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Birthday Dinners are a big deal in my house. As part of the birthday celebrations, I make my kids and husband whatever dinner they want on their birthday. The dinner of choice for my family has always been ribs, barbecued ribs are a family favorite, and over the years I have fine-tuned my rib game.
Think a rib dinner takes too long, or cooking ribs is hard? Think again! I’m sharing my tips and tricks for cooking the perfect rack of ribs in the oven, this is the perfect cooking method when you are short on time or even cooking ribs for the first time!
We live on a farm, so you know, Spring is super busy. My husband’s birthday was last week, and I don’t let the busyness of the kids baseball and softball practices and games, spring planting, and cow calving on the farm get in the way of a birthday dinner, a tender and juicy rack of ribs is easily within reach, all it takes is Smithfield Extra Tender Baby Back Ribs, an amazingly easy cooking technique, and a little bit of a helping hand at Walmart.
When you are busy and planning a special dinner for your family or even entertaining, take all the help where you can get it! Remember I said I get a little extra help at Walmart? I let Walmart do the shopping! If you follow me on Instagram you probably know I am a HUGE fan of Walmart grocery pick-up.
I have been grocery shopping for many years now, but still find I will wander from one side of the store to the other searching for items, it is such a huge time waste when I can be doing other things. But with just a few clicks online, and a short drive, Walmart picks out all my groceries and even loads them in my car, and I can come home to start my dinner. Easy Peasy, with no wasted time. Seriously Walmart’s Grocery Pickup service saves me a couple of hours each week, you’ve got to love that!
You know Walmart’s meat case has you covered with Smithfield Extra Tender Baby Back Ribs, but when you are putting together your Walmart grocery pick-up for your rib dinner don’t forget to add sides! One of my favorite time savers, pre-cut coleslaw makes for the perfect side dish to round out your rib dinner! You can also serve ribs with cornbread, Mac-n-Cheese, and potato salad, my family loves the picnic themed side dishes, and they go so well with the ribs!
Easy Oven Baked Ribs
Championship Pitmasters use Smithfield Fresh Pork in their competitions because the quality of the meat is crucial when making ribs. We like to prepare our Smithfield Extra Tender Baby Back Ribs Kansas City style, rubbed with a blend of spices, but instead of grilling, we cook the pork ribs slowly in a foil pouch in the oven, to seal in the juices. The ribs are served slathered with a homemade thick and flavorful tomato-based barbecue sauce. I’ve never competed in a Pitmaster cookoff, but my family thinks these ribs are winners!
If you are worried about making your own barbecue sauce, don’t be it is super easy! This is my family’s favorite sauce, I make large batches of it and freeze it. It only takes about an hour and most of that time is simmering. You will want to make it the day before you need it, the flavors really develop in the fridge overnight.
I am going to show you step by step how easy making perfect ribs in the oven is! But here is a quick overview, think of it as your rib cheat sheet 😉
- Buy the right rack of ribs, I love Smithfield Extra Pork Tender Ribs, they are my secret weapon to perfect ribs every time.
- Remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. The membrane tends to get tough, chewy and rubbery once cooked. Don’t worry I will show you how to remove it, it is super easy!
- Create a pouch to cook the ribs in with heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Rub the ribs with a flavorful dry rub
- Cook Low and Slow– 300 degrees F for about 2 ½ hours.
- Broil the ribs to caramelize the sauce: Heat the broiler and place an oven rack a few inches below the heating element. Make sure the meaty side of the ribs is facing up. Brush with your barbeque sauce and broil the ribs for about 5 minutes, watch closely, you just want the sugar in the sauce to start bubbling.
- Let your ribs rest for 5 minutes before serving to redistribute the meat’s juices.
The most important bit of advice I can give you is to absolutely make sure you buy the right rack of ribs. No one likes tough chewy ribs or ribs without a lot of meat on them. Smithfield Extra Tender Ribs are always tender and loaded with meat, for a filling meal. Smithfield Fresh Pork is perfect for any dinner, whether a great weeknight meal or as a birthday celebration meal with family and friends.
It took me years to figure out that removing the membrane on the bone side of the ribs is one of the secrets to authentic barbecue style ribs. The membrane can cook up differently than the rest of the rack of ribs, so removing it helps get a more consistent texture. It only takes about 2 minutes, and once you do it, you will wonder why you haven’t before.
To remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs:
At one end of the rack, slide a knife under the membrane and over a bone. Lift and loosen the membrane until it tears. Grab the edge of the membrane with a paper towel, this helps you get a good grasp on it, and pull it off. The membrane may come off in one whole piece, or you may need to remove it in smaller pieces.
Season your ribs with a flavorful dry rub, I like Bar-B-Que Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe, it is another homemade mix, that I know you will love! I also like to cut my ribs in half when I season them, it just seems to make serving them a little bit easier, but I know a lot of people like the presentation of a full rack of ribs.
Cooking the ribs the foil pouch is really the key to cooking great ribs in the oven. The foil seals in all the juices, and prevents the ribs from over-cooking, so you don’t have to constantly be checking in and babysitting the ribs while they cook. I usually take two long sheets of foil and seal them all around the edges, and place the whole package in a baking pan. The foil also makes clean up a breeze, you can’t beat that!
Once the ribs have finished baking in the foil pouch, remove them with tongs, and arrange on broiler pan, bony side up and brush with the homemade bbq sauce. The extra step of broiling the ribs in the oven caramelizes the barbeque sauce and really takes the rib experience to the next level. Just brush on sauce. Broil for a couple of minutes until sauce is cooked on and bubbly. Turn ribs over. Repeat on the meaty side.
Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.
- 4 lbs Smithfield Baby Back Pork Ribs
- 4 tablespoons Bar-B-Que Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe
- 2 cups Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce
To Make the Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce:
- A day before, in a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke, and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For a thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. A sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary. Brush sauce onto any kind of meat during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Oven Baked Ribs:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Pat ribs dry with a paper towel and remove the membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.
- Apply Bar-B-Que Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe rub to ribs on all sides.
- Lay ribs, bone side down on a long sheet of foil.
- Lay another layer of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, rolling the edges facing up to seal.
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 2-2 1/2 hours or until meat has started to shrink away from the ends of the bone.
- Remove from oven.
- To finish ribs under the broiler, set oven to broil and place the ribs bone side up, on a broiling rack, brush with barbeque sauce and place, uncovered, under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and cooked on, watch carefully, so they don’t burn. Turn the ribs over and repeat on the meaty side. Remove the ribs from the broiling pan and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
According to USDA, ribs have reached a safe temperature when they are at 145°F internal temp. But if you cook them up to 190 to 203°F, the collagens and fats melt making the meat more tender and juicy.
I know this was a longer post than what you are used to seeing from me, but there was a time when I dreaded when my family requested ribs. I didn’t know what kind of rib meat to look for or even how to cook it, this recipe and cooking method is the result of years of trial and error, now I knock every birthday dinner out of the park, and you can too 🙂
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Do you have any birthday traditions in your family? Do you do special birthday dinners? What does your family often request?