The Easiest (Best?) Ribs You Will Ever Make + Delicious Buttermilk Cornbread

Baby Back Ribs

The best ribs you’ve ever made? Let me qualify that. These are the only ones I know how to make, which make them the best I’ve ever made. That said, this recipe takes five minutes to prepare. Literally. Five minutes. But what emerges from the oven  — a juice-filled package of falling-off-the-bone baby back ribs, perfectly crisped on the exterior  — tastes like a day’s worth of work toiling over a coal-filled bbq pit. 

Sweet. Smokey. Salty. Delicious. If these aren’t the best ribs you’ve ever prepared, they’re damn good ribs at the very least. 

Where did I discover such an easy and delicious recipe? Where else. Liza, of course. My mother made these ribs for my meat-deprived husband and me when she was visiting last month. I’ve since made them several times for friends and family. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing recipe, this is it. Serve it with buttermilk cornbread (my favorite recipe is enclosed below) and a simple salad, and you have a successful dinner party in the making.

Now, some of you may be wondering where I found local, humanely raised pork. Well, I didn’t, because where I live, I haven’t been able to find a source fitting such criteria, a reality that has stopped me from buying pork for nearly two years. Oh Liza! With your baby back ribs! Your tasty tasty baby back ribs. I regret to admit I’ve compromised my morals.

Alas. For you locals, I have two alternatives: the Whole Foods in Laguna Beach sells organic pork from Canada donning a “responsibly farm raised” label, whatever that means. And Trader Joe’s sells pork from the Midwest from purveyors that “meet their standards,” according to a woman I spoke to on the Trader Joe’s product information line: 626.599.3817. Again, it’s hard to know how these pigs really live until you see the location yourself, but this woman assured me that Trader Joe’s has high standards, that their crew does checks regularly, and that the pigs from their purveyors do not live packed together in pens. Again, these sources are not the ideal but short of forgetting this recipe exists, the best alternative for the meantime. 

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

4 spices

Preparing the Ribs

The Easiest Ribs You’ll Ever Make

Serves 2-3
1 rack of baby back ribs
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
smoked paprika (if you can find it) or parika
1 cup brown sugar
Heavy duty foil, if you have it

1. Preheat the oven to 275ºF.

2. Rinse off the ribs and pat dry. Liberally coat the ribs with the kosher salt, pepper and the paprika. Pack on the cup of brown sugar.

3. Lay out two sheets of foil slightly overlapping. Place ribs on top and close foil on all sides. Repeat two more times so that the ribs are covered in three good layers of foil. Place ribs on a sheet tray and place in the oven for 2½ hours. Note: When placing the ribs on the tray, try to place them meaty side down. It’s not critical but it makes for a crisper exterior.

4. Remove tray from the oven. Let sit for one hour. Do not open the pouch during this hour.

5. When ready to serve, reheat the ribs in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350ºF (this is assuming the ribs have not been refrigerated) or open the pouch, baste the ribs with the juices and place them under the broiler for five minutes.

Serve immediately with cornbread and a simple salad for a yummy yummy meal.

Buttermilk Cornbread

Super Moist Buttermilk Cornbread

Serves 8 to 10

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. Sugar
1½ T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar or Gruyère (or any cheese you like)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cheese and toss to coat.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour into a springform pan and swirl the pan to coat. Add the batter to the pan and place in the oven. Bake for about 55 minutes, until golden on top. (Check after 50 minutes). Place on cooling rack. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

cornbread ingredients

39 Comments

  1. Thanks for this! I have ribs thawed in the fridge ( a stocking the pantry gift from my inlaws), and didn’t know how to cook them other than in the crockpot. This sounds delicious and easy! We’re having them tonight!

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  2. i wouldn’t say this often, but some things are worth a sacrifice of morals! this entire post is mouth-watering, alexandra. i’d quickly become neanderthal-like and gnaw the meat off these bones ’til the cows come home!

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  3. I know we have pork at our farmer’s market here in Santa Monica, I’ll have to check it out. I hardly ever buy meat, but this looks great, so I’ll have to see. Also, thanks for the cornbread recipe. I usually just make the normal kind, but I have always wanted to make a good buttermilk recipe and haven’t been able to find one. Great!

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  4. I might make this recipe tonight, but I would not want to use foil against food. What do you think about a layer of parchment between?

    We raise our own pork because we can’t find good, humane pork at a reasonable price. We feel very lucky to be able to do so.

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  5. I would try the Whole Foods in Tustin. The place is massive so you might have better luck. That being said, the recipe sounds delicious. My dad usually makes the ribs but he only smokes them. No sticky, sweet, falling off the bone ribs unless I make them.

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  6. Those ribs look delectable and I am a vegetarian for thirty plus years! Trader Joe’s doesn’t look so good to me anymore. They are owned by Aldi’s chain of German supermarkets. I have seen many in the poorest neighborhoods of this coast. (I am a Seattlite but I am living on the Eastern Seaboard.) Once you have seen what passes for food at one of these grocery stores, you will stop believing that Trader Joe’s is anything a profit making machine with a well researched target market-us! (To their credit; hey do pay their employees better than most; and provide health insurance.) My sweatheart is a carnivore. I’ll try the ribs. Maybe you can find another grocery store? I have.

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  7. Those look amazing! Our neck of the woods has a lot of small, extensively reared pig farms, specialising in the rare and endangered breeds, so I must get me some pork and try these out!

