Photographer: Greg DuPree Prop Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey
Active Time
20 Mins
Total Time
3 Hours 40 Mins
Yield
Serves 8 (serving size: about 4 ribs)

Don’t bother with the grill or smoker. Fire up the oven and give these easy baked ribs a try. Super tender and glazy from the broil, these Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs are classic in flavor and texture. The smoked paprika makes up for the lack of actual smoking involved in this lunchtime or supper main. That’s our Test Kitchen’s pro tip for when you want good BBQ flavor sans smoke. Brown sugar and the other rub ingredients, like dry mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, help create the sweet, salty, and smoky flavor ribs were made for. In the store, be sure to purchase true Baby Back ribs, not the larger ribs. This can impact cooking times. After a little bit of brushing and baking, watching the sauce start to bubble during broiling will be your cue that it’s time to poor a cold beer and grab the coleslaw.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 275°F with rack in middle position. Stir together salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and dry mustard in a bowl. Remove thin outer membrane on back of ribs by loosening with a butter knife and pulling it off; discard. Brush slabs evenly with oil; sprinkle with spice mixture, gently patting to adhere. (If desired, wrap ribs with plastic wrap; place on a baking sheet, and chill at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.)

Step 2

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set a wire rack inside sheet. (If you wrapped and chilled the ribs, remove and discard plastic wrap.) Wrap each slab with heavy-duty aluminum foil; place on prepared wire rack. Bake in preheated oven until tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from oven, and unwrap ribs; discard foil and drippings. Place ribs directly on wire rack; brush 1/2 cup barbecue sauce on top of each slab. Return to oven; bake at 275°F until ribs are tender and meat is pulling away from bones, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 3

Remove from oven; brush slabs evenly with remaining barbecue sauce. Increase oven temperature to broil, and return ribs to middle rack. Broil until sauce bubbles and starts to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven; let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

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