Oven Ribs

Unless you have a pit handy or can afford one of those expensive outdoor cookers that are capable of maintaining a low even temperature for a very long time, the best way to cook pork ribs is in your oven. Oven ribs also ease the cook’s job in the sweltering heat of a Southern summer. A container of water placed on a rack below the meat ensures a moist, even heat. You only have to open the oven once to turn the ribs. Try the following rub mix, then modify it as you might see fit. I tend to be heavy on the garlic and cumin, light on the salt and pepper. I do two full racks when I cook ribs; baby backs are expensive for the amount of meat you get. For two full racks or four of baby backs make a rub of:

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup each of cumin, granulated garlic and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional; it’s always best to offer heat at the table)

Cut ribs to fit roasting pan, pat dry, oil and coat with rub. Place ribs in middle level of oven and container of water on the bottom; I use a 2-quart sauce pot.  350 for first hour, reduce heat to 225. Turn the ribs at the half-way point, and cook until meat is tender and pulls away from bones, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, a little more than half that for baby backs.. The ribs will keep covered at room temperature for several hours, so start them in the morning to free up the oven for later.