These St. Louis Style Spare Ribs are baked in the oven, low and slow, at 275º for 3 1/2 – 4 hours, resulting in the most amazing, tender, fall off the bone ribs you’ve ever had!Jump to Recipe
Spare Ribs are one of my go-to favorites for weeknight dinners. Affordable, easy, and always a crowd-pleaser. I tested many different cooking techniques, times, and temperatures, and this recipe has proven to be a clear winner in my book.
The best temperature for cooking ribs
If you search for a recipe for cooking ribs you will find inconsistencies when it comes to temperature and time. I suppose that comes down to personal preference. I tried temperatures ranging from 225° to 350°, in 25° increments, with cook times of 2 to 4 hours, in 30-minute increments. 275° for 3 1/2 – 4 hours proved to have the best results every time.
What I love about cooking them at 275° is that it’s almost impossible to overcook them. Pork is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 145°, but once that temperature gets closer to 200°, the protein and collagen emulsify, causing the meat to become incredibly tender. Hence the sought after “fall off the bone” rib recipe.
The best method for cooking ribs
I almost always cook my ribs in the oven. You could cook them on the grill, in a slow cooker, or using a smoker if you have one. I don’t have a smoker (I wish), and keeping the temperature where you want it on a grill can be difficult. So, I find the oven to be the best method.
What’s the difference between spare and baby back ribs?
Back ribs are called baby back because they are smaller than spare ribs. Spare ribs are meatier and have a higher fat content, making them juicier and yummier than the back ribs. Back ribs are also often more expensive than spare ribs.
Remove the membrane
Once you get it going removing the membrane isn’t too challenging. Slide a knife under the pinkish filmy membrane and pull until completely removed. Alternately, your butcher will remove it for you if you ask.
Once the membrane is removed, rinse the ribs well and pat dry with a paper towel.
Make the Dry Rub: Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Season the ribs generously on both sides.
Bake for 2 hours with foil covering the ribs tightly
After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the oven to coat with your preferred sauce. My go-to is always Sweet Baby Rays.
Cover the ribs again with foil and return them to the oven to cook for 2 more hours.
Then, remove from the oven and coat again with the sauce. To finish, broil the ribs for 2 minutes on each side until the sauce is caramelized.
St. Louis Style Spare Ribs
- 1 full rack spare ribs (2-4 lbs.)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 cup preferred barbecue sauce
- Preheat oven to 275°
- Use a knife to remove the membrane from the bony side of the ribs.
- Rinse and dry the ribs.
- Combine the ingredients for the dry rub and season the ribs generously on both sides.
- Spray a pan lined with foil with non-stick cooking spray and place the ribs on the pan, meaty side up.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and add the ribs to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 2 hours, covered.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and generously coat both sides with the barbecue sauce.
- Cover the ribs again with foil and return to the oven.
- Bake 1½-2 more hours.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and coat again with the barbecue sauce.
- Set your oven to broil, broil ribs 3 minutes per side, or until sauce is caramelized.