Enjoying really good barbecue ribs is not something that must be saved only for the summer grilling season or when you go to a good barbecue restaurant. You can make really incredible barbecue ribs in your oven. Although they take a while to cook, they are easy to make and a lot cheaper than buying already prepared ones.
There is not a smoke ring, but I doubt you’ll miss it. I like these just as well as the ones from my favorite barbecue ribs joint….and I love those. Better yet, I can fix a rack/slab of ribs at home for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of buying them at my favorite and least expensive barbecue joint.
If you want the smoke flavor, you can still have it by finishing the oven cooked ribs on the grill. (You can also add liquid smoke to the barbecue sauce, but I don’t think it tastes the same as the real smoke). The grill is a great place to add the sauce to the ribs, but the oven/broiler work just as well. Of course, you can also serve them plain with just the dry rub or with the sauce on the side.
I typically do not add brown sugar to my dry rubs (I am paranoid about burning my meat with the sugar). However, if you do not plan on using any sauce, you may want to include some brown sugar in your rub. Either way, you should let your pork ribs set for a while to marinade before placing them in the oven.
To cook the ribs, I wrap a baking sheet with foil and then lay cooling racks on top to hold the ribs. The foil makes clean up easier…and I am all about the easiest clean up as possible. I do not like to use nonstick cooling racks to cook on because I don’t want to heat up the coating not knowing what (if any) chemicals could be released. I stick to my plain metal racks when placing them in the oven.
I cook the ribs in what is essentially a foil packet. I place the prepared slab(s) of ribs on a sheet of foil with the “meat-side” up and liberally apply the spice rub. I cover it with another, slightly smaller sheet of foil and fold over the edges of the bottom sheet around all of the sides to form a packet or pouch. I set the packet/pouch on the cooling rack lined baking sheet and place it in a lower temperature oven for at least a couple of hours.
When the ribs are done or almost done, I take them out of the packet(s)/pouch(es) and place them directly of the cooling racks, brush on some sauce, and stick it under the broiler until the desired look/color is achieved.
I save some of the “juice” from the ribs that collects in the foil packet(s) make the barbecue sauce. You can just dispose of it and make your own barbecue or use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce instead.