To-die-for Pork Ribs recipe with fall apart meat slathered in a sticky homemade barbecue sauce! These oven Pork Ribs are rubbed with a spice mix, slow cooked until fall-apart-tender then basted generously with the tangy, sweet sauce.
Can’t-stop-eating it, finger-licking’ good!
Pork Ribs recipe
If you nibble daintily at a rib, holding it delicately between 2 fingers, and wipe your fingers clean with linen napkins, you and I will probably never be friends.
If you grab them with your hands, devour with gusto, get sauce all over your mouth, smearing up towards your cheekbones, then drop the bones sucked dry of every fibre of meat and sauce so they clatter dramatically on your plate, then noisily suck each and every one of your fingers clean of all that sticky barbecue sauce….
….if that’s you, then you are my kind of people.
And welcome to the pork ribs of your dreams!
These oven baked pork ribs recipe are:
- super easy
- the meat is tender
- ribs are infused with flavour from a rub AND braising the ribs in apple cider;
- finished with a simple but incredibly tasty homemade barbecue sauce.
These Oven Pork Ribs are fall apart tender and slathered with an incredible homemade barbecue sauce!
How to make Oven Pork Ribs
Here’s how I make pork ribs in the oven. There’s a few key things here:
- Rub for the pork ribs – to add flavour;
- Liquid for cooking – this is a key step for this pork ribs recipe! It creates a steamy situation while the ribs slow cook in the oven to keep them nice and juicy. My liquid of choice is alcoholic apple cider (also known as hard apple cider) because as with many things, alcohol adds extra layers of flavour. But there’s loads of other options: beer, apple juice, broth or even water;
- Homemade barbecue sauce – Ribs are a bit of an occasion around these parts so using store bought Barbecue Sauce doesn’t even cross my mind. It’s also one of those sauces that’s astonishingly simple to make at home and really is that much better than store bought because it tastes pure and real and doesn’t have that slight artificial edge of store bought. Try it once and you’ll be converted for life!
- Baste, bake, baste, bake! The more you baste-bake, the better your sticky barbecue sauce coating on the ribs.
What you need for Oven Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce
And here’s what you need. Nothing unique here, except perhaps the molasses in the barbecue sauce.
I can’t remember where I first saw it, but I added it to my barbecue sauce once then I never looked back. It adds colour and intensity of flavour that can’t be replicated! Truly worth using if you can get your hands on it. If not, don’t fret – substitute with golden syrup or use dark brown sugar instead of normal brown sugar. Similar result!
Barbecue Sauce for Pork Ribs
The barbecue sauce in this recipe is used for both glazing and serving. It is literally a plonk and simmer job. Low maintenance and effortless, and really tastes of pure flavour compared to store bought (says she who has done side-by-side taste testing!).
It will look like we’re making a LOT, with the recipe calling for 1 1/2 cups of ketchup. But trust me when I say you want to have more rather than too little. There’s nothing worse than being stingy when glazing the ribs – you want to slather generously with abundance without worrying about saving some for serving!
What to serve with Pork Ribs
Other favourites include:
- Potato Salad – or try a fabulous mayo free Lemon Potato Salad
- Mac and Cheese
- Corn Bread or Corn Bread Muffins (or try these Cheese Muffins)
And for something fresh, try this Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad.
This is a forgiving pork ribs recipe – and it’s loaded with plenty of flavours!
As long as you get nice juicy, fatty ribs (which they typically are), it will be pretty hard to stuff this recipe up! Ribs are a tough cut of meat so they’re made for slow cooking until it’s nice and tender.
It’s quite forgiving with the cook time, unlike some other types of proteins like poultry. So even if you cook it 30 minutes too long, it will still be juicy and delicious.
There is simply no way to look elegant eating pork ribs. Just accept you will have very sticky fingers, sauce smeared on your face and a huge goofy grin! -Nagi x
More rib recipes
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs with Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Sticky Chinese Pork Spare Ribs
- Braised Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce
- Fiery Fall Apart Mexican Beef Ribs with Green Mexican Rice
Watch how to make it
Note: BBQ Sauce ingredients not consistency with the recipe!! I used the wrong version 😩 Will update shortly – same process, just different ingredients!
