How to Roast Pork Ribs

Pork ribs are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You can dress up them up with different rubs and marinades to make them different every time. We'll teach you how to roast ribs in the oven, braise them in a slow cooker, or take them outdoors to the grill.

Knowing how to make tender, juicy pork ribs is a must for any cook—and it's easier than you think! We have the answers to all of your questions about making pork ribs, including how to choose your ribs and how to season them, plus three different cooking methods (including how to cook pork ribs in the oven, on the grill, and in your slow cooker). We'll also share some of our favorite pork rib recipes so you can be ready to serve this favorite meal for any upcoming occasion.

Step 1: Choosing your ribs

Spareribs are cut from the belly (side) and have up to 14 ribs per slab (also called a rack). Look for a slab that weighs at least 3 pounds, is well trimmed, and has good layer of lean meat on the ribs, especially on the larger end of the slab. Plan on having three servings per slab.

Loin back ribs come from the blade and center section of a pig's loin and are also called baby back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs. Back ribs should be meaty and lean, so look for ribs with at least 1 inch of meat attached to the bone. Each slab usually contains 10 to 13 ribs and weighs 1-1/2 to 2 pounds. Figure on about half a slab per person. These also make great appetizers when cut into individual ribs.

Country-style ribs are the meatiest of the rib varieties and are cut from the sirloin end of the pork loin. They are better for fork-and-knife eating than as finger food and are just as versatile as the other rib cuts. This cut is often used for braising and it does well in the slow cooker. Country-style ribs are sold in slabs and individual servings.

Step 2: Cutting the ribs

If desired, cut the ribs into serving-size portions. Using a chef's knife, cut between the rib bones to make two- to three-rib portions.

Step 3: Adding flavor

Before cooking the ribs, you can boost the flavor with a marinade or a dry rub. This step is optional, but it will definitely make your ribs tastier.

  • To marinate: Place ribs in a clean resealable plastic bag inside a dish or a covered container. Add desired marinade and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, turning ribs occasionally.
  • To add a rub: Sprinkle each rib section evenly with a spice or herb mixture and rub it into the meat with your fingers. If possible after adding the rub, refrigerate ribs, covered, for 2 to 24 hours before cooking to allow the flavors to soak into the meat.

Step 4: Picking a cooking method

There are a variety of factors that might influence your cooking method, including the weather and how much time you have. Luckily, we have three different methods to choose from for cooking pork ribs so you can enjoy them year-round. Each method is equally delicious, so it's up to you if you want to cook your ribs in the oven, on the grill, or in your slow cooker.

How to Roast Pork Ribs in the Oven

Making pork ribs in the oven might sound complicated, but once the ribs are ready to go, you only need to follow two steps. Just follow these instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place rib portions, bone sides down, in a shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. Drain off fat.
  • If desired, brush ribs with sauce. Continue to roast, uncovered, about 30 minutes more or until the ribs are tender, basting once with sauce if desired.

How to Grill Pork Ribs

Take advantage of gorgeous weather by cooking your pork ribs on the grill. They'll be juicy and tender with an added smoky flavor from the grill. To grill pork ribs, follow these steps:

  • For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place ribs, bone sides down, on the grill rack over the drip pan.
  • Cover and grill for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the ribs are tender, brushing occasionally with desired sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling.
  • For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking and grill as above, except place ribs in a roasting pan.

How to Slow-Cook Pork Ribs

Cooking ribs low and slow requires a little extra patience but yields super-delish results. You can get these ribs started in the morning, then come home at the end of the day to a mouthwatering dinner. Here's how to slow-cook pork ribs:

  • If desired, brown the ribs under the broiler. Preheat broiler. Place the rib portions on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil ribs 6 inches from the heat about 10 minutes or until browned, turning once.
  • Transfer the ribs to a slow cooker. Pour a purchased or prepared sauce over the ribs as directed in your recipe.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Skim fat from sauce in slow cooker; serve sauce with ribs.

How to Make Pork Ribs

Layer on the flavors with our delicious process. Cooking the pork first is key, then adding your flavor, and wrapping up the ribs before cooking more. We'€™ll show you how!


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