The spring semester is in full swing and that means that our schedule is crazy!  During the weekdays starting at 3pm I am in the car until about 9pm.  And on the weekends we have games or practices or some event that we have to drive our kids to the ends of the earth to attend. I know I am not alone and if you are in my shoes then you know how hard it is to drive and cook. So, if I can find a way to put dinner in the oven in the morning or afternoon and have it ready at dinner time then I am one happy mom. 

This recipe for Oven Baked Ribs is a favorite of my family and I can make this way ahead of time if I need to.  I used St. Louis Style ribs this time, but you can use Baby Back Ribs as well.

A little trivia about the difference between St. Louis and Baby Back…. St. Louis ribs are the meatier cut of ribs that are taken from closer to the breastbone.  Baby Back ribs are leaner cut and are taken from closer to the backbone. I love the St. Louis ribs because there is more fat and more meat, but they take longer to cook.  No one is really sure where the term St. Louis Style ribs comes from.  There is talk that the guy who named them and put that cut of meat into the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) for the Department of Agriculture was a huge Cardinals baseball fan….. 

Anyway, when you make this recipe just plan on 2-4 hours of cook time.  If you want you can make these ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until ready to eat.  Just reheat them (wrapped in foil) in a low (300°) oven for about 25 minutes before you are ready to serve.  


Oven Baked Ribs

Serves 4-6

2 racks of ribs (St. Louis or Baby Back)
Favorite BBQ rub (we like Salt Lick or Stubbs)
1-2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
Favorite BBQ sauce (we like Stubbs)

Preheat oven to 225°

Lay out two large pieces of foil on the counter. Place one rack of ribs on each piece. 

Drizzle liquid smoke on ribs and rub into the meat with your hands. 

Lightly sprinkle rub on both sides of ribs.  Be careful not to put too much-the salt will concentrate during the cooking process and they will become very salty if there is too much rub.

Wrap the foil around the ribs tightly and place on a baking sheet.  You should be able to fit two racks on one baking sheet.

Place in the oven for 2 hours for Baby Back and 3-4 hours for St. Louis style. 

At the end of the cooking time the ribs should be falling apart.  At that point brush on your BBQ sauce of choice.  Do not wrap the ribs back up.  Leave the foil open and place back in the oven for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the sauce becomes sticky.  

* The St. Louis style will feed more because they have more meat so consider that when buying.
* If you do not want to use a rub you can lightly salt and pepper instead and use the BBQ sauce at the end as the main flavoring. 
* A little liquid smoke goes a long way so be careful when applying. I like mesquite, but you can use hickory or applewood.