Rosemarie's Recipes: Ribs
Entertaining Food + Drink Recipes

Rosemarie’s Recipes: Nanna’s Oven-Barbecued Ribs

February 29, 2020

Nanna’s oven-barbecued ribs recipe lives on! Try this family fave with mashed potatoes, cornbread or your most-loved comfort food for a dish that feels like home

By Rosemarie Aquilina

Photography by Derrick Martinez

My family loves ribs — especially these easy-to-make favorites, which my Nanna, Mary Rose (whom I’m named after) made for us when I was about 10 years old. I’ve been making them ever since. I usually serve them with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and cornbread. Leftovers are even better warmed up the second day!

Nanna’s Oven-Barbecued Ribs

Rosemarie Aquilina


  • 4 pounds country-style rib, boneless
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt

Basting sauce 

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce or
  • Frank’s Hot Sauce, to taste
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or salt substitute

Rosemarie Aquilina


Combine ingredients, bring to boil, stirring occasionally, and reducing heat to avoid burning. Sauce thickens as it cooks. Taste and adjust.

Line shallow roasting pan with foil. Salt ribs lightly (or not at all if you prefer). Place in roasting pan, meaty side up. Roast at 450 F for 30 minutes — use this time to make the basting sauce. Remove ribs to a large plate. Drain excess grease from pan and wipe or change foil if needed.

Return ribs to pan, meaty side up. Baste light layer of sauce over ribs. Place sliced lemon and sliced onion over top. Spoon sauce over the tops. (You will have leftover sauce.) Lower oven temperature to 350 F and return pan to oven. Bake about 1 ½ hours until ribs are falling apart. You can cook covered for half the time and then uncover, or leave uncovered the whole time. Baste as you go. If sauce in pan is too thick, add a bit of water.

Notes:  I usually double the amount of ribs and triple the sauce (but use a bit less water, adding only if it gets too thick).

oven-barbecued rips recipe

I prefer no-sugar-added ketchup and low-sodium Worcestershire sauce. I also use the Tabasco and chili powder sparingly, because I don’t like the ribs too spicy.

For an easy cornbread I use two boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and mix as directed. I let it sit for a few minutes, then add about a half a small bag of frozen yellow corn. I place more corn on top, lightly pressing it into the batter. Pour into a brownie pan and bake as directed. Cut into squares. Serve with honey and butter!

Have a cooking question for Judge Aquilina? Leave it in the comments below!

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