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How to Cook Boneless, Separated Baby Back Ribs in the Oven

By A.J. Andrews
Separated, boneless baby back ribs are about 1/2 inch thick and 3 to 4 inches long.

Start to Finish: 2 hours Servings: 4 to 6 Difficulty: Moderate

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Pork labeled "Boneless Baby Back Ribs" can refer to two drastically different cuts: meat cut from the shoulder-blade end of the loin, which is technically loin and shoulder meat, or true baby backs with the ribs removed. The names used for cuts of pork are not regulated, so look for recesses where the ribs were before you make a purchase or confirm it with the butcher that you do, in fact, have true baby backs. The cooking method and times differ between the two cuts.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the sheet pan with aluminum foil and set the wire rack on top of it.

Brush the ribs with vegetable oil. Coat the ribs in a spice rub or season them. Place the ribs on the middle oven rack.

Bake the ribs until the tops brown, about 30 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven and cover them with aluminum foil. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F.

Return the ribs to the oven and bake them for another hour. If you are using a barbecue sauce, brush it on the ribs about 20 minutes before they finish cooking.

Things You Will Need

  • 4 to 5 pounds boneless baby back ribs
  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Wire rack
  • Spice rub (optional)
  • Liquid smoke (optional)
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)

Tip

If you have the time, season the baby backs 24 hours ahead of cooking them and store them in the refrigerator. Advanced salting gets the tenderization process rolling and gives the seasoning enough time to work its way into the meat.

Brush the ribs with liquid smoke to impart the flavor of wood smoke. Liquid smoke is a natural flavoring made from the smoke that condenses on the walls of a smokehouse.

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About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.

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