Beef or pork ribs are often cooked on a barbecue grill or in a smoker, but you can still accomplish a similar effect if you need to use the oven. Cooking ribs during the winter might prevent you from grilling outside or you might prefer cooking indoors throughout the year. Whatever your reason for cooking ribs in the oven, you can follow these tips to get smoky, flavorful ribs every time.
Selecting Your Ribs
Begin by selecting your ribs from the supermarket or butcher. Determine if you want beef or pork ribs, and look for cuts that have a lot of meat on the bone. Typically, you will find better cuts of meat from a butcher, but this is not always the case. If you are buying from a supermarket, speak with someone in the butcher department to ensure you get the freshest, best cuts of meat.
Create a brine bath of vinegar, water, and salt, as well as any seasonings. Allow the ribs to brine for at least several hours or overnight. They will also marinate in the seasonings during this time. Brining tenderizes the meat and allows it to pull easily from the bone once it is cooked. Remove the ribs from the brine and dry them. Season the ribs again with salt, pepper, garlic, and any other beef or pork seasonings of your choice. Montreal steak seasoning is especially good for beef ribs. For additional flavor, put the ribs in the refrigerator for a few hours before cooking.
Brine your ribs. The base of the brine is vinegar, water and salt, but you can add different seasonings to it as well so it can double as a marinade. This step is very important because it tenderizes the meat.
Cook the Ribs
At this point you can put the ribs directly in the oven to cook for a dry roast or first cook them in a crock pot or simmer them in water for an hour or two. Check the ribs frequently to make sure they are not overcooking. They should be cooked through, but not left to dry out. Once the meat is done, remove the ribs from the crock pot or water and wrap them in foil. Put them into the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove them, pull back the foil, and add sauces or extra seasonings. Put them back into the oven and cook for ten minute increments, checking to see if the sauces caramelize and the ribs brown up. This additional cooking finishes the sauced ribs off and creates the crispy, smoky flavor on the outer layer of the meat.
Dry Roasting Ribs in the Oven
For a dry roast, place prepared ribs in a shallow roasting pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for about one and a half to two hours. You will know he ribs are done when the meat tears easily away from the bone. Some people coat the dry roasted ribs in barbecue sauce before serving.