World’s Greatest Baby Back Ribs

World’s Greatest Baby Back Ribs

By Robert Spears!



1-2 racks of baby back ribs, or more depending upon how many you are trying to feed.

One rack will feed usually feed two, but big eaters can often eat a rack themselves.

Barbeque sauce, either a good purchased one or it is easy to make your own.


Dry Rub:
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Optional-if you like it spicy add 1-2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Can also add another tablespoon of black pepper.


Cooking the ribs:

Mix all of the dry rub seasoning together in a bowl. Bring the ribs to room temperature and apply the rub generously to the ribs. Rub it into the meat, then let it sit for one hour.

Place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet, then cover the ribs with foil and bake in the oven at 275 degrees for two hours.


You can then take one of two steps. Either remove the foil, slather with barbeque sauce, and place bake into the oven uncovered for 30 minutes or until meat is falling of the bone.

Or, you can finish the ribs off on your grill by the same method. Just don’t place them directly over high heat or the sauce will burn. Baste them a time or two with sauce until done.



Want to pair your Ribs with the perfect desert?  Here you go!

There are 111 comments for this article
  1. Lauren at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for your recipe. I’ve never made ribs before and have noticed large differences in cooking times. I just want to make sure I’m cooking them long enough

    • Karen Ekstrom at 3:45 pm

      Hi Lauren… The difference in the cooking time has to do with the taste and the tenderness of the meat. A lower temperature and ribs cooked for a longer time makes for tenderer meat… like falling off the bone… or almost. Plus, the spices sink in more… So, to be frank… the longer, slower cooked ribs will have more of that BBQ taste and be more tender than ones cooked faster at a higher temperature. (But, if you don’t have the time and just have to have the ribs, a shorter cooking time will put them on the table faster…) And that’s the down and dirt of cooking ribs!!!

    • Jerry at 7:25 pm

      You want to cook them.until the meat draws up on the bone 1/4-1/2″ . They should bend in the middle when you pick them.up from the grill also.

  2. Lorraine at 5:13 pm

    Can I cook them for an hour at 275 degrees the day before then cook them the rest of the time the next morning. I want to bring them for a potluck

    • Karen Ekstrom at 9:26 pm

      Hi Lorraine, I contacted Robert Spears. Asked him. This is what he said. “Maybe not sure. They might be better off just cooking them in a crock pot overnight on low. Or you might cook in the oven overnight at 200 or something really low. I lave done that with a pork shoulder.” Good luck!

    • Lance at 11:35 am

      You can follow the recipe above then after they are done in the oven stick them in your fridge until you are ready to grill and sauce them. That’s what we do in restaurants.

    • Ron S. at 10:28 am

      Yes…..I do this often. Remove from heat but leave in the foil to cool.

      I reheat mine in the grill (Slow cooker/oven works too) and then when hot, I transfer carefully to direct grilling and shake more dry rub or baste with sauce to finish. Try not to move….they will almost fall apart just looking at them. Purchase a BIG flipper (fish flipper) from a kitchen gadget store or home goods store…I use 2 of them.

    • LT at 1:28 pm

      Yep and smart to do because all you need to do the next day is warm it back up to temp, still in the same foil from the day before and take it over. No worries and probably tastier yet because the meat has absorbed more of the sauce.

    • Karen Ekstrom at 8:24 am

      Robert doesn’t remove the membrane… I’ve never thought about it or known anyone that does. But now that you’ve asked the question, I feel a little queasy… You might not be comfortable with ribs. Why not try smoking a brisket? It’s fabulous and membrane-less! Here’s the link.

    • Pablo at 8:35 am

      To remove the membrane start on one end and try to remove it slow…once you have 1 to 2 inches removed get paper napkin and pull the rest getting help by the napkin.

      The membrane will be easy to remove.

      • Ron S. at 10:29 am

        yes…it’s not hard at all. Get a butter knife started on one end and grab with paper towel or napkin and pull. It’s worth the trouble.

  3. Ashley at 2:26 pm

    Trying this recipe tonight. PJ I always remove the membrane. I’m not a big fan of it. My Dad taught me how. Just take a really sharp knife and slide it underneath and pull it up.

      • Nancy Bell at 2:54 pm

        You dont really have to remove the membrane, I feel like I lose a lot of meat when I do that… You really wont even notice it when it is cooked

        • Karen Ekstrom at 7:31 pm

          Hi Nancy! If you read through the comments you know the “membrane issue” is huge! I never even thought about it… but now I know it’s HUGE! After much thought, I’ve decided I am going to leave it up to the chef and let him deal with fall out!!!!

          • Paul at 7:22 pm

            it is very easy to remove the membrane. Use a paper towel. the paper towel allows you to grip it and easily peal it off. Was shown trick by a Butcher.

