BBQ Pork Spare Ribs are easy to make and take less than 15 minutes to prep! They’re covered in a smoky, brown sugar rub and then slow-cooked in the oven until tender and juicy, yielding the perfect bite.
In addition to everything you need to know to bake a mouthwatering rack of Spare Ribs in the oven, we’ll also cover:
- The best pan for baking ribs!
- How to easily make a rib rub.
- What to look for when buying Spare Ribs.
- Why cola makes a big difference in texture for oven-baked ribs!
- And how to easily remove that pesky rib membrane!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR BBQ PORK SPARE RIBS IN THE OVEN
You don’t need any special equipment to make BBQ Pork Spare Ribs in the oven. You can make them in either a roasting pan or a standard-sized casserole dish. The roasting pan is most definitely preferable, however, if you do not have one, the casserole dish will do. To fit your ribs in a casserole dish, you will need to cut the ribs in half.
BBQ SPARE RIBS INGREDIENT LIST
- Smoky Brown Sugar Rib Rub (see below)
- St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs
- Dr. Pepper
- Liquid Smoke
THE BEST DRY RUB FOR RIBS
A combination of sweet and smoky spices is precisely what puts the BBQ in BBQ Pork Spare Ribs. This Smoky Brown Sugar Rib Rub is perfect for ribs cooked in the oven but would be just as delicious on a rack of ribs destined for the smoker.
The rub consists of:
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Onion Powder
ST. LOUIS STYLE SPARE RIBS
When buying ribs for BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, look for meaty, plump ribs with a pink, almost reddish tinge to it. Avoid packages with a heavy layer of fat running across the top to prevent extra trimming and additional prep time.
While Baby Back Ribs are a leaner cut than Spare Ribs, they can easily be substituted in this recipe without any alterations.
THE PURPOSE OF DR. PEPPER
It’s about more than just flavor. Part of what makes these BBQ Pork Spare Ribs so tender and juicy is that they are cooked along with a little bit of liquid. This is where the Dr. Pepper comes in. Actually, you could totally use Coca-Cola or Pepsi if preferred. The type of cola you use isn’t necessarily what matters, it’s the purpose of the cola that matters.
The liquid in the bottom of the pan creates a steamy, moist environment for cooking in your oven. This keeps your ribs from drying out, yet allows enough air circulation for them to develop a gorgeously sweet and sticky coating on the top.
The liquid smoke is optional, however, it will add a nice, smoky factor to your BBQ Pork Spare Ribs.
HOW TO COOK BBQ PORK SPARE RIBS IN THE OVEN
BBQ Pork Spare Ribs are very simple to make. They require very little prep work and then the oven will do the majority of the work for you.
- Make the rub.
- Prep the ribs and add rub all over.
- Add Dr. Pepper and liquid smoke to a large pan. Add ribs and top with more rub.
- Bake for 2 hours uncovered, basting every 30-45 minutes.
MAKE THE RUB
The first thing you’ll want to do is measure out all of the ingredients for your rub and combine them in a small bowl. Once your rub is ready, set it aside and prep your ribs.
PREP THE RIBS
To remove the membrane from the ribs, wiggle either the end of a spoon or fork underneath, grasp the membrane with a paper towel and pull it away from the ribs. You could also use a sharp, flexible knife to help you get hold of the membrane.
Once the membrane is gone, pat the ribs dry with a paper towel and rub the rack with the oil. This will help the rub to stick to the ribs.
ADD COLA AND RIBS TO THE PAN
If you’d like to avoid any sticky clean up, now is the time to line your pan with aluminum foil. If you have a roasting pan, this recipe will make excellent use of it. If you do not have a pan the size of a roaster, you may need to cut the ribs in half to get them to fit.
Add the Coca-Cola along with the liquid smoke to the pan, and place the ribs inside. Top off your ribs with what’s left of the rub, and give it a good pat to make it stay.
SLOW COOK IN THE OVEN
Cooking the ribs for an extended period of time at low heat is what makes them juicy and tender. You don’t want to cook them too long, or they will lose their rib-like texture and end up more like pulled pork. Cook your BBQ Pork Spare Ribs for 2 hours, uncovered, at 325°.
Cook the ribs meat-side up in the oven. There is no need to flip them. However, every 30-45 minutes, you’ll want to baste the top of the ribs with the Cola from the bottom of the pan. This ensures the ribs stay moist and help to develop a sweet and sticky coating on the top.
Once cool enough to handle, slice up the ribs, and serve them to your crowd!
WHAT GOES GOOD WITH BBQ PORK SPARE RIBS?
Comfort food main dishes love comfort food sides! Therefore, you could serve just about any Southern Side Dish with Pork Spare Ribs and they would go together beautifully! Think BBQ side dishes and/or picnic food and you’ll be perfectly set for a well-rounded meal.
Here are a few suggestions for What to Serve with Spare Ribs:
- House Salad
- Southern Creamed Corn
- Fresh Green Beans
- Yellow Squash Casserole
- Ranch Potato Salad
- Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
- Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Homemade Cornbread
- Boston Baked Beans
5 MORE INDOOR BBQ RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Slow Cooker Spare Ribs take only 10 minutes to prep, and yield the perfect bite with a burst of big BBQ flavor! Best of all? They’re seriously easy to make.
- Country-Style Pork Ribs feature country-style ribs slow cooked to perfection in a sweet and sticky sauce.
- BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker is a budget-friendly easy dinner idea and a total life-saver for busy weeknights!
- Pulled Pork Nachos is where BBQ meets Mexican food and the results are everything you want them to be…and then some more. Featuring tortilla chips stacked with juicy, tender BBQ Pulled Pork, black beans, melty cheese, and extra toppings to your heart’s content.
- Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs bakes up perfectly juicy with crisp skin and a BBQ sauce that actually stays put! Guaranteed to be the best Baked BBQ Chicken you have ever had!
Easy BBQ Pork Spare Ribs slow-cooked in the oven always come out juicy, tender, and full of flavor thanks to Dr. Pepper and a smoky, brown sugar rub!
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 pounds St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs
- 1 tablespoon canola or avocado oil
- 2 cups Dr. Pepper (or Coca-Cola)
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325° and have ready a very large baking dish or roaster. Combine all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
On a large work surface, remove the membrane from the ribs, pat dry with a paper towel, and rub with oil. Add about 2/3 of the rub to both sides of the ribs and rub to adhere.
Pour Coca Cola and liquid smoke into the pan. Add the ribs, and pat the remaining rub on the top of the ribs.
Bake for 2 hours (uncovered), basting the ribs with Coca-Cola every 30-45 minutes or so. Remove the oven, cut, and serve!