No two dry rubs are ever the same, especially those that are homemade. A dry rub allows the cook or chef to impart their favorite flavors onto various cuts of grilled, pan-seared, or slow-roasted meats. Some dry rubs are savory, some sweet and some spicy; all of this is contingent on the cook's wants and needs for the dish at hand. Pork spareribs are hearty enough to handle any kind of dry rub. To make them flavorful and juicy in the oven, cook at a low temperature for a long time in order to render the fat and break down the sinew in the ribs.
Rinse the rack of spareribs under cool running water. Pat completely dry using paper towels.
Lay the ribs face down onto a cutting board. Trim the membrane, which is the white film-like substance found on the back of the spareribs, away from the end of one side of the ribs using a knife. Grab the end of the membrane with a piece of paper towel and pull it away from the ribs. Repeat the process if the membrane breaks; removing the membrane leads to more tender ribs.
Add the seasonings and spices to a bowl to create the dry rub. Salt and ground black pepper should be included in all dry rubs. Savory dry rubs can feature spices like onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard and ground thyme. Sweet dry rubs can include spices and seasonings like brown sugar, sweet paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and cocoa powder. Spicy dry rubs should include ground cayenne pepper and chili powder, and can also feature ground cumin, coriander, and dried chilies. Mix all dry rub ingredients well, using a whisk.
Cut the rack into two- or three-rib section pieces. Coat the ribs in the dry rub mixture and place them on the baking sheet and wire rack, or broiler pan, you are going to use to roast them in the oven. Cover the sheet or broiler pan tightly with aluminum foil, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the baking sheet or broiler pan from the refrigerator. Place the ribs into the oven and roast for two hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and take off the foil. Use tongs to flip the spareribs. Replace the foil and place the ribs back into the over. Cook for another two hours, or until the ribs reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F, although 180 F or higher is more ideal for ribs that fall off the bone. Remove the foil from the pan for the last hour of cooking.
- Brush barbecue sauce onto the ribs during the last 10 minutes of cooking for added flavor.
- Although pork spareribs are edible once they reach an internal temperature of 145 F, they will be chewy because the sinews in the ribs have not completely broken down. A temperature of 180 F or higher is ideal.
Based in Virginia Beach, Mark S. Baker has been working in editorial for more than 20 years. He has served as a writer and editor for publications such as the "Houston Post," "Boca Raton News" and "Interactive Week," among others. Baker also has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and has his own catering business.