These easy, oven-baked spare ribs can be enjoyed year-round, even when it's too cold or wet to grill outdoors. There's no need to measure ingredients, and you can use these simple steps for any quantity of spare ribs--or number of hungry diners. The results will be juicy, tender, flavorful and finger-lickin' good. Follow steps 1 through 5a for "dry ribs" (which simply means that the spareribs are unsauced and NOT that the meat is dry). If you prefer "wet" (sauced) ribs, then continue with step 5b after step 4.
1. Select your favorite BBQ dry rub. Among my personal favorites for their flavor and tenderizing effect are Bad Byron's Butt Rub, a savory Texas style rub with a hint of smoky-spicy chipotle, and Bone Suckin' Rib Rub, a Carolina favorite with a sweet-savory flavor.
2. Using your hands, spread a generous amount of your seasoning rub on all sides of the ribs, gently patting the seasoning onto the surface of the meat. You never want to actually "rub" or use too much pressure, despite the name "BBQ rub."
3. Place the coated ribs in a baking pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight. This will allow the spices to penetrate and season the spareribs.
4. Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Remove ribs from refrigerator and bake, covered, until almost done, about 3 hours for 5 lbs of ribs--please note that the baking time will vary depending on quantity of ribs. You can test for doneness by grabbing one end of a sparerib rack and gently twisting: There should be just a little bit of flexibility or "give" without any separation.
5a. **For DRY RIBS** When the ribs are almost done as described above, uncover the pan, sprinkle a little more dry rub on top of the ribs, and bake uncovered at 300ºF for another hour or until done: You should be able to twist off a rib BUT it shouldn't be falling off the bone (that would be over-cooked). Serve with a bowl of warmed barbecue sauce for dipping if desired.
5b. **For WET RIBS** When the ribs are almost done as described in step 4, mop the ribs with your favorite thick BBQ sauce--a vinegar sauce isn't good for this--and bake for one more hour or until done (you should be able to twist off a rib BUT it shouldn't be falling off the bone), basting occasionally with more barbecue sauce.