Best Way To Finish Smoked Ribs In The Oven (Yes, Really)

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Imagine sinking your teeth into tender, smoky ribs that have been slow-cooked to perfection. But what if you run out of fuel during the smoking process? Don’t worry, because there’s a reliable solution: finishing your ribs in the oven.

Yes, really! By following a few simple steps, you can achieve juicy, mouthwatering ribs that rival those cooked solely on the smoker.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the best way to finish smoked ribs in the oven, ensuring a delicious outcome every time.

The Benefits of Oven Finishing

If you choose to finish your smoked ribs in the oven, you’ll experience the benefits of more consistent temperatures, increased juiciness, and the ability to closely monitor the cooking process.

One of the advantages of oven finishing is that the oven provides a controlled and steady temperature, ensuring even cooking throughout the ribs. This helps to prevent any hot spots or fluctuations in heat that can occur when using a smoker.

Additionally, the oven’s enclosed environment helps to retain moisture, resulting in juicier and more tender ribs. Another benefit is the ability to closely monitor the cooking process. You can easily check the internal temperature of the ribs and make any necessary adjustments without opening the oven and losing heat.

Overall, oven finishing offers several benefits and is a great option for achieving delicious and perfectly cooked ribs.

Steps for Oven Finishing Smoked Ribs

Preheat your oven to the same smoking temperature and transfer the ribs from the smoker to the oven.

  • Adjust oven temperature control:

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure accuracy.

  • Keep the oven temperature consistent throughout the cooking process.

  • Utilize alternative cooking methods:

  • Use a water pan to add moisture to the oven.

  • Place a foil-wrapped brick on the oven rack to mimic the weight of a smoker lid.

  • Monitor oven temperature closely:

  • Avoid opening the oven frequently to retain heat.

  • Adjust oven temperature as needed to maintain a steady cooking environment.

  • Consider using a convection oven:

  • Convection cooking helps distribute heat evenly.

  • It can reduce cooking time and enhance browning.

Slathering and Caramelizing Ribs in the Oven

To achieve a delicious caramelized bark on your ribs, slather them with BBQ sauce and finish them off uncovered in the oven. This step is crucial for achieving that crispy bark on your oven-finished ribs.

When it comes to selecting the right BBQ sauce, the options are endless. You can go for a sweet and tangy sauce, a spicy and smoky one, or even a mustard-based sauce for a unique twist. Experimenting with different BBQ sauce options can add a flavorful and saucy element to your ribs.

Whether you prefer a classic Kansas City-style sauce or a Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce, the key is to generously coat your ribs before placing them in the oven. The heat of the oven will help the sauce caramelize, creating a mouthwatering crust that will elevate the taste of your ribs to the next level.

Checking Doneness and Resting Ribs

Once the ribs have reached a target temperature of 190-200°F and are tender enough for your liking, you can proceed to cool and rest them for about 10 minutes before serving.

Checking tenderness is crucial to ensure that the ribs are cooked to perfection. Here are some tips for checking the tenderness and serving options:

  • Checking Tenderness:

  • Use a toothpick to probe the meat. It should slide in easily without resistance.

  • Look for meat pullback from the bones. This indicates that the ribs are cooked and tender.

  • Test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should reach the desired range of 190-200°F.

  • Serving Options:

  • Serve the ribs whole or cut them into riblets or half-racks.

  • You can choose to serve the ribs with more BBQ sauce for extra flavor.

  • Resting the ribs allows the juices to settle and enhances the overall flavor and texture.

Pros and Cons of Oven Finishing

If you’re looking for a more consistent temperature and increased juiciness, oven finishing your smoked ribs has its benefits. One advantage is that the oven provides a controlled environment, ensuring that the ribs cook evenly from all sides. With the oven’s consistent heat, you can avoid any hot or cold spots that may occur in a smoker.

Additionally, the oven’s enclosed space helps to retain moisture, resulting in juicier ribs. However, there are also some disadvantages to oven finishing. First, you won’t get the same smoky flavor that you would from a smoker. The lack of smoke can make the ribs taste less authentic.

Secondly, the bark formation on the ribs may not be as pronounced compared to smoking. Despite these downsides, oven finishing can still produce marvelous results and is a reliable option when you don’t have access to a smoker.


In conclusion, finishing smoked ribs in the oven is a reliable and convenient method that ensures consistent temperatures and juiciness. By following the same cooking principles as smoking, you can achieve tender and flavorful ribs.

However, it’s important to note that finishing ribs in the oven may result in lesser smoky flavor and bark formation. But fear not, you can still slather and caramelize the ribs in the oven to enhance their taste and texture.

So go ahead, give this method a try and enjoy delicious, perfectly finished ribs!