Preparing the Ribs
Before cooking spare ribs in the oven, it’s important to properly prepare them. Start by removing the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs. This will help the meat to cook more evenly and allow the flavor to penetrate the meat. You can use a sharp knife to get under the membrane and then use a paper towel to grip and pull it off.
Next, season the ribs with salt and pepper. This will help to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. If you have time, you can let the ribs sit with the seasoning for a few hours in the fridge before cooking, but it’s not necessary.
Finally, place the ribs on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. You can also line the pan with foil to make cleanup easier. It’s important to leave enough space around the ribs to allow for even cooking. Now you’re ready to move on to creating a flavorful rub to apply to the ribs.
Creating a Flavorful Rub
A good rub can take your spare ribs from ordinary to extraordinary. Start with a base of brown sugar and add your favorite spices to create a flavor profile that suits your taste. Popular spices include paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Mix the spices and sugar together in a bowl, and then rub the mixture generously all over the ribs. Be sure to cover the entire rack of ribs with the rub, including the sides and ends. You can also use a dry marinade injector to get the rub into the meat for even more flavor.
Once the ribs are coated with the rub, cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour, but up to 24 hours if you have the time. This will allow the flavors to meld together and infuse into the meat.
After the ribs have marinated, it’s time to move on to slow roasting them in the oven.
Slow Roasting in the Oven
Slow roasting is the key to tender, fall-off-the-bone spare ribs. Preheat your oven to 250°F (121°C) and place the seasoned ribs on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. If you want to add some extra flavor and moisture, you can place a pan of water or apple juice in the oven underneath the ribs.
Cover the ribs tightly with foil, and then place them in the oven. Cook the ribs for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and has reached an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C).
After the ribs have cooked, remove them from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into them. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensure that the ribs are moist and flavorful.
Next, it’s time to add some sauce to the ribs for even more flavor.
Adding Sauce for Moisture and Flavor
Sauce is a must-have for many people when it comes to spare ribs. There are many different types of sauces that you can use, from sweet and tangy BBQ sauce to spicy and savory hot sauce. You can also create your own sauce by mixing together your favorite ingredients, such as ketchup, honey, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
Brush the sauce onto the ribs, making sure to cover them completely. You can use a basting brush or just pour the sauce over the ribs and use a spoon to spread it around.
Return the ribs to the oven, uncovered, and cook them for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the sauce to caramelize and create a sticky, delicious coating on the ribs.
Once the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to set and make it easier to cut and serve the ribs.
Finishing Touches and Serving Suggestions
Now that your spare ribs are cooked to perfection and coated in a flavorful sauce, it’s time to add some finishing touches and serve them up. Here are some ideas:
- Garnish the ribs with chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, for a pop of color and freshness.
- Serve the ribs with your favorite sides, such as baked beans, coleslaw, or roasted vegetables.
- Cut the ribs into individual portions before serving for easier eating and presentation.
- Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice over the ribs for a bright, citrusy flavor.
- Offer extra sauce on the side for those who want to dip or drizzle more on their ribs.
Remember to have plenty of napkins on hand, as spare ribs can be messy to eat. Enjoy your delicious oven-roasted spare ribs!