Makes 2 racks; serves 4

This Food IQ recipe for ribs in the oven, the Rodbard way, comes from Matt Rodbard's mom, Cheryl. With the absence of a smoker, the oven is the next best bet for preparing moist, succulent ribs. These ribs utilize a dry rub that adds flavor to the meat before a low-and-slow steam roast, thanks to plastic wrap, that gets the meat to fall-off-the-bone status. This recipe calls for the use of your favorite barbecue sauce, be it homemade or a bottle pulled from the grocery store shelf. Bulls-Eye is the Rodbard family favorite. 


  • 2 full racks baby back pork ribs 

    Food IQ Book cover FOOD IQ Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder 

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for serving 


1. Boil the ribs in salted water to cover for 15 minutes, occasionally skimming off the fat. Remove the racks from the water, let cool, and pat dry. If you don’t have a pot large enough to hold whole racks, a roasting pan spanning two burners on the stove top works well. 

2. While the ribs boil, make the dry rub. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, sugar, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, garlic powder, and pepper, mixing well. 

3. Once the ribs are cooled and dry, rub them all over with the dry rub, then wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and then again with aluminum foil. The ribs can be cooked immediately, but for the best results, allow them to cure for 2 to 3 hours or up overnight in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the wrapped rib racks in a roasting pan, slip the pan into the oven, and bake until the meat is extremely tender and the racks bend when “waved” (think of waving a hankie at a departing ship).

5. To finish, remove the pan from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Unwrap the rib racks and coat them with the barbecue sauce. Return the pan to the oven and bake until browned and crusted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting the racks into individual ribs and serving.

From the book FOOD IQ by Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard Copyright © 2022 by Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard . Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Photos by: Ed Anderson Illustration: Miguel Villalobos

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