Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

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Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs are fall of the bone amazing! Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekend dinners, these Crock Pot ribs are sprinkled with a simple rib rub, slow cooked to perfection and then finished off with a your favorite BBQ sauce.  Let your slow cooker do the work to deliver sticky, melt-in-your-mouth ribs!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs  are easy, A-MA-Zing and my favorite way to deliver fall-off-the-bone tender ribs.

Seriously!!! Then you take these super tender crock pot ribs and finish them off in the oven to create the best, sticky finger-lickin’ barbecue glaze with tons of little caramelized edges everywhere!

slow cooker ribs

There are just certain things you do not mess with.  Texas is apparently one of the things you do not mess with and that goes hand in hand with messing around with barbecue ribs.

When it comes to great rib recipes, you usually either grill ribs or you smoke ribs, feel free to pick either but other than that you really do not deviate from the Master Plan of BBQ Law.  

But I am a rule breaker and a BBQ rebel and I am happy to do my ribs in my oven and they are amazing! 

But this time I am trying something different. These days there is a recipe to do everything and anything in a slow cooker these days and I for one, I’m a happy, happy girl for this.

But crock pot ribs? There’s something that seems so right yet so wrong about this. Where is the char, where are the blackened ends?

Yup! You won’t find an easier slow cooked rib recipe than this!

crock pot barbecue ribs

why this is the best slow cooker ribs recipe

  • Making your ribs in a slow cooker guarantees tender, fall of the bone ribs and then all you have to do is finish them off in the oven with your favorite BBQ sauce and you have the perfect rib dinner!
  • Broil them for 2-3 minutes and you are rewarded with blackened caramelized ends and sweet, sticky barbecue glaze. Oh my goodness, I am getting hungry!
  • Super quick prep time! Simply rub with an easy rib rub recipe and then let your slow cooker so all the work for you.
  • Slow cooker ribs are tender and fall of the bone with no complicated baby sitting steps.
  • Adding your favorite barbecue sauce to these crock pot ribs ensures you will be in finger lickin’ heaven.
  • Perfect meal for game day, rainy days, busy weeknights and a stress-free easy weekend dinner.
  • You don’t have to change out of your yoga pants and drive around town looking for barbecue ribs. You control your own rib destiny! #empowerment
  • As much as I love barbecue ribs made on the grill, how long to cook ribs on the grill can be challenging. Keep it simple and let the slow cooker do the work.

To make this easy crock pot rib recipe,  you will need:

  • Pork baby back ribs
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Spices and brown sugar for rub
  • Favorite barbecue sauce

crock pot ribs

how to cook ribs in the slow cooker

Start by removing the baby back ribs from the store packaging, wash and pat dry.

Trim off any large sections of excess fat and any silver skin membrane left on the back of the rack and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the rib rub and then apply the rib rub liberally to both sides of the rib rack.

Add the entire spiced rack of ribs to the slow cooker. Pour half of your barbecue sauce over the ribs and then add chopped onion, chicken stock and garlic to the slow cooker.

Cook for 6-7 hours or until meat is tender and pulls away from the bone.

Transfer ribs to a baking sheet pan covered in foil and brush ribs with remaining barbecue sauce.

Set oven to Broil and slide your ribs right under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until beginning to char and blacken the edges.

Watch carefully… don’t let these babies burn!! Gently remove from the pan, cut ribs apart and serve immediately.

Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

pro tips for perfect crock pot ribs

  • Start by removing the silver membrane from the back. You can just slip a knife under it and pull it right off. If you’re having trouble finding the membrane on the back of your ribs, your ribs may already have it removed.  
  • Inspect your rib rack for bone pieces/shards as they can sometimes be present from the butcher cutting the ribs. Remove and toss away any loose pieces.
  • Cut your rack of ribs into manageable pieces, if necessary, so that it will fit into your slow cooker. 
  • Do not lift the lid to your slow cooker. This will increase your cooking time. Just let your slow cooker do the work for you.
  • Move you ribs gently to your prepared baking pan. They are super tender and will fall apart 🙂
  • Watch your ribs closely under the broiler. You want the blackened caramelized ends but you don’t want them burnt!

how to remove membrane from ribs before cooking

It’s easy to remove that pesky sheet of membrane from the back of a rack of ribs.

