The Best Way To Cook Ribs, According to Chefs

Cooking ribs that fall off the bone and taste delicious might seem like a task for the pros, but guess what? You can achieve those same mouth-watering results right in your own kitchen. Want to know how chefs do it? Keep reading as we delve into the secrets of making the best ribs that will have everyone at your table asking for seconds.

BBQ Ribs | How To Cook Spare Ribs | Tesco Real Food

Understanding Your Ribs: The Basics

Before you fire up the grill or preheat the oven, let’s talk about what type of ribs you’re dealing with. Are they baby back, spare ribs, or St. Louis-style? Each type has its nuances in flavor and cooking methods. Choosing the right kind of ribs is your first step to culinary success.

Choosing the Right Ribs

  • Baby Back Ribs: Leaner and smaller than their counterparts, they cook quicker and are great for grilling.
  • Spare Ribs: These are larger and have more fat, which means more flavor but also more cooking time.
  • St. Louis-Style Ribs: A trimmed version of spare ribs; they are uniform in shape making them easier to cook evenly.

Prepping Your Ribs: The Chef’s Way

Cleaning and Trimming

The preparation of your ribs is just as important as the cooking. Removing the membrane on the back of the ribs is a must-do for tender ribs. Just slide a knife under the membrane, grab it with a paper towel for better grip, and pull it off.

Seasoning for Success

The Dry Rub

Creating your dry rub is an art. Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and a pinch of cayenne for that kick. Generously rub this mixture all over the ribs and let them marinate for at least an hour, or overnight if time allows.

The Marinade

If you prefer marinating, mix apple cider vinegar with your favorite BBQ sauce and some spices for that perfect marinade that tenderizes the ribs and infuses them with flavors.

Cooking Techniques Unveiled

The Low and Slow Method: Oven Baked Ribs

Preparing the Oven

Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C). This low and slow method will cook your ribs gently, allowing them to become tender and juicy.

Cooking Process

Wrap your ribs in foil, place them on a baking tray, and let them cook for about 2-3 hours. The key here is patience; the slower the ribs cook, the more flavorful and tender they will be.

Grilling: For That Smoky Flavor

Getting the Grill Ready

Heat your grill to a medium heat and make sure it’s clean. This prevents sticking and ensures your ribs cook evenly.

Grilling to Perfection

Place your ribs on the grill, bone side down, and cover. Cook them for about 1.5-2 hours, depending on their size. Keep an eye on them to avoid charring.

The Sauce Factor: When and How to Apply

Timing Your Sauce Application

Apply your BBQ sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Whether in the oven or on the grill, this timing allows the sauce to caramelize nicely without burning.

The Brushing Technique

Use a brush to evenly spread the sauce over the ribs. Layer it, let it cook a bit, then layer it again. This technique builds a rich flavor profile.

The Final Touch: Resting Your Ribs

Why Rest?

Once your ribs are done, let them rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making your ribs even more succulent.


Achieving the perfect ribs is all about understanding the type of ribs, prepping them properly, choosing the right cooking method, and knowing when to sauce them. Follow these tips from chefs, and you’ll be known as the rib master among your friends and family.


Q What’s the best temperature to cook ribs in the oven?

Aim for 275°F (135°C) to ensure they cook slowly and become more tender.

Q Can I cook ribs fast on high heat?

It’s possible, but slow cooking is preferable for the most tender and flavorful results.

Q What are the best spices for a dry rub?

Paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and a hint of cayenne pepper are great starters.

Q How long should I marinate the ribs?

Overnight is best, but if pressed for time, even an hour can make a difference.

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