Matt and I are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring. Until then, we’re attempting to brighten the last few days of winter with summery meals like tacos with lime-jalapeño slaw and pasta tossed with garlic and fresh veggies. Last weekend’s summer-inspired food was a new one for us: oven-roasted pork spare ribs with homemade barbecue sauce!
Spare ribs are a thicker, meatier (and, in my opinion, more cartilage-filled) cut than the ‘baby back ribs’ that you’re likely to see in restaurants. Spare ribs are an inexpensive cut (just $2.99/lb at Acme), so they were a good starting point for our first rib-roasting experience. Nevertheless we agreed that next time we make ribs we’ll opt for the pricier and more tender baby backs.
From start to finish this recipe took about 6 hours but most of that time was hands-off oven-roasting. The most time consuming part was making the barbecue sauce but if you don’t have time to do that you could easily use bottled sauce instead. When you serve the ribs, make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand… these are juicy, saucy, and delicious!
Oven-Roasted Pork Spare Ribs (from The New Best Recipe)
Ingredients for the Dry Rub:
1/8 cup Paprika
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Ingredients for the Ribs:
1 rack Pork Spare Ribs (approx. 3-4 lbs.)
Dry Rub (above)
1 1/2 cups Barbecue Sauce (homemade or bottled)
Mix the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl. Place the rack of ribs on a large rimmed baking sheet and, using your hands, spread the dry rub over the entire surface of the ribs (top and bottom). We found the rub to be a little overwhelming so next time we make this I’ll probably only use about 3/4 of the rub. Position the rubbed ribs meaty side up and allow to sit at room temperature for 1.5 hours. (If desired, you could also cover and refrigerate the rack for up to 24 hours which will produce a very strong rub flavor.)
After the ribs have rested, cover the baking sheet tightly with foil and place in a preheated 300°F oven on the middle rack. Allow to roast for 1 hour, then remove the foil and continue roasting for another hour. Remove the ribs from the oven and liberally apply about half of the barbecue sauce over the top (meaty side) of the ribs with a brush. Return the ribs to the oven for another 1 1/2 hours.
When the ribs are done roasting, remove them from the oven and wrap the ribs (without the pan) completely in foil. Place the foil-wrapped ribs in a paper bag and fold/crimp the top of the bag shut. Allow the ribs to rest at room temperature in the bag for 1 hour.
After resting, unwrap the ribs and cut them between the bones with a sharp knife. Serve with the remaining barbecue sauce and enjoy!