Bangin’ Baby Back Ribs are oven-baked to perfection, then slathered with an Asian-inspired spicy and sweet BBQ sauce. They’re gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30!

An overhead shot of oven baked baby back ribs with a Whole30, paleo, and gluten free BBQ sauce brushed in top.

I love tender baby back ribs, but I hate the hassle of setting up the backyard grill or smoker. That’s why I created a super simple yet fabulous tasting baby back ribs recipe for our second cookbook, Ready or Not!, that you can bake it in the oven. Each bite yields a fiery punch, and the sticky-sweet sauce will have you coming back for seconds and thirds!

Many Nomsters have told me that my finger-lickin’ Bangin’ Baby Back Ribs are their favorite way to cook pork ribs, but for years, this recipe was only available in the pages of Ready or Not! Lucky for you, I finally decided to share the recipe here (but don’t let that stop you from buying my books, people)!

Healthier baby back ribs

My baby back rib recipe utilizes a sugar-free dry rub and a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce that uses 100% fruit-juice sweetened apricot jam in place of sugar. You can serve the ribs at any summer gathering and no one will know that they’re chowing down on soy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free pork ribs. You can be on a Whole30 and eat ’em, too!

Should you use baby back ribs or St. Louis ribs?

The choice is up to you because both types of pork ribs work in this recipe. I prefer baby back ribs because they’re leaner and meatier on top of the rib. Many folks like St. Louis ribs which are flatter, fattier, and meatier in between the ribs. In all honesty, I make a game-time decision when I arrive at the butcher counter—I just pick the one that looks the best or is on sale.

An overhead shot of two raw racks of baby back ribs.

How can you make these ribs ahead of time?

You can season the ribs with dry rub up to 3 days in advance and store ’em in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. The homemade barbecue sauce can be prepared up to 4 day in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Once the ribs are cooked, you can refrigerate them for up to 4 days. You can also reheat the leftover ribs in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Then, brush on additional sauce and broil for a few minutes or until bubbly.

Ingredients

Dry rub

  • Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Ribs

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs or St. Louis ribs

Barbecue Sauce

  • Apricot jam (100% fruit juice sweetened): Adds natural sweetness and tang to the sauce without any brown sugar! My favorite brand is St. Dalfour.
  • Coconut aminos: my favorite substitute for soy sauce—and it adds umami and a smidge of sweetness to the sauce, too.
  • Sriracha sauce: Imparts a delightful punch of heat to the sauce. Not a fan of heat? Then use just 1 tablespoon. If you want to keep it Whole30, be sure to whip up a batch of my Whole30 Sriracha to use in this recipe.
  • Tomato paste
  • Ginger: Fresh minced ginger works best in this recipe, but you can also substitute ¼ teaspoon ground ginger if you don’t have any fresh ginger on hand.

How to make bangin’ baby back ribs in the oven

Prepare the dry rub

In a small bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients and mix well.

A spoon is mixing together the dry rub mix for bangin' baby back ribs.

Prepare and season the ribs

Pat the racks of ribs dry with a paper towel. If your butcher didn’t remove the silverskin on the bone side of the racks, pull this thin membrane off with your hands or with a paper towel.

A hand is peeling off the silver skin on the bone-side of the ribs.

Sprinkle the dry rub all over both sides of the rib racks. Rub it in with your hands.

A person in a gray apron is sprinkling sugar-free dry rub on baby back ribs.

Place the seasoned racks on a rimmed baking sheet and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Baking the ribs

When you’re ready to cook the ribs, heat the oven to 300°F with the rack placed in the middle position.

Take the ribs out of the fridge, remove them from the plastic wrap, and pat them dry with paper towels. Wrap each rack in aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the foil-wrapped ribs on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Wrapping the baby back ribs rack in foil and placing it on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the ribs for 1½ hours.

The foil wrapped baby back ribs are placed in an oven.

Then, take the baking sheet out of the oven and remove the foil from the ribs. Place the ribs meat-side up on the wire rack. Bake for 1 more hour or until the meat is easily pierced with a knife. (It may take up to 2 hours if your ribs are very meaty.)

Two racks of baby back ribs are baking in the oven without foil.

Make the Whole30 and paleo barbecue sauce

While the ribs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Set it aside until the ribs are done roasting.

A bubbling red Whole30 barbecue sauce in a stainless steel saucepan.

Broil the ribs

When the ribs are done, take them out of the oven and turn on the broiler. Brush half the sauce over the racks, covering the tops and sides.

Brushing the barbecue sauce on the oven baked baby back ribs.

Broil the baby back ribs for 5 to 8 minutes or until well-browned. Watch them closely—the sweet sauce can easily burn!

Broiling the baby back ribs in the oven and then taking out.

Slice and serve

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. When the ribs are no longer super hot, slice the ribs by standing them on edge and cutting down cleanly between the bones. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and serve!

Slicing oven baked baby back ribs with a chef's knife on a wooden cutting board.

What can you serve with the baby back ribs?

Some of my favorite side dishes for baby back ribs are the following:


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

An overhead shot of oven baked baby back ribs with a Whole30, paleo, and gluten free BBQ sauce brushed in top.

Print

Bangin’ Baby Back Ribs (Oven Baked, Whole30)

Bangin' Baby Back Ribs are oven-baked to perfection, then slathered with a Whole30 Asian-inspired spicy and sweet BBQ sauce. 
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian, Barbecue
Keyword baby back ribs, gluten-free, low carb, nom nom paleo, nomnompaleo, paleo, Whole30
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Marinating time 2 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 485kcal

Ingredients

Dry Rub

  • tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ribs

  • 2 racks pork baby back ribs (2½ pounds per rack) or St. Louis-style pork ribs

Barbecue Sauce

  • ½ cup apricot jam 100% fruit juice sweetened
  • ¼ cup Whole30 Sriracha you can use 1 tablespoon if you don't want it as spicy
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients and mix well.
  • Pat the racks of ribs dry with a paper towel. If your butcher didn’t remove the silverskin on the bone side of the racks, pull this thin membrane off with your hands or with a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle the dry rub all over both sides of the rib racks. Rub it in with your hands.
  • Place the seasoned racks on a rimmed baking sheet and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  • When you’re ready to cook the ribs, heat the oven to 300°F with the rack placed in the middle position.
  • Take the ribs out of the fridge, remove them from the plastic wrap, and pat them dry with paper towels. Wrap each rack in aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the foil-wrapped ribs on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake the ribs for 1½ hours.
  • Then, take the baking sheet out of the oven and remove the foil from the ribs. Place the ribs meat-side up on the wire rack. Bake for 1 more hour or until the meat is easily pierced with a knife. (It may take up to 2 hours if your ribs are very meaty.)
  • While the ribs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Set it aside until the ribs are done roasting.
  • When the ribs are done, take them out of the oven and turn on the broiler. Brush half the sauce over the racks, covering the tops and sides.
  • Broil the baby back ribs for 5 to 8 minutes or until well-browned. Watch them closely—the sweet sauce can easily burn!
  • Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. When the ribs are no longer super hot, slice the ribs by standing them on edge and cutting down cleanly between the bones. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and serve!

Notes

Make ahead tips:

  • You can season the ribs with dry rub up to 3 days in advance and store ’em in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
  • The homemade barbecue sauce can be prepared up to 4 day in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Once the ribs are cooked, you can refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Reheat the leftover ribs in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Then, brush on additional sauce and broil for a few minutes or until bubbly.

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 31g | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 9g

The post Bangin’ Baby Back Ribs (Oven Baked, Whole30) appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.

Recommended Articles