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  8. Sooo much faster than mine, which involves (gulp) simmering a barbecue sauce for 45 minutes, hehe. Looks beautiful. Ribs and cornbread are my idea of heaven on earth!!

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  9. I love the pictures on your website. Over the past few posts, I noticed a common item in these pictures….your salt cellar. I love it! Can I inquire as to where you got such a wonderful knick knack??

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  10. If my boyfriend saw these ribs he would get ccccrazy! He LOVES ribs and these look amazing. He’s been nagging me for quite some time to get some but see I’m not such a huge fan of ribs. Seeing these though… oh I’m working up a serious appetite for them!
    Magda

    Reply
  11. Made these ribs last night and they were a HUGE hit! Bought my ribs at Whole Foods. I was nervous because I’ve never made ribs before, but the recipe couldn’t be easier. The only change I made was adding some bbq sauce to the ribs before I reheated them.

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  12. Last time I tried ribs they were so dry and almost rubbery. I can’t believe how easy you make it look! I’m hoping that your recipe turns out much better than mine. I think a lot of my issue was the meat…Gonna try again though! I love me some ribs!
    -Sylvia

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  13. OH. MY. GOD. These ribs truly are the best ever — incredibly tender and perfectly seasoned! Even my verrrrry picky 15 year old loved them! Ah… family harmony thru pork!

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  14. Made the cornbread tonight, to serve with the ribs I had saved from the night before. Had a hard time picking the cheese, but went with Gruyere, because it was expensive and I was making my ex pay for the groceries (he enjoyed the dinner, too). Best cornbread I have ever tasted, and can’t wait to make it again, trying different cheeses.

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  15. Here in Boise, Idaho I can get sustainably grown pork at the Boise Co-op and at Meats Royale. We have used this recipe a few times and each time it is delectable. We have learned to prepare extras because everyone loves them so much. Thanks!

    Reply
  16. I made these ribs for my hunny tonight …he LOVED them! Thanks for the great recipe..I’ll make them this way everytime now..I used to cook them in the crockpot..this was waaaay better! So easy and and so yummy…Thanks again!

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  17. I made these ribs for my hunny tonight …he LOVED them! Thanks for the great recipe..I’ll make them this way everytime now..I used to cook them in the crockpot..this was waaaay better! So easy and and so yummy…Thanks again!

    Reply
  18. Okay, I made the peasant bread the other day and loved it, so last night I decided to try the ribs as my contribution to a family cookout. Huge hit. My mom, who doesn’t even like pork, loved them. Today I decided I HAD to try the cornbread because well, the other two recipes were so successful, and who can argue with that? I had tried a couple of cornbread recipes but none were keeper recipes… Until now. This is hands down the best cornbread I’ve ever had, and my fiance loves it too! I can’t wait to raid your recipe page a little further and see what gems I find!

    Reply
    • Stephanie — SO happy to hear this! The ribs are kind of a miracle, right? So easy and delicious? And I am so glad you like that cornbread recipe. I find it is always well received. Thanks so much for writing in. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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  19. I made these tonight and followed all the directions. I had to cook the ribs another hour or so as well as add more brown sugar the last hour. I’m not sure where I went wrong…They ended up pretty good, although not that flavorful. Made the cornbread too and it was delicious!

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    • Deed — so sorry to hear this! That is no fun. I’m glad to hear about the cornbread, but I am so sorry the ribs gave you trouble and then only ended up tasting blah. A couple of questions, and I’m sorry if they sound silly: did you use baby back ribs vs spare ribs or country style? And Did you use one cup sugar per rack of ribs? And did you decide to cook the ribs for an hour more after they had rested for the hour or was it after they had cooked for 2.5 hrs? Let me know, and in the meantime I will keep thinking. Oh, also, dies your oven temperature tend to be accurate? Sometimes at the lower settings (my oven is really old and unreliable) I find the temperature of my oven thermometer doesn’t match the dial setting. Just a thought.

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    • Jessica — hi! I don’t know how to advise because I have only used corn flour once — just recently, actually — in a different corn bread recipe, an attempt to make a gluten-free cast-iron loaf for a friend, and it didn’t turn out very well. It was super dry, but I have to admit that I did over cook it. That said, you’d still be using regular flour, right? If that is the case, I don’t think you have to worry about the bread being dry, and again, the dryness of my bread may have just been the overcooking. Hope that helps! Have you used corn flour in other recipes? I saw a muffin in the latest Macrina Bakery cookbook that calls for it. I’m dying to try it again.

      Reply
    • Cristy, I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s worth a shot. I have a feeling they might be done after 1 or 1.5 hours. I would take a peek after 1.5 hours. Just poke the meat with a fork/knife to see if it is tender enough. And then, if you feel like briefly broiling them to crisp up the surface, go for it. I actually skip this broiling step now — they are so good as is after the 2.5/3 hours of cooking.

      Reply
  20. I want to try the cornbread but I’m not entirely sure what you mean with “T”. What unit is this? How much is it in gram or spoons or cups? (Hope my English isn’t too bad. I’m german…)

    Reply
    • Hi Chrissie!

      T equals tablespoon or three teaspoons and is a volume measurment, so while I can’t give you a gram equivalent, it is just under 15 ml. Hope that helps! Let me know if there is anything else.

      Reply
  21. Have some leftover buttermilk, so I am looking forward to trying this cornbread recipe. Does it have to be made in a springform pan?

    Reply
    • Hi Charlsey! Hope I’m getting to you in time! Does not have to made in springform pan. If you have a 9×13-inch pan, that should work just fine. Happy Fourth!

      Reply

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