Cook the Book: Slow, Low Oven Ribs

Cook the Book: Slow, Low Oven Ribs

Book CoverI love everything about ribs: the smoldering aroma; the dripping sauce; gnawing the last, crispy bits of meat from the end of the bone. But I've always been a bit too intimidated to make them at home. For one thing, I don’t have an outdoor grill. For another, all the spice rubs, pastes, and condiments (soy sauce? ketchup? dry mustard?) were overwhelming, not to mention selecting the type of ribs themselves—babyback, short, or spare? Beef or pork? Whenever I craved a barbecue feast, I'd sooner hop on the subway to Dinosaur than roll up my sleeves in the kitchen.

But Martha Hall Foose, author of this week's Cook the Book selection, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, has me inspired. Today she shares her simple, no-frills recipe for Slow, Low Oven Ribs. Not only is the ingredient list super-short (10 items, including salt and pepper!), but Martha also recommends using Country-style pork ribs, which are relatively inexpensive. Best of all, they can be prepared through the final steps up to a day ahead, then finished just before dinner.

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  • Yield:4 servings


  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/4 cup minced sweet onion (like Vidalia or Walla Walla)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 pounds country-style pork ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1.

    In a small saucepan, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in the maple syrup, soy sauce, and tomato relish (if desired).

  2. 2.

    Preheat the oven to 300°F.

  3. 3.

    Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with foil. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of the dish.

  4. 4.

    Season the ribs with salt and pepper, and arrange in the baking dish. Pour half of the sauce over the ribs. Turn them a few times to coat with the sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate the remaining sauce.

  5. 5.

    Bake for 3 hours. Remove the foil and pour the remaining sauce over the ribs. Return to the oven and bake an additional hour, or until the sauce is a thick glaze and the meat is very tender.

  6. 6.

    Remove the ribs to a serving platter and let stand for 15 minutes. Ladle off the accumulated fat from the pan juices by tilting the pan carefully and spooning it off. Pour the pan sauce over the ribs, discarding the bay leaves, and serve as soon as you can.