Barbecue Ribs

Tender, fall off the bone ribs with a caramelized barbecue sauce are so delicious any time of year, whether you’re craving comfort food in the colder months, or having barbecues in the warmer months.

This is one of the easiest recipe to prepare the Barbecue ribs and I’m sharing many successful methods to cook them – baking the ribs in the oven, cooking them in the Instant Pot, slow cooker and even grilling the ribs. 


I love the simplicity of this recipe that gets amazing results – juicy meat that melts in your mouth. The prep work takes not time at all and you can be successful in a small apartment kitchen or if you have a large backyard grill.

My personal favorite method is using the Instant Pot to cook the ribs, which is the fastest method, and then caramelizing the barbecue sauce in the oven on broil or on the grill.

You can make your own homemade Barbecue Sauce (I have a great recipe if you’d like to try it), doctor up store bought barbecue sauce by adding marmalade, honey, maple syrup, soy sauce etc, or keep it really easy by using your favorite sauce right out of the bottle.

Video Recipe:

Preparing the Ribs

Baby Back Ribs Vs. Spare Ribs (St. Lois Style Ribs)

Both baby back ribs or St. Lois style ribs (sometimes called spare ribs) can be used for this recipe. They are both from the same cut of the pig, but the baby back ribs are cut from the top part of the ribcage, closer to the loin, so they are more smaller and more tender. The spare ribs (St. Lois style ribs) are cut from the bottom of the rib cage, are bigger and meatier.

This recipe is easily doubled (tripled or quadrupled, if you’re having a big party). Two racks usually fit well into one slow cooker, Instant Pot or baking sheet.

To prepare the ribs, trim off excess fat, if needed. Don’t remove all the fat (this will help to keep the meat juicy and most of the fat will render off during the cooking process. It’s actually not necessary to remove the membrane, especially when using the Instant Pot. The membrane will keep the ribs from falling apart when you broil them or grill them at the very end. You can remove the membrane if you prefer though.

Combine all the ingredients for the spice rub together.

Sprinkle the spice rub on both sides of the rib rack and rub it in well all over.

Oven Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the rib rack on the prepared baking sheet and cover very tightly with aluminum foil. This will create steam while the ribs are roasting and ensure that the meat is juicy and moist. If you notice that there isn’t any steam during the roasting, add up to 1/4 cup water to the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Place the steaming rack inside the Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup water.  Place the seasoned rib rack on top on the steaming rack.
  2. Close the Instant Pot and cook on Manual mode, High Pressure, for 40 minutes. Baby back ribs don’t have as much meat on them as spare ribs, so they don’t take as long to cook. If you are using spare ribs or are cooking 2 racks of ribs at the same time, you can increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.
  3. Naturally release the pressure. 

Slow Cooker Method

  1. Double the amount of barbecue sauce for the recipe. Brush the seasoned rib rack with barbecue sauce on both sides and place the rib rack inside the slow cooker. Reserve the remaining barbecue sauce to brush on the ribs later.
  2. Pour in 1/4 cup of water into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 3-5 hours on high, depending on the size of the ribs and how many racks you are cooking.

Broiling the Barbecue Ribs

  1. When the ribs are ready, take them out of the pressure cooker. Check for doneness by pulling on the ribs and when they are ready, the meat will begin to pull away from the bone. Depending on how tender you want the ribs to be, they will be either soft but holding together, or so tender, they are falling off the bone. Be really careful when taking them out of the Instant Pot/Slow Cooker so they don’t fall apart.
  2. Brush the rib rack(s) with barbecue sauce on both sides, and put them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. (If you cooked the ribs in the oven, just keep them on the same baking sheet.)
  3. Cook the ribs under the broiler, on the high rack of the oven, for about 3-5 minutes, until caramelized and charred in spots.

Grilling the Ribs:

  1. There are several ways to cook the prepared ribs – the oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot and then, instead of broiling the ribs, place them on the grill for 5-8 minutes on high heat. Preheat the grill for about 15 minutes first. Then, place the ribs on the grill and brush them with more barbecue sauce.
  2. Grill the ribs on one or both sides (be careful when handling so the ribs don’t fall apart), uncovered, until the ribs are caramelized and charred in spots.

Serving the Barbecue Ribs

  1. Let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes, tenting loosely with aluminum foil, if you’re going to be serving them right away. You can keep them warm in an oven at 175-200 degrees Fahrenheit, covered loosely with foil, for up to 30 minutes. Cut ribs between bones to separate, and serve, with the option of more barbecue sauce.

Make Ahead:

  1. The seasoned ribs can be refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time.
  2. You can also cook them all the way through in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker, then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just reheat them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven until warm and then continue with the broiling. Reheat on medium heat on the grill, covered, then on high heat, uncovered, after the ribs are warmed through, to caramelize. 
    Print

    Barbecue Ribs

    • Author: Olga's Flavor Factory
    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 120 minutes
    • Total Time: 135 minutes
    • Yield: 4 1x
    • Category: Main Course

    Description

    Tender, fall off the bone ribs with a caramelized barbecue sauce is so delicious any time of year, whether you’re craving comfort food in the colder months, or having barbecues in the warmer months.


    Scale

    Ingredients

    • 1 rack of ribs (either baby back or St. Lois cut)
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce

    Spice Rub:

    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Instructions

    Preparing the Ribs

    1. Both baby back ribs or St. Lois style ribs (sometimes called spare ribfor this recipe. To prepare the ribs, trim off excess fat, if needed.
    2. Combine all the ingredients for the spice rub together. Sprinkle the spice rub on both sides of the rib rack and rub it in well all over.