While is it not essential to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs, it’s not very tasty and it’s impossible to chew. 

Start by using a knife or fingernail to pry up a corner of the thin membrane from the backside of the rack of ribs.

Grab that with a paper towel—for grip—and slowly pull it upwards until you have a good portion of the membrane is free. Keep pulling until you have removed the entire membrane.

how to remove membrane from ribs

what are the best ribs?

  • Pork spareribs: Spareribs are found on the lower belly of the pig and does not offer a lot of meat on the bone which is how it gets it’s name spare rib. These ribs are great of oven baked ribs even though you don’t get a lot of meat off of them.
  • Baby back bibs: Baby back ribs are taken from the muscle that runs along the back of the pig and are very meaty and a great choice of pork rib to cook in the oven, slow cooker or on the grill.
  • St. Louis style ribs: St. Louis style ribs are basically pork spare ribs with the end ribs and meat skirt removed.  These ribs are prepared best in the oven since they will cook faster than most ribs due to having so little meat on them.
  • Country-style pork ribs: These are big, meaty ribs taken from the shoulder or the loin. The loin ribs will cook faster than the shoulder ribs so be sure to ask your butcher from what part of the pig your country-style pork ribs come from.  These are ribs that can be cooked on the grill, in the oven or even smoked in your smoker.

rack of ribs for slow cooker

how long to cook ribs in a crock pot?

I really like my slow cooker ribs to fall off the bone and melt in my mouth. The times below are what I find work best for pork baby back ribs and pork spare ribs. 

  • Slow Cooker Ribs On Low will need to cook for about 6-7 hours
  • Slow Cooker Ribs On High will need to cook for about 3-4 hours
  • Thermometer – Your ribs are safe to eat when their temperature reaches 145 degrees F but for super tender meat, get that temperature up to around 190 degrees F or higher. You can use an instant read thermometer to check the exact temperature.
  • Color – When fully cooked, your rib meat white and there shouldn’t be any pink meat or juices.
  • Bones – If your ribs are fully cooked, the meat will expose some of the bone at the end of the ribs.
  • Tenderness – Gently insert a knife tip between two of the bones. If there is any resistance, your ribs aren’t done. 

what to serve with crock pot ribs

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

If you’ve tried this Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs recipe, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you it came out in the comments below. 

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs are fall of the bone amazing! Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekend dinners, these Crock Pot ribs are sprinkled with a simple rib rub, slow cooked to perfection and then finished off with a your favorite BBQ sauce.  Let your slow cooker do the work to deliver sticky, melt-in-your-mouth ribs!
Heather - A Wicked Whisk
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
Serving Size 16

Ingredients

Rib Rub

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs

  • 3 pounts pork baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • To make these slow cooker ribs, start by removing the baby back ribs from the store packaging, wash and pat dry. Trim off any large sections of excess fat and any silver skin membrane left on the back of the rack and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the rib rub and then apply the rib rub liberally to both sides of the rib rack. Add the entire spiced rack of ribs to the slow cooker. Pour half of your barbecue sauce over the ribs and then add chopped onion, chicken stock and garlic to the slow cooker.
  • Cook for 6-7 hours or until meat is tender and pulls away from the bone. Transfer ribs to a baking sheet pan covered in foil and brush ribs with remaining barbecue sauce. Set oven to Broil and slide your ribs right under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until beginning to char and blacken the edges. Watch carefully... don't let these babies burn!! Gently remove from the pan, cut ribs apart and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Start by removing the silver membrane from the back. You can just slip a knife under it and pull it right off. If you’re having trouble finding the membrane on the back of your ribs, your ribs may already have it removed.  
  • Inspect your rib rack for bone pieces/shards as they can sometimes be present from the butcher cutting the ribs. Remove and toss away any loose pieces.
  • Cut your rack of ribs into manageable pieces, if necessary, so that it will fit into your slow cooker. 
  • Do not lift the lid to your slow cooker. This will increase your cooking time. Just let your slow cooker do the work for you.
  • Move you ribs gently to your prepared baking pan. They are super tender and will fall apart 🙂
  • Watch your ribs closely under the broiler. You want the blackened caramelized ends but you don't want them burnt!

