The secret to tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs is to cook them low and slow. You don’t need a grill or a smoker to make amazing ribs, these St. Louis Style Spare Ribs are so tender and juicy from baking at a low temperature for several hours.
These spare ribs need to be included in your dinner rotation immediately! All it takes is 15 minutes of prep work, then just sit back and relax as your dinner cooks itself. You will know it’s time to eat when your stomach starts growling from the amazing smell!
What are St. Louis Style Spare Ribs:
St. Louis style spare ribs are spare ribs that have been trimmed down to a rectangle shape. Spare ribs come from the belly side of the ribs cage, making them bigger and meatier than back ribs. They are also usually less expensive which is why I generally prefer spare ribs over back ribs. Spare rib meat is very tough, which is why cooking low and slow is the best way to get it tender.
Perfect fall-off-the-bone ribs should be tender enough that the meat easily comes off of the bone, but not so tender that they completely fall apart when you pick them up.
Why Cook Ribs Low and Slow:
Growing up I was never a huge fan of ribs. My dad would buy a big rack of ribs and throw it on the grill, then in about 30 minutes dinner was ready. The ribs tasted OK, smothered in barbecue sauce, of course, but the meat was SO chewy.
Tough cuts of meat, like ribs, are filled with lots of connective tissue known as collagen. When cooked correctly, the collagen melts down and turns silky and buttery. This has to be done at a low temperature over several hours. If the meat is cooked too quickly and over high-heat, the connective tissue will seize up, and the meat will be dense and chewy.
The reason ribs and other tough meats need to be cooked slowly is all about internal temperature. Collagen starts to break down at around 160° and is fully broken down at 180-190°. The slower the collagen breaks down, the more tender and juicy the ribs will be.
How to Cook Ribs:
Start by removing the skirt from the boney side of the ribs. You can toss it or cook it in the pan with the ribs.
Next, remove the membrane. Slide a knife under the pink film that is covering the bones and pull it off with your hands. It’s easy to remove, you can also ask the butcher to remove it for you.
Rinse the ribs and pat dry with a paper towel. Next, rub both sides generously with your dry rub.
Dry Rub: Brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, chili pepper, salt, ground black pepper, and liquid smoke.
Preheat your oven to 250°. Place the ribs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake the ribs for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and brush with barbecue sauce.
Broil for 2-3 minutes, turn them over and brush the other side with sauce. Broil 2-3 minutes on the other side. To slice the ribs, use a large, very sharp knife and slice right at the bone. That way each rib has plenty of meat on it.
Serve warm with your favorite side dish and enjoy!
Side Dishes to Serve with Ribs:
St. Louis Style Spare Ribs
- 1 rack St. Louis style spare ribs
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 cup preferred barbecue sauce
- Remove the skirt from the boney side of the ribs. You can discard it or cook it in the pan with the ribs.
- Slide a knife under the membrane and pull it off with your hands. Rinse the ribs and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Combine the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and generously rub it onto both sides of the ribs.
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the ribs, meaty side up on the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and drain the excess juices. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and broil for 2-3 minutes per side.
- To cut the ribs, use a large, very sharp knife and slice along the bone.
- Serve warm with your favorite side dish.