Sweet and Smoky Oven Baked Ribs

Sweet and Smoky Oven Baked Ribs

OMG. Is this the longest week ever? I feel like weeks before long holiday weekends always last an eternity. This is like the third Thursday this week. But sadly the long weekend will be over before you can say “pumpkin spice season”. Oh yes friends, the most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us. I can almost smell the spiced cider. However, before we dive into leggings and scarves and boots (oh my!), we have to give summer a proper, if unofficial, sendoff. What better to say “so long” to the season that turns me into a sweaty, sticky, falling-apart mess than with sweet, messy, falling apart baby back ribs. Ever the bigger person, I’ll treat summer infinitely better than it’s treated me. Seriously though, enough with the heat waves.

For the longest time I was under the impression that ribs were difficult to make, so I didn’t bother. Justin loves the pre-cooked, pre-sauced packages of ribs that they sell at the grocery store, so we would pick up a rack of those whenever the mood struck us. But about 2 years ago I decided to take the plunge and make the ribs myself. This is one of those situations where a tiny bit of effort yields huge rewards. You will never go back to pre-made  ribs again. And truly, it could not be simpler. Mix up a sweet and flavorful spice blend with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, rub it onto the ribs, and cover  and refrigerate them for 4-24 hours. You can get away with 2 hours in the fridge, but if you can at all plan ahead, it is worth it. Then bake the ribs in a super low oven, which allows them to become mouth-wateringly tender. The meat literally falls off the bones. Two coats of your favorite barbecue sauce and a quick spell under the broiler and these ribs are done. The result is insanely sweet, succulent and slightly smoky- just what ribs should be. And since you’re eating them at home, you can make as big a mess as you’d like. Take that, summer. I mean… Bon Voyage!

Sweet and Smoky Oven Ribs

Sweet and Smoky Oven Baked Ribs


  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • tiny pinch of ground cloves (less than 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce


In a small bowl, mix ingredients from brown sugar through cloves.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pat ribs dry. If silver skin remains on the ribs, remove it(see here for a how-to.) Rub spice mixture generously over all sides of ribs. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.

When ready to bake ribs, remove them from refrigerator and pre-heat oven to 250. Bake ribs, covered, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until they are tender and meat pulls easily away from bones. Remove ribs from oven and remove foil cover. Pre-heat broiler. Brush ribs with half of barbecue sauce and place under broiler about 3-4 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove ribs from oven and brush with more sauce. Place ribs back under broiler for another 3-4 minutes. Remove ribs from oven and cut along bones into pieces. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce.

Serves 4.

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