Why You Want Easy Baked Ribs for Your Next Party

Baked Rib Recipes
Rib Recipes

Make Easy Baked Ribs for Your Next Party

If I’m having a party, I like to offer a balance of healthy-ish and decadent food. I also prefer to serve things that don’t require last-minute attention. I usually choose recipes that I can make ahead.  Here’s an idea for a summer party buffet: start with a couple of healthy-ish snacks: charred broccoli with aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and smoked almonds, then follow with easy oven baked ribs, cornbread, a blood orange and avocado salad and brownies.

Oven Baked Bbq'd Rib
Bbq’d Rib

Why I Make Baked Ribs

My father loved barbequed ribs, but he had little interest in manning the grill. Fortunately, my mother made excellent oven baked ribs. I can’t say that I  disagree with their approach. While it may be more traditional to make ribs on the grill, it’s easier to control the temperature in the oven. Also, a party is more than a delicious meal, it’s a time to spend with guests. I love to be able to put something in the oven and give it little attention beyond occasional basting.

Baked Ribs Ready for Baking
Ribs Ready for Baking

Baked Ribs Recipe for a Party

My recipe owes a great debt to Ina Garten. It was her recipe for oven baked ribs that converted me. Following her motto, I try to keep it simple and use the best ingredients.  I start by buying the best meat, tender baby back ribs. I then impart flavor to them with a ribs rub.

Baked rib rub
Caribbean Calypso Rib Rub

Baked Ribs Rubs

Although I sometimes blend my own spices, I also love the unique rubs from Chicago’s Spice House. My new favorite is the Caribbean Calypso Seasoning, a combination of salt, citrus peels, hot peppers, nutmeg, and coriander. I’m also fond of their Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning.  If you can, rub it on and let it sit for a day in the refrigerator. If you don’t have time, rub the seasoning on the baby back ribs the morning of the party so the ribs get at least four hours of flavoring. If you’re not in Chicago, Evanston or Milwaukee try Penzey’s for spices. Penzey’s has similar spice blends and locations throughout the US.

Lillie Q BBQ Sauces for baked ribs
Lillie Q BBQ Sauces

Sauce for Oven Baked Ribs

I’ve tried making barbecue sauce. In fact, I’ve spent hours on recipes.  Despite my best efforts, my results pale in comparison to the sauces made by another Chicago purveyor, Lillie’s Q. My favorite of their sauces for pork ribs are the tomato – vinegar Carolina sauce, or the mustard – based Gold.  However, if you think bbq ribs require the taste of outdoor cooking,  I would recommend you try their Smoky or Hot Smoky sauce.  Whatever you do don’t miss Lillie’s Q sauces, they’re phenomenal. They are available at Whole Foods Market and Bed Bath and Beyond stores.

Charred Broccoli
Charred Broccoli


If you’ve ever had charred broccoli than you know how addictive it is. I think it can honestly compare with french fries. It’s also far healthier if you don’t overdo the sauce.  I find charred broccoli the perfect salty snack. Even if I mindlessly eat it in front of the television, It’s actually nutritious. I make piles of it for a party. It shrinks quite a bit in the oven, so be sure to make at least a stalk or two of florets per person. Here is my Charred Broccoli recipe, give it a try.

Party Sides

Barbecued ribs are delicious. Just one of the many traditional southern dishes I  enjoy. Nevertheless, I try to offer some healthy-ish choices.  Instead of macaroni and cheese, I serve cornbread. It’s authentic, without being too heavy. I also like greens of some kind to round out a meal. One of my favorites is a Blood Orange and Avocado Salad. The bright citrusy flavor of the blood orange is the perfect foil for the caramelized bbq sauce.  Use navel oranges if blood oranges aren’t available. I also enjoy the bright pops of color the beautiful orange slices add to the buffet.

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad -Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange and Avocado Salad


The best brownie recipe I have ever made is Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies. If you have never tried them, and are looking for a dessert idea, stop now. These brownies are incredible. They are rich, moist and deeply chocolatey.  They are guaranteed to please a crowd.


Barbecued Ribs in the Oven

4 racks baby back ribs

Spice House Caribbean Calypso Seasoning

Lillies Q Carolina Sauce

Sprinkle the rub on both sides of the meat and rub it in. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Remove the rack membranes. Apply a coating of sauce to the ribs. Wrap them in two layers of foil, shiny side out and place on baking sheets. Bake for 2 hours until the meat tender.  Remove the ribs from the oven. Carefully peel back the foil avoiding the escaping steam. Increase the oven temperature to 350F.  Carefully drain juices. Apply another coating of sauce to the ribs and return to the oven for 30 – 45 more minutes until the sauce has caramelized. Cut the racks into sections and serve.

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