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Should You Bake Barbecue Ribs Uncovered or Covered?

by A.J. Andrews

You might need to cook oven-baked ribs covered or uncovered, depending on the type of ribs and whether you're using a sauce. Beef short ribs have more fat and tenderness than pork, so you cook them uncovered. Pork ribs need to be cooked with liquid, so they need to be covered to keep moisture in during cooking. However, if you're using barbecue sauce, you have to uncover pork ribs and let the sauce caramelize when they finish cooking.

Barbecued Beef Ribs

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes early and let them reach room temperature in a shallow dish lined with a few paper towels. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Coat the ribs with oil and season them to taste, and then slide them in the oven. Roast the ribs for about 30 to 40 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 F. Brush barbecue sauce on the ribs and cook until it caramelizes, about five minutes.

Barbecued Pork Ribs

Let the pork ribs warm up to room temperature in a dish lined with paper towels, and then heat the oven to 250 F. Oil the ribs and season them with salt if you have not already. Place the pork ribs in a heavy braising dish and pour enough stock to reach 3/4 up the sides of the ribs. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and then bake the ribs for about three hours, adding stock as needed to keep them halfway covered. Uncover the ribs and brush a barbecue sauce on them, and then bake five more minutes or until the sauce caramelizes.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.

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