BBQ Ribs in a roaster oven are the best ribs ever. Slow cooked with a zesty dry rub and slathered in sticky sauce, they're perfectly soft and tender -- and really easy to make. Delicious with Garlic Red Skin Mashed Potatoes, Tuna Macaroni Salad, and Sweet Jiffy Cornbread.
Wondering how to cook ribs in a roaster? I got you!
Using your electric roaster is an easy way to make fork-tender delicious ribs without firing up the grill or turning on the oven.
And don't worry about drying out the ribs in the roaster. The cooking process in this roaster oven rib recipe ensures soft, moist ribs.
And it really couldn't be easier.
Just coat a rack of baby back pork ribs with my homemade dry rub recipe, wrap them in foil, and walk away while they slow roast to BBQ rib perfection.
Then slather on your favorite BBQ sauce, crank up the heat, and 30 minutes later, you'll be licking sauce off your fingers.
This is the perfect way of cooking ribs when your oven or grill are maxed out with other dishes, hot summer days when you don't want to turn on your oven, or anytime you want really delicious barbecue ribs.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
Easy recipe with just a few minutes of prep time
Slow cooked roaster oven-baked ribs are soft and tender
A final blast of high heat makes the BBQ sauce perfectly sticky and caramelized
Pork loin back ribs. You may also see them called baby back ribs, back ribs, or loin ribs. Baby-back ribs are shorter than spare ribs, which is where the "baby" comes from, in case you're wondering. You can also use spare ribs or St. Louis style ribs, which are larger and meatier -- just expect them to take longer to cook.
Dry rub. My rib dry rub recipe is filled with rich, smoky flavor. It's a blend of mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. For a bit of kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can use this or any rib dry rub recipe you like.
BBQ sauce. Use your favorite barbecue sauce. We like Sweet Baby Rays.
How to Make Dry Rub Ribs in an Electric Roaster
1. Let the ribs sit at room temperature.
Take the ribs out of the refrigerator about a half hour before you begin cooking.
2. Prep the roaster oven.
Set the removable roasting pan and the roasting rack inside the electric roaster. Pour 3 cups of water into the bottom of the pan.
Preheat the electric roaster to 350 degrees.
3. Prep the ribs.
Remove the membrane -- that slippery silver skin -- from the back of the ribs.
Use your fingers or a butter knife to get underneath the membrane, then grab onto it with a dry paper towel and rip it off.
Note that the membrane may have already been removed.
Use a sharp knife to cut the ribs into portions of your liking and to fit your roaster.
I like to cut the rack in half -- especially when when one end is much thicker than the other. The thinner rack can be removed when it's done while the thicker one continues to cook.
4. Make the dry rub.
In a small bowl, stir the rib rub ingredients together until completely combined.
5. Rub the ribs.
Prepare sheets of aluminum foil large enough to wrap each portion of ribs.
Place one portion of ribs in the center of a foil sheet, bone side up.
Rub about 2 teaspoons of rub onto the ribs. Flip it over and repeat on the other side. Wrap up the foil packet and place it on the roasting rack in the roaster pan.
Repeat with the rest of the ribs.
⭐PRO TIP: You can apply the dry rub to the ribs and store them in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time. The longer they sit with the dry rub on them, the more flavor they'll absorb.
6. Cook the ribs.
Cook the ribs for 20 minutes at 350.
Turn down the heat down to 300 degrees and slow cook ribs in electric roaster until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 190-200 degrees, 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
190-200 degrees is the ideal temperature for ribs that are soft and tender and stay on the bone. For fall off the bone ribs, check them at about 205 degrees to make sure they aren't mushy or dry.
TO COOK MORE THAN ONE RACK OF RIBS: Layer the foil packets on top of one another, occasionally rotating the top and bottom layers. Allow additional cooking time for more ribs.
7. Add BBQ sauce and cook at high heat.
When the ribs are done, use the rack to lift the foil packs out of the roaster.
Careful -- there will be liquid in the foil packs. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any liquid.
Remove the insert pan from the roaster, put the lid back on, and turn the heat up to 425.
Pour any liquid out of the insert pan, wipe it dry, and place it back into the roaster oven.
Remove the ribs from the foil packs and place them on the rack.
Brush warm BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and place the rack with the ribs back into the roaster.
Cook for 30 minutes at 425 to bake in the sauce.
8. Serve and enjoy!
Serve the ribs with additional warm BBQ sauce and your favorite sides, like these delicious garlic red skin mashed potatoes.
How Do You Know When Ribs Are Done?
It can be a bit tricky to know exactly when ribs are done. Try one or more of these simple tests to tell you when your ribs are perfectly fork-tender.
Bone test. When ribs are done, the meat will pull back and expose about ¾ inch of the rib bone.
Bend test. Fully cooked ribs are bendable, but don't fall off the bone. To try the bend test, hold a rack of ribs with tongs. The end should bend down at about a 45 degree angle. You should see cracks in the dry rub, but the ribs shouldn't fall apart.
