Want to impress your friends with the tastiest (and easiest) ribs? You've found yourself in the perfect place!
Both beef and pork ribs take about 40 minutes to cook in the oven at 450°F. However, since the meat is so thin and ovens vary greatly, you must keep a watchful eye over the ribs and adjust cooking times as you see fit. You can use a digital, instant-read thermometer for ease, taking the ribs out when the display reads between 195°F and 203°F.
While instant-read thermometers are a useful tool, it's hard to get a super-accurate reading when using them on ribs. So, we'll go over some more reliable methods (and more) in the following sections.
Beef Vs. Pork Ribs
Beef ribs are the most sinewy and the biggest of all ribs, exhibiting the most flavor and richest taste. It pairs perfectly with bold flavors like chili, garlic, and lime.
Pork ribs, on the other hand, are the most popular rib type. You can find them in any grocery store in spare ribs or baby back ribs varieties. They're best cooked slowly.
How to Buy the Perfect Rack of Ribs
You can't make the perfect ribs without buying the perfect rack of ribs.
First things first: You should make sure you pick up ribs with an even layer of meat across the entire rack. Buying a rack with a large amount of meat on one end and very little on the other will cause uneven cooking that's very tricky to contend with.
This is particularly applicable for baby back ribs. You do not want to choose slabs with exposed bones (called shiners) because they're cut too close to the bone, meaning they could fall out during cooking.
Also, steer clear from beef ribs that have been "enhanced." It isn't a good thing. Instead, it means they've been pumped with an extra solution (generally water and salt). Always check the label!
When cooking pork ribs, it's worth noting that the USDA doesn't grade pork in the same way as the aforementioned beef. It's inspected for "wholesomeness." What does this mean, we hear you ask? Basically, it means it's gone through inspection and passed from visible diseases. Thus, it's safe to cook and eat.
How to Trim a Rack of Ribs
This is the part of cooking ribs that people often forget (or, at the very least, they fail to talk about), but if you don't trim the ribs and remove the membrane, you'll experience uneven cooking!
So, avoid that by following these steps:
- Make sure your worktop and cutting board are big enough to deal with the size of ribs you're cooking.
- Open your ribs.
- Use a paper towel to pat them dry.
- Lay them on your cutting board with the meat side up.
- Look at your ribs closely.
- Do you see any dangling meat or excess fat? If so, trim it off.
- Turn the ribs over to remove the membrane.
- Insert a butter knife on top of one rib bone on the smaller end of the rack.
- Push the knife upwards. This will loosen the membrane.
- Use a paper towel to grab the membrane.
- Slowly pull it toward the other end of the rack. If it tears, just continue the process until you've taken it all off.
5 Ways to Know When Ribs Are Done
Don't get us wrong — using an instant-read digital thermometer will work, as we mentioned earlier. However, it might be better to combine that with one or two of the following pro-given methods:
- Color — Be careful with this metric; the color can be misleading. Generally speaking, ribs will be the color of mahogany wood when they're finished cooking. But this greatly depends on your added sauces, so we recommend keeping an eye on other factors, too.
- Bones — Once it has finished cooking, the meat will contract, exposing roughly three-quarters of an inch of the bone. Put simply, if you can see the knuckle of the third rib bone beginning to poke through, your ribs are finished.
- Toothpick test — Poke a toothpick between two bones. If they're finished, the skewer goes through with very little resistance.
- Bend test — When they're finished cooking, the ribs won't fall apart. Hold the rack up from one end with a pair of tongs. The opposite end should bend toward the ground.
- Flexibility — As you continue gaining experience in the rib-cooking world, you'll be able to figure out whether the rib rack is finished cooking by feeling them. The rack should drape over your hands if you hold them in the middle. Otherwise, holding them at the ends should cause them to wiggle.
The Best Beginner-Friendly Oven-Baked Beef Ribs Recipe
- 2 pounds baby back beef ribs
- 2 tablespoons coarse ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 dash mustard seeds
- 1 dash black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Use a wet towel or damp paper towels to wipe the ribs.
- Mix the coarse ground pepper, Kosher salt, onion powder, garlic
powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and dried rosemary in a small bowl.
- Coat the ribs in the seasoning. Make sure you press the seasoning into the meat to ensure it sticks.
- Put the ribs in one layer in a shallow roasting pan.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Mix the oil, chili sauce, lemon juice, mustard seeds, and black pepper in a small bowl. This will be your basting sauce.
- Take the ribs out of the oven after 20 minutes.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the ribs with sauce on both sides.
- Place the ribs back in the oven for 20 minutes. Use an instant-read digital thermometer to know when your ribs are perfectly cooked. The display should read between 195°F and 203°F before you take them out of the oven.
- Serve with your favorite accompaniments!
- If the ribs begin getting too dark, cover them with aluminum foil and reduce the heat to 400°F for the final ten minutes of cooking time.
- While cooking for the final 20 minutes, try basting with the remaining sauce at regular intervals. It won't just inject the meat with more flavor, but it will help it retain moisture to ensure it falls off the bone.
- You will likely have your own favorite accompaniments for beef ribs, but if this is your first time diving into a recipe like this, we recommend serving them with one (or a few) of the following — milk and butter-boiled corn on the cob, boiled potatoes, macaroni and tomatoes, collard greens with bacon, wedge salad, southern fried corn, southern
coleslaw, smoked asparagus, roasted Brussel sprouts, egg salad, baked sweet potatoes, creamy roasted garlic mashed potatoes, succotash, baked beans with beef and bacon, or macaroni and cheese.
- Let the ribs for ten minutes after cooking for the most succulent result!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1242Total Fat: 100gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 52gCholesterol: 254mgSodium: 2948mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 71g