These mouthwatering oven-baked St. Louis ribs are almost ridiculously easy to make. This recipe includes an easy homemade rub and tips to get tender, juicy ribs in the oven every single time!
Making St. Louis ribs in the oven is as easy as it gets. We start with our favorite dry rub — the perfect blend of sweet and savory with a little heat. We cook the ribs low and slow for maximum tenderness. And then we finish them off with a bit of barbecue sauce and a blast of high heat for perfect caramelization!
What are St. Louis Ribs?
There are two types of pork ribs:
- Baby back ribs come from the top of the rib cage. They’re shorter, more tender and leaner. They’re also more expensive.
- Spare ribs are cut from the bottom of the rib cage. They’re larger, have more meat between the bone and more marbling, which equals more flavor!
But then what are St. Louis ribs? St. Louis ribs are just spare ribs that have been trimmed of the tips (which consist primarily of cartilage) and the extra flap of meat at the end. Cutting the ribs into a uniform shape makes them easier to cook and eat.
This St. Louis ribs recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- St. Louis ribs
- Dry rub
- Barbecue sauce
The Dry Rub
Our ideal dry rub for this ribs recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and smoky with a bit of spice! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Kosher Salt: The coarse texture makes it perfect for sprinkling and less likely to clump together.
- Brown Sugar: The sugar provides a little sweetness and helps with caramelization of the bark.
- Smoked Paprika: Make sure you’re using a good-quality smoked paprika (I prefer a spicy version) for an intense smoky flavor. Regular paprika just won’t cut it for this recipe.
- Ground Cumin: Cumin pairs extremely well with pork and adds a deep savory note to our rub.
- Garlic Powder: Or feel free to substitute granulated garlic, in which case I would double the amount.
Step By Step Instructions
Prepping the Ribs
To prep the ribs you’ll start by removing the membrane or silverskin, which is just the thin layer on the backside of the ribs. It’s completely edible, but can have an unpleasant papery texture when cooked.
Use a knife to gently remove a corner of the membrane and then just use your hands to peel it off. It can be slippery, so you can also use a paper towel for better grip if needed.
But don’t stress if you can’t find it — some stores will sell ribs with the membrane already removed. For more information on removing the membrane, check out this article.
Baking the Ribs
We cook the ribs in two steps to achieve tender, juicy perfection:
- Tightly wrap the ribs in aluminum foil. Cook for 2 hours at 250°F (120°C).
- Unwrap the ribs. Continue cooking for 2 hours or until tender.
The first step traps steam, which creates tender ribs while keeping them moist. But it also prevents a nice bark from forming. Which is why we cook the ribs unwrapped for the final hour or two.
To get the perfect bark (the crispy layer of spices that forms on the outside of the ribs), we like to baste with bbq sauce and finish with high heat for a bit of delicious caramelization. You can do this with a grill or by placing the ribs under the broiler for 5-10 minutes.
Both methods will give you fall off the bone tender ribs with a nice bark, but I definitely prefer finishing our oven-baked St. Louis ribs on the grill. It gives the meat a beautifully caramelized exterior with a bit of delicious charring.
Oven-Baked St. Louis Ribs: FAQs
We recommend removing the membrane to improve the texture of the ribs. To do this, gently lift a corner of the membrane and peel it off using a paper towel for better grip.
These ribs are cooked for a total of 4 hours in the oven.
Cook St. Louis ribs in the oven at 250°F (120°C).
Your ribs may need to cook a bit longer, especially if you pop them in the oven right out of the refrigerator. Try adding 30 minutes longer to the cook time.
Leftover ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
These ribs are best reheated in the oven. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275°F (135°C) until heated through.
And if you’re looking for more meaty mains, make sure to check out these favorites:
- Reverse Sear Rack of Lamb with Dijon Mustard Sauce + Herby Farro
- Slow Roasted Duck and Potatoes + Braised Red Cabbage
- Georgian Yakhni | Marigold Braised Beef and Walnut Stew
- Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola
- Homemade Runzas
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