How To Cook Beef Ribs In The Oven

If you’re craving the taste of smoked beef ribs, but don’t have a smoker, this recipe for cooking beef ribs in the oven is for you. Using the dry rub and sauce in this recipe creates a subtle smoky flavor, mimicking what’s found in traditional pit barbecue. Read on to learn how to cook beef ribs in the oven and if you love this, try my guide on cooking smoky pulled pork in the oven.

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Types Of Beef Ribs

If you search the internet for “types of beef ribs” you’ll find several different names depending on how they’re cut, and where on the steer they come from.

rack of beef ribs baked in the oven

In this blog about how to cook beef ribs in the oven, we’re talking about beef back ribs. These shouldn’t be confused with the beef short ribs, or “plate” ribs.

What’s The Difference Between Beef Short Ribs and Beef Back Ribs?

Beef back ribs are cut from the upper portion of the rib near the spine. They have a slight curve to them and the meat from those ribs comes from between the bones.

Beef short ribs are cut from the lower portion of the steer, or short plate; thus the term “plate” ribs. The meat on these ribs comes from on top of the rib and is usually plentiful. See examples below:

Beef short ribs have more meat on the bone, but they take considerably longer to cook. Beef back ribs are cut off the ribeye roll (leaving behind the boneless ribeye).

Because the real money for a butcher comes from the ribeye, they tend to trim the bones as close as possible to maximize profit. So, the meat on a back rib isn’t as abundant as on a short rib.

How Long Do You Cook Beef Ribs In The Oven?

The beef short rib contains a ton of connective tissue, and needs to be broken down over a long period of time. That’s not the case with the beef back rib.

Beef back ribs should be cooked for about 2 1/2 hours, setting the oven to 275 degrees. By wrapping them in foil the meat will be extra tender, and the bark will firm up at the end of the cook using the higher heat from the broiler.

rack of oven baked beef ribs

Alternatively, you can cook beef ribs in the oven using a pizza oven. This allows the intense heat from the dome of the oven to really crust up the ribs at the end, like the broiler in your kitchen oven.

Tips To Cook Beef Ribs In The Oven

Wrapping: Wrapping the ribs tightly in foil will help to make them tender and cook much faster. I use two to three layers of foil to prevent leaks.
Seasoning: if you’re looking for that pit barbecue flavor, the smoked salt, pepper, and paprika I use in this recipe are perfect. If you aren’t a fan of smoky flavors, use the same seasonings that aren’t smoked.
BBQ Sauce: I am typically not a fan of BBQ sauce on beef. That said, this smokey, savory BBQ sauce is perfect for beef. It’s not sweet like you would use on pork, so it’s a perfect match for the beef ribs.

oven baked beef ribs sliced on a cutting baord

How To Cook Beef Ribs In The Oven

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 2:35 mins

Ingredients
1 rack beef back ribs
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp smoked sea salt
1 tbsp smoked black pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder

Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce
1 ½ cups ketchup
½ cup molasses
¼ cup honey
¼ cup bourbon
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp smoked seasoning (from the ribs)
1 tbsp dark and smokey pepper blend (optional)

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 275°F. 

Step 2: While the oven is preheating, prepare the beef back ribs by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs. Pry up a corner of the membrane with a butter knife, then use a paper towel to grip the membrane and peel it off the ribs.

Step 3: Evenly coat the ribs with yellow mustard to serve as a binder to help the seasoning stick, and build a nice crust on the ribs. 

Step 4: Combine the sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic into a shaker bottle to make the smoked seasoning blend; generously season the ribs. Allow the ribs to rest, letting the seasoning sweat into the meat for 20 minutes. 

Step 5: Wrap the dry rubbed ribs tightly in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.

beef ribs wrapped in foil

Step 6: Place the ribs on a wire cooling rack, inside of a raised edge baking sheet. The raised edge baking sheet collects any juices that may leak out of the foil.

Step 7: Put them in the oven and bake the beef ribs for 2.5 hours. While the ribs are baking, combine all ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium saucepan. Place over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Whisk occasionally and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.

Step 8: Remove ribs from the oven, take them out of the foil, placing them back on the wire rack on the baking sheet. Turn the oven on broil.

beef ribs unwrapped on top of foil

Step 9: Lightly glaze the ribs with the barbecue sauce with a pastry brush.

Return them to the middle rack of the oven for four minutes, or into the pizza oven. This will allow the sauce to get tacky and caramelize slightly.

beef ribs in the oven

Step 10: Remove ribs from the oven, and allow them to rest for five to ten minutes before slicing and serving.

sliced beef ribs baked in the oven

How To Make Beef Ribs In The Oven

4.50 from 26 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 rack beef back ribs
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp smoked sea salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

Smoky BBQ Sauce

  • cup ketchup
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp smoked seasoning from the ribs
  • 1 tbsp dark and smoky pepper blend optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 275°F.
  • While the oven is preheating, prepare the beef back ribs by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs. Pry up a corner of the membrane with a butter knife, then use a paper towel to grip the membrane and peel it off the ribs.
  • Evenly coat the ribs with yellow mustard to serve as a binder to help the seasoning stick, and build a nice crust on the ribs.
  • Combine the sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic into a shaker bottle to make the smoked seasoning blend; generously season the ribs. Allow the ribs to rest, letting the seasoning sweat into the meat for 20 minutes.
  • Wrap the dry rubbed ribs tightly in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.
  • Place the ribs on a wire cooling rack, inside a raised edge baking sheet. The raised edge baking sheet collects any juices that may leak out of the foil.
  • Put them in the oven and bake the beef ribs for 2.5 hours. While the ribs are baking, combine all ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium saucepan. Place over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Whisk occasionally and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.
  • Remove ribs from the oven, and take them out of the foil, placing them back on the wire rack on the baking sheet. Turn the oven on broil.
  • Lightly glaze the ribs with the barbecue sauce, and return them to the middle rack of the oven for four minutes. This will allow the sauce to get tacky and caramelize slightly.
  • Remove ribs from the oven, and allow them to rest for five to ten minutes before slicing and serving.

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