• Yield: Serves 6 as a main dish

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 2-2 1/2 hours cooking, 2 hours 10 minutes total

We are the first ones to applaud ribs slow-cooked on a grill, but for those days when you don't want to tend a fire, this is one utterly delicious oven version that will stand up to smoke-roasted ribs any day. 

In this recipe you are essentially encasing the ribs in a spice crust and cooking them slowly in the oven until they are falling-off-the-bone tender. No fuss, no muss.  

We serve them unadorned with just a squeeze of lime. But if you must, warm up a good-quality barbecue sauce and serve it on the side.   

Cook to Cook: Place the ribs on racks so that as they cook, they can render off a lot of their fat. Remember to line the pans with parchment for an easy cleanup. 

Spice rub can be made 2-3 days ahead and kept covered in an airtight container.

Spice Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt 

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin 

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 

  • 3 tablespoons paprika  

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne 

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 

  • 1/4 cup sugar  

  • 2 racks pork spareribs, about 6 pounds total, trimmed of extra fat  

  • Limes cut into wedges for garnish

1. Make the spice rub by combining the salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, smoked paprika, cinnamon and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Set aside.

2. Arrange oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Line two large rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper or foil. 

4. Place a rack in each pan to raise the ribs above their juices. On each of the racks place one slab of ribs, cutting them as necessary to fit. Do not crowd, as that will inhibit browning. 

5. Using your fingers, rub generous spoonfuls of the spice rub onto both sides and the edges of the slabs of ribs. You want a spice crust, so really coat them heavily. You should have some extra spice rub, which you will reapply as you cook them. 

6. Place the ribs meaty side down and roast 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn them meaty side up, sprinkle with some of the remaining spice rub and roast another 30 minutes. 

7. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and continue to roast until the ribs are tender, browned and a knife inserted in the meat cuts through easily, about 2 1/2 hours total. Check and taste often as they can go from perfectly tender to overdone quickly. 

8. Remove from the oven and let them rest 15-20 minutes before cutting them into three-bone pieces. Pile on a platter and serve with wedges of fresh lime.

Spare ribs Photo: Jennifer Simonson
Sally Swift
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.