|Baby back ribs, rubbed with a mixture of spices and herbs, brushed with your favorite barbecue sauce, and cooked to perfection - in your crockpot! Pictured here with creamed corn and a simple summer salad of cucumber, onion and tomato.|
Slow Cooker Baby Back RibsI love pork ribs no matter how you make them. Smoked from my favorite BBQ joint, baked in the oven and fall off the bone, full out grilled from start to finish or started in the oven and finished on the grill. Hang around long enough and I'll probably do a pressure cooked rib here soon, which is pretty much steaming, and a lot like boiling, which kinda makes some of y'all crazy when that word boiled is associated with a rib of any kind. Oh yeah, I've boiled them too! And wait, if that's not shocking enough, are y'all sitting down? Because, I've actually even smoked some here recently y'all... although in all fairness to my expert Q'er friends, that's still considered fauxQ, because I did it with an electric smoker, which, frankly is very likely the only smoking you're ever gonna see outta me.
It was my first ever run on smoking anything, well, other than using a smoker box on the gas grill, and, of course, I had no idea what I was doing. So many questions. What are the best most neutral wood chips to use when you smoke multiple things? Do you have to put liquid in the drip bowl, should you, or is that basically steaming the meat? How often do you add chips and when? When it's still smoking or when the smoke slows down, or when it stops altogether? And what about venting? Do you close the vent all the way, part of the way, or leave it wide open? See what I mean? Could you imagine me, Miss Analytic Over-Thinker, using an authentic, real wood smoker? Talk about stress!
I have to admit the Masterbuilt was easy enough to use though. For that first run, I made a rack of baby back ribs using my basic rib rub, a whole chicken using Mimi's chicken rub, and threw in some potatoes on the top rack to use for a smoked potato salad. It was all very good, and there will be more experiments to come. Being clueless, I had no intent of blogging about it so I didn't really make a record of it other than this photograph I decided to snap as an afterthought just before eating. Yes I realize there are two starches on this plate. It was a Sunday and I was out of green stuff... and, okay... maybe even a little lazy.
Anyway, to get back to the slow cooker version, this is based on a recipe shared last year by Jackie, one of our Facebook family members, and I have made them multiple times since, both with spare ribs and baby back ribs. The spare ribs are much more difficult to work with because they are very hard to cut, so you'll literally need a meat saw to break them down - but the baby back ribs cut easily and work beautifully for the crockpot.
Jackie's method of starting the ribs off standing is key to keeping them from stewing in their fats and falling apart into a pile of shredded pork in the slow cooker. Standing them makes them nice and tender, but results in a good bite, so long as you don't overcook them. The rub is another key feature, because the ribs cook only with the dry rub for most of the cooking process, and get sauced only in the end, 30 minutes before supper time. I've made my own revisions, but you can find Jackie's original rib recipe over on the Facebook page. It is a fantastic method and we absolutely love ribs done this way. I know you will too. Thanks so much Jackie for sharing your recipe with us!
Here's how to make them.
Spray your slow cooker generously with some non-stick cooking spray. I find that it's completely unnecessary to bother with pulling the membrane off of the ribs with baby backs, unlike with spareribs where I find it to often be tough. Cut the ribs into serving sized sections - 2 to 4 rib sections, depending on how many are coming for dinner. Combine all of the dry seasonings - brown sugar, paprika, onion and garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, black pepper and thyme - and rub all over the ribs.
Stack ribs vertically in the slow cooker, with the larger cut bone side down, and leaning against each other. Cover and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours.
Uncover and dab your favorite sauce on the ribs.
Cover, turn the heat up to high and cook for about 30 minutes or until well glazed. Tell me. Is your mouth watering about right now?
Recipe: Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 8 hours | Yield: About 2 to 4 servings
- 1 (3-1/2 to 4 pound) baby back pork ribs, cut into 3 to 4 rib sections
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of thyme, crushed
- Homemade or commercial barbecue sauce
Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all of the dry seasonings and rub all over the ribs. Stack ribs vertically in the slow cooker, with the larger cut bone side down, and leaning against each other. Cover and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours. Uncover and dab sauce on the ribs. Cover, turn the heat up to high and cook for about 30 minutes or until well glazed.
Cook's Note: Because this recipe prepares the ribs standing to keep them out of the fat drippings, you can really only do one rack at a time which will feed 2 to 4 people depending on appetites and the side dishes you serve. To prepare a second rack of ribs you'll need a second slow cooker.
Tip: To finish on the grill for some pretty grill marks, skip the second cook in the slow cooker, coat the ribs on both sides with sauce and sear on a medium high hot grill bone side down for about 7 minutes. Add more sauce, turn and sear on the fat side another 6 to 7 minutes, or until done.
©Deep South Dish
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