Slow cooker baby back ribs cooked in the crock pot are fall-off-the-bone delicious. The dry rub and caramelized barbecue sauce make these the BEST at our house, everyones favorite dinner.
We were having a send off meal for one of Taylor’s friends from California, who doesn’t get a lot of Southern food at home, so I wanted to give her a little taste of North Carolina before she left. Of course we made slow cooker ribs. These are the melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs you’ll find. They start in the fridge with a dry rub overnight, then spend the day in the slow cooker. Finish them off under the broiler to caramelize the barbecue sauce and you have a true Southern dish.
How do you remove the membrane from pork ribs
If you’re new to ribs, you might not realize that on baby back ribs is a thin white membrane that should be removed if you want really tender ribs. It’s not the end of the world if you forget but we are going for fall-off-the-bone tender here. Sometimes this can be a bit difficult because your hands are wet from holding the ribs. Use a knife or your finger to pull up the edge and then grab it with a paper towel and pull it off. Sometimes it will come off in pieces and that’s ok.
How do you make slow cooker ribs
Step 1: The night before, remove the membrane and then rub the ribs with a dry rub which is a mixture of brown sugar and seasonings. Wrap them up and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2: Cut the rack of ribs so they will fit in the slow cooker and place them in. Pour pineapple juice, vinegar and garlic over the top.
Step 3: Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for 5 hours. Carefully remove to a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
Step 4: Combine barbecue sauce, honey, vinegar and red pepper flakes and bring it to a boil. Slather the sauce on the top and bottom of the ribs.
Step 5: Broil for a minute or two until the bbq sauce is bubbly.
This recipe is easily adaptable to your taste preferences by changing the prepared sauce that you purchase. I like them sweet so I use Rufus Teague, but there are a million out there, so choose your favorite. If you don’t want them to have a bite, then leave off the red pepper flakes.
The only down side to ribs, is you need to plan ahead so they can refrigerate with the dry rub overnight. To summarize, these start in the refrigerator with a rub and then you place them in a slow-cooker with pineapple juice and seasoning and let them cook all day. When they’re tender, you slather a doctored up bbq sauce all over them and let the sauce caramelize under the broiler in the oven. The end result is tender ribs with a slightly sweet bbq sauce cooked into the ribs but not dripping off. They are still a little messy but worth every bit of sauce we got on our faces.
Now for the taste. These are AWESOME. When I say you have to try them, I really mean it. If you’re going to splurge and eat ribs I think you will agree that this version is worth every calorie. It has just a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes and a slightly sweet flavor from the honeyed bbq sauce. Taylor thinks it’s one of the best things I make, and her friend will have a hard time finding anything this good in California.
What’s nice about this method of cooking ribs is you can just forget about them all day, no basting or anything. I waited to caramelize them until we were ready to sit down at the table. The problem with something this good, is it’s hard to hold everyone off while you’re taking photos.
Things to serve with ribs
- A corn and cucumber salad is a great side for ribs
- Keep it Southern and serve them with mac & cheese
- Add a roll to scoop up any extra sauce
- Finish it off with a peach crumble
More Southern recipes
- There’s nothing more southern than biscuits or cornbread
- Lemon pies are pretty popular down here, whether it’s chess or chiffon
- Pecan pie big enough for a crowd
- Try some Southern BBQ served on a yeast roll
If you make Slow Cooker Ribs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I would love to see your creation.
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Slow Cooker Ribs
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-3 lbs baby back pork ribs
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 cup tomato based BBQ sauce Rufus Teague Sweet Honey
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a small bowl, stir together all of the rub ingredients.
- Rinse slabs of ribs and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the thin membrane from the back of the ribs by slicing it and then pulling it off. Reserve 1/2tablespoon of the rub. Sprinkle remaining rub on both sides of the ribs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 8-12 hours.
- Combine pineapple juice, vinegar and garlic and reserved rub in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cut the slab of ribs in half and stack in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low and cook for 5 hours or until tender.
- SAUCE: Stir together all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute. Remove and cover to keep warm.
- Preheat broiler with oven rack 10 inches below the heat. Remove ribs from slow cooker and place in a single layer in a foil lined rimmed pan. Brush both sides of ribs with the BBQ sauce and broil for 2-3 minutes on each side until caramelized. Serve with remaining sauce.
- Can easily be doubled