  4. Jessica C at 9:06 am


    Something about the simplicity in your recipe gave me the courage to make ribs for the first time. I was quite nervous because I was bringing them to a 4th of July party as an appetizer.

    Let me tell you… EVERYONE enjoyed them!! One person even said “Wow! The meat is falling right off the bone!”

    I am one happy, “new-to-rib-making” woman.

    Thank you!

    I hope to try more of your recipes in the future. 🙂

  5. Ginger at 7:59 pm

    I’m trying the recipe as we speak but my oven wasn’t big enough for 2 racks so I put one on top and one on bottom. After an hour I switched. I’m cooking now the last 30 min w bbq sauce and one is in the oven and the other in the broiler. Hope it comes out. Any suggestions?

    • Karen Ekstrom at 11:49 pm

      Hi Ginger, I emailed Robert. Here’s his response… “Have to be very careful using the broiler as it usually cooks too hot. Okay to do this at the end when finishing up with bbq sauce. Just watch closely as the sauce will burn easily because of its high sugar content. Just be sure and always try and cook slowly with low heat as it will produce more tender results.” — Now I’m curious. How did your ribs turn out?

    • Barbara at 7:04 am

      Hi, Ginger,

      I have the same dilemma! I have two pans of ribs and I’m cooking four slabs. How did your ribs turn out putting one on top and one on bottom and switching after an hour? That’s what I had planned to do!!

      Thanks for your help

  6. John at 12:05 pm

    A couple of things…
    ALWAYS renove the silverback, it will flavor the meat (and not in a good way)and block the rub from soaking in.
    And its a great idea to first pat the ribs dry with paper towels before the application of a rub. Coating the slab with a mustard of any type after you dry it off gives the rub something to stick to and adds an extra layer of flavor. It also helps the rub to “crust” which is essential in serving the best ribs.

      • Karen Ekstrom at 6:05 pm

        Robert makes the same amount of rub for one or two racks. It’s up to you how heavy you want to apply it.

        FYI… Robert says he’d be happy to marry you. A woman who knows good BBQ is a rare find! Besides, his wife won’t mind either. She’s real easy to get along with and he’ll make enough ribs for everyone!

  7. John at 1:52 pm

    The “silverback” is the chewy membrane on the back (boneside) of the ribs. It MUST be removed. Take dull knife & slide it under the membrane on the narrow end of the rack, & peel it off the bone. Then grip it with a paper towel & pull it off the length of the rack in one piece.

    • Karen Ekstrom at 4:54 pm

      Okay… In the name of research, my husband and I went to 3 of Fort Worth’s best, most popular BBQ restaurants and ordered ribs. All three restuarants served their ribs with the membrane still on. Now maybe, because these restuarants serves so much BBQ and ribs they don’t have the time or the energy to remove it… but it was there.

      So… I’m sure this debate will continue… but a lot of people leave the membrane on…

      FYI… I had never paid any attention to the membrane before… Now, with all this talk about it, it’s kinda made me feel all icky about it… So, I think I will have to pull it off now because I’m now fixated on it… and it’s gagging me…

      • John at 5:05 pm

        They do leave it on because of time constraints, but competition judges will dock you a lot of points if it is left on. It really is best to remove it

  8. John at 9:19 am

    I have competed. And won. Not in a nationally recognized event, however. Compitition ribs are judged alot on appearance so paprika based rubs are prefferd for their deep smoky red color. Also, you want your ribs tender but they cannot fall off of the bone. The meat must come off easily when bitten. I find that a fruit wood (apple or cherry) produces the best smoke for pork. For an added layer of flavor, I soak the wood in apple or cherry juice and let the heat boil the juice off of the wood. It fills my smoker with sweet steam to help keep the meat moist. 225to 235 degrees for 6 to 7 hours in the smoker

        • Hubert Maxwell at 10:54 am

          Thanks Karen, i should have asked if he applyed it while it was in the smoker. My bad, i smoke about 80-100 lbs. of pork, made into sausage and summer sausage, 70% pork,30% deer a year with a great mix, of course that is with 100-120 gallons of all natural red, and some fruit wine. No yeast, nada, all natural, no additives at all. But i think that this is going to be a great recipe, along with drinking my wine for the cooking time????????. Great sight you have here.

          • Karen Ekstrom at 11:20 am

            Hi Hubert, Robert applies the sauce after he’s cooked the ribs in the oven, and before he finishes them off on the grill… but he warns not to put the ribs over the flames or your sauce will burn and ruin all of your hard work!

  9. John at 11:36 am

    Thanks, I havent had any complaints yet.
    Low and slow is the key. I use the same formula for pulled pork and tri tip. Tri tip needs to cook at around 250 to 270 degrees for about 6 hours and then I finish it in the oven. A simple salt, pepper and garlic brine works well for beef. I really enjoy your pintrest page. Keep up the good work and keep the recipes flowing.

