Do you enjoy melt in your mouth ribs? Or maybe the better question is, who doesn’t? This dutch oven spare ribs recipe is packed full of flavor, and on top of that, it’s so easy to make; who doesn’t love that?
This recipe inspiration came from recently making baby back ribs in the oven.
No, not in the dutch oven, not even in the cast iron skillet; I’m talking about a typical cookie baking sheet. (yes, I do own a few pots, pans, and cooking sheets).
Well, it was absolutely delicious! And it got me thinking about how to make them covered in the dutch oven, almost like braised ribs or burnt ends.
I still used the traditional bbq sauce and all that, but I added in liquid as well.
I thought about not adding in any liquid but was worried about the ribs sticking to the sides.
Someday I’ll try it that way, but for now, those spareribs in the dutch oven leave me with no regrets.
What are spare ribs anyway?
Spare ribs come from pork, which you probably already know. The ribs are cut from the breast and belly portion of the ribs.
This cut typically has more meat between the bones and, in my opinion, is tastier than baby back.
Related: Try these smokey beef back ribs next!
Baby back vs. spare ribs
Baby back ribs, on the other hand, are cut from the rib portion connected to the backbone.
Some would say this is the more tender and flavorful of the two. It’s generally more expensive as well.
How to make dutch oven ribs
Step 1: Remove the membrane
To begin, remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs.
Some butchers will remove this for you, but if not, slide a butter knife between the membrane and bones.
Work it back and forth until the membrane starts to pull away from the bones. Then, reach a finger underneath and pull it completely off.
I have always removed the membrane before making ribs; I’ve heard it does not cook down and will be tough and chewy when it’s cooked.
However, I do know some keep it on and prefer it that way. So whatever direction you decide to go, the rest of the recipe will stay the same.
Step 2: Add your spices
If necessary, cut the ribs in half so they lay down flat in the dutch oven.
Now we are going to mix a dry rub to season this delightful meat.
Use a small ramekin and add into it salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder.
Cover both sides of the ribs with the dry rub, gently working it into the meat.
Step 3: Add your sauce and liquid before baking
Pour a thin layer of your favorite bbq sauce into the bottom of the dutch oven. Next, add a slab, and cover it with bbq sauce, repeating until all slabs are covered with bbq sauce.
Finally, pour a little beef broth or chicken broth around the edges.
Step 4: Bake at a low temperature
Cover and transfer to the middle rack in the oven—Bake at 300°F for about 3 hours.
It’s perfectly acceptable to eat pork at 145°, but the fat and collagen in the meat will not have had a chance to cook down at this point. Leave the meat on the heat until it reaches about 190°-200°F.
Check the temperature using an internal thermometer in the meat between the bones.
Be careful not to touch the bones with the probe, or you’ll end up with an inaccurate reading.
Step 5: Enjoy your bone-tender ribs!
Once your spare ribs are done, it’s time to enjoy your dish! Carefully remove the lid (keep your face away from the hot steam!) and remove the ribs to a plate to cool before eating.
You may want to grab a roll or two of paper towels because things are about to get messy!
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Can I use a slow cooker? You can certainly use an electric slow cooker like a crockpot as an alternative cooking method. You will, however, need to adjust the cook times.
Can I use country-style ribs? I don’t see why not! Country-style ribs usually are boneless, with a decent amount of fat that benefits from a good slow cooking.
What size dutch oven should I use? I recommend using a large dutch oven, at least six or seven qt, to ensure the ribs are not too crowded.
How long does it take to get ribs tender in a dutch oven? Low and slow is key. I cook my ribs for three hours for the most tender results.
Storing and reheating
Store leftover ribs in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in an oven-safe dish until warmed through.
Spare ribs may be most popular cooked on a barbeque pit, but I think this dutch oven spare rib recipe is a top contending alternative.
Just remember, as with all ribs, slow cooking is key for the best results.
I do hope that you enjoyed this dutch oven ribs recipe. If you made it and loved it, let me know by leaving a review below!
Try some of these other favorites:
- Braised brisket
- Juicy pulled pork
- Stovetop pork steaks
- Slow baked beef short ribs
- Spicy fried pork chops
- Fried pork liver
Dutch Oven Spare Ribs
- 2 lbs of spare ribs
- 1 ½ cups of bbq sauce
- ¾ cup of beef broth
- 1 tsp of salt
- ½ tsp of cumin pepper, garlic and onion powder
- ¼ tsp of paprika and cayenne
- A pinch of crushed red peppers optional
- Cut ribs in half if needed so that they will fit flat into the dutch oven.
- Combine dried spices in a small bowl or ramekin and rub onto both sides of the meat.
- Alternate adding bbq sauce and ribs into the dutch oven, starting and finishing with bbq sauce.
- Pour broth around the sides of the pot.
- Cover and bake on the center rack at 300°F for 3 hours.