Temperature. Using temperature as a guide can be a bit of a challenge because the meat is so thin and there are so many bones. Insert a meat thermometer into a meaty section of the ribs.
Ribs are technically done at 145 degrees, though most agree that ribs should be cooked to anywhere from 185 to 205.
185 will produce chewier ribs and 205 will be closer to fall of the bone tender.
We prefer 190-195 which creates the most succulent, fork tender ribs we can pick up with our hands without the meat falling off. If you like fall off the bone ribs, check them at 205 to make sure they don't get overcooked, mushy, and dry.
Bite test. Competition BBQ judges use the bite test to tell if ribs are done properly. If you take a bite and you can see your rounded bite mark in the rib meat, they're done!
How to Use a Wired Probe Thermometer in a Roaster Oven
Checking the internal temperature of ribs can be tricky because there is so little meat and a thermometer can give inaccurate readings if it's too close to bone.
Still, I use a wireless thermometer to give me an idea of what's happening inside the roaster without opening the lid too many times.
This meat thermometer has 4 wired probes you can insert into various locations of the meat. I use multiple probes if the meat varies in thickness so I don't overcook thin pieces.
The probes connect to a transmitter (see photo below) that gives the temperature of each probe.
There's also a wireless receiver so you can keep an eye on the temperatures from up to 500 feet away.
You can even set an alarm to go off when each probe reaches a certain temperature range. Find out more about this thermometer at Amazon.
In the photo above, the yellow and blue probes were inserted into ribs. The blue one was at the perfect temp of 192, so I took it out while the yellow one at 189 continued cooking. In case you're wondering, the green probe wasn't poked into anything (so no, I didn't cook my ribs to 223!).
You can apply the dry rub to the ribs and store them in the refrigerator up to 24 hour ahead of time. The longer they sit, the more flavor they'll absorb.
For more than one rack of ribs, layer the foil packets. Rotate the top and bottom layers from time to time. Allow additional cooking time.
Use a digital thermometer with probes to keep an eye on the temperature of the ribs without opening the lid.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
STORE. Store leftover cooked ribs in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
FREEZE. Wrap cooled ribs in a double layer of plastic wrap and place in a ziptop freezer bag. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen ribs in the refrigerator.
REHEAT. Reheat ribs in a 250 degree oven covered in foil. Add a fresh layer of sauce before reheating, if desired. Heat for 30 minutes or until warmed through to an internal temperature of 145.
Yes. Placing water in the insert pan of the roaster oven helps regulate the temperature and evenly cook the ribs.
There are a couple of things you can do to keep ribs cooked in an electric roaster moist and tender like slow cooking with a low heat and wrapping the ribs in foil. These foil wrapped ribs in a roaster oven are perfectly soft and succulent.
One 3 to 3 ½ pound rack of baby back ribs wrapped in foil cooks in an electric roaster oven in about 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours.
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How to Cook Ribs in a Roaster
Dry Rub for Ribs
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Roaster Oven Ribs
- 3 to 3 ½ pounds pork loin back ribs (baby back ribs)
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking.
- Place the removable insert pan and roasting rack in the roaster oven. Pour 3 cups of water into the insert pan. The water level in the insert pan should be just below or at about the same level as the rack. If the water evaporates during cooking, carefully add more. Preheat the roaster to 350 degrees.
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use your fingers or a butter knife to get underneath the membrane, then use a dry paper towel to grip it and rip it off. The membrane has already been removed from some racks of ribs. Cut the rack of ribs into your desired sizes and to fit the roaster.
- Mix the rib dry rub ingredients together.
- Prepare sheets of aluminum foil large enough to wrap each portion of ribs. Place one portion of ribs bone side up on a sheet of foil. Rub 2 teaspoons of dry rub onto the back side, then flip and rub the mixture onto the meat side. Wrap the ribs in foil and place on the rack in the roaster oven. Repeat with the rest of the ribs.
- Cook the ribs for 20 minutes at 350. Turn down the heat and cook at 300 for an additional 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours or until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 190-200 degrees.
- Carefully lift the rack with the foil packets out of the roaster and place it on a rimmed backing sheet to catch any liquid.
- Remove the insert pan from the roaster, put the lid back on, and turn the heat up to 425.
- Pour any liquid out of the insert pan, wipe it dry, and place it back into the roaster.
- Remove the ribs from the foil packets and place them on the roasting rack. Brush the tops with warm BBQ sauce and place the ribs back into the roaster.
- Cook the ribs at 425 for 30 minutes to bake in the sauce.
- Serve with additional warm BBQ sauce and enjoy!
- The water level in the insert pan should be just below or at about the same level as the rack. If the water evaporates during cooking, carefully add more.
- You can apply the dry rub to the ribs and store them in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead of time.
- For more than one rack of ribs, layer the foil packets on top of each other. Occasionally rotate the top and bottom layers so they cook evenly.
- Use a wired probe thermometer to check the internal temperature without opening the lid.
- For fork tender ribs, cook to 190-195 degrees. For fall of the bone ribs, cook to 205 and check to make sure they're not dry or mushy before cooking any further.