These Memphis Style Ribs are PERFECT for any summer get-together. This oven baked ribs recipe gets its flavor from Memphis BBQ Dry Rub and Sauce. The low and slow baking makes for the most tender ribs. Makes 4-5 slabs of ribs, but can easily adjusted for a bigger or smaller gathering.
I’m a Memphis girl through and through. Even though I haven’t lived in the Bluff City since I was 18, I’ve still got some Memphian ways.
- For example, I have a fondness for all things Elvis.
- I eat my pulled pork sandwiches with the slaw on ’em, not on the side.
- I prefer Memphis style ribs.
- Barbecue is my comfort food.
However, as a native Memphian, I never made my own barbecue before I moved away. But since I can’t get my hands on Memphis style barbecue in Texas, I’ve had to figure it out since I’ve found myself craving dry rub ribs more than once.
Why I love this recipe:
These Memphis style ribs taste like the real deal, but they don’t require a smoker or any fancy equipment. All you need is a baking sheet (or two) and your oven. While you can finish them on the grill, we oftentimes just put them under the broiler and call it a day!
You don’t need fancy ingredients, either. This oven baked ribs recipe is pretty straightforward and simple to make if you’ve got the ingredients on hand. And if you don’t, they’re easy to make yourself OR can be purchased from the store.
I’m breaking down all my tips and tricks for this delicious oven roasted rib recipe in this post, so read through ’em and learn how to make them for you and your people for this summer’s barbecue season!
Other favorite BBQ dishes for the summer: BBQ Chicken Burger Bites with Avocado Slaw / Pulled Pork Coleslaw Eggrolls / Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Nachos / Instant Pot BBQ Brisket / Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbread
Looking for something more general for the summer? Check out my July 4th Recipe index!
What you need to make the best dry rub ribs
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- Sheet pan or roasting pan with rack
- Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush
- Porcelain Rectangular Platter in White (for serving)
You’ll also need some ingredients to make these beauties, too.
- Baby back ribs—while I’ve tried pork spare ribs with this recipe, they’re a fattier cut of meat. To me, this made them a lot messier (in the oven itself) and didn’t result in additional flavor.
- BBQ dry rub—you can use the store bought kind (from a Memphis restaurant, like Corky’s or the Rendezvous). You can also make your own dry rub.
- BBQ sauce—again, you can get your favorite at the store (we prefer Rendezvous and Stubb’s brands in our house) or you can make your own barbecue sauce
How to make Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
Prepare the tools and ingredients
Our success in this oven baked ribs recipe is all about the preparation!
Here’s what you need to do:
- Preheat the oven to 275°F. The ribs are going to slow roast in the oven, so we don’t want the temperature any higher than this.
- Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with foil. Line it well because the juices from the meat will bake into your baking sheet, and it will be challenging to clean.
- PRO TIP: If you’re making a lot of ribs, you might need more than roasting pan or baking sheet.
Once your tools are prepared, it’s time to work on the baby back ribs, too.
- Clean the ribs. This means we’re going to rinse them in the sink and pat ’em dry with paper towels.
- Remove the silver skin from the underside. To do this, you can dig your fingers beneath the filmy skin and yank it off.
- Trim the ribs into 4-5 rib sections. This is optional, but it makes for an easier time if you have smaller baking sheets. Each rack should have 2-3, depending on how large they are.
- Season the ribs with BBQ dry rub. As a rule, I use about 1 tablespoon per pound, and you want the seasoning to go on top of the ribs, as well as the backside of ’em.
Once you’ve gotten the tools and ingredients prepared, arrange the ribs on the prepared roasting pan or baking sheets. Cover with foil, and transfer to the preheated oven.
Bake the dry rub baby back ribs in the oven
The ribs will bake for 5 hours. Don’t be tempted to open the oven as they cook because you want the temperature to remain as consistent as possible.
Once the 5 hour bake is up, remove them from the oven. Brush with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with additional dry rub.
Then you’ll put ’em back into the oven and bake for 1-2 more hours… or until the ribs are tender. You’ll know they’re tender when the meat starts pulling off the bones. When the meat does pull off the bones, your ribs are almost ready, and remove the dry rub ribs from the oven.
How to finish these dry rub baby back ribs on the grill
Preheat the grill. When it reaches the optimal temperature of around 500-550F, turn off the burners on the side where the ribs will be finished because the sugar in the barbecue sauce will cause them to catch fire.
Baste the ribs with additional barbecue sauce, and grill until sticky sweet and darkened. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
How to finish this oven baked ribs recipe under the broiler
Preheat your oven’s broiler. Mine goes up to 550F, so make sure that yours goes up that high, too. While it heats, brush the ribs with additional barbecue sauce.
When the broiler is screaming hot, transfer the ribs back into the oven. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until the tops of the ribs are browned and sticky. Keep an eye on them because the sugar content in the BBQ sauce could cause them to burn.
When done, sprinkle with additional dry rub, and enjoy immediately with your favorite barbecue side dishes.
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
Ribs are the PERFECT entree for outdoor entertaining because they can be eaten with your hands. They’re also good to make in a large batch, too, because they take so much time. (Keep in mind that it’s not all hands-on time, but they require planning.)
Backyard barbecues are one of my favorite events for the summertime, and you can’t go wrong with hosting one.
Here are a few tips and tricks for throwing one:
- Plan out your menu in advance. Choose to make dishes that can be made ahead of time that can also sit out for a little while without problems or assign dishes for your guests to bring.