  10. Tammy at 12:23 am

    I did this recipe.. It’s awesome!! And just to check the difference between taste and tenderness with membrane on or off.. I did two slabs of ribs the same but one with membrane on and one with membrane removed.. The outcome was…. Wait for it….
    In my opinion and my family …
    Absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in taste or tenderness..
    So I personally would not even waste the time removing the membrane!
    Unless of course I was in a competition.

  11. Tatiana at 6:12 pm

    So I have a question lol. I’m making these tonight but don’t have a grill & my hubby doesn’t like barbecue sauce so I was going to leave it off. How long should I cook them on the oven for?? I also was going to pat them dry and brush on some olive oil before rubbing in the seasonings. I want to make sure they don’t get dry!

  12. Kari at 3:11 pm

    just to clarify.. after the rub has be applied and have rested an hour are the racks of ribs to be placed in a foil lined pan covered with foil or individually lightly wrapped in foil as per the picture? I am very excited to try this method and wand to follow the steps properly to end up with the best possible result. Thanks!

    • Karen Ekstrom at 7:58 pm

      Robert said, “Actually it could be done either way. I usually put the ribs on the pan and then cover the whole sheet pan, but if you individually wrapped them it would be fine. What is good about wrapping the pan is that you can put a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan, such as marinade, stock, or even water, and then wrap it all. This will help keep the ribs moist and juicy!” Good luck! (They are really fabulous!)

  13. Cindy at 10:07 am

    I make Hawaiian ribs all the time and if you cook them in the over for the first 30 min uncovered at 450 then turn the over down to 350 mix together the juice from two cans of pineapple slices with the heavy syrup 1tsp celery salt , 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2tsp of garlic powder, 2Tbs sugar and 4Tbs soy sauce pour over ribs cover bake for 30 Mins turn oven down to 225 and cook for an additional 2-3 hrs basting every once in a while depending on how fall off the bone you want them. Transfer ribs to a smoker and smoke for 2-3 hrs on low basting with the left over sauce in the pan the last hour in the smoke place the pineapple rings on the ribs . The last Hr of so of smoking you can add the pineapple slices on top of the ribs.. I have yet to find a better recipe 🙂

  14. Erika at 8:44 am

    Are these pork or beef ribs? Does the cooking time in the oven change at all depending on the type of meat it is? I can’t wait to try these! They look amazing!!

  15. Beth at 10:12 am

    Made these yesterday, and for this Midwesterner they were extremely spicy! The method worked great, and they were very tender. Next time, though I’m going to cut WAY back on the rub.

  16. Pingback: Crockpot Ribs - Feeding My Kid
  17. Sue at 4:59 am

    I had never made a rub before. This is so good. I tried it on ribs, pork chops and chicken breast. As my husband and I say” shut the front door.” This is great!

  18. Ann at 9:45 am

    Loved the recipe. Because of time constraints I used a rub from Trader Joe’s and Apple Butter BBQ sauce from the Amish country and the taste and tenderness were excellent! We used the paper towel method to remove the membrane and it worked quickly and was most efficient. Perfect oven time and finished on the grill. Can’t wait to use this again. We now live in Kansas City that has excellent BBQ but my husband said that they were the best that he has ever eaten! Thank You!

  19. Melinda Smith at 6:20 am

    I have made these twice in the past month for family and friends. Everybody loved them and commented how they were the best they ever had! I removed the membrane and dry rub marinated the pork in fridge for 6-7 hours. The second time making these, I finished ribs in oven instead of grill, much simpler and less mess (I figured since we had a gas grill there wouldn’t be an extra layer of flavor anyway). Thank you for sharing! …no more tough ribs just thrown on the grill

  20. Stephanie at 7:50 pm

    AMAZING!! Made this today for Sunday Football. I added your ‘Optional’ cayenne pepper and extra ground pepper for added heat…perfect touch! I followed all exact, until we filled up on apps, so I bumped the heat down after 2 1/2 hrs to 175 for another 2-3 hrs. Then I basted with BBQ sauce and *grilled* that’s the key, finishing off on the grill! (It doesn’t take long) once off the grill, we drizzled with Frank’s Hot Sauce Wings!
    My husband said, ” Best ribs he has EVER had, hands down!” He’s a rib lover, I make them for his B-Day and Father’s Day every yr. We found our forever go-to recipe, Thank You 🙂

    • Marianne at 2:38 pm

      This totally confuses me. From the recipe I’m reading above it says 2 hours at 275 and then 30 minutes uncovered. Yet Stephanie above talks just above about bumping the heat down after 2 ½ hours to 175 for another 2-3 hours. What is the cooking time?

      • Karen Ekstrom at 8:15 pm

        Hi Marianne,

        You should follow the original recipe which calls for 2 hours at 275 and then 30 minutes uncovered. Then, when you feel comfortable, you can branch out and try new things. Tweeking the recipe, as it were. Like Stephanie did. Either way, I bet you end up with some delicious ribs!

