Before you scoff at me and say that ribs only taste great when they are cooked in a smoker, let me tell you about the benefits of a good oven. Your kitchen oven often gets overlooked when it comes to cooking ribs, and in many cases this is a shame. Instead of programming and constantly feeding coal and wood chips into your smoker, you can get tender and juicy ribs in the comfort of your kitchen. Before you wrap your ribs in foil and toss them in your oven, you do need to make sure that your appliance is a good one.
Your oven needs to hold heat, and this means that the door must close tightly. If you oven door hangs slightly crooked, it is probably time to replace it anyways. The reason you want the heat to stay inside should be obvious, it is necessary for the ribs to fully cook. It also needs to maintain a constant temperature, and this is impossible if heat is constantly escaping.
Every outdoor chef knows that the best tasting ribs need to cook slowly and evenly. This prevents dryness, while giving the tougher tissue time to soften and melt. In order to achieve this in the oven you need to be able to keep an eye on the temperature, and a good one will make this relatively easy. Some newer models will display the internal temperature on a convenient display, while older ovens might make it a little more difficult. You can easily purchase an inexpensive thermometer to resolve this minor issue.
Owning a good oven will also make it easier to adjust the temperature, and this is important unless you don’t mind your ribs cooking for two or three days. If you are lucky enough to own a newer oven, chances are the digital display makes it easy to adjust the temperature as needed. In order to cook tender and delicious ribs in 6 to 8 hours you will be adjusting the temperature every few hours. I usually start off at 200 degrees for the first four hours then progressively turning it down to 180 or 170 degrees. Since I keep the ribs wrapped in foil the moisture doesn’t evaporate, and dryness isn’t a problem.
If you’re worried about a lack of smokey flavor simply add some cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and even chipotle pepper flakes to the meat before cooking. This will help give it that distinctive smoked flavor.
As long as you have a good oven you really can make great tasting ribs in your kitchen. I look forward to reading any of your comments and suggestions, even if you are dedicated to only using a smoker.