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These baby back ribs are seasoned with a homemade dry rub and then baked in the oven till they are tender and fall off the bone. Slather these ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce and finish them on the grill for juicy, tender fall-off-the-bone ribs!
What are dry rub ribs?
Dry rub ribs are pork ribs that you either bake or grill after using a dry spice rub on them.
Seasoning ribs with a dry rub involves mixing different spices together and then rubbing them on the ribs without any wet ingredients. When they cook, it gives the ribs this deliciously caramelized exterior!
Different types of pork ribs
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There are different types/styles of pork ribs you can buy. The most common pork ribs people barbecue are baby back ribs and spare ribs.
Here’s the difference!
Baby back ribs
Baby back ribs come from the part where the ribs meet the back of the pig and are lean and short (hence the baby in the name).
Although short, they have a lot of meat on all sides of the bone and are so tender!
Spare ribs come from the lower ribs and are typically cut in St. Louis style. They are more fatty, which people like for flavor purposes.
I prefer baby back ribs and used them in this recipe!
How to prep ribs for grilling
Before seasoning the dry rub ribs, there is some prep work to be done.
The thick membrane on the back of the ribs needs to remove before seasoning and cooking the ribs. If you don’t remove it, it will be hard and chewy once they are cooked.
The easiest way to remove it is to ask the butcher to do it for you when buying the meat. However, if you want to do it yourself, follow the steps below!
How to remove the rib membrane
It takes a bit of work (and some tugging) but here’s how to remove the membrane!
- Place the ribs so that the curved back is facing up.
- Using a sharp knife, on one end of the rack, slice under the membrane but above the bone.
- Using your fingers, pinch and pull so the membrane begins to lift.
- Because the membrane can be slippery, use a paper towel to grip the membrane.
- Peel back the entire membrane across the rack of ribs and discard.
The membrane doesn’t always come off at once, and some areas may be more stubborn to get off. Just keep pulling until it all comes off!
What is a dry rub?
Everyone has their favorite way to season ribs. There are dry rubs, wet rubs, and marinades. Making your own dry rub is so easy to do at home.
It is called a dry rub because the ingredients are dry, and you rub them into the meat without any additional oil.
Best spices for rib dry rub
My dry rub gives the ribs the most incredible flavor. It’s both smoky and sweet and has a hint of spice.
Here are the spices and ingredients I used in my dry rub:
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Granulated garlic
- Granulated onion
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Smoked salt
- Kosher salt
How to make the best dry rub for ribs
Using a spoon, mix the seasonings together.
The dry rub ingredients are enough for four racks of ribs. Whatever is leftover, I just put it in a jar so it’s ready to go the next time I make dry rub ribs.
The brown sugar can clump, so use a spoon to smooth it out.
How to add dry rub to ribs
- Slather some yellow mustard on first and brush it all over the ribs. Using the yellow mustard not only helps the rub stick to the ribs, but the vinegar helps tenderize the rib meat.
- Sprinkle some of the spice rub over the ribs, and using your fingers, massage it into the rack.
- Flip over and repeat.
- After you have rubbed both sides of the ribs, wrap them in foil.
- Place the two racks in the fridge for 2 hours to marinate.
Be gentle so you do not tear the foil. If there is a tear, the liquid will leak and leave you with dried-out ribs. I wrap an extra piece in the middle to really make sure they are sealed.
How-to bake ribs in the oven
What makes these baby back ribs fall off the bone is the low and slow cook time in the oven.
I cook them at 275°F for 2 1/2 hours. The moisture is locked in, giving you tender, juicy ribs.
After 2 1/2 hours, remove from the oven and use a thermometer to check the temperature.
Ribs are technically done at 145°F, but for tender, juicy ribs, the temperature should be 190-200°F.
Finish the dry rub ribs on the grill
To get that delicious char on the ribs, I finish them on the grill. Once you remove them from the oven, brush your favorite BBQ sauce on top!
On a medium-heated grill (350°F), place the ribs top side down (the side you slathered the BBQ with). While that side chars, brush more BBQ sauce on the ribs.
Char the dry rub ribs for about 10 minutes total, flipping halfway through and adding BBQ sauce as needed.
How to flip ribs on the grill
Since the ribs will be SO tender coming out of the oven, they may split when grilling. I use two sets of tongs, one on each side, to flip them and help them from falling apart.
How to cut the ribs
The best way to cut baby back ribs is curved side up. This allows you to see the bones and make even slices. Make sure to use a good sharp knife to get clean cuts.
Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side and enjoy!
How to store leftover ribs
I like to use leftover dry rub ribs in my salad or just reheat them and enjoy them the next day. It’s best to cut the meat from the bones before you store the ribs.
Store leftover rib meat in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
These slow-cooked oven ribs literally fall off the bone. I hope you enjoy these juicy, tender, dry-rubbed ribs!
Looking for more grilling recipes?
- Marinated Steak Skewers with Chimichurri
- The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
- Marinated Flank Steak
- Grilled Corn and Halloumi Salad
- Jerk Chicken Skewers
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- 2 racks baby back ribs (membrane removed (see note #1))
- 4 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- BBQ sauce of choice
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- See note #1 on removing membrane from baby back ribs.
- In a bowl, add all of the spices. Mix with a spoon until combined. Use the back of the spoon to press out any large clumps.
- Tear two sheets of aluminum foil, long enough to pass the sides of each rack of ribs. Place one rack, curved side up, per foil. Using a brush, spread 1 tbsp of yellow mustard on each rack. Sprinkle a 1/4 of the dry rub on the rack and using your fingers, spread. Flip the racks over and repeat mustard and dry rubbing.
- Once the ribs have been rubbed, carefully wrap the aluminum foil closed. I add an extra sheet of foil around the center, to ensure the ribs are fully sealed. [See note #3]
- Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 275F. Remove ribs from refrigerator, place on baking sheet (curved side down) and bake for 2 1/2 hours. If you see liquid start coming out onto the baking pan, carefully wrap with more foil.
- Preheat grill to 350F. After the ribs have baked low and slow in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, remove from the oven. Carefully open the foil. Using a meat thermometer, take the temperature in between the bones. Pork is technically done at 145F, but you want the temperature at 190F-200F for tender juicy ribs.
- Using your favorite BBQ sauce, brush the top of the ribs with the sauce. Since the ribs will be so tender, they may fall apart transferring to the grill. Use two sets of tongs (one on each side) to help them stay together when flipping. Place the ribs sauced side down, onto the grill. While that side chars, brush BBQ sauce on the side facing up. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, until ribs get charred grill marks. Remove from grill.
- To slice, place the ribs curved side up, so you can see the bones. Slice in between bones and serve with additional BBQ sauce.
- Ask a butcher to remove the membrane when buying the ribs. If removing it yourself: Place the ribs so the curve back is facing up. Using a sharp knife, on one end of the rack, slice under the membrane but above the bone. Using your fingers, pinch and pull so the membrane begins to lift. Because the membrane can be slippery, use a paper towel to grip the membrane and peel back to remove, discard. The membrane doesn’t always come off at once and some areas may be more stubborn to get off.
- Dry rub makes enough for 2 racks of ribs. Double ingredients for 4 racks of ribs. If you have leftover rub, you can store in a sealed jar for later use.
- Make sure there are no holes or tears in the foil. Any punctures or rips will let liquid out and you’ll end up with dried out ribs.
- Favorite BBQ sauce to use: Lillie’s Q Smokey BBQ sauce