        • Marianne at 10:46 pm

          Just wanted to update what I did and how it worked out. I did 2 hours at 275 and when I checked for tenderness mine still felt tough. I ended up leaving them in another 1 ½ hours then slathered with Sweet Baby Rays Honey sauce and leaving uncovered put them back in at 300 for 30 more minutes. My husband tried a different recipe and his were real good too, but I think mine with the rub were just a little better! This was the first time either of had done ribs, so it was a fun little {delicious} competition. Thanks for the recipe!!

          • Karen Ekstrom at 6:21 am

            Hi Marianne, Wow! Makes my mouth water! Loved the competition. (So glad your’s turned out better!) Smile, Karen
            P.S. If you enjoy BBQ, try this recipe next! It’s FABULOUS!

      • Michelle at 10:11 am

        I have always done the 275 for 2 hours and they are so tender and juicy. The meat pulls right off the bone like a knife through butter. If you want them to fall off the bone where you can’t handle them and they just fall apart then you can put them back in for the extra time. I do 275 for 2 hours. Then open the foil and add my bbq sauce. I lower the rack in my oven one spot and turn on my broiler and let them sit under the broiler for about 10 min to get a little bit of char on them.

  21. Jett Whitfield at 7:42 am

    I enjoyed reading all of the comments! We’re going to have these ribs today. I’ll keep you posted ????

  22. Angie at 2:31 pm

    THis recipe Was awesome. Made this for my family two days ago and they ate all of it up. Making it again today for the 4th of July.

  23. Tom at 2:21 pm

    You’re going about this all wrong. My recipe will blow your top… I’ll give ya, and let me know what you think. Then publish it out here, see what the people.think. but the cook time is rather long, but way worth it

  24. Megan at 9:51 pm

    HI! Recipe sounds great, just one question. When finishing off on grill you said NOT to place over flames. Just want to know of you could be more specific about the last “grilling” step. Should the grill be at medium high only on one side and place the ribs on the opposite side off the flame, on the unlit side??? Thanks in advance!

    • Karen Ekstrom at 9:31 am

      Hi Megan, Just keep the ribs away from the flames. (So, turning off one side of your grill and keeping the ribs on the other side would work) Nothing would be worse than burning your ribs (the BBQ sauce burns) when your so close to Heaven! Enjoy!

  25. Faye Miller at 9:10 am

    The last time we did ribs, we used only the rub and no barbecue sauce and grilled them in the middle of the grill with no direct heat, just the heat from the 2 outside burners; closed the lid, tried not to peek and they were the best ribs we’ve grilled. I think it took around 2 to 2 1/2 hours. We are going to try your rub receipe as I lost mine for the rub.

  26. Ed Matthews at 12:17 pm

    That’s a lot of cayenne pepper folks. Try 2 parts black pepper to one part salt (KOSHER). That’s what I do and most Pit Master’s. As far as the silver skin goes…..ribs actually have two layers of it. I remove the top layer myself so the rub will penetrate to the meat. One thing you may want to do before applying a dry rub, you may want to smear a light coat of mustard OR olive oil all over the ribs to allow the rub to stick to the meat. After applying my homemade rub, I put the wrapped up ribs in the fridge overnight. You can try 2 to 4 hours if ya want.
    I don’t do ribs in the oven at all. I converted a 22″ Ole’ Smokey into an electric cooker (235*F). For smoke I use a TUBE or WEDGIE filled with Pit Bosses’ Competition Blend Pellets. The last 20 minutes of the cook I apply my homemade BBQ sauce , take off the grill and let sit 10 minutes or so.
    Semper Fi USMC66′

  27. Ines Russo at 12:36 pm

    I am so glad that I found your amazing recipe for the dry rub. I have made this several times and each time we can barely wait for them to be off the grill. This Easter I am making it for family in Mexico, along with with a macaroni salad, and grilled cauliflower. My husband and i were lucky to find one BBQ place down here that was pretty good. Now i’ll have them try this one and see what they think. I’m sure it will blow their minds…I always give the credit to you as well as share your recipe. Thank you!!

  28. orlando grant at 11:04 pm

    I tried this recipe and omg delicious! Got a tip. Pull the membrane off rinse,pat to dry. After that, get a fork the silver one with two points on it . poke holes on both sides and pour some Jim beam kentucky bourbon an rub it into the meat. be sure to get it into the holes poked through the meat! let it sit for a couple of hours and before you add the rub ,lightly pat dry and rub extra virgin olive oil all over the ribs locking the flavor in. after that, add your rub mixture all over ribs and sit overnight. I smoke my ribs for 3 1/2 to 4 hours for a fall off the bone tenderous delicious rib.

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