Knowing how to make tender, juicy pork ribs is a must for any cook or grill master who loves country-style pork ribs, dry-rubbed ribs, or just ribs in general. 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.
Making pork ribs in the oven is an easy way to cook them because it's mostly hands-off. Once the ribs are cut into portions (if desired) and seasoned as you like with a rub, you need to follow just two steps. Here's how to roast pork ribs (specifically pork loin back ribs) expertly:
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:
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:
Try these Tangy Molasses Barbecue Ribs in the slow cooker.
There are a few different types of ribs. Most of our recipes call for pork loin back ribs, but here are the things to note when grocery shopping for 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.
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.
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.
Related: These Roasted Memphis Dry Ribs have a killer dry rub.
There are several helpful cues to tell when your ribs are done cooking.