These slow cooker ribs are pork baby back ribs coated in homemade spice blend and barbecue sauce, then cooked in the crock pot until tender. A simple yet satisfying dinner option that will earn you rave reviews!
I love to order ribs at restaurants, but until recently I’ve been too intimidated to make them at home. These crock pot ribs are as easy as can be, serve them with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli for a complete meal.
The slow cooker is amazing in so many different ways, but I have to say, I think my favorite way to use it is with ribs. These slow cooker ribs are so tender and full of flavor, they fall right off the bone! The best part is, there’s only about 10 minutes of active prep time, which means you can take a few minutes to put the ribs in your crock pot in the morning, and then come home to dinner waiting for you.
How do you make slow cooker ribs?
This recipe starts with a rack of baby back ribs, which are coated in a spice rub and BBQ sauce, then slow cooked to tender perfection in the crock pot. The final step is to add another layer of BBQ sauce to the cooked ribs, then broil them in the oven to get a caramelized exterior like you’d get from ribs cooked on the grill. Add a bowl of sauce on the side for dipping, then dinner is ready!
How do you prepare ribs?
Ribs may seem intimidating, but they’re actually quite easy to prep for the slow cooker. Simply trim off any excess fat/gristle on the sides of the rack, then turn your ribs over. You’ll want to remove the membrane that runs across the back side of the sides. Use a knife to carefully loosen the membrane on one side, after that you should be able to pull off the entire membrane in one piece.
What are baby back ribs?
Baby back ribs are the smaller ribs that come from the upper part of the rib cage. The longer ribs are typically called spare ribs, or St. Louis style ribs. Baby back ribs are very tender and are often leaner than spare ribs, and are more expensive for that reason. While I typically use baby back ribs in this recipe, you can use a different type of ribs if you prefer.
Tips for slow cooker ribs
- You can add other ingredients to this recipe to make it your own. If you love garlic, try adding a tablespoon of minced garlic to the slow cooker. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add 1/4 cup honey to your sauce. Like spicy? Add some crushed red pepper flakes to the crock pot.
- I prefer to use my homemade BBQ spice rub seasoning. If you don’t want to take the time to make your own rub, you can use your favorite store bought variety.
- You will likely need to cut your slab of ribs in half or into quarters to fit everything into your slow cooker. I recommend using a large oval crock pot, 6 quart size or larger.
Skip your local barbecue restaurant and make your own ribs at home instead – you’ll be glad you did!
More great slow cooker recipes
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Barbacoa Beef
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef
- Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Slow Cooker Ribs
- Cut the ribs into segments that will fit inside your slow cooker.
- Rub the spice blend all over the tops of the ribs, then drizzle 1 cup of barbecue sauce over the tops of the ribs.
- Stack the ribs in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place on a sheet pan coated with cooking spray. Preheat broiler.
- Brush the remaining sauce all over the ribs. Broil for 4-6 minutes or until ribs have started to caramelize.
- Slice the ribs, then serve.