Are you craving some deliciously tender and juicy pork ribs, but don’t have a grill or smoker? Fear not, because slow cooking pork ribs in the oven is a great alternative that yields equally mouth-watering results.
But how long should you cook them for? With so many different recipes and methods out there, it can be hard to know what’s best.
In this article, we’ll explore various techniques and tips for slow cooking pork ribs in the oven, so you can achieve fall-off-the-bone perfection every time.
Get ready to impress your taste buds and your guests with these mouthwatering ribs!
How Long To Slow Cook Pork Ribs In Oven?
When it comes to slow cooking pork ribs in the oven, the key is to cook them low and slow. This means baking them at a low temperature for several hours to allow the meat to become tender and juicy.
For baby back ribs, we recommend baking them for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours covered, and then continuing to bake them for another hour or two, or until the ribs almost fall off the bone. For St. Louis-style spareribs, you can bake them for 4 to 5 1/2 hours at first (covered), and then finish them off in the oven uncovered.
To ensure your pork ribs are as tender and juicy as possible, it’s important to either double-wrap the pork in foil to prevent it from drying out or cover the roasting pan with foil and make sure it’s tight enough to not let out moisture. The steam will make the meat extra tender.
If you want to check if your ribs are done, stick a meat thermometer into the center of the ribs and bake at 225°F for about 3-5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F with an internal thermometer. At this point, the meat will completely shred from the bone during serving.
Preparing The Ribs For Slow Cooking
Before slow cooking your pork ribs in the oven, it’s important to prepare them properly. The first step is to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. This can be done by sliding your fingers around the side to loosen it up and then ripping it off.
Next, you can choose to give your ribs a dry rub for additional flavor. This step is optional, but some people prefer it. To make a dry rub, combine spices such as brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper and rub it evenly on top of the ribs.
Once you have prepared your ribs, it’s time to place them in the slow cooker. If your rack of ribs is too big for the slow cooker, cut it into a few sections. Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar. Lay them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil and do a quick pre-bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes on each side to seal in the juices and render some of the fat.
After pre-baking, layer the ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker or curl the rack around the inside. Pour your desired amount of barbecue sauce over the ribs and cook on low for 4-6 hours until they are tender but not falling off the bone.
Once your ribs have finished cooking in the slow cooker, you can baste them with more barbecue sauce and finish them off in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes until they get crispy on top. Brush with additional sauce if needed.
By following these steps to prepare your pork ribs for slow cooking in the oven, you can ensure that they come out tender and juicy every time.
Choosing The Right Seasonings And Sauces
When it comes to seasoning your pork ribs, there are endless possibilities. However, some seasonings work better than others when it comes to slow cooking. One popular option is to use a dry rub, which is a mixture of spices and herbs that are rubbed onto the meat before cooking. Dry rubs can be customized to your liking and can include ingredients such as paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Another option is to use a mustard mixture as a base before applying the dry rub. Mustard helps the dry rub stick to the meat and also adds a tangy flavor. To make a mustard mixture, simply mix together yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar.
Once your ribs are cooked to perfection, it’s time to add some sauce. BBQ sauce is a classic choice, but there are many different types of sauces available on the market or you can make your own. Some popular options include sweet and tangy, spicy, or smoky flavors. It’s important to add the sauce towards the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t burn or become too thick.
When choosing a sauce, consider the flavor profile of your dry rub and choose a sauce that complements it well. For example, if you used a spicy dry rub, you may want to choose a sweet BBQ sauce to balance out the heat.
Slow Cooking Techniques For Pork Ribs In The Oven
Slow cooking pork ribs in the oven requires patience and attention to detail. There are several techniques you can use to ensure that your ribs come out perfectly tender and juicy.
First, it’s important to cook the ribs at a low temperature for an extended period of time. There are three basic ways to cook a rack of pork ribs in the oven: 4 hours at 250°F, 3 hours at 300°F, or 2 hours at 350°F. However, the key is to monitor the ribs partway through the bake and then about a half-hour before the end, as you don’t want to overcook and toughen up the meat.
Another important technique is to season your ribs with your favorite rub or marinade. You can use Dale’s marinade, grill seasoning, or simply salt and pepper. Once seasoned, place the ribs meat side down in baking dishes and cover them with aluminum foil. This will help to seal in moisture and prevent the meat from drying out.
If you want fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, you may want to consider removing the membrane (white piece of skin on the back of the ribs). While this is not necessary, some people swear by it. To remove the membrane, use a sharp knife to pick a corner and carefully insert the tip of the knife between the meat and the membrane to separate it. Once you have enough to get a good grip, use your hands to slowly pull the membrane back, removing it from the meat.
Finally, if desired, you can add BBQ sauce to your ribs during the last 20-30 minutes of baking. This will give them a delicious caramelized flavor on top.
By using these slow cooking techniques for pork ribs in the oven, you can ensure that your ribs come out perfectly tender and juicy every time.
How To Check For Doneness
One of the most important factors in cooking pork ribs is ensuring that they are cooked to the right temperature. The best way to check if your ribs are done is to use an instant-read thermometer. When inserting the thermometer, be sure not to touch the bone as this can give an inaccurate reading.
For back ribs and spare ribs, it’s recommended to cook them to an internal temperature of 185-200°F. At this temperature, the collagen has fully broken down into gelatin, resulting in tender and juicy meat. For country-style ribs, you can cook them to a lower temperature of 145-160°F depending on your preference for pork doneness.
Another helpful cue to tell when your ribs are done cooking is to look for bone tips that are exposed. When the meat begins to retract, exposing the rib tips, this is a good indication that the ribs are close to being done. You can also hold the rack of ribs in the middle with tongs and look for a sagging reverse U shape. If the meat cracks, this is another sign that the ribs are done.
You can also perform a rib twist test by grabbing an exposed bone tip with tongs and gently twisting it. If the bone turns easily, then your ribs are done. Finally, you can use a toothpick test by inserting a toothpick between the ribs. If it easily penetrates the meat, then your pork ribs are tender and juicy.
By using these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your slow-cooked pork ribs come out perfectly every time, with tender and juicy meat that falls off the bone.
Resting And Serving Your Perfectly Cooked Pork Ribs.
Once your pork ribs have been slow cooked to perfection, it’s important to let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat to settle and the juices to redistribute throughout the ribs, making them even more tender and flavorful.
To rest your pork ribs, simply remove them from the oven and cover them with foil. Let them rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting them into individual portions. This will ensure that each piece is juicy and delicious.
When it comes to serving your pork ribs, there are a variety of options. You can serve them as is, or you can add your favorite barbecue sauce for an extra kick of flavor. Some people even like to finish their ribs on the grill for a smoky finish.
No matter how you choose to serve your pork ribs, they are sure to be a hit at any backyard barbecue or family dinner. Just remember to take your time and cook them low and slow for the best results.