- Give yourself extra time with the ribs. When hosting friends before, these ribs have taken longer to cook than usual, and I was s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d. Build extra time into your cooking timeline, and have a backup plan in case things go awry. (Like knowing you can broil these if your gas grill is out of gas, etc.)
- You don’t have to serve this oven baked ribs recipe piping hot. If they finish cooking earlier than expected, wrap them in foil, and keep warm in the oven (which is at 175F tops) until it’s time to serve.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Entertaining should be fun! Crack yourself open a beer (or any beverage of your choice!) as you get things ready to go for your gathering—it’s going to be FUN!
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2011, my younger sister drove to Baton Rouge for a visit before she and I drove cross country to Denver.
The day before we left, we made a ton of barbecue and fixings, including RIBS!
That weekend, I spoke with one of Winston’s friends from South Carolina, whose ribs we enjoyed on multiple occasions. He shared his recipe to give me an idea of what cooking ribs actually was like.
Then I took what he shared and adapted it to make the ribs reminiscent of Memphis ones.
At Memphis barbecue restaurants, you can order your ribs wet or dry. “Wet ribs” are slathered in barbecue sauce before serving while dry ribs aren’t finished with sauce. Dry rubbed ribs are a Memphis thing.
Before cooking, the pitmaster seasons the ribs with a delicious blend of dry spices. As they cook, the pitmaster slathers them in vinegar and barbecue sauce. When they’re fall-apart tender and ready to be eaten, the pitmaster adds more dry rub before serving ’em up.
I don’t have a smoker, so we bake these ribs, then finish ’em off on the grill. You can also finish them under the broiler if you don’t have a grill or don’t want to grill your ribs.
These ribs aren’t traditional Memphis ribs. I don’t have the equipment, and as much as I’d love a barbecue pit, I don’t think my family would be in support of me taking over the backyard to have one. 😉 Chances are, you don’t have the equipment to make true Memphis ribs, either, and that’s OK.
These ribs have got a Memphis dry rub to give ’em tons of flavor (a signature in Memphis ribs!) and are slathered in a homemade barbecue sauce that’s sweet and a little spicy and vinegary without being too much in any direction.
Tips and tricks to making best oven baked ribs recipe
- Give yourself some wiggle room. Timing ribs can be hard because everyone’s oven is different. If you want to, you can remove the silver skin and prep the ribs the day before so that you can simply season ’em and pop them into the oven the morning of your gathering.
- Prep what you can beforehand. If you’re making your own dry rub and barbecue sauce, make ’em a day in advance so you’re not hustling to get those together while also trying to get the ribs in the oven at a specific time.
- Make as many as you and your guests can handle. You’re going to spend a lot of time on them either way, so it’s worthwhile to make extra if you think they’ll be eaten. (Also, they’re great leftover, so don’t worry if you’ve got some leftovers.)
- If you finish them on the grill, ensure the fire isn’t lit directly beneath the ribs. Our first batch caught fire because of this, and it was heartbreaking.
What dishes can I serve with this oven baked ribs recipe?
- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Easy Broccoli Salad
- Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Nachos
- Red, White and Blue Brunch Punch
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Now who’s ready to make some dry rub baby back ribs in the oven?
Here’s how we’ve made them time and again!
Summertime is the season of barbecue... so it's time to learn how to make a barbecue classic. Even though ribs take time, they're well worth the effort, and these Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs are PERFECT for any summer get-together. Seasoned with homemade barbecue dry rub, these ribs cook low and slow for hours. Finish this nod to the Memphis dry rib on the grill or in the broiler, and serve with traditional barbecue sides to complete the feast!
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set aside. (This may require more than one pan if you're making a lot of ribs.)
- Rinse ribs and pat dry with paper towels, and remove any silver skin from the backs. (You should be able to remove this with your fingers.)
- If you want, trim the ribs into 4-5 rib sections.
- Season the ribs liberally with Memphis-style barbecue rub. You'll use about 1 tablespoon per pound.
- Arrange the ribs on the roasting pan or prepared baking sheet(s), and cover with aluminum foil. Transfer to the preheated oven, and bake for 5 hours.
- Once the ribs have baked for 5 hours, remove from the oven. Brush the ribs with ¾ cup barbecue sauce, then sprinkle with additional barbecue rub.
- Transfer the pan(s) back into the oven, and cook uncovered for an additional 2 hours or until the ribs are tender. The meat will start pulling off the bones, and once it does, you'll know your ribs are almost ready!
- When the second bake is done, remove from the oven.
To finish on the grill
- Preheat the grill to 350°-400°F.
- Turn off the burners on the side where the ribs will be finished, as the barbecue sauce will cause them to catch fire.
- Baste the ribs with an additional ¾ cup of the barbecue sauce, and grill until sticky sweet and darkened. (About 10-15 minutes.)
- Sprinkle with additional barbecue rub to finish, and enjoy!
To finish in the broiler
- Preheat the oven's broiler.
- While the broiler is heating up, brush the ribs with an additional ¾ cup of the barbecue sauce.
- When the broiler is screaming hot, transfer the ribs back into the oven, and broil for 8 minutes, or until the tops of the ribs are browned and sticky.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with additional barbecue rub to finish, and enjoy!
You can easily double this recipe or half it. Keep in mind that you'll have to have enough space in your oven if you double it and that if you want to make a smaller batch, you're still going to be doing the same amount of work. Ribs are a labor of love, so it's worth making a bigger batch, in my opinion.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 943Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 335mgSodium: 727mgCarbohydrates: 20gSugar: 14gProtein: 88g
The photos and recipe for these Memphis-Style Barbecue Ribs were originally published on August 23, 2011. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post and the recipe, were updated in April 2021.