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Spare ribs in the oven

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My nephew's favorite dish is ribs. I cook for him often since my brother is a single dad. Spare ribs were 1.29/lb so I bought some, but I need a great recipe for the oven. I don't grill, sadly. My nephew just started football practice - daily in 100+ heat. I'm looking for suggestions because I have very little rib-cooking experience. Thanks!

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  1. I would just spread them over with a standard BBQ rub and roast them at around 300 degrees until done.

    There are simpler ones, but this is good, from Aidells & Kelly's "The Complete Meat Cookbook":

    2 tbs paprika
    2 tbs chile
    1-2 tsp cayenne
    2 tbs garlic powder
    2 tbs brown sugar
    1 tbs ground cumin
    1 tbs dry mustard
    1 tsp ground sage
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 cup salt
    1 tbs ground pepper

    1. There's an infinite number of ways to do ribs. I'm assuming you're referring to pork. I seldom do them the same way but here's pretty much my approach.

      Look in the frig and cupboards and pull out whatever feels right. I tend to do mixes of oriental condiments, both wet and dry. Stick to wet if you're new at ribs. I can't help with barbecue style sauces.

      Small ribs - baby back. Larger - Saint Louis or Canadian (there are others as well)

      Some remove the membrane alone the back side, others don't. If you want falling apart ribs, remove.

      Mix marinade, brush on ribs, wrap with plastic wrap, refrig for 2 to 3 hours. Depending on your marinade, it may break down the meat. Acidic mixtures will toughen the meat if it sits marinating too long. Fruity mixtures can destroy the structure of the meat, so glance at what's in whatever you're using. 2 to 3 hours is safe, more does nothing for penetration but may start messing with the meat.

      Wipe off excess marinade. Some don't, I prefer dryer ribs.

      Some sear before baking, others sear after. I tend to sear after. So, wrap well in a foil tent (you want atmosphere), with the ribs elevated from the bottom (I use a baking grid for large servings and some wood lengths for small servings).

      Pretty much a standard temp is 300 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Lower and longer can break down pork.

      Open the foil (careful here, its hot and steamy in there, use a tool, not your fingers), switch on the broiler. Heat until it looks nice. If you left the membrane on, you can try flipping the rack(s) and hit the bottom side as well. If they start falling apart when you flip, you're done, otherwise you'll be serving pieces.

      While you may miss the smoke a grill provides, an oven is a far more controlled environment and can yield superb results.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ray2

        Liquid smoke can be added to the mix if you think the smoke flavor will be missed. People think it's some scary Franken-spice but it really is just smoke run through something akin to a still, to add water to it.

        1. re: greygarious

          One caution though - the liquid smoke I've used always seems to be very intensely flavored. A few drops mixed into the marinade is plenty for a full rack of ribs.

        2. re: Ray2

          About removing the membrane, if you so choose: I'll mention that the easiest way to do so is to use a butter knife or table knife to work some of the membrane off of a bone at one end, and then grasp the membrane with a paper towel in your hand: much easier to keep a grip of it that way and then just tear it away.

          Just in case you didn't know that trick...

          1. re: Bada Bing

            So simple but I never gave a paper towel a thought. Thanks.

            The downsides of growing up in an Italian family.

          2. re: Ray2

            Thank you to all for the advice. I, too, prefer a dry rib, and I'll definitely remove the membrane.

            Living in Texas, ribs are something I don't cook at home because they're so plentiful in even local, small restaurants. I think my worry comes from the fact that these are lower-priced spare ribs as opposed to, say, baby back ribs.

            Thanks again to all. I'll try VF's rub along with others' cooking tips. I'm grateful.

          3. this is one of my faves

            http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/0...

            1. Alton Brown did an episode of Good Eats called "Who Loves Ya, Baby-Back?". His recipe is simple. Note that he prefers low and slow cooking (225F0. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

              I use a different, more Asian rub (lots of powdered ginger, for instance), but I do a similar technique. It is absolutely wonderful. If you add some smoked paprika to the rub, you'll get a light smoky taste.

              2 Replies
              1. re: travelerjjm

                I tried that and the general approach is sound, but I found the wine element to be quite intrusive. I'd use way less wine, or skip it in favor of a bit of beer (alcohol is a useful flavor solvent). And, yes, I use drink-worthy wines, of course.

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  I've made Alton's ribs a couple of times and we've always enjoyed them. You certainly could sub some water or broth for some of the wine, but I personally didn't find it too strong.

                  I did smoke them on the grill for fifteen minutes or so afterwards, though, so that may have masked the flavor a bit, now that I think of it.

              2. Do you have a large oval crock pot. That's how I do my ribs and it's about the easiest thing I make. I do Alton brown's dry rub on 2 racks (after removing the membrane) and cut them in half. Stack the racks in the crock and walk away for four hours with the ribs on low (my crock cooks hot). Drain the fat out, brush the ribs with BBQ sauce and cook for another half hour. So easy.