Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs

Serving size:
 4 Servings


    • 1 c
    • brown sugar
    • 2 T
    • chili powder (or paprika)
    • 3 t
    • salt
    • 2 t
    • garlic powder
    • 1⁄4 t
    • cloves (ground)
    • 1⁄2 t
    • cinnamon (ground)
    • 5 lb
    • spareribs (cut into 4 slabs, rinsed and patted dry )
    • 1 T
    • cider vinegar (or red or white)
6 hours
Ready in
6 hours


The great thing about this rub is that you can adjust it pretty much any way you like: add cumin, more paprika, more chile powder, or some orange peel. 

Adapted from Harold McGee from The New York TImes.


Preheat the oven to 200˚F. See note.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder or paprika, salt, garlic powder, cloves, and cinnamon. Place each slab of spareribs on a large square of aluminum foil - large enough to fold up. Generously coat the ribs on all sides with the spice rub, rubbing it into the meat as you go. Turn the ribs meat side down and fold up the foil tightly to seal.

Arrange the ribs on baking sheets and set in the oven. Bake for 4 hours at 200˚F, then turn the heat down to 175˚F and cook for 2 more hours, or until a fork easily pierces the meat. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully open each packet and pour the accumulated juices into a saucepan. Bring the juices to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by half, until the sauce is syrupy and coats a spoon. Add the vinegar, and stir to incorporate.

If you like your ribs served coated with sauce, use a pastry brush to coat the ribs with sauce (and if you'd like them extra caramelized, set them under the broiler for just a few minutes), then serve. You can also serve the ribs with the sauce on the side, passed at the table.


If you don't have an oven thermometer, this would be a good time to get one. These cook for a long time at very low heat, and many ovens run at least a bit hot, which in this case would result in dry ribs.


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