A Useful Guide On Cooking Delicious Ribs For Beginners

beginner rib cooking guide

Figuring out how to cook ribs can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done so before. Not only are there beef ribs and pork ribs, but there are 3 types of beef ribs (short ribs, baby back ribs, and flanken-style ribs) and 4 types of pork ribs (baby back ribs, spare ribs, country-style ribs, and St. Louis-style ribs). 

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Getting these right is not an easy task, and it’s made all the more challenging by the fact that most people have a particular cooking style of ribs they love – and it’s up to you to figure that out. That said, there are steps you can take to make this process easier. Keep reading for a guide on how to cook the most delicious ribs, with tips suitable for beginners!

You Can Make Ribs in an Oven

When most people start making ribs, they automatically turn to the smoker.

This isn’t to say a smoker isn’t a good option – it helps make deliciously tender ribs. However, if you don’t have a smoker at home, you can use your oven to make ribs that are just as tender and juicy. So, if the thing holding you back from trying to make ribs was the fear of not having the right equipment, don’t worry – your kitchen already has everything you need. 

If you’re using an oven for cooking ribs, the only additional piece of equipment you’ll need to have is a meat thermometer, which will allow you to monitor the temperature of your ribs. 

Aside from not needing additional appliances, the pro of cooking your ribs in an oven is that it’s a faster process. As you’ll see, smoking ribs is a time-consuming task (though definitely worth it). Making ribs in an oven only takes about 3 hours. 

Smoking Ribs Takes Time

beginner rib cooking guide 1

Smoking imparts a ton of flavor to your ribs, resulting in an unforgettable meal – but it also takes quite a lot of time. If you’re wondering how long to smoke ribs for, the answer is about five to six hours. This is much longer than cooking your ribs in an oven (3 hours) or grilling them (3-3.5 hours).

You can smoke ribs in two ways – either the 2-2-1 method or the 3-2-1 method.

The 2-2-1 method requires you to cook the ribs for 2 hours in the smoker, then wrap them in foil and cook for another two hours, and finally remove the ribs from the foil and cook for one more hour, frequently brushing them with sauce while you do so. 

The 3-2-1 method is relatively similar to the 2-2-1 method – the only major difference is the length of time. In the 3-2-1 method, you will cook your ribs for 3 hours to start with—not 2. Then cook for 2 hours with the foil and 1 hour without the foil and with sauce application. 

Make a Dry Rub for Your Ribs

Before you cook your ribs, you’ll need to prepare a dry rub to rub on them. The dry rub is essentially the seasoning blend and adds a ton of flavor to your ribs. Most dry rubs are homemade, and many families have dry rub recipes that have been passed down for generations. 

Your dry rub should not only have salt and spices – most dry rubs, especially for pork, also have some sugar. While there are numerous dry rub recipes you can refer to online, creating the perfect dry rub is simply a question of trial and error. You’ll need to experiment with different options until you find one that you love and helps make the flavor of the ribs come to life. 

Once your dry rub is ready, the next step is to season your ribs. For the greatest impact, your dry rub needs time to seep into your ribs. This means that you should rub the mixture onto your ribs and then wrap it in foil. 

beginner rib cooking guide 2

Refrigerate the foil-covered ribs for at least 4 hours. However, if you want your ribs and dry rub to truly shine, you should allow the dry rub to sit for as much as 48 hours. This means you’ll need to prepare for making ribs several days in advance – and this is one of the reasons why making ribs can be an event all of its own. 

Like most recipes, the secret to cooking the perfect ribs is experience. No matter what recipe you’ll start with, you’ll develop your own tricks and secrets over the years to create a rib recipe that is truly all your own. However, before you can get there, you’ll need to make ribs for the first time – and this guide will make things much easier for you.