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May 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

These slow cooker baby back ribs are so easy. I'm sure the barbecue pros out there turn their collective noses up at the idea of cooking ribs in a slow cooker. These never even come within the vicinity of a barbecue. Regardless, they create the fall-off-the-bone slow grilled awesomeness of the barbecued version of ribs.

After seeing how much the boys enjoyed these ribs, I wanted to make a great weeknight version for them. Serendipitously, +David Leite posted this on G+. I was all over it.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Here's the deal. The ribs are braised in the slow cooker in a barbecue sauce and then broiled in the oven with a barbecue sauce reduction to give them a great char. They are E-A-S-Y.

Let's just say the kids LOVED them. All capital letters. It was so fun serving them up and having them say "yes please" when I asked if they wanted more. I just love feeding boys.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Adapted from Leite's Culinaria, adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution.
Regarding the membrane, I left it on, and didn't notice it when the ribs were done.

Equipment needed:

6 qt. or larger slow cooker
Rimmed baking sheet (half sheet pan) or broiler pan
Rack that will fit in the baking sheet
Cutting board
Two sets of tongs (not mandatory, but very helpful for moving the racks and flipping them over)
Lots of napkins!


3 T sweet Hungarian paprika
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
6 pounds of baby back ribs. About three racks. 
3 C barbecue sauce, homemade or bottled. In this case, I used Bullseye original. 


  1. Mix the rub ingredients (paprika, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper) and rub it all over the racks of ribs. 
  2. Place the ribs, meat side out (facing the slow cooker wall). into the slow cooker, standing up. They should curve along the wall of the slow cooker. The third rib rack should be stacked against the first two racks. 
  3. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours. 
  5. Once the ribs are done, remove them from the slow cooker and let them sit, tented with foil while you prepare the basting sauce.
  6. Remove the slow cooker insert to let it cool for about five minutes and then skim the fat from the  top of barbecue sauce and juices. Pour the sauce into a sauce pan and simmer to reduce it for about 20 minutes. 
  7. Line a half sheet pan with foil and top with a cooling rack that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray oil. 
  8. Place an oven rack about 10 inches below the broiler and preheat the oven to broil.
  9. Place the rib racks, bone side up, on the sheet pan and wire rack, and brush liberally with the reduced barbecue sauce. 
  10. Broil the ribs for about 4 minutes.
  11. Turn the ribs over, brush with barbecue sauce, and broil for another 10 minutes, brushing again with sauce about half way through. 
  12. Move the finished ribs to a cutting board and tent them with foil for about 10 minutes. Cut the ribs individually and serve with the basting sauce.
  13. Watch your family enjoy every bite. 

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