In addition to being delicious, these Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs are perfect for rainy day picnics or anyone who doesn’t care for grilling.
Are you watching the weather closely these days? We are, after all, just two days away from a three-day weekend and the second biggest grilling day of the year (July 4 takes the top spot).
I am a grill fan. I buy my charcoal and wood (for smoking) in big amounts. I own the long spatulas, fire-proof gloves and all that stuff. I’ve grilled everything from appetizers to mains to desserts.
That being said, I’d be lying if I said I like to grill when the weather’s bad. And by bad I mean sub-zero arctic freezes, Sahara-level heat waves or torrential monsoon rains.
So yeah, I’m keeping track of the weather these days. At the moment, our weather gurus are giving us a 10% chance of rain, which is their CYB way of saying they have no clue what’s going to happen.
If it doesn’t rain, or snow, or get to 100 degrees, I’ll grill. But if it does, I’m pulling out my slow cooker. And no one will know the difference.
That word ‘easy’ in the title? It’s there for a reason. These ribs are incredibly simple to pull together.
The rub is a collection of ten ingredients. Mix them together and rub them all over ribs before wrapping them in plastic and putting them in the fridge overnight.
The juice that’s added to the slow cooker creates a steam that penetrates the ribs as they cook and adds flavor. It’s made by stirring together pineapple juice, rice vinegar and some minced garlic right in the slow cooker so no extra bowls to clean.
The ribs go in, the slow cooker turns on, and we walk away.
The sauce uses bottled barbecue sauce as a base (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s) and adds honey, vinegar, dry mustard and a pinch of crushed red pepper. It’s all simmered for a few minutes and done.
Total prep time was about 10 minutes.
For those who want to lessen the work even more, the ribs would work with any purchased rib rub and barbecue sauce (I do recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s).
This meal was one of the few where Sophie said she didn’t want to eat something and I agreed that she didn’t have to. After all, her not having any would just leave more for Doug and me.
Unfortunately, as soon as my girl saw the platter hit the table, she changed her mind. It was every man (and woman) for himself after that. We loved these. Aside from the missing smoky flavor that only grilling over charcoal can impart (and I bet a drop or two of Liquid Smoke would have fixed that), it was impossible to tell that these weren’t grilled ribs.
The ribs were perfectly tender, absolutely delicious and totally addicting. We polished off the entire rack.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
- 1 slab baby back pork ribs (3½ to 4 lb.)
- Rib Rub, divided (recipe below)
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Fancy Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
- Rinse slab, and pat dry with paper towels. Remove thin membrane from back of ribs by slicing into it with a knife and then pulling it off. (This will make ribs more tender.) Reserve ½ Tbsp. Rib Rub; sprinkle both sides of ribs with remaining rub. Wrap ribs in plastic wrap; chill 8 to 12 hours.
- Stir together pineapple juice, next 2 ingredients, and reserved ½ Tbsp. Rib Rub in a 6 qt. slow cooker. Cut slab in half, and stack halves in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW, and cook 4 to 5 hours or until ribs are tender.
- Preheat broiler with oven rack 10 inches from heat. Remove ribs from slow cooker, and place in a single layer in a heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Brush both sides of ribs with Fancy Barbecue Sauce. Broil ribs 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until caramelized. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce.
- Note: Ribs may be cooked entirely on LOW for 6 to 7 hours or until tender.
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Stir together dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, ground cumin, kosher salt, garlic salt, onion salt, dry mustard, freshly ground black pepper, ground red pepper, and ground ginger.
Fancy Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup tomato-based bottled barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- Stir together barbecue sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, dry mustard, and dried crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
One of the things I love about these ribs is the fact that they’re easier to make than hamburgers and hot dogs because I don’t have to worry about buying all the ‘extras’ to go along with them. As long as I have several rolls of paper towels, I’m good to go.
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