How to Cook Ribs Perfectly

Note: COOK the STORY may receive a commission on purchases made through Amazon/affiliate links.

This is the best rib recipe, especially when you’re feeding a crowd! The ribs are slow-cooked in the oven (hack!). Then just before serving, they’re sauced and grilled to heat through and get a bit of that gorgeous grill flavor.

Ribs are good. Make-ahead ribs are even better.

I love making them when we’re having friends over. The amazing thing about them is that you have to make them ahead. Ribs need to be cooked long and slow. So you get them ready well before your friends come over. The day before or the day before that.

Once they’re cooled, cut them into portions and sauce them and put them in the fridge. When it’s nearly time to eat, put them on the grill to heat through and get a bit of that delicious grill flavor. Super easy. Then you cut them into portions, brush them with sauce and put them on the grill for a few minutes. Super-easy. The best thing is that you’re not having to worry about raw meat at your party, “Did I cross-contaminate? Is it still under cooked?? Did I overcook it???” None of that to worry about. Just stand there warming them up, flipping them occasionally. When there’s a bit of char on the outside, they’re done. Eat!

It’s all about the texture, which is subjective. I like mine with meat hugging the bone just enough to not fall off when getting a toasty sauce-crust on the grill. Once you get the texture down you can play around with the flavors to your heart’s content. For this recipe, I used my own rub and my own sauce. Here is my favorite classic recipe, and my smokey and spicy recipe.  If you’re feeling lazier, skip the homemade rub and skip the homemade sauce too! Go in with a bottle of your favorite store-bought. The ribs are so good that nobody is going to notice.

If you like the idea of these ribs, you’ll also love this recipe for Make-Ahead Grilled Chicken for a Crowd. It’s the same basic technique but with chicken. And the result is beyond juicy

Here’s a video from barbecueweb.com showing how to remove the membrane from the bone side of ribs.

Here’s the printable instructions for my deliciously perfect rib recipe!

Print

How to Cook Ribs Perfectly


  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 HOURS 10 MINUTES
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

This is the best rib recipe, especially when you’re feeding a crowd! The ribs are slow-cooked in the oven (hack!). Then just before serving, they’re sauced and grilled to heat through and get a bit of that gorgeous grill flavor.


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 and ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp grown cumin
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 23lb racks of baby back ribs or St. Louis Style spare ribs
  • About 9 ounces bottled BBQ sauce. Look for a sweet one that has the word honey or brown sugar in the name – Here is my favorite classic recipe, and my smokey and spicy recipe

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine the first 7 ingredients.
  2. Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. If you don’t know how to do this, check out the video link under this recipe.
  3. Lay each rack of ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkled each side of each rack with ¼ of the rub mixture. Wrap each rack tightly in the foil making sure the scrunched up folded seam is along the top of the racks. Lay each foil wrapped rack seam side up on another large piece of foil and wrap tightly with the seam along the top again. Place wrapped racks in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the racks from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Put the racks onto a large rimmed baking pan or into a cake pan and put them in the oven. Cook baby backs for 2 hours, St. Louis spare ribs for 2.5 hours.
  5. Remove pan from oven and allow ribs to cool for 1 hour. This sets the juices making it easier to cut the ribs and helping the meat stay on the bone when you grill. Proceed or transfer ribs to the fridge overnight (note that if you want to save the juices as detailed below, you need to unwrap the ribs and capture the juices now before transferring to the fridge).
  6. Carefully unwrap the ribs. Transfer the racks to a cutting board. Pour the accumulated juices into a food storage container. Cover the container and put it in the fridge. See below this recipe for what to do with the juices.
  7. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  8. Cut the ribs into servings with 2-3 bones each. Brush each serving liberally with sauce. Put the ribs on the grill for 5-7 minutes turning occasionally. All you’re doing is heating them up and getting a bit of char here and there.
  9. Dig in! See! Ribs are good.
This post was published in July 2012 and was updated in July 2019.