Slow cooker BBQ ribs are juicy, saucy, and so tender -- that the meat literally falls right off the bone. This simple and delicious recipe is one you need to add to your collection of crockpot recipes if you are looking for restaurant-quality ribs from the comfort of your own home. With just a handful of simple ingredients, they come together seamlessly. Once cooked in the slow cooker, throw them into the oven and broil them until perfectly golden and charred. So so good.
Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
- Sweet, spicy, and saucy. The base of this sauce will come from your favorite barbecue sauce. But the flavors of regular BBQ sauce are elevated with extra brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and garlic, adding a sweet and spicy profile that everyone will love.
- Simple recipe with stellar results. This is the perfect ribs recipe for novice cooks since it’s so simple and easy to make, yet absolutely delicious. Just throw everything into the crockpot and let it do its thing. It’s impossible to go wrong with saucy, tender ribs in your slow cooker.
- Enough for the whole family. While you can cut this recipe down if you prefer, following it as it will give 4 pounds of baby back ribs—enough for everyone to enjoy, plus some!
To make juicy and tender slow cooker BBQ ribs, you will need the following ingredients:
- baby back ribs - be sure to use baby back ribs. They are leaner and smaller than spareribs—but most importantly, they’re more tender.
- BBQ sauce - feel free to use homemade or store bought barbecue sauce.
- brown sugar
- seasoning - paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mustard powder (optional).
How to Make the Best Slow Cooker BBQ Short Ribs
- Prepare the ribs. Pat dry ribs with paper towel completely and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry rub ingredients including brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and mustard powder until evenly distributed. Rub and spread onto ribs using your hands until evenly coated. You can use disposable gloves for easier clean up.
- Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Spread chopped onions evenly inside a 6-quart slow cooker (crockpot) and add water. Place the ribs in the slow cooker and generously brush half of the barbecue sauce on top of each rib. You can stack the ribs on top of each other into 2 layers.
- Cook. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 8-10 hours or on the HIGH setting for 4-6 hours. When time is up, the slow cooker will automatically switch to WARM setting. Serve immediately with the remaining BBQ sauce.
- Broil (optional). To achieve crispy and nicely charred ribs, gently remove the ribs and place them on a large half sheet baking pan lined with parchment paper. Baste with additional BBQ sauce, if desired. Broil the ribs on top rack of the oven on high for 5-7 minutes until nicely browned.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Remove the silverskin: When preparing the ribs, remove the membrane from the ribs if it hasn't already been done by the butcher. If you don't remove it, the ribs will likely be stuck together with tough skin. To remove the membrane, slide a small kitchen knife under the membrane (and over the bone) at one end of the rack. Gently lift the membrane with the knife until it tears away from the rack. Then, grab the membrane with a paper towel and pull it away from the rack—it may come off in one large piece, or you may need to take it off in several pieces.
- How to store: Keep leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can store the sauce separately or with ribs.
- How to reheat: BBQ ribs taste best when reheated in the oven, wrapped in foil, at 350F for 15 minutes, or until hot. You can also heat them in the microwave.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs
- Slow Cooker Beef Chili
- Crockpot Leg of Lamb with Vegetables
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Crockpot Asian Beef Noodle Soup
- Slow Cooker Bone Broth
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