You don’t HAVE to be a slave to your charcoal grill for perfectly cooked ribs. Here are three methods we utilise for getting delicious and easy to make ribs at home. Traditionally, rib meat is a reasonably tough cut that needs a lengthy cook over a low heat to render it tender and delicious. Your oven, a slow cooker or sous-vide machine are all ideal methods for this kind of slow, steady, moist baking.
The key to great ribs is in the flavours you introduce so for a deeply flavoured result, start marinating or applying rubs and bastes the day before you’re wanting to cook. Use a good dry rub and add some smoked paprika or a squirt of liquid smoke, to amp up smoky barbecue flavour*. Season and sprinkle your ribs thoroughly with the rub and pat them down all over then wrap or cover well and refrigerate, for at least an hour or, ideally, overnight.
So, you’re rubbed and flavoured, now to cook. Choose from one of our favourite, charcoal free methods:
Place your ribs on a rack in your roasting dish or baking tray lined with baking paper (easier clean-up) then cover in aluminium foil - the rack allows the heat to circulate on all sides. Bake for 2 ½ - 3hrs for spare ribs 1 ½ - 2hrs for baby-back ribs (at approx 150C), removing every so often to turn and baste. About 30 minutes before the end of cooking, brush the ribs with barbecue sauce, re-cover with foil, and continue cooking. When they’re ready either turn the heat up in your oven for a flash grill to caramelise or throw them on your BBQ hot-plate or grill pan for that seared finish before serving with extra sauce.
Knowing when they’re done: It seems that we’ve all been fed the line that ribs are not done until they fall off the bone, when really, if these ribs reach that point they are overcooked. Cook until a knife slides easily into the meat.
The Slow Cooker
This method is very similar to the above. Simply take your prepared ribs and place them in the slow cooker then brush over thoroughly with barbeque sauce (keep about a ¼ of your sauce in reserve for the final stage) and slow-cook on low for 8-10hrs.
Please note your cooking time will depend on the number of ribs you’re cooking and the size of your slow cooker.
When they’re cooked carefully, remove from the slow cooker, brush them with the reserved sauce and either place them on a lined baking tray and grill for 3-5mins or flash fry on your BBQ hot-plate or grill pan and serve.
Essentially the ‘cook, store and finish later’ method. Prepare your ribs with the spice rub as described above, leave to marinate overnight, then vacuum seal according to your vacuum sealer’s instructions. (Our Magic Vac bags are perfect for this as they’re surgical grade and safe for use with bones. Also our Stasher bags as their platinum grade plastic that won’t be pierced by rib bones). Simply take your prepared ribs and vac-packed ribs and cook them for around 12hrs in a water bath preheated to 74C.
When they’re cooked, remove them from their bags, and place on a lined baking tray. Pat them dry and apply barbeque sauce liberally, then grill on high until caramelised.
*We have discovered another method for bringing a genuine smoky element to your ribs and that's with planking... take a look at our Korean Sticky rib recipe for more info.