    Oven Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
    2. Place the rib rack on the prepared baking sheet and cover very tightly with aluminum foil. This will create steam while the ribs are roasting and ensure that the meat is juicy and moist. If you notice that there isn’t any steam during the roasting, add up to 1/4 cup water to the baking sheet.
    3. Bake for about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

    Instant Pot Method

    1. Place the steaming rack inside the Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup water.  Put the seasoned rib rack on top on the steaming rack.
    2. Close the Instant Pot and cook on Manual mode, High Pressure, for 40 minutes. Baby back ribs don’t have as much meat on them as spare ribs, so they don’t take as long to cook. If you are using spare ribs or are cooking 2 racks of ribs at the same time, you can increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.
    3. Naturally release the pressure.

    Slow Cooker Method

    1. Double the amount of barbecue sauce for the recipe. Brush the seasoned rib rack with barbecue sauce on both sides and place the rib rack inside the slow cooker. Reserve the remaining barbecue sauce to brush on the ribs later.
    2. Pour in 1/4 cup of water into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 3-5 hours on high, depending on the size of the ribs and how many racks you are cooking.

    Broiling the Barbecue Ribs

    1. When the ribs are ready, take them out of the pressure cooker. Depending on how tender you want the ribs to be, they will be either soft but holding together, or so tender, they are falling off the bone. Be really careful when taking them out of the Instant Pot/Slow Cooker so they don’t fall apart.
    2. Brush the rib rack(with barbecue sauce on both sides, and put them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. (If you cooked the ribs in the oven, just keep them on the same baking sheet.) Cook the ribs under the broiler, on the high rack of the oven, for about 3-5 minutes, until caramelized and charred in spots.

    Grilling the Ribs:

    1. There are several ways to cook the prepared ribs – the oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot and then, instead of broiling the ribs, place them on the grill for 5-8 minutes on high heat. Preheat the grill for about 15 minutes first, place the ribs on the grill and then brush them with more barbecue sauce.
    2. Grill the ribs on one or both sides (be careful when handling so the ribs don’t fall apart), uncovered, until the ribs are caramelized and charred in spots.

    Serving the Barbecue Ribs

    1. Let the ribs rest for about 10 minutes, tenting loosely with aluminum foil, if you’re going to be serving them right away. You can keep them warm in an oven at 175-200 degrees Fahrenheit, covered loosely with foil, for up to 30 minutes. Cut ribs between bones to separate, and serve, with the option of more barbecue sauce.

    Make Ahead:

    1. The seasoned ribs can be refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time.
    2. You can also cook them all the way through in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker, then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just reheat it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven until warm and then continue with the broiling. You can also reheat on medium heat on the grill, covered, then on high heat, uncovered, after the ribs are warmed through, to caramelize.

    Notes

    It is very easy to double the recipe. Two racks usually fit easily into one Instant Pot, slow cooker or baking pan.

 

21 Comments

  • Nadia

    Olga!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe it!!!! Oh wow! They look delishhhh!!! I can not wait to make them!!! Vladimirs birthday is next week maybe I’ll surprise him with ribs!!!!! Olga thank you soo much

  • Foodiewife

    Wow! These are gorgeous ribs! I’m pinning this, because my men love ribs. We much prefer to slow grill them, but I like having an oven version as well. Thanks for commenting on my blog. So glad you liked my chicken recipe. I’m going to peruse more of your recipes. Great blog!

  • Roza

    Olga thank you so much for posting this! The ribs turned out amazing!!! The meat literary falls off the bone! This is my favorite rib recipe by far and my family really enjoyed them also.

  • Maria N.

    These are the best ribs I’ve tried. I was always reluctant to make a homemade rub thinking it wouldn’t be good. But i proved myself wrong. Even my husband thought it was good.(He can be picky at times). Know I can’t wait for guests to come, So I can make these delicious ribs.

  • Luba

    I really like this homemade barbecue sauce. I make ribs offten and this time used your recipe when my family was over. It turned out great, thank you! The only thing is that I will probably not buy St.Lois(spareribs) again. I usually get baby back but this time decided to get St.Lois(spareribs) and didnt relly like it, it has this “pork taste”… ribs are the only thing I make using pork meat..

    • olgak7

      That’s awesome, Luba!
      I use this barbecue recipe for many different dishes. It’s very easy to make and has a great, well rounded taste that goes with most options. I prefer baby back ribs too.

  • Irina

    These were awesome ribs, just made them for our family get together the other night. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the post.

  • Lana

    I never thought I would be brave enough to attempt ribs at home. But you have made it super easy and I was impressed. Ribs turned out great! Thanks again!! Love your site — my favorite food blog for sure!

  • tanya

    to my rescue once again Olga!! i am expecting company today and bought ribs to serve, problem is i don’t know how to make them!!! had all these spices in my pantry. thank you for saving me. i love you and God bless you abundantly!!

  • Milla

    Olga thanks a lot for easy made and delicious ribs. We had it last night for diner. It is what I was looking for a while. I didn’t have garlic and onion powder and had to use raw instead. It comes out very good and delicious. And your BBQ sauce is outstanding it is my favorite now. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us. we like to taste your flavor factory on our plates:) It is sooooo good.
    Many blessings to you and your family!

  • Laura

    They turned out super tender and juicy! Made them in the instant pot and added 3 big potatoes under them which I mashed later. Delicious!

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