8 Steps to Slow Cook Ribs in Oven at 200 Degrees for Perfection

Slow-cook ribs at 200 degrees for tender, fall-off-the-bone perfection. Save money by making delicious ribs at home with these easy steps.

slow cook ribs in oven

Ribs are a delicious meal many people think they go to their local barbeque joint to enjoy. If you follow these eight easy steps, you can perfectly slow-cook ribs in your oven at home! Ribs are great on their own or alongside side dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese for a full meal.

These steps are the best way to make ribs because they cook at a low temperature for a long time. This long cooking period allows the proteins in the ribs to denature. This protein breakage makes your ribs tender and falls off the bone.

The benefit of making ribs at home is it will save you money. Going out to eat gets pricey, so skip the wait and high prices and slow-cook ribs in the oven at home! Follow the simple steps to get the most delicious ribs in town.

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The Eight Steps to Perfectly Slow Cook Ribs in Your Oven

Set Oven Temperature

First step to denaturing the proteins in your ribs and getting the most tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs is preheating your oven. The key to tender, flavorful ribs is the low and slow method of baking. 

Protein denaturation begins at roughly 105 degrees Fahrenheit and continues upwards to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The changes in protein can be physically seen by the change the in color of the meat. The meat will change from red to brown when cooked.

Set your oven temperature to 225 degrees to begin perfectly cooking your ribs in the oven. This temperature is high enough to cause the proteins to denature, but it is not hot enough to do it rapidly.

This low temperature and the long time the ribs will be in the oven results in tender, delicious ribs. Rib Crib better watch out!

Season your ribs

The seasoning you choose to put on your ribs is crucial. Everyone has their own taste, so choosing spices that fit you is important! No matter what you choose, this recipe will make any seasoning blend delicious!

Some people like to marinade their ribs overnight in a simple marinade like in this recipe. Other popular marinade ingredients are Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and liquid smoke. Find a recipe or play around and make your own rib marinade recipe!

Other people like a dry rub on their ribs. Dry rubs are at your local grocery store. You can make your own dry rub spice blend by finding a recipe or play around with the spices in your cabinet and picking your favorites. Common dry rub ingredients include brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground mustard, celery salt, and cayenne pepper. 

A classic salt and pepper seasoning is not the wrong way to go when seasoning your ribs. If you like a simple taste that lets the flavor of the meat shine through, throw some olive oil, salt, and pepper on your ribs, you are good to go! The ribs are delicious like this and can get dressed up with barbeque sauce after cooking for some extra flavor.

Placing Ribs in Baking Dish

casaWare Grande Lasagna/Roaster Pan 18 x 12 x 3-Inch - Extra Large, Ceramic Coated NonStick (Blue Granite)

The next step is picking a baking dish to bake your ribs in. You want a large pan that is big enough to hold the whole rack of ribs with no problem. Large casserole pans or baking dishes made of metal, cast iron, or ceramic work well. You want the rack of ribs to lay flat in the pan and be at least two inches deep.

Metal pans are great for baking ribs because metal is a good heat conductor. Metal pans cook food more evenly than glass pans do. A metal pan will keep the heat from the oven close to the ribs to get the cooking they need.

A cast iron pan works to bake ribs in, too. A cast iron pan retains heat well and stays hot for a long time. Cast iron takes longer to heat up than metal, but it will keep that heat and keep it close to your ribs while they cook.

Ceramic pans bake things similarly to glass. They bake things well but can be uneven with heat. The color of a ceramic pan also makes a difference. Darker-colored ceramic bakeware holds more heat than light-colored ceramic or glass bakeware does.

Cover the Ribs

Some people think covering the ribs traps heat in the pan and the foil to keep it closer to the ribs. While this is a good thought, baking in the oven differs from cooking on a stovetop.

When you cook on a stovetop, The heat comes from below the pan and escapes out the top. When you have a lid, the heat traps in the pan.

When you cook in the oven, the heat is evenly distributed throughout the oven, making the whole oven the same temperature. You want to cover your ribs before baking to keep the meat from drying.

Using foil to cover your ribs is not essential, but it can save the juiciness of the ribs. If you begin baking your ribs without a cover and notice the meat browning too quickly or drying out, put a cover over the baking dish. A foil cover does not trap hot air, but it does trap liquid and protects the meat from the airflow of the oven.

Bake your ribs

The key to delicious, tender ribs is baking them for a long time at a low temperature. There is no set time to bake your ribs because the time depends on what size your rack of ribs is.

There is a general rule of thumb that is used to approximate the time your ribs need to bake. If you are using a small rack of baby back ribs, you should start with three and a half hours. This should be plenty of time for a small rack of ribs to cook all the way through and be tender.

If you are baking a large rack of baby back ribs or St. Louis-style ribs, then you need to bake them longer. Start with four hours in the oven. This should be long enough for the larger rack of ribs to cook all the way through and the proteins to be denatured.

Drain the drippings

After your ribs are baked to perfection and fall off the bone, it is time to finish them off! The next step is to drain the drippings. These drippings are great when saved and used in soups or other dishes. You do not want the fat from the drippings in your ribs. 

Sauce your ribs

The next step is to flip the ribs to the meat side up in their baking pan. Grab your favorite barbeque sauce and put one cup of it on the meat side of the ribs. Place them back in the oven but leave them uncovered.

Final Bake and Serve

Bake the sauced ribs uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Once the barbeque sauce bubbles and is warmed through, the ribs are ready to eat! Ribs are great served on their own or alongside a side of baked beans, potato salad, or your other favorite side dishes!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have read this article and still have questions, do not worry! Many people have questions about baking ribs in the oven. Most of the questions deal with the temperature and time it takes to bake. While those things depend on the size of the rack of ribs, answers to some frequently asked questions are below.

How long should I slow-cook ribs in the oven?

The length it takes to bake ribs in the oven depends on the size of the ribs and the temperature of the oven. Generally, ribs should be baked for two and a half to four hours until they are tender. 

What is the best temperature for slow-cooking ribs?

Denaturation of proteins begins at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and goes upwards to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for slow-cooking ribs in a smoker, charcoal grill, gas grill, or oven is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How long does it take to cook ribs at 250 degrees?

Most racks of ribs will be done after two hours when they are baked at 250 degrees. The best way to make sure the ribs are done is to check the internal temperature of the ribs. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long to slow cook ribs in the oven at 200 degrees?

Just fifty degrees difference causes a big change in the time it takes to cook ribs in an oven. At 200 degrees Fahrenheit, your rack of ribs needs to be baked for six to eight hours. This longer bake time might be inconvenient for some, but it will make the ribs much more tender and fall off of the bone. 

Can I slow-cook ribs for four hours?

Yes, you can slow-cook ribs in four hours if you set your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use a slow cooker to cook your ribs, four hours on high will result in ribs that are done. While ribs are done in four hours, it is better to cook them for six to eight hours on low heat.

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