a knife. Season liberally on both sides with dry rub, then seal tightly in foil. Bake until tender and cooked through.
Glaze, Bake, and RepeatRemove the rack from the oven, let cool slightly, and open the foil seal. Completely coat the rack in barbecue sauce, brushing it on all sides. Return it to the oven (with the foil open) and bake for about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven again and brush again with barbecue sauce (on the meat side only). Repeat this process about four times, then cut and serve.
How Long to Cook Baby Back RibsThis recipe generally takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to cook. However, racks vary in size — bigger racks might take longer to cook, while smaller ones might be ready more quickly.Turn to your digital food thermometer for the most precise results: Ribs are technically safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, but they will be most tender and juicy between 190 and 200 degrees F.
What to Serve With Baby Back RibsComplete your meal with one of these traditional side dishes for baby back ribs:Sweet Restaurant Slaw
Boston Baked Beans
Caesar Salad Supreme
Homemade Mac and Cheese
Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Slow Cooker Creamed CornHungry for more inspiration? Explore our collection of Quick and Easy Barbecue Side Dishes.
How to Store Baby Back RibsStore your cooked baby back rib leftovers in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in storage wrap or aluminum foil. Properly stored baby back ribs will last for up to four days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise“Love, love, love this recipe,” says Dorita. “My family doesn’t want to go to a barbecue restaurant anymore. They like the ribs cooked following Chef John’s way better. They come out soooo … tender and full of flavor. We are hooked.”“I really liked this method of cooking the ribs – wrapping in foil kept them moist and tender and minimized cleanup too,” according to Lynda McLean Falloon. “I didn’t have any dried chipotle chile pepper so I substituted paprika.”“This is a 10 star recipe – the best and easiest method to make ribs,” raves Allrecipes AllstarBaking Nana. “As indicated, use your favorite dry rub and your favorite barbecue sauce, but use this low and slow method. For make-ahead ‘ready to barbecue ribs,’ I usually coat the ribs in the dry rub and wrap tightly and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.”Editorial contributions by Corey Williams
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