How to Cook Ribs in the Oven Without Foil

Aluminum foil isn't necessary to cook ribs in the oven, but you do need a slow, gentle oven temperature. Roasting the ribs at temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit will dry them out. Start with some savory seasonings and end with a basting of smoke-infused butter. The entire process from start to finish takes less than 2 hours.

Ribs covered in barbecue sauce. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a rub for the ribs by combining salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar -- or any other seasonings you prefer -- in a bowl.

Step 2

Place the ribs bone-side down on a rack on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Rub the seasonings thoroughly into the meat. Bake the ribs in the pan on the middle oven rack until they are golden-brown, and the meat has shrunken from the bones by about 1/4 inch. Baby back ribs typically need approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours to cook, while spare ribs and beef ribs need about 1 1/2 to 2 hours of baking time, depending on the number of ribs.

Step 3

Baste the ribs with a mixture of liquid smoke and melted butter, or sprinkle them with mesquite seasoning. They won't have quite the same flavor as ribs smoked over a fire, but they'll taste pretty close.

Step 4

Heat the oven to broil. Slather the ribs with barbecue sauce if you like and place them under the broiler for 5 minutes for a sizzling, crisp finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Seasonings

  • Baby back, spare ribs or beef ribs

  • Rack

  • Baking or roasting pan

  • Liquid smoke

  • Salted butter

  • Barbecue sauce


The center of a rack of ribs generally doesn't cook as quickly as the ends. Stick a toothpick in between the middle ribs. The meat should feel soft and pliable. If not, cook the ribs for 15 to 20 minutes longer.


Cook ribs to 120 F for rare.

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