Oven Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce
Recipe video above. Barbecue pork ribs made in the oven! It’s easy, the ribs are meltingly tender and it’s packed full of flavour from the rub, braising the ribs in cider (see Note 1 for subs!) and the homemade barbecue sauce glaze! (Note: BBQ Sauce ingredients not consistency with the video!! I used the wrong version 😩 Will update shortly – same process, just different ingredients!)
Barbecue Rub for Ribs:
- 2.5 tsp paprika powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder ((sub with onion powder))
- 1.5 tsp onion powder ((sub with garlic powder))
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper ((omit for not spicy))
- 1.5 tsp dried thyme
- 1.5 tsp dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 2 – 2.5kg / 4 – 5lb pork ribs (2 racks)
- 3/4 cup (185ml) sweet alcoholic apple cider (hard cider) (, or apple juice (Note 2))
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- 1/2 cup (125ml) apple cider vinegar ((Note 3))
- 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup ((or Aussie tomato sauce))
- 1/2 cup (125ml) water ((or use remaining apple cider!))
- 1.5 tbsp molasses (, orginal (not blackstrap, Note 4))
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Tabasco or cayenne pepper ((optional, for spiciness))
Combine the Rub ingredients and rub onto both sides of the ribs (most on meaty side). Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F (all oven types).
Place ribs on a tray in a single layer. Pour apple cider underneath the ribs, cover with foil then bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the meat is pretty tender (Note 5).
Remove from oven, turn up to 180°C/350°F. Remove foil, drizzle with olive oil, then return ribs to oven for 15 minutes or until rub becomes nice and crusty.
Line a new tray with foil then baking / parchment paper (you’ll thank me later).
Remove ribs from oven, transfer to lined tray. Pour any juices from tray over the ribs.
Flip ribs so the bonier side is up. Slather with Barbecue Sauce, then bake 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, then turn ribs over so the meaty side is up. Slather with Barbecue Sauce, bake 5 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 more times until you’ve got a thick glaze on the ribs.
Cut ribs into individual or multiple rib portions and serve with remainig Barbcue Sauce!
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until thickened.
Adjust to taste: sweetness with brown sugar / honey, salt and sour with vinegar. Use for glazing ribs and as a sauce for serving.
1. Ribs – Baby Back and St Louis Style Pork Ribs are ideal. Pork Spareribs also work well but reduce covered cook time to 1 hr 10 min (as they are less meaty).
🇦🇺In Australia, we do not (yet!) distinguish between various cuts of pork ribs. Most are a Baby Back / St Louis style hybrid or they are very skimpy Spare Ribs. Just look for meaty pork ribs that are nice and fatty, 2.5cm+ thick (including bone). They should have most meat on the upper side, and not much on the underside.
Avoid ribs cut so close to the bone there’s barely any meat – miserable eating experience plus it’s criminal to pay for 70% bone! (🇦🇺Tip: Ribs from Costco are actually TOO thick, and a bit lean. They work for this recipe but leftovers don’t keep well. I go to Harris Farms, Costco and butchers)
2. Alcoholic apple cider – using an alcoholic drink adds extra depth of flavour. Pale coloured beers (ordinary larger, pale ale etc) and other fruit ciders also work really well.
Sub with apple juice as a non alcoholic option. And as a last resort, water can be used.
3. Vinegar – white wine or champagne vinegar also works well here. Plain white vinegar can also be used but reduce by 1 tbsp as it is a bit sharper.
4. Molasses adds an extra richness to the Barbecue Sauce and also depends the sauce colour to the dark brown we know and love about barbecue sauce!
5. Pork ribs tenderness – this recipe is forgiving so don’t fret about exact timing here! At 1 h 30 min, use 2 forks to check if you can pry the meat apart with little effort (but not yet “falling off the bone with a touch”. Remember, they will get another 30 – 40 minutes in the oven!
6. To make on BBQ – I love making these on the BBQ when I’m entertaining! Here’s how:
- Follow recipe to end of Step 4 (ie 2nd baked uncovered to make Rub crusty)
- Brush bony side of ribs with sauce, then cook on BBQ indirect heat on high (bony side up) with lid down for 5 minutes.
- Flip so meaty side is up, baste, cook with lid down for 5 minutes. Repeat 3 times until you have a nice caramelised glaze!
7. Nutrition assumes all the Barbecue Sauce is consumed which it probably won’t be, also you lose some in the cooking process!
Pork ribs recipe originally published January 2016. Updated August 2019 with new photos, improved recipe, brand new video and new Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
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