Want the secret to fall-off-the-bone ribs from a crockpot? Watch the video below or continue reading.
You want your ribs to be fall-off-the-bone tender. The crockpot is a great choice. BUT, how do you go from this ugly mess:
Well I can tell you that if you just throw ribs and bbq sauce in a slow cooker for 8 hours, you’ll get some fall-off-the-bone ribs, but they’ll be kind of funky. The bbq sauce won’t have caramelized at all, and the liquids in the meat will have produced a really runny bbq sauce liquid.
I’ve seen the method out there of lining the ribs around the edge of the crockpot so that it caramelizes from the heat of the pot itself, but it just doesn’t work for me because I almost always make more than one rack at a time.
I find the crockpot to be the easiest method to cook ribs and it is my go-to method, especially when cooking for a crowd. Combine the ease of the crockpot with my easy secret tip and you’ll have yourself some pretty dang amazing ribs.
Also, check out another post for a homemade barbecue sauce for Raspberry-Chipotle Baby Back Ribs made in the Slow Cooker.
THE SECRET TO CROCKPOT (SLOW COOKER) RIBS
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. See my video for an easy demo. Just slide your fingers around the side to loosen it up and rip it right off.
- Give the ribs a dry rub if you want. This step is optional. Some people like a good dry rub first for additional flavor.
- Put your ribs in the crockpot. Lather them with barbecue sauce. You can use a homemade sauce like my Raspberry-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce for ribs or a store-bought bottle. If you are going store-bought I recommend using Sweet Baby Ray’s. Just remember to save a little bit for later.
- Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. The more racks in the pot, the longer you’ll need to cook.
- Gently remove the racks and lay them out on a foil lined baking sheet. Add more barbecue sauce on top.
It’s really that easy! You’d be amazed at how amazing these ribs taste! Another option is to put them on the grill to get that extra caramelization. When I do this, I put them straight onto the grill (or onto a piece of aluminum foil) over high heat (500 degrees). Brush them with additional barbecue sauce and then close the lid. Let them grill for about 3-5 minutes, until the sauce starts to bubble and caramelize.
One of my best tips for making ribs in the crockpot is to use a crockpot liner. These BPA-free plastic bags line your crockpot, making clean up a breeze! No more scrubbing out caramelized, burnt on sauce! They are awesome. You can find them in your grocery store near things like aluminum foil and plastic bags. They are a huge time saver for me.
Check out this video for a quick demo:
Crock Pot Ribs Recipe
The Secret to Crockpot Ribs (Slow Cooker)
- 2 racks baby back ribs or pork spare ribs
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Just slide your fingers around the side to loosen it up and rip it right off.
- In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the dry rub. Rub this mixture generously over the outside of the ribs to coat.
- Put your ribs in the crockpot. Drizzle on 1 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce, reserving 1/2 cup for later.
- Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. The more racks in the pot, the longer you'll need to cook.
- Gently remove the racks and lay them out on a foil lined baking sheet. Add the reserved barbecue sauce on top.
- Broil under a broiler for 3-5 minutes until the barbecue sauce starts to bubble and caramelize. Alternately you could wrap them in foil and throw them on a heated grill for the same effect.
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