I would like to cook spare ribs to a fall-off-the-bone consistency. I don't have access to a grill.

I know how to do that with pork shoulders (dry rubbed, then uncovered in the oven at low heat for 6-8hrs), but spare ribs are a different type of animal. They are individually smaller pieces (my ribs are sawed in chunks), and they are fairly fatty, with a big bone.

What should I do? Should I pan-sear them first, do I need some liquid in the dish? Should I cover them?



4 Answers 4


You can do a low temperature cook on your ribs the same way you would do your pork shoulders. It's just the cooking times are shorter, that's all.

Set your oven to 250-275F, and roast those ribs until they're done. I've had beef ribs done in as few as 3-4 hours, but as many as 5. Optionally, you can foil your ribs about halfway into your cook, with some liquid in the foil pack. Just be aware that they'll cook faster if they're foiled. And depending on your preference, you may want to take them out of the foil to finish them.


I've done Alton Brown's method for both spare ribs and baby back ribs, with good results.

Basically, you bake 'em in a low (250°F) oven in an aluminum foil packet with liquid for a few hours (2.5hrs for baby back, a little longer for spare ribs) completely untouched , then put 'em under the broiler at the end.

  • +1: I've done these, and finished them on the grill as well. The two stage cooking thing is pretty popular with ribs. Feb 24, 2011 at 22:14
  • @Satanicpuppy : I've done both broiler and grill finish ... I personally liked the grill finish, just because I could better control things without being paranoid that turning away for 10 sec could ruin hours of work. And I've packed 'em up after braising in the oven, then reheated 'em on the grill (at someone else's house), with pretty good results.
    – Joe
    Feb 24, 2011 at 22:23

You can try a combination of roasting (for a good crust) and braising (for tenderness) as called for in this recipe. An equivalent would be pan searing and braising.

You can also cook at a low temperature for a long time, doing in the oven something similar to what sous vide would do. This recipe describes the technique.

  • Sous Vide ribs are incredible, particularly finished on a grill. Outside of the capabilities of most home kitchens, unfortunately.
    – yossarian
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:08
  • @yossarian - a 170 degree F oven, if you have one, is all the recipe requires. Outside of my oven's capacity, but possible for some.
    – justkt
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:26
  • Actually, it calls for a 140F oven. I've never owned (or even seen) one that goes that low. And it calls for accurate temperature control. Ribs (or any low and slow meat) is really cool at lower temp / longer time cooking, as you can get it medium rare and tender.
    – yossarian
    Feb 24, 2011 at 20:01

I know of two ways to do it:

1 oven

cut up ribs and roast in a raosting pan at 350 for about 90 minutes, covered in foil and basting with BBQ sauce every 1/2 hour

2 stovetop

brown them in a french oven or large skillet, add sauce, and simmer for about 1 hr on low heat. usually you need to thicken the sauce after they are done cooking with cornstarch or the like.

  • Sous vide ribs are great if finished well, however fifteen minutes at full pressure with a cup of lager in a pressure cooker finished under a broiler with a good BBQ sauce is pretty near perfect!
    – user23186
    Jan 6, 2016 at 1:39

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