Sticky Baby back Ribs

Firstly I have to mention that the cover photo is not mine but taken by Carlo Fuentelsaz from free photos, as the ribs were so good the boys had inhaled them before I could get the photo. But they looked just like these so you’ll get the idea. In this recipe I use my dry rub plus a sauce which I came across in my mums old recipes. The rub makes about 3 cups worth. So lots to have for storing. The sauce here makes enough to cover 2 full baby back racks liberally. You can make more as it keeps in the fridge really well in an air tight container. I use both these, for wings, cauliflower buffalo bites, roast chicken, bbq chicken, pan fried pork to mention a few. So they are handy staples to have. I did try to do the ribs in my Instant Pot, but there just wasn’t enough room without breaking the racks up. So I stuck with the oven. I work off a rack a rib per adult of about 1kg and half for a child.

Step 1. Make your dry rub by mixing these ingredients in a bowl.

Ingredients – Dry Rub

  • ¼ cup paprika ( I use plain not smoked, but you can swap it if you like smoked)
  • ¼ cup granulated garlic (I use garlic salt if I can’t find granulated and it works fine)
  • 2 tbsp granulated onion or onion salt
  • 1½ tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of salt
Dry rub. Will store in an air tight container for month.

Step 2. The ribs. Prep, rub, cook.

  • Preheat your oven to 180˚C/356˚F. Coat your tin in oil to avoid the meat sticking and making the wash up easier. Some people just line the tin with foil. Which is grand too.
  • Taking each rack of ribs, pat them dry and turn them over so the bone side is facing you. Then using a blunt knife lift the white membrane (it looks like white thin fat) up from one end. Take your time and ease it off gently so you can get a good grip. Then using a piece of kitchen towel to hold it. Pull it back off the bone. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work first time. By the second or third rack you’ll have it down! You can ask your butcher to do it for you of course.
  • Trickle a little oil onto your meat so the rub sticks. Now scatter about a table spoon of the rub onto each rib and massage it into the meat. Use more if you want. The most important thing is that they are covered with a nice layer. Place your racks in the oven tray and leave to one side for about an hour. This step can be done the night before. However make sure your meat is at room temperature before you put it in the oven.
  • Cover with tin foil and put in the oven for 2 hours. Do not be tempted to keep opening the door to check on them.

Step 3 – Make the sticky sauce in a bowl.

Sticky Sauce.


  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce or Kunserva (tomato paste we have in Malta)
  • 3 heaped tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp dark soft brown sugar ( I use Muscovado for richness)
  • 1 tsp of English mustard
  • ½ tsp hot cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • Salt & pepper to season

Step 4 – Glaze and finish on a high

  • After the two hours in the oven, remove your ribs and increase the oven temperature to 240˚C/464˚F.
  • Remove the foil. Give the ribs a little jiggle to make sure they are not stuck. Then generously cover in your sauce on both sides. I tend to hold some sauce back to have for pouring at the table. Also if there happens to be juice in the pan you can drain it to add to your sauce for the table. Totally up to yourself.
  • Put your ribs back in the oven without the foil. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • While your ribs are finishing, prep bowls with warm water & slice of lemon for the table.
  • Serve with chips, wedges, slaw, potato salad, rice, garlic bread. Whatever you like!

Let me know how you liked the recipe if you gave it a go. Maybe you tweaked it and added something else. Or maybe you have some nice sides that I can try myself.

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