A few years into our marriage, Joe and I bought a grill as an anniversary gift to ourselves. That was the beginning of one of our favorite warm weather activities. We look forward to the nights when our meal plan involves standing out on the deck making the entire neighborhood jealous with the smells coming from our yard. At first we played it safe grilling burgers, chicken and veggies but the last couple of years, we've started branching out and learning how to grill some foods that scare us.
One of those things that we've experimented with is ribs. Growing up, my family always cooked boneless ribs in the crock-pot and they were one of my favorite things to eat, but ever since our rib grill off date night a few summers ago, we've been pretty partial to whole racks of ribs with Joe's glaze creation, and we'll never go back to anything else. We've gotten really good at grilling or smoking ribs, but during the colder months when we don't want to cook outside, we miss this recipe so I decided that this year we will make them four different ways (in the oven, crock-pot, grill and smoker) and share our technique for each of those with you!
To start out, cut the membrane off the back of the ribs. Joe watched a few great YouTube videos to find the most effective way to do this. I don't remember which one is his favorite, but there are a few great ones out there if you're looking. I personally liked to make slices in the membrane rather than peeling it all the way off. After the ribs are cleaned and prepared, apply your favorite dry rub to both sides. We recently discovered a really delicious one at a local meat shop and we're obsessed with it! You can grab our our favorite rib rub here (affiliate link). We wrap the meat in tin foil and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
When you're ready to start cooking, take the meat out of the fridge and set it on the counter while your oven preheats to 275° F. I suggest starting your ribs four hours before you’re planning on serving them. When the oven is almost preheated, transfer your ribs to a fresh piece of tin foil and rub brown sugar on both sides. Wrap the ribs up and seal the packet, then place them on a baking sheet that has also been covered in tin foil. You'll want that tin foil covering because any juices that escape the rib packet will cook onto the baking sheet and it will be a pain to clean off. Set a timer for three hours and transfer your pan of ribs to the center rack in the oven. Now you get to sit and enjoy the smell of the ribs cooking!
When the ribs have about an hour left, prepare the glaze (Sweet and Sassy Glaze recipe found here). Remove the ribs from the oven and apply the glaze to one side of the ribs using a grill mop, like this one (affiliate link). Set any remaining glaze aside. Wrap the ribs back up and return them to the oven for the remaining hour. After the hour is up, use a meat thermometer to test the temperature in the middle of the rack. When the temperature reaches 165° F, you'll know they're cooked through.
After you’ve determined that the ribs are cooked through, make sure they are covered tightly in the aluminum foil and let them rest on the counter for half an hour. When the half hour is up, turn your oven onto low broil and use a spoon or the grill mop to drip the remaining glaze on the ribs. Put the rack, uncovered, into the oven on broil so that the glaze has a chance to create a sugary crust on the ribs. I usually leave the ribs in for about five or ten minutes. Let your ribs sit again for five minutes after you remove them from the oven, then cut them up and serve them warm!
I love to serve our oven baked ribs with my favorite Drop Rolls. Usually I stick to freezer rolls that you just have to thaw, raise and bake, but these rolls are really easy to make and I wanted to start using the recipe more. I always look forward to the Sunday nights when my mom made Drop Rolls for dinner and I probably eat more than my fair share when she does. They're even better served with homemade jam, yum!
Oven Cooked Ribs and Drop Rolls are the perfect combination for a Sunday evening or just a fun gathering with friends and family. We look forward to summer when we can enjoy the day grilling or smoking a rack or ribs out in the yard, but for the colder days, these ribs were pretty delicious too!
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography