Baby Back Ribs With Magic Spice Blend

July 1, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: These ribs aren't going to look and taste like the sticky, saucy, lacquered ribs of Southern yore—they're a bit cleaner in taste. As you've basically steamed them in their own juices, they'll be fall-off-the-bone succulent, and in this you may find a new appreciation for the flavor of pork as it should be: not drowned in a saccharine BBQ sauce, but rather powdered with a smoky-sweet, savory invisibility cloak that lets the meat be meat.Eric Kim

Food52 Review: Featured in: My Lip-Smacking BBQ Ribs & the Secret Spice Blend That Makes Them Sing.The Editors

Serves: 3 to 4
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 3 hrs


  • 2 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • 4 tablespoons Magic Spice Blend, recipe follows

Magic Spice Blend

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (you can use regular sweet paprika if you don't like the taste of smoked)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed, crushed in the palm of your hand
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F. Season the ribs on both sides, generously, with the Magic Spice Blend.
  2. Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil (I always use heavy-duty), place on a sheet pan flesh-side down, and bake for 3 hours. I like to eat this with white rice.

Magic Spice Blend

  1. Spoon all of the ingredients into a Mason jar and shake.

More Great Recipes:
American|Rib|Sheet Pan|Backyard BBQ|Lunch|Dinner|Entree

Reviews (11) Questions (0)

11 Reviews

Erika September 21, 2018
I made this recipe twice now for my guests. Everyone absolutely loved it! :)
Author Comment
Eric K. September 22, 2018
Yay. Glad to hear.
Janet M. July 6, 2018
Be careful when buying ribs to remember that most of what you pick up in the supermarket is injected with salt--you may have to look hard for any that are not. We like to use a rub and smoke ribs for 6-8 hours, and have had to adjust our rubs to exclude salt. It takes me back to my childhood when my mother parboiled ribs to remove excess fat, and that also works to reduce salt. I actually like my ribs "dry" (well not dried out, but not drowned with sauce) with sauce on the side, and this rub recipe looks perfect for so very many things. Thanks for the recipe and the tips
melissa Y. July 5, 2018
This is by far the easiest way to cook ribs; I will never go to the trouble of doing it any other way again. We "finished" them on the charcoal grill to give them a hint of smoke and they were perfect. So easy!
Author Comment
Eric K. July 5, 2018
susielou July 5, 2018
The other day, I made a spice rub (without a recipe) for flank steak. None of the ingredients were measured; I just added them until the proportions looked right. My rub: brown sugar, kosher salt, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, Aleppo pepper, garlic powder. I scored both sides of the steak, then lightly coated both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Finally, I mixed a small amount of cider vinegar with the spices, and rubbed the mixture on both sides of the steak. The meat was grilled, and incredibly tasty. The next day I saw your recipe for the magic spice mix, and it looked very familiar! You've inspired me to make a jar of the spice mix and keep it next to the olive oil. Thank you.<br />and
Author Comment
Eric K. July 5, 2018
That's the beauty of Magic Spice, huh? You've already had it before, probably in the womb. It's familiar and comforting, and tastes good on everything. :) Thanks for the comment, susielou.
alsd2 July 4, 2018
Made these ribs for the 4th of July--perfect for those of us without anywhere to grill! Super, super easy and the ribs were exactly as promised--juicy, tender, and full of meaty flavor. I still dabbed them with some molasses-tinged Memphis-style BBQ sauce, but the ribs were already so tasty they needed far less than I'd normally use. With this secret weapon in my recipe arsenal, I don't think I'll ever make less than two racks of ribs at a time!
Author Comment
Eric K. July 5, 2018
Makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for sharing!
SumG July 2, 2018
I just posted on other magic spice blend article that I use the same blend + addition of chili powder. Also, I make it in the instant pot now (used to do oven baked before, and BBQ grill before that) - using this recipe
Author Comment
Eric K. July 3, 2018
Sounds delicious!