Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs are rubbed with a homemade spice blend, then slow cooked in the crockpot until fall off the bone tender and so juicy! Brush with your favorite barbecue sauce before serving.
See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.
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Cooking ribs can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to!
These Slow Cooker Ribs turn out flavorful and juicy every time, but without all of the hard work.
My husband will happily slave over a rack of ribs on the grill or the smoker but me? I prefer the easy way out and always use my crockpot or make these Instant Pot Ribs!
Crockpot Ribs are an awesome way to segue from Spring to Summer.
You can have all of that summer barbecue flavor, without all of the work.
And when it’s too hot to even think about cooking, the slow cooker takes all of the work out and keeps the house cool!
Total win, right?
To be completely honest, I think these are the best ribs I’ve ever made.
I wanted them to be tender, with the meat easily pulling off the bone but not mushy and falling apart. I wanted a good crust of intense flavor and a sweet, sticky barbecue sauce coating. Also, I wanted easy!
The husband gave them “two meaty thumbs up” (<— his words, as he was stuffing his face), and even my kids liked them!
Tips for making the best Crockpot Ribs:
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs: this isn’t 100% necessary but it does keep the ribs from becoming tough. See a video tutorial here.
- Opt for baby back ribs when you can — they have a thicker layer of meat!
- Season well on all sides — take the time to really rub that spice blend in for maximum flavor!
How long do you cook ribs in the slow cooker?
The exact cook time will depend on the size of your ribs, and the exact cooking temperature of your slow cooker.
Because all slow cookers are different, this can be difficult to pinpoint but thankfully ribs are really forgiving in the crockpot.
I usually cook mine for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high and they are falling off the bone and juicy.
If you want them not to be quite so tender because you are throwing them on the grill later, you may want to cut your cook time down by an hour or two.
Can I stack the ribs in the slow cooker?
I try not to, so opt for the biggest slow cooker you have.
When I can, I like to place my ribs around the edge of the slow cooker, standing up on their side so that they aren’t sitting in the juices.
This results in juicy, tender ribs that still have a bit of that glorious crust and caramelization on them.
Take your Slow Cooker Ribs up a notch with a homemade barbecue sauce!
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce — always a favorite on The Recipe Rebel
- Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce (which would go perfectly on these ribs!)
- 6 Ingredient Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Cherry BBQ Sauce — for something sweet and smoky!
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Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 lbs pork ribs (side or back) membrane removed
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.
- Cut ribs into 4 sections for an easier fit or leave whole. Rub spice mixture over both sides of the ribs.
- Lightly grease a 4 quart slow cooker and line the sections of ribs up around the edges (so the meaty part is pressed against the side). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Remove from the slow cooker, brush with barbecue sauce, and grill for 5-6 minutes or broil for 2-3 minutes, until sauce is sticky and slightly caramelized. Serve.
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