These dry rub ribs are so tender, they practically melt in your mouth. With my sugar-free dry rub recipe, they are paleo and keto friendly. After a long slow braising, you can grill them or broil them. Seriously the best low carb ribs recipe ever.
I am a pork rib. fanatic. A true lover of all things ribs. But I’ve never been a big fan of saucy ribs. I much prefer tender, fall apart ribs with a classic dry rub. I might brush them with a little of my Sugar Free BBQ Sauce at the end, but I might also just eat them the way they are. Either way, this keto ribs recipe is a winner.
I have such a delicious recipe that I use over and over and over, every time I cook ribs. I mean, these are the definitive fall-off-the-bone ribs, where you go to take a bite and find that you’re only holding the bone in your hand, because all the meat fell back onto your plate.
Once you make these, you won’t ever want to cook ribs any other way again.
The Secret to Perfect Dry Rub Ribs
Actually, it’s three secrets. Or three factors that come into play to make the most tender and delicious ribs you will ever eat.
- The cut of ribs
- The dry rub
- The cooking method
For the ribs, I almost always recommend St. Louis style spare ribs over the puny baby back ribs. Spare ribs are meatier, with more fat, so they are often more tender. And usually a lot less expensive as well. I can’t for the life of me figure out why baby back ribs are so prized when spare ribs can make a much bigger and more satisfying meal.
The cooking method utilizes slow braising in the oven, which loosens all the tough, fibrous membranes and makes the meat unbelievably tender. We’re talking at least an hour and a half. More if you are doing more than one rack of ribs.
You then only grill or broil the ribs for a total of about 8 minutes, to crisp up the outside. Sometimes the ribs are so tender, I can hardly transfer them to a platter without things falling apart.
This is a recipe my husband and I developed over several years, and really it’s an amalgamation of ideas from several sources, including the now defunct Gourmet Magazine. It was their recipe that introduced me to the braising method and from the word go, it made some of the best ribs I’d ever had.
The dry rub was adapted from Steve Raichlan. His recipe took sugar, of course, and mine takes no sweetener at all. I find it entirely unnecessary. And somewhere along the way, I started adding chili powder, and we found we liked it so much, it stuck around.
It’s really insanely easy to make. I usually keep a large jar of this dry rub recipe for ribs ready to go, so we can have them any time we want. And let me tell you, in the summer, that’s pretty darn often.
To Sauce or not to Sauce
I tend to like less saucy ribs and I hate when I go to restaurants and the ribs are drowned in a sugary-sweet condiment, so thick you have to scrape off several inches just to find the meat.
Good ribs shouldn’t need all that dressing up and all that sugar. And good barbecue sauce should be tangy and spicy, with some sweetness but not so sweet you feel like you are licking a bbq flavoured lollipop.
There’s a happy balance somewhere in there and it’s not easy to find. But if I do feel like a little sauce in my ribs, I go with my Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce. It’s so easy to make, and requires no cooking. Just mix it up and slather it on.
You can slather some on the ribs just before grilling or broiling so that it cooks right on a bit. Or you can wait until the ribs come off and give them a good brushing with sauce, so they have that more saucy feeling. It’s really up to you.
You could also try the Chipotle Whisky BBQ Sauce I created for Swerve, if you wanted something a little different.
If you’re ready for the best keto dry rub ribs of your life, get your oven preheating. Once you try this method for braised spare ribs, you may never make them any other way again!
Want more keto BBQ Recipes?
Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken
Keto Dry Rub Ribs
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 rack pork spare ribs
- 1 cup water
- 1 recipe Easy Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce (if desired)
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- For the dry rub, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Rub all over both sides of the ribs. Lay ribs in a large roasting pan (cut in half if you need to, to make them fit). Add the water and cover the whole pan tightly in foil.
- Bake 1 & ½ hours, until meat is very tender. Check occasionally that the water has not evaporated away, as this can burn your ribs.
- Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil 6 to 8 minutes, watching carefully so that they don't burn. You can brush some of the BBQ sauce on before grilling or after, that's up to you.
Love this recipe. Used it several times on country ribs. This last time I cooked them in a 6 qt slow cooker on high. Put a can of sauerkraut in the bottom. Very moist and tender. Done in 4 hours.
David Elser says
I been using this blend for 2 years and every other week I love to barbecue weekly and this is the mix
Romelle Baker Jarvis says
Best recipe for ribs I have ever made! Delicious. Economical. Easy and quick!
To hell with baby back ribs. These were fantastic!
Glad you enjoyed them!
