Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Baby Back Ribs are slathered in both a dry rub and sauce for a flavor explosion. They are tender and utterly delicious!

If you’re craving ribs for dinner, these Baby Back Ribs are surely going to hit the spot. Have ribs for days with our fan-favorite Dr. Pepper Ribs and Crock Pot Ribs, it’s going to be hard to choose a recipe!

Plate of baby back ribs served with coleslaw.

Baby Back vs Spare Ribs

When you see ribs on the menu they are almost always pork, but sometimes can be beef. In this recipe we used baby back pork. They get their name, not because they come from piglets, but because they are smaller than spare ribs.

Baby Back Ribs are more tender and leaner than spareribs which also makes them a little more expensive. 

When it’s summertime and BBQ season, we love to whip out our best grilling recipes like Mexican Corn on the Cob, Steak, and Huli Huli Chicken. Although these Baby Back Ribs are not cooked on the grill, they fit right in!!

They are tender, delicious, and fall-off the bone good!

How to cook baby back ribs

PREP DRY RUB. Make dry rub by mixing together the brown sugar and spices (paprika, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper) in a medium bowl.

Prepping the Pork Ribs.

  • Place the rack onto a large cutting board and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Inspect the top and trim any loose pieces of fat.
  • Flip the rack over.
  • To loosen the membrane, slide a sharp knife between the membrane and the rack and gently lift it up.
  • Repeat over each rib section.
  • Grab one end of the membrane with your fingers and peel it away.
  • If your fingers can’t get a good grip, pinch it with a paper towel. 

PREP RIBS. Prep ribs by pulling off the clear membrane from the underside of the ribs. Lightly rub the ribs with the dry rub into both sides of the ribs and place on a large baking sheet covered with foil.

Tear off 4 large pieces of foil and spray with cooking spray.

SAUCE. Brush barbecue sauce all over the ribs and wrap tightly with the foil pieces and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 2 hours).

BAKE. Place the foil wrapped ribs on a baking tray and bake at 300° F for 2 ½ hours. Unwrap foil, brush the ribs with more barbecue sauce and broil for about 5 minutes to caramelize the barbecue sauce.

Seasoning bbq baby back ribs on a lined baking sheet.

How to Smoke Ribs

PREP. Heat your smoker to 225°F.

COOK. Place the seasoned rack on the grill grate, bone side down, and cook for 3 hours.

PREP. Tear two large pieces of foil and wrap the rack with a double layer of foil.

COOK. Place the wrapped rack, meat side down, back into the smoker for another 2 hours.

SEASON + COOK. Finally, unwrap the rack and place it on the smoker bone side down. Add your BBQ sauce and heat for 1 more hour.

For Grilled Ribs, check out our Dr Pepper Ribs recipe. We also have a Slow Cooker Ribs recipe.

Recipe Tips

BBQ sauce. Any brand and flavor of barbecue sauce will do you can even make Homemade BBQ Sauce.

How many per person. A large rack weighs about 2 pounds and has about 13 ribs. If the ribs are the main meal, then plan one rack for 2 people. If you are serving them as an appetizer or side, then each rack can serve 3-4 people. 

How to choose baby back ribs. When you’re shopping for a good slab of ribs look for an even layer of meat across the whole rack. Avoid racks with “shiners”, exposed bone. Read the package label and avoid enhanced cuts which means it has been pumped with water and salt.  

Serve Baby Back Ribs with:

Sliced baby back ribs served with a side of bbq sauce.

Storing info

STORE. Raw ribs will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days after purchase.

FREEZE. For longer storage, wrap tightly with plastic and foil and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Leftovers. Cooked ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Wrap them in plastic and foil and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Add another coating of BBQ sauce. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until hot. Open the top of the foil and broil for a few minutes to get a nice caramelized finish.

Close up of sliced baby back ribs ready for serving.

for More pork recipes, try:

Baby Back Ribs Recipe

5 from 7 votes
BBQ Baby Back Ribs are slathered in both a dry rub and sauce for a flavor explosion. They are tender and utterly delicious!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 195 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

Dry Rub

  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • tablespoons paprika
  • tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ribs

  • 2 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce divided

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne to make a dry rub.
  • Prep ribs by pulling off the clear membrane from the underside. Lightly rub dry rub into both sides of ribs and place on a large foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Brush 1½ cups barbecue sauce all over the ribs. Tear off enough foil to cover the ribs and spray foil with cooking spray. Wrap ribs tightly with the foil pieces and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Bake ribs, still wrapped in the foil, for 2 ½ hours.
  • Unwrap the foil, brush ribs with remaining ¾ cup barbecue sauce and broil for about 5 minutes to caramelize the barbecue sauce.

Video

Notes

How to Choose Baby Back Ribs: When you are shopping for a good slab of ribs, look for an even layer of meat across the whole rack. Avoid racks with “shiners” (exposed bone). Read the package label and avoid enhanced cuts—“enhanced” means it has been pumped with water and salt.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    My hubby & daughter love these ribs!! They get so excited when they are on the menu!! The have the best flavor & just fall off the bone!

  2. 5 stars
    I appreciated the extra information about prepping and making the ribs. It’s a cut of meat that I am unfamiliar with and is helpful.