Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fall Off the Bone Oven Baked Pork Spareribs with Sweet & Spicy Homemade Barbecue Sauce

When you don't want to fool with the grill or smoker, these fall off the bone spareribs will satisfy that rib craving. Slow baked in the oven, they'll hit the spot!

Fall Off the Bone Oven Ribs

Fall off the bone ribs, now that's what I'm talkin' about y'all! This beautiful weather the past few weeks has had me in the mood to get a garden going for sure, but it's also had me in the mood for barbecue! I have literally been craving it for weeks now.

Now, first things first {hissy fit warning} inevitably somebody is gonna pop by here from a random hit on the interwebs and lecture me that ribs are not supposed to be "fall off the bone" and that if they are it's just wrong. Well, bless your heart, if that's wrong then I don't wanna be right! You see, there are tens of thousands of us who actually really do like them that way. Besides that, I never have quite understood why folks think it's appropriate anyway to pop into somebody else's kitchen and tell them how they think they're cooking something "wrong." Anyway...

While I also enjoy a smoked rib that has a little tooth to it on occasion, I actually prefer them much more when they are ultra tender, and well... fall off the bone, and based on comments over the years, a lot of you also do. I do admire folks who have the tenacity and dedication to wood smoke meat, it's not for me. Although I have one of those fake smokers - you know, the kind that runs on electricity and wood chips - I rarely use it. Heck I barely grill as it is, it's just too hot here 99.9% of the time, and I used to struggle with trying to get the perfect rib on the grill until a friend suggested to forget about all that and just do them in the oven! Her version is delicious and you can find it right here. It's completely different than this one and can be finished on the grill. But the revelation that you just do not have to do ribs on the grill to get good ribs just totally liberated me! Though I do them on the grill on occasion, this method here gives a great rib using the oven.

For these oven ribs I also like doing a rub and then also applying barbecue sauce. There are some BBQ purists who will be driven over the edge about that too and will tell me use one or the other but not both. Well, that's just the way we happen to like them - sauced! If you'd rather skip the sauce, by all means, make it your own, but if you like sauce, don't skip the rub and give these both a try. If you want to add a bit of smokey flavor to these oven ribs, just before you put on the rub, take a teaspoon of liquid smoke and mix it with a tablespoon of water. Brush that on both sides of the ribs, then apply the dry rub.

Now first - I get questions about the differences between baby back ribs and spareribs (not that I'm any kind of a rib expert or anything...) - here's what I know.

Spareribs are from the belly area of the hog. They are generally large and fairly meaty, but they do contain more fat, and consequently, more flavor than baby back ribs do. These are often referred to as St. Louis style ribs.

Baby back ribs or pork loin back ribs are from the loin area of the hog. They are much leaner and the most tender of the ribs. They are also the most expensive.
And that's pretty much all I have to say about that (because, that's all I know about it!).

These ribs go low and slow in the oven, so once you get them going, you can pretty much go about your business around the house (or the yard) and just come back in 2 hours to put some sauce on them, wrap 'em up and let 'em go for another 2 hours. Sure beats worrying over the grill if you ask me. And you don't have to keep stoking the coals or worry over whether you have enough propane.

Now, I'll be honest. These ribs are indeed difficult to just pick up and eat off the bone, because well, they are so tender the bone just falls away. But nobody says that you still can't go on ahead and use your fingers to eat 'em anyway. Least not around these parts they don't! I say dig in, get messy, and lick those fingers because I'm tellin' ya, the rub is delicious, but if you like sauce too, especially a sweet and spicy sauce like we do in South Mississippi, you're definitely gonna love these with my homemade sauce too.

Recipe: Fall Off the Bone Oven Baked Pork Spareribs with Homemade Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 4 hours | Yield: About 4 servings per rack

Dry Rub
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 20 turns of the pepper grinder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Ribs will cook for a total time of 4 hours.

Combine all of the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Prepare the rack by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs and cutting away that extra little flap of tough meat across the top - just discard that or save for another use. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. On the bottom side of the ribs, sprinkle on a generous amount of the dry rub and rub it in. Set the ribs on the baking pan with the seasoned side down, and apply the remaining dry rub on the top side. Roast uncovered at 250 degrees F for 2 hours.

After the ribs have cooked for 2 hours, remove them and pour some of the sauce over the top of the ribs. Using a brush, gently spread the sauce all over the ribs. Cover the entire pan tightly with aluminum foil and return to the oven, baking for an additional 2 hours, or until the meat begins to pull away from the bone. If you like, unwrap, brush with a bit of sauce and finish under the broiler for a minute or so.

When ready to serve, brush a little extra sauce on each serving but definitely serve with a side of sauce for dipping. Don't forget some pasta salad, or maybe potato salad and what else but baked beans? Maybe some corn on the cob with compound butter would be nice too!

Cook's Notes: Depending on what kind of sauce you use, if you want a bit more of smokey flavor to the ribs, just before you put on the rub, take a teaspoon of liquid smoke and mix it with a tablespoon of water. Brush that on both sides of the ribs, then apply the dry rub. Not sure what to do with leftovers? Build a BBQ Sundae!

Time Saving Tip: Since these take some time to cook, I have a fantastic tip from Teresa T. that she was happy to let me pass on. She cooks 3 or 4 racks at a time, taking them through the first 2 hour phase of cooking. She keeps 1 rack going for supper, but allows the other 3 to cool, and then wraps them in a double layer of heavy duty foil, and freezes them. When she is ready for another rack she defrosts it, then continues the remaining 2 hours in the oven. Brilliant and what a great timesaver!


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