We all love baby back ribs, it’s a comfort food that really does bring out the smiles and happiness of any person who is tucking into a perfectly cooked bit of beef rib, or pork rib for that matter. When cooked to perfection baby back or spare ribs can be a delicious meal on their own or they can serve as a wonderful main component alongside salads, rice dishes and vegetables. At the end of the day whatever your choice of accompaniment, the baby back ribs need care and attention if you want to get them right, as these are going to be the centre part to any dish.
In today’s guide we are going to take you through everything you need to know to cooking the perfect rack of baby back ribs, from getting your ingredients together, to the equipment you are going to need, right through to some handy tips and tricks in how you can get the best results. And of course, the best results start with tender, moist and delicious tasting meat that you can be proud of.
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Pans at the ready, as we are going to dive in…
First things first we need to prepare our work area with the equipment and ingredients we need to so we are organised and have everything together in one area. In terms of equipment you are going to need a baking sheet, some kitchen foil, a wire cooling rack, a pastry brush and a sharp kitchen knife.
Set these all down to one side and then on the other side you want a 4-5lbs baby back rib, a quarter of a cup of Dijon mustard, some liquid smoke (optional), 1 cup of space rub, and 1 cup of barbecue sauce.
Now you should all be set to get on with preparing the ribs and then cooking them.
Preheat your oven to 300F to begin with so we get a nice disperse of heat that evenly works its way across the oven ready for us to add the ribs to. Then take a baking sheet and line it with some of the foil that you set aside earlier on, finally placing a wire cooling rack on top of that.
At this stage you can add the ribs to the rack as they are as we can dress the meat from here.
Take your Dijon mustard and the liquid smoke and use the pastry brush to brush the mixtures onto both sides of the baby back ribs, making sure that you evenly spread the mixture. You can then add the dry rub to the ribs by firstly sprinkling it over and the patting it into the meat.
Now you are ready to place the baby back ribs under the broiler and you only need to do this for around 5 minutes, making sure the meat side of the ribs are facing up towards the elements. When 5 minutes has passed you will notice that there is a brown colouration on the upper side of the ribs and this is where you can move the baby back ribs to the preheated oven to roast them.
Usually roasting a 4-5lbs baby back rib can take around 2 hours so you need to set aside that time. You can choose to cover the ribs with foil to start with or you can introduce the foil halfway through that 2 hour cooking time to allow the moisture to retain within the meat, keeping it tender and not allowing it to easily dry out.
During the last 30 minutes remove the baby back ribs and pick up your pastry brush again, and this time we are going to apply the barbecue sauce, and at this stage you can either coat it with plenty of sauce or you can be more reserved and just brush a light covering on top of the ribs. The choice is yours. Once you have done that just cover the baby back ribs up again with the foil and let them cook for that final 30 minutes until the 2 hour period is upon you.
As with any meat just give it time to rest when you fetch it out of the oven so that the juices all disperse evenly around the meat which will just add to the moisture and tenderness of the baby back ribs. Once they have rested you can either serve them as they are or you can perform cuts between the bones in order to separate each section of the rib.
If you are adding any other ingredients make sure that these are cooked prior to taking the ribs out of the oven as you will want to eat them straight away, whilst they are hot.