Nutrition

Serving: 16g | Calories: 382.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.9g | Protein: 24.9g | Fat: 25.8g | Saturated Fat: 9.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11.5g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 540.8mg | Potassium: 303.5mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 10.3g | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2.4mg

Update Notes: This post was originally published in May of 2018 but was republished with an updated recipe, new photos, step by step instructions and tips in April of 2020.

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23 Comments

  1. Coming back to this recipe. I have some ribs in the freezer that were a super great sale a while ago … but I’ve never, never, ever made ribs before so didn’t have any idea where to start. Then, I remember PackMomma had the answer! Will be trying this recipe out, because, slow cookers and I are best friends ( see above comment) And I’m ready to tackle this new world. If they turn out, I maybe even feature them on my blog! Credit back here of course, for the recipe!!

    1. Hi Gail! You could start checking them for doneness a bit sooner than the recipe calls for but the more time they spend in the slow cooker, the juicier and more tender they become.

  2. Made the ribs yesterday, they were so good my husband is going to make more tomorrow!! Can’t wait to try your other recipes. Proud Pack Momma of two bullies!!

    1. Katherine, that’s AWESOME!! I’m so glad you and hubby liked them!! And kiss! kiss! kiss! to those babies of yours .. Us Bully mommies need to stick together, you know (wink!) 🙂

    1. Hi Oana .. I honestly can’t live without my slow cooker .. I use it for just about everything! And this recipe is a great excuse to go shopping for one 🙂

  3. These look soooo awesome! And I’m all about half of the work! In the summer I make them on the grill, which is a bit of a production. I think I need to start making my ribs in the crockpot, bc this looks so much easier!

    1. Nooooo Florentina!!! … you need a slow cooker!! Even if it doesn’t get too cold where you are, they are so helpful. I just did a big pot of burrito pulled pork in mine yesterday and thank goodness because I was invaded by my nephew to watch football all afternoon and I didn’t even worry about feeding him (because you know you always have to feed them) because my slow cooker was just bubbling away all day with a big yummy pot of goodness. Trust me, grab one!

  4. I am a slow cooker fan. This recipe is right up my ally. I totally know what you mean about the oven broiler. My family always yells at me to set the timer so I don’t burn the masterpiece;)

    1. Diane.. been there, done THAT!! Why is XXX burnt?? My response is always the same .. it’s not burnt, it’s rustic!! Hahahaha!!! The SWAT team could break down my front door and I still won’t move from that cracked open oven door! This slow cooker rib recipe takes all that stress away 🙂

    1. Claudia – it should be a crime for it to be so easy to make perfect ribs!! … and doing them in the slow cooker means there is no back and forth, no flip here, baste there, flip again ..and again .. and again … sigh!!! what to do with all that free time??? #netflix

    1. Kelly, I usually have pretty good luck doing my ribs in the oven but I did try cooking them once in my smoker and lets just say beef jerky was easier to eay!! Haha.. I learned my lesson after that. Doing your ribs in the slow cooker is almost fail proof.. if I can do it, believe me – YOU can do it too!!!

  5. Ribs always seem like so much work … but oh so yummy. Using the slow cooker (my BFF) is a great idea for making this dish less work

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