I had no idea that spare ribs could be cooked in the oven to perfection until I came across this recipe from smittenkitchen.com via this New York Times recipe. The result: So juicy and tender that the meat was coming off the bone, with a sweet and smoky flavor! The secret is the combination of a dry rub along with low temperature cooking. Take a few minutes to go over the original recipe as well as the article by smittenkitchen (it’s nice to read and also full of useful little tips) and feel free to follow the recipe as is. However, they came out a little too sweet for my taste (even with the additional teaspoon of salt) and my love for both cinnamon and clover have long been in dispute. So, I skipped the clover (good thing I did) and added only a hint of cinnamon (I shouldn’t have!). I also modified the oven temperature because 200 F seemed extremely low for my oven (I absolutely need to invest in an oven thermometer) and cooked for 1/2 hour less. Lastly, I realized that I should have used some heavy duty aluminum foil which is not only stronger but also wider in size. It would have held the juices better and would have saved me from (the little, I must admit) pan scrubbing. Oh, and by the way, if you are planning on making them, please take the time to buy that smoked paprika for the sauce. It makes a difference!
I cooked them last week for the first time (I wanted to prepare something all-american for the Super Bowl weekend so I decided it was the perfect timing to try them). I also have to admit that even though I have been in the USA for four consecutive years, I cannot say that I’ve reached the stage of fully understanding the football rules, but I have certainly mastered the skills of cooking ribs!
This is the recipe that I will follow for 5 pounds of spare ribs (2.3 kg) the next time I make them.
For the rub, combine into a small bowl:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
For the sauce:
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon red vinegar
Preheat oven to 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). Divide the ribs into four slabs. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay down four large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place each slab of ribs onto the aluminum foil, and add the rub onto the ribs, pressing with your hand. Turn the ribs, meat down and close the aluminum packages carefully. Place them onto a rack. Place the rack on top of a baking sheet. Bake for four hours. Increase temperature oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Bake for another 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. Open carefully each package and pour the accumulated juices into a small saucepan. Add the smoked paprika and the red vinegar and cook until the sauce is reduced to half. In the meantime, broil ribs for a few minutes. Either pour sauce on top of the ribs or serve it on the side.