Dr Dave says
Thanks for the dry rub recipe, it tastes great!! If you have time, I would suggest the following recipe modifications. 1. Preheat oven only to 225 F. 2. your rub mix is great!! 3. Trim any excess fat off ribs and use a sharp knife to score the membrane from the under side of the ribs every half inch. Mist ribs with water and apply rub mix to both sides. Lay ribs in foil lined baking sheet. (no water needed in pan and do not cover with foil) 4. bake for 5-7 hours until done (rub typically starts cracking) turn off oven oven and leave ribs in oven to rest for 20 minutes with door open a couple inches. 5. we omitted all of step 5 and the ribs were amazing, tender and falling off the bone!!!! Let me know what you think
Hello Dr Dave – interesting way of cooking the ribs – I would like to try that. Two questions:
So you use NO foil to cover or at all? Instead just the baking liner sheet below while spraying the ribs with water.
Do you still grill or something to get the blackened/cooked outside of the ribs or do you take out from the oven and eat as is?
Dr Dave, you created the best of both worlds – Carolyn’s rub and your method produced the most amazing ribs ever. We do pop them on the BBQ for a few minutes for that smokey BBQ finish and to make our neighbors’ mouths water. Thanks for posting – it’s a keeper! 🙂
Cathy Warren says
Out of this world good. Used the chipotle whiskey BBQ sauce. So tender and my husband couldn’t quit raving about them. Thank you for another winner, Carolyn.
Kansas Guthrie says
Can these be cooked on a bbq grill?
Please read the last step in the instructions.
My husband loves these ribs ❤️ I add 1-2 tbsp of brown sugar swerve to the rub for a little sweetness because we dont always sauce. I also cook in the Instant Pot for 45-minutes then slow release for 15-20 minutes, then pop under the broiler to crisp up (I slather in BBQ sauce at thus point if using). So easy and good!
*****WARNING***** I used a glass dish, it was all I had, and when I added water my oven proof glass dish shattered. So please be aware.
The recipe, once redone with a metal pan, was great!
Wow, what brand? Because I have some good pyrex dishes and I’ve made these ribs many times in them! Why would your dish shatter just when you added water? Was it already heated up? You’re supposed to add water at the beginning (before cooking) so I am a bit confused.
It was Anchor Hocking. And you’re right, I added water at the beginning, but then it got low to the point of almost dry, and I added more water while it was in the oven – without thinking! Haha, I’ll remember next time to never add water to a hot glass dish. I feel silly, but I didn’t want anyone else to make the same goof as I did.
By the way, I made these in a batch of dry rub only, and a batch with your bbq sauce… Both were huge hits! You’ve won this Texas family over!
Glad you liked them but sorry about your dish! I don’t usually have to add water during the cooking process, as long as I’ve wrapped it up tightly with foil.
Carol Silver says
Sorry…didn’t know there were older comments so my question has been previously asked, and answered.
Technically it’s not “braising” as such a high temp but it works like a dream!
Carol Silver says
Hi Carolyn, the recipe describes “long slow braising”, is that at 425 F? Just checking….
I was wondering the same thing. They are in the oven # 425 F now so fingers crossed 🤞
Trust the process…
Renee Nevitt says
Have you used this recipe with ribs in a smoker? We have a smoker we haven’t used yet and I can’t wait to learn how. TIA
Yes, I did the 3-2-1 method… like this: https://heygrillhey.com/3-2-1-ribs-perfect-fall-off-the-bone-ribs/
Found the paprika overpowering that I couldn’t taste the other spices.
Paprika has very little flavor overall so unless you used smoked paprika, or paprika that had gone bad, I can’t see why how it could overpower the stronger spices. You may want to look into what you used.
Has anyone tried this rub on smoked ribs? I’m curious on how it tasted.
I have indeed, I love my smoker. Very good!
I’m excited to try this recipe because my family and I don’t like BBQ sauce. We believe sweet is reserved for desserts only. Just don’t like anything sweet when eating dinner. Savory all the way. Spice is good but. It too much. ????
What is Paleo and what is Keto?
Do you think instead of cooking in the oven I could use a slow cooker?
Bender Rodriguez says
I never write reviews. I just don’t.
This is my exception.
These are The Best Ribs.
Thanks for sharing!
I’m now addicted to ribs.
Wow, thanks so much!
Tried this recipe last night and it was so good I had to leave a rating. Did everything exactly as stated except I did not have any oregano. Everyone loved it! I will definitely be making this again
Holly Molly! I made these last night for dinner and they were amazing! My daughter is aType 1 diabetic and I hate dosing for sugary sauces. These turned out perfectly. Thank you for yet another fabulous diner.
They’re a favourite in our house too!