Many barbecue enthusiasts argue beef ribs, or any type of ribs for that matter, cannot be properly prepared in the oven. In fact, ribs can be prepared so well in the oven, enthusiasts will never know they were not prepared in a smoker or grill.

The secret to delicious, fall-off-the-bone style ribs is the marinade or dry rub. The marinade and dry rub work to break down tough fibers in meat.

Whether a wet marinade or dry rub is used, depends on the area of the county or the preference of the cook.

Wet Marinade

Beef ribs should be soaked in the wet marinade for 12-24 hours before cooking. Place the ribs in a baking pan, and pour the marinade over the ribs. The, place foil tightly over the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator. Once the ribs have marinated, remove them from the refrigerator at least two hours before placing in the oven, allowing them to come to room temperature.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider vinegar
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dark molasses
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 Tbsp hot sauce, if desired

Dry Rub

In a dry rub different spices and seasonings are mixed, then rubbed onto the dry meat. The meat is then placed in a baking pan and secured with foil. Beef ribs should sit in their dry rub for 12-24 hours, just like with a wet marinade. The longer the ribs sit in their marinade, the better. Ribs can safely sit in their marinade for at least 36 hours inside the refrigerator. Once the ribs have marinated, remove them from the refrigerator at least two hours before placing in the oven, allowing them to reach room temperature.

Wash and dry meat before proceeding with the dry rub. Also, when using a dry rub, remove the silver membrane located on the bone side of the ribs. The membrane, while safe to eat, is tough and inhibits the penetration of flavor.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard

Mix all ingredients together. Slather generously over washed and dried ribs.

Why should Beef Ribs come to room temperature before baking in the oven?

Beef ribs at room temperature cook evenly. Bringing meat to room temperature allows the meat to “relax,” keeping it from being tight and dense. The exterior of cold, dense meat dries out when placed in a hot oven.

Baking Them

Moisture makes beef ribs tender.

If you are cooking with a gas oven, there is already a small element of moisture in the oven from the combustion needed to heat the oven. If you are cooking with an electric oven, the moisture element is not there.

For best results, place the ribs on a rack above a pan filled with two inches of water. At this point, wood chips can be added to provide additional “smoky” flavor.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ribs on the rack bone side down.

Cook the ribs for three hours, removing and turning the rack and pan every 20 minutes. Do not move the meat, just turn the rack and pan.

After three hours, the ribs should be done. The meat should have pulled away, exposing the ends of the bones.

If you prefer ribs with barbecue sauce on them, add the barbecue sauce to the ribs at this point. Turn the oven to broil and place ribs back on rack and place in oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the ribs and cook an additional 10 minutes. The sauce will be beautifully caramelized at this point. Watch the beef ribs carefully, as sugar burns easily and all barbecue sauces contain sugar.

If you prefer your beef ribs with no sauce or sauce on the side, wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil and allow them to rest for at least 45 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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