bbq baby back ribs on an aluminum foil covered sheet pan

Fall Off the Bone BBQ Baby Back Ribs

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These fall off the bone BBQ baby back ribs are so incredibly soft and juicy. The dry rub and low and slow cook time tenderize the meat before it’s placed on the barbecue grill to develop a rich and delicious flavor. Paired with sweet and tangy pomegranate BBQ sauce, these ribs are perfect for a backyard barbecue, football tailgate, or dinner with family.

slab of bbq ribs with basil on a metal sheet pan

What makes these fall off the bone BBQ baby back ribs so good?!

Don’t let the long cook time fool you. These easy oven baked ribs are incredibly foolproof with just a few simple steps and very little “active cooking.” The dry rub is made with mostly staple pantry spices and can be adjusted based on what you like and what you already have on hand. From oven to grill, this recipe is great for a crowd. Just buy additional slabs of ribs and double or triple the recipe if needed. Additionally, by using a foil-covered sheet pan for the oven cooking, clean up is exceptionally minimal!

Ingredients

raw slab of ribs with ingredients
  1. Slab Pork Baby Back Ribs
  2. Brown Sugar
  3. Garlic Powder
  4. Onion Powder
  5. Cumin
  6. Smoked Paprika
  7. Dried Oregano
  8. Dried Thyme
  9. Salt & Pepper
  10. Ground Mustard
  11. Cayenne, optional
  12. Sweet and Tangy Pomegranate BBQ Sauce

A few notes about the ingredients:

  1. One slab of ribs feeds about 4 people. For a crowd, add a few more slabs and double or triple the recipe.
  2. The cayenne is optional but highly recommended. It adds a little extra spice and helps to balance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

How do you make BBQ baby back ribs?

Prepare a sheet pan with aluminum foil. I usually layer one piece to protect the pan and another to wrap the ribs. Spray the piece that’ll be used to wrap the ribs with nonstick cooking spray. Place the slab of ribs on top, bottom side up.

If not done so already, remove the thin membrane (skin) from the bottom side of the ribs. Weber has a great step by step tutorial on how to do this: Removing the Membrane from Baby Back Ribs. I use a butter knife to separate it from the meat. Then, I pull it off with my fingers. Once the membrane is removed, trim off most of the fat.

Combine all the rub ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, place the rub on both sides of the ribs, patting it down so it sticks. 

slab of ribs with dry rub on it on top of an aluminum foil covered sheet pan

Fold the foil tightly around the ribs. If it does not cover the ribs completely, use an additional piece of foil. This prevents the ribs from drying out.

aluminum foil covered sheet pan with an aluminum foil wrapped slab of ribs on top

Let the ribs sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to soak up all the rub flavor.

When ready to cook them, take the ribs out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. After 30 minutes, cook the ribs in the oven for about 2 hours. 

When the ribs are done in the oven, pull them out and unfold the foil. Brush them liberally with sweet and tangy pomegranate BBQ sauce

slab of ribs on an aluminum foil covered sheet pan with bbq sauce brushed on top

On medium heat, heat up your barbecue grill. When it’s hot, place the ribs sauce-side down on the grill to caramelize. (Be careful handling the ribs, as they will be hot and fall-off-the-bone tender.) Brush the other side of the ribs with sauce. After about 5 minutes or once you get beautiful grill marks, flip the ribs and caramelize the other side for another 5 minutes.

grilled slab of ribs on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil

Remove the ribs from the grill and let them sit a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Why are they called “baby back” ribs? Are baby back ribs pork or beef?

These types of ribs are called “baby backs” because they are connected to the backbone. They are also smaller than other types of ribs, like spareribs. You can purchase either pork or beef baby back ribs at your local butcher. If you have a preference, be sure to clarify with them which kind you’re purchasing.

What kinds of ribs can you barbecue?

You can barbecue nearly any kind of ribs, but be sure to cook them low and slow. Either wrap them tightly in tin foil and place them over low heat on the BBQ grill or place them in the oven for a few hours before switching them to the grill. I prefer using the oven first, then adding flavor with the grill once the ribs are fully cooked. This way, you can control the temperature easier. Plus, the flavor and juices stay with the ribs as they cook, instead of dripping off into the grates of the grill.

What makes these fall off the bone BBQ baby back ribs healthy?

These ribs have very little to them but pack a ton of flavor. Instead of getting doused in sugary BBQ sauce and a calorie-dense oily rub, like most restaurant ribs, these ribs are slow roasted with a light dry rub, making them simpler, fresher, and healthier. They’re also made with a homemade BBQ sauce, allowing you to stay in control of the added sugar. Though ribs provide a great source of protein, they can quickly become calorie-dense when overindulging. Therefore, it is also important to eat them as part of a well-balanced meal with starch and vegetable side dishes.

One more tip

bbq ribs with basil on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil

Looking for more healthy dinner recipes? Try these:

Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I’d love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!

bbq ribs with basil on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil

Fall Off the Bone BBQ Baby Back Ribs

These fall off the bone BBQ baby back ribs are so easy to make! They are slow roasted and made with homemade BBQ sauce. Full of smokey, sweet flavor, these tender ribs make the perfect main dish for your backyard barbecue or family dinner.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Marinating Time 2 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • sheet pan
  • barbecue grill

Ingredients
  

  • 1 slab pork baby back ribs (about 3 pounds)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp cayenne optional
  • sweet and tangy pomegranate bbq sauce (below)

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a sheet pan with aluminum foil. I usually layer one piece to protect the pan and another to wrap the ribs. Spray the piece that’ll be used to wrap the ribs with nonstick cooking spray. Place the slab of ribs on top, bottom side up.
  • If not done so already, remove the thin membrane (skin) from the bottom side of the ribs. (Read above for an article on how to do this.) I use a butter knife to separate the membrane from the meat. Then, I pull it off with my fingers. Once the membrane is removed, trim off most of the fat.
  • Combine all the rub ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, place the rub on both sides of the ribs, patting it down so it sticks. 
  • Fold the foil tightly around the ribs. If it does not cover the ribs completely, use an additional piece of foil. This prevents the ribs from drying out.
  • Let the ribs sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to soak up all the rub flavor.
  • When ready to cook them, take the ribs out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. After 30 minutes, cook the ribs in the oven for about 2 hours or until cooked through. 
  • When the ribs are done in the oven, pull them out and unfold the foil. Brush them liberally with sweet and tangy pomegranate BBQ sauce
  • On medium heat, heat up your barbecue grill. When it’s hot, place the ribs sauce-side down on the grill to caramelize. (Be careful handling the ribs, as they will be hot and fall-off-the-bone tender.) Brush the other side of the ribs with sauce. After about 5 minutes or once you get beautiful grill marks, flip the ribs and caramelize the other side for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill and let them sit a few minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Brush some additional sweet and tangy pomegranate BBQ sauce over the ribs to keep them saucey and flavorful. Serve extra sauce on the side for any additional dipping. 

Notes

  1. One slab of ribs feeds about 4 people. For a crowd, add a few more slabs and double or triple the recipe.
  2. The cayenne is optional but highly recommended. It adds a little extra spice and helps to balance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
Keyword Barbecue Recipe, Dinner Recipe, Easy Oven Baked Ribs, Healthy Recipe

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