Paleo/Keto
An overhead shot of oven baked baby back ribs with a Whole30, paleo, and gluten free BBQ sauce brushed in top.

Bangin' Baby Back Ribs are oven-baked to perfection, then coated in a sweet and tangy Asian-inspired barbecue sauce. They're packed with flavor, gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30!

An overhead shot of baked pork chops with a Whole30, paleo, gluten-free BBQ sauce brushed on top.

The best baked pork chops!

I love tender pork chops, but I hate the hassle of setting up a backyard grill or smoker. That's why I created a super simple but fabulous tasting pork chop recipe for our second cookbook, Ready or Not!that you can cook it in the oven. Each bite packs a fiery punch, and the sweet, sticky sauce will keep you coming back for more and more!

Many Nomsters have told me that my mouth-watering Bangin' Baby Back Ribs are their favorite way to cook pork chops, but for years this recipe was only available on the pages of Ready or Not! Luckily for you, I finally decided to share the recipe here (but don't let that stop you from buying my books, folks)!

Healthier Pork Ribs

My recipe for pork ribs uses a sugar-free dry marinade and a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce that uses 100% apricot jam sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar. You can serve ribs at any summer get-together and no one will know they're eating soy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free pork ribs. You can even follow a Whole30 diet and eat them!

Should You Use Baby Back Ribs or St. Louis Ribs?

The choice is yours because either type of pork chop will work in this recipe. I prefer baby back ribs because they are leaner and meatier on top of the chops. Many people like St. Louis ribs because they are flatter, fattier, and meatier between the chops. In all honesty, I make a decision in the nick of time when I get to the butcher counter: I just pick the one that looks better or is on sale.

An overhead shot of two raw ribs.An overhead shot of two raw ribs.

How can you prepare these ribs in advance?

You can season the ribs with the dry rub up to 3 days in advance and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Homemade barbecue sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Once the ribs are cooked, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat leftover ribs in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes or until they are cooked through. Then, brush with more sauce and grill for a few minutes or until bubbling.

ingredients

Rub dry

  • Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Ribs

  • 2 racks of pork chops or St. Louis ribs

Barbecue sauce

  • Apricot jam (100% sweetened fruit juice): Adds natural sweetness and flavor to the sauce without brown sugar! My favorite brand is Saint Dalfour.
  • Coconut Amino: my favorite substitute for soy sauce and also adds umami and a hint of sweetness to the sauce.
  • Sriracha Sauce: It gives a delicious touch of spiciness to the sauce. Don't like spicy? Then only use 1 tablespoon. If you want to keep it Whole30, be sure to make some of my Whole30 Sriracha to use in this recipe.
  • Tomato paste
  • Ginger: Minced fresh ginger works best in this recipe, but you can also substitute it ¼ teaspoon ground ginger if you don't have fresh ginger on hand.

How to make oven baked pork chops

Prepare the dry rub

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the spice mix and mix well.

Spoon together the spice mixture to dry season the pork chops.A spoon is stirring the dry rub mixture to whisk the baby's back ribs.

Prepare and season the ribs

Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. If your butcher did not remove the silver skin on the back of the ribs, pull this thin membrane of connective tissue away with your hands or a paper towel.

One hand is peeling the silver film from the side of the ribs towards the bone.One hand is peeling away the silvery skin on the bony side of the ribs.

Sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of the chops. Rub it in with your hands.

A person in a gray apron is sprinkling a sugar-free dry product on the ribs of the child's back.A person in a gray apron is slathering pork chops with a sugar-free marinade.

Place the seasoned chops on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with cling film. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Cooking the ribs

When you are ready to cook the ribs, Preheat oven to 300°F with the rack positioned in the central position.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator, remove them from the plastic wrap, and pat them dry with paper towels. Wrap each rack in aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the wrapped ribs on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Wrap the pork chops in foil and place on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.Wrap the pork chops in foil and place on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Cook the ribs for 1 hour and a half.

The baby back ribs wrapped in aluminum foil are placed in an oven.The pork chops wrapped in foil are placed in the oven.

Then, remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil from the ribs. Place the ribs meat side up on the rack. Cook for another hour or until the meat is easily pierced with a knife. (This may take up to 2 hours if your ribs are very meaty.)

Two fillets of ribs cook in the oven without foil.Two fillets of ribs cook in the oven without foil.

Make Whole30 and Paleo BBQ Sauce

While the ribs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir sauce over medium heat until boiling. Set aside until the ribs are cooked.

A fizzy red Whole30 BBQ sauce in a stainless steel pot.A bubbly red Whole30 barbecue sauce in a stainless steel pot.

Roast the ribs

When the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and turn on the grill. Brush half the sauce onto the racks, covering the top and sides.

Brush the baked pork ribs with the barbecue sauce.Brush the baked pork ribs with the barbecue sauce.

Cook the baby back ribs for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Watch them carefully: the sweet sauce can burn easily!

Cook the pork chops in the oven and then remove them.Cook the ribs in the oven and then take them out.

Cut and serve

Transfer the baked ribs to a cutting board. When the ribs are no longer very hot, slice them by placing them on the edge and cutting cleanly between the bones. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and serve!

Slice the baked baby back ribs with a chef's knife on a wooden cutting board.Cut the baked pork chops with a chef's knife on a wooden cutting board.

How to save leftovers

Leftover cooked pork chops can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat leftover ribs in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Then, brush with more sauce and broil for a few minutes or until bubbling. If you only have a few ribs left, you can place them in a deep fryer at 350°F for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.

What can you serve with pork ribs?


Looking for more recipe ideas? Go to my recipe index. You'll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017) and Nom Nom Paleo: Let's Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


EASY TO PRINT RECIPE CARD

  • In a small bowl, combine the dry marinade ingredients and mix well.

  • Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. If your butcher hasn't removed the silver foil from the bone-in side of the racks, remove this thin membrane with your hands or a paper towel.

  • Sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of the ribs. Rub with your hands.

  • Place the seasoned ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

  • When you're ready to cook the ribs, heat oven to 300°F with the rack positioned centrally.

  • Remove the ribs from the fridge, remove them from the plastic film and dry them with paper towels. Wrap each chop in aluminum foil or baking paper and place the foil-wrapped chops on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

  • Cook the ribs for 1 1/2 hours.

  • Then, remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil from the ribs. Place the ribs on the rack, meat side up. Cook for another hour or until the meat is easily pierced with a knife. (This may take up to 2 hours if the ribs are very meaty.)

  • While the ribs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir sauce over medium heat until boiling. Set aside until the ribs are cooked.

  • When the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and turn on the grill. Brush half the sauce onto the racks, covering the top and sides.

  • Cook the ribs for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Watch them carefully: the sweet sauce can easily burn!

  • Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. When the ribs are no longer very hot, slice them by resting them on the edge and cutting cleanly between the bones. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and serve!

Make suggestions in advance:

  • You can season the ribs with the dry sauce up to 3 days in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
  • Homemade barbecue sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  • Once the ribs are cooked, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the leftover ribs in a 180°C oven for about 20 minutes or until they are cooked through. Then, brush with more sauce and grill for a few minutes or until bubbly.

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 16G | Protein: 37G | Fat: 31G | Fiber: 0.5G | Sugar: 9G

Nutrition information is calculated automatically, so it should only be used as an approximation.

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