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Sweet and so succulent, these Slow Cooker Ribs are a simple make-ahead weeknight dinner that everyone will love. They take minutes to put together and then are cooked low and slow in the crockpot for completely unattended cooking. They’re the perfect melt-in-your-mouth ribs.
Crock-Pot Barbecue Ribs
While we love using the grill to make pork ribs in the summer, for all other times of the year, we’re all about Slow-Cooker Ribs! Ribs need a nice slow and low cook time, and the crockpot is absolutely perfect for that. Slow-Cooker ribs come out so tender and just melt-in-your-mouth.
I love how unfussy this recipe is: a quick sweet and savory dry rub is put on the ribs in the morning before they cook for about 6 hours with BBQ Sauce (homemade or store-bought are both fine here!). Come dinnertime, you’ll have yourself some ridiculously tender and succulent ribs.
Ingredients Needed for Slow Cooker Ribs
- Ribs: You can truly use any type of ribs, and either beef or pork!
- BBQ Sauce: Make a quick homemade batch (which makes just enough for what this recipe calls for) or grab your favorite store-bought brand.
- Spices: We use just a few spices and a bit of sugar to enhance the flavor of the ribs.
How to Remove the Membrane from Pork Ribs
Most pork ribs you buy from the store will have a membrane attached to the back of the bones that does not soften when cooked and can prevent the marinade from penetrating the meat. If you are purchasing your meat from a butcher, or a grocery store with a butcher you can ask to have the membranes removed. But it’s also easy to do by yourself:
- Stick a blunt knife underneath the silvery membrane towards the smaller end of the ribs.
- Grab a corner of the membranes and pull with a paper towel until it is completely removed. Using a paper towel helps you get a better hold of it since they are quite slippery.
- Sometimes you’ll get lucky and they will come off in one piece. Depending on whether you are using Baby Back Ribs or St. Louis Style ribs the membrane might be thick or thin. The thinner membranes sometimes do not come off in one piece, so you may have to remove it in pieces.
How to Make Ribs in the Slow Cooker
Making ribs in the slow cooker is one of the most hands-off methods of making them. Not to mention, they come out so tender! To make ribs in the slow cooker:
- Prep the ribs by removing the silver membrane (if you aren’t sure how to do this, we give instructions up top).
- Rub spices all over the ribs.
- Set the ribs in the slow cooker and set on low for 6 hours.
- Transfer the ribs to the oven to broil for a few minutes, and then cut and serve!
What to Serve with Ribs
There are so many sides to choose from to serve with ribs! Here are some of our favorites!
- Hidden Veggie Mac & Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Spiralized Chipotle Slaw
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- 3-Ingredient Slaw
- Easy Gluten Free Cornbread
- Healthy Cole Slaw
- Collard Greens with Bacon
- Jicama Kale Salad with Orange Lime Vinaigrette
- Herb Cucumber Salad
Looking for some other recipes to cook in the slow cooker? Check out these:
- Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Brisket
- Beef Barbacoa Recipe (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- Pork Carnitas (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)
Watch the Video:
- 2-1/2 lbs. beef or pork ribs membrane removed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups BBQ Sauce store-bought or homemade
- In a small bowl mix together all of the spices.
- Rub spice mixture on both sides of each rack of ribs. You can do this ahead and leave overnight (or up to 24 hours), or make the ribs immediately.
- Stand ribs up on the sides of your slow-cooker, meat side facing the outer walls.
- Pour BBQ sauce over ribs and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Once done, transfer to a wire rack over a baking sheet and broil on high for 2-3 minutes until ribs are crispy.
- Take remaining sauce from the slow cooker and heat in a pot for 5-7 minutes then brush over ribs.
- Cut ribs and serve.