These Easy Baby Back BBQ Ribs are perfectly smoky, spicy and sweet! They’re so flavorful and tender, this will quickly become your new go-to recipe for ribs.
Fall Off the Bone BBQ Ribs
Pork back ribs are always a treat, but supremely tender, well-seasoned ribs smothered in a delicious Honey BBQ Sauce made from scratch?! Forget it! You’ll never make ribs another way. The flavor in this recipe is unmatched, and you don’t need any out-of-the-ordinary tools or equipment to make it happen.
The oven cooks the ribs until they’re tender and juicy, and then you can add some char on the grill if you’d like. However you prefer your ribs, this recipe can be tweaked to compensate. And it’s all super easy to perfect!
What You’ll Need
This recipe has a great balance between simplicity and sophistication. It’s not so simple that it falls flat with flavor, and it’s not nearly complicated enough to make your head spin. These fool-proof ingredients make flavor-packed ribs more achievable than ever before! And substitutions or adjustments are a-okay.
- Baby Back Ribs: You’ll need 2 racks of pork back ribs.
- Light Brown Sugar: To tenderize the meat and add that classic sweet flavor.
- Cayenne Pepper: I use half a teaspoon.
- Chili Powder: To taste.
- Onion & Garlic Powders: You’ll need half a teaspoon of each.
- Oregano: Dried, not fresh.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Chicken Broth: Fat-free and low-sodium.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: For added nutrients and flavor!
- Honey Barbecue Sauce: You’ll need 1 cup of Homemade Honey BBQ Sauce for your ribs. You can also use your favorite bottled brand, if desired.
How to Marinate Baby Back Ribs
Before we get cooking, we’ll need to let the ribs soak in our yummy marinade. Here’s what to do!
- Combine Seasonings: In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper; mix to combine.
- Rub Ribs: Rub the mixture on all sides of the ribs.
- Marinate: Place in a roasting pan and cover; refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (Overnight is best.)
How to Make BBQ Ribs in the Oven
Once your meat has marinated, it’s time to move on to the baking portion of the recipe. Believe it or not, the “hard” part is already done!
- Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Add Liquids to Roasting Pan: Pour the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar in the roasting pan with the ribs.
- Bake: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the ribs for 2 hours. Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a large platter; set aside.
- Simmer Liquids & Add BBQ Sauce: Pour the liquids from the roasting pan into a saucepan and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the amount is reduced by half. Stir in the barbecue sauce and remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Serve or Sear: At this point, you can cut the ribs and brush or toss them with the prepared sauce and serve, or you can cook them on a preheated grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
Tips for the Best BBQ Ribs
Now that you’re familiar with the recipe, let’s go over some helpful tips and tricks! This is my best advice for making the ultimate BBQ ribs.
- Marinate Overnight: I highly recommend rubbing the ribs with all those wonderful seasonings the night before and letting them chill until the next day. That way, you can just pop them in the oven for a couple of hours and wait for the deliciousness to be done!
- Grill it Up: I like to throw these on the grill for just a few minutes to give them that smoky smell and charred taste. You can skip this step if you’d like, but I encourage you to at least try it! It really highlights the barbecue charm of the dish.
- Remove Membrane: Before you start the marination process, make sure the thin white membrane has been removed from the rack of ribs. If it’s still there, you can remove it yourself by sliding a dull knife under the membrane and pulling it off with your fingers. If you can’t get a good grip on it, grasp it using a small piece of paper towel.
- Season to Taste: If you’re sensitive to spiciness, feel free to tone down some of the hotter ingredients in the spice rub. Just add the cayenne pepper and chili powder to taste rather than jumping right in with what the recipe calls for.
Want to alter this recipe a little more dramatically? Be my guest! Here are some tasty alternatives to these classic BBQ ribs:
- Extra Sweet BBQ Ribs: You can easily amp up the sweetness in this dish by adding extra brown sugar. Marinate the ribs as normal and add more brown sugar while the sauce is simmering until you’re happy with the flavor.
- Pineapple BBQ Ribs: Incorporate fresh pineapple flavor into your ribs by adding some pineapple juice to the roasting pan! If you do this, you may need to simmer the sauce for a few extra minutes. If you don’t have pineapple juice, you can add some extra apple cider vinegar instead to mimic that tangy flavor.
- Extra Smoky BBQ Ribs: Want to achieve that smoky flavor without grilling your ribs – or want to make them doubly smoky and delicious? You can do this by adding about half a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the roasting pan. Yum!
I love making a meal with ribs as the main dish – they go great with pretty much everything! The following recipes are some of my very favorite pairings for barbecue ribs.
- Serve with Zucchini Chips: These satisfyingly crunchy Zucchini Crisps are such a fun side dish! With their zesty-spicy flavor combination, they’re a healthy alternative to potato chips and a crave-worthy side for BBQ ribs.
- Serve with Salad: A summery dish like this one deserves a fresh summer salad to go with it! My Spinach Blackberry Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing is a fabulous choice.
- Pair with Margaritas: You can’t have the ultimate barbecue without a fruity cocktail, am I right? These Easy Strawberry Beergaritas are sure to get the party started in a super tasty way.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Let your ribs cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge. Alternatively, you can keep them in a Ziploc bag with all the air squeezed out. They will stay good for up to 4 days!
To reheat your ribs, place them back in the roasting pan along with chicken broth or the extra liquids from the container they were stored in. Heat them, covered, in a 250°F oven, until their internal temperature reaches 145°F. Enjoy!
Can I Freeze Extras?
Yes! These oven-baked ribs can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Keep them in a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out or wrap them well in two layers of aluminum foil. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Easy Baby Back BBQ Ribs
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Honey Barbecue Sauce
- In a mixing bowl combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper; mix to combine.
- Rub the mixture on all sides of the ribs.
- Place in a roasting pan and cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight is best.
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Pour the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar in the roasting pan with the ribs.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the ribs for 2 hours.
- Remove from oven and transfer the ribs to a large platter; set aside.
- Pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a saucepan and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half.
- Stir in the barbecue sauce and remove from heat.
- At this point you can cut the ribs and brush or toss them with the prepared sauce and serve, OR you can cook them on a preheated grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS RECIPE