Cooktop Cove: 7 cooking tips to follow when you're cooking ribs in the oven
Ribs are one of those dishes that has everyone clamouring for them. What's not to love? That sticky, gooey exterior that gives way to that tender, falling off the bone meat? It's just about the perfect dish. And everyone should be able to enjoy them all year round. But what if you live in an apartment that doesn't allow grills on the patio? Or what if your grill is covered is covered in three feet of snow?
It happens. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to enjoy tender ribs whenever you want them. And it doesn't. There is a way to get the best ribs possible anytime of year in any setting; and it's by cooking them right in your oven. Not sure how to do it? Just follow the tips below!
1. Remove the silver skin
Okay, so this is something that has to be done no matter how you're preparing your ribs. The silver skin is a very thin membrane that covers the entire back of the ribs. And if it's left on that tough, albeit thin, membrane will translate into tough ribs. So it has to be removed.
To do it, use a sharp knife to cut a small slit into the membrane on the back of the ribs. Then, using the handle end of a spoon, gently push the handle down between the membrane and the meat. A small piece of the membrane will come off the meat easily and that will allow you to grab a bigger piece of membrane and eventually pull the entire thing off. It can be slippery and when that's the case, using a paper towel to pull off the membrane can help.
2. Use a rub
This too, is another technique that needs to be included no matter how you are cooking your ribs. A rub will help to tenderize the meat, making it fall off the bone even faster and give it even more flavor.
To make a rub mix together: 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Rub this mixture generously over the front and back of the ribs and then place in the fridge anywhere from 8 hours to overnight.
3. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil
This is something that only needs to be done when cooking ribs in the oven because the ribs will be exposed to direct heat all the time. So, something needs to make that heat a bit gentler; and you can do that by creating a barrier between the direct heat and the ribs.
Simply take two large pieces of aluminum foil. Lay the ribs on one sheet and fold the foil up over the ribs as best as possible. Then, using the other sheet, lay it over any portion of ribs that are still exposed and open. Wrap it all up very tightly and then place the ribs on a baking sheet.
This will keep all of the moisture as close to the ribs as possible, which will keep them moist while cooking.
4. Cook low and slow
Ribs of any kind are muscles and bones that work very hard, and that leads to a lot of tough meat. In order to break down that meat and make it tender, it needs a long cooking time at a low heat. When cooking ribs in the oven, this means cooking at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. At this point the ribs should be checked by taking two of the rib bones and moving them back and forth. If the meat in between those bones starts to easily break away from the bone, they're ready. If not, they should be cooked a little longer.
5. Remove from oven and brush with sauce
So ribs in the oven don't get brushed with barbecue sauce until they're almost finished? That's right. If sauce is applied any sooner, it will likely burn and potentially ruin the ribs. Instead, this step should be done right at the very end of cooking time. So after the ribs are fully tender, they should be taken out of the oven, unwrapped from their foil, and brushed liberally with barbecue sauce.
6. Place them under the broiler
Just having barbecue sauce brushed onto ribs often isn't enough. After all, when bits of that sauce are charred and the sauce is completely heated through, that's when ribs really become magical. So when you take the ribs out of the oven, preheat the broiler and after the ribs have been doused in sauce, place them underneath the broiler for several minutes. This will make the ribs absolutely perfect.
7. Serve with extra sauce!
Sauce placed under the broiler is great, but it may not give everyone the finger-lickin-good feeling they're looking for from ribs. And the only way to get that is to serve the ribs with more sauce on the side. This allows people to dip, spoon, or brush as much sauce on their ribs as they like. After all, for many, this is the best part!
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