These simple slow cooker ribs are coated with a fantastic dry rub, then cooked for hours in the Crock Pot until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender. These slow cooker country style ribs are always a hit at any get-together.
Ribs in Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
Ken’s friend Brad showed us how Simple Slow Cooker Ribs are to make. I couldn’t believe it. I have to admit I am still shocked at how easy it is every time we use his recipe when we are pressed for time and want ribs for dinner.
Brad skipped the rub and only used the sauce to make his ribs.
We place the rub all over the ribs and into the fridge the night before we plan on making them.
In the morning, we throw the ribs into the slow cooker, coat them in sauce and adjust a few times during the day, if possible.
Then in the evening we enjoy a fabulous dinner.
These ribs cooked in the Crock Pot or slow cooker are total rib perfection!
I am always on the hunt for sales with everything, but especially meat. I love and prefer pork back ribs but side ribs are generally the ribs that are on sale and what we end up cooking most frequently.
Back ribs generally have more meat but Slow Cooker Side Ribs are just as tasty. They have been in my regular rotation for years.
I think cooking ribs is so easy in your slow cooker that I can’t help but do it every chance I get. You will appreciate this easy slow cooker ribs recipe as much as I do!
Easy Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe
This is the easiest slow cooker ribs recipe around and I kid you not.
Slow Cooker Ribs Dry Rub
This is by far my favorite Slow Cooker Ribs Dry Rub that I have ever come across and I have tried so many over the years. As a matter of fact, I use this dry rub on all of my ribs.
I just can’t help it.
The rib rub includes paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, ideally smoked sea salt but plain sea salt will work well too and either black pepper or cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes.
Place them all into a small bowl and stir until blended. That is it.
Super simple and so tasty. I am glad every time I use it and you will be too.
After your ribs are all cleaned up and ready to go I rub the spices all over both sides of the ribs. I rub the seasonings everywhere. I just use my hands. It’s easier I find and quicker.
Make sure to use up every bit of the slow cooker ribs dry rub and refrigerate each rack, wrapped up in tin foil or parchment for up to 24 hours before cooking. You will be so glad you did.
We always are.
Choosing the Cut for Your Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs
To make these amazing slow cooker country style ribs you have to decide which kind of pork ribs you want to buy. Here is a quick overview and if you’re interested you can find more detailed information here.
Baby Back Ribs
Baby Back ribs, loin back ribs, or simply, back ribs. These are most commonly available and have a reasonable price point.
Found on the high back of a pig they are the bone-in pork rib chops without the rest of the loin muscle.
They are considered lean, meaty and a small amount of cartilage.
They are called baby back ribs because they are smaller ribs, not because they’re from a baby pig.
Each rack has, on average, 10 to 13 curved ribs that are 3 to 6 inches long and weigh about 1 ½ to 2 pounds. This usually feeds two people.
An average rack of baby back ribs will have around a half-inch of meat across the top of the bones. There is also meat in between and all around the bones.
You will only need to trim any excess fat yourself.
I suggest you ask your butcher to remove the membrane from the back of your ribs. In order to create the most flavorful, tender ribs this membrane needs to be removed and you will be glad you asked them to do it.
You can peel the membrane yourself though. It is frustrating at times but don’t give up. Do your best.
Season your ribs with a rib rub and cook slowly in your smoker or oven. These ribs are so versatile and are the best ribs to start with if you are making ribs for the first time.
These spareribs or side ribs are found under the belly of the pig, are pretty big, fatty and overall, have the least amount of meat on them.
They’re the bones right over top of the bacon on the pig.
These side ribs are still flavorful after removing excess fat, adding a rub and cooking slowly for a long while. As some of the fat melts away you will end up with meat falling off the bone ribs.
Try to trim your fat as even as possible down the rack so your ribs cook evenly or as evenly as possible. You should try to make a perfect rectangle or have it look as close as possible.
St. Louis Style Ribs
St. Louis Style ribs are found close to the same location as the side ribs. These ribs are flatter and have more meat covering the top.
This type of ribs also has more fat and cartilage, which makes them taste delicious when cooked at a low temperature for long periods of time.
An average rack weighs at least 2 ½ pounds, usually more, and on average feeds three to four people.
Ask your butcher to remove the membrane and trim your ribs. This could possibly save some frustration. I always ask them to do it whenever possible.
This rack of ribs usually looks like a square when trimmed.
Country Style Pork Ribs
I couldn’t believe it either but country style ribs are not really ribs. The cut is from the shoulder area of the pig, near the back ribs, and is sold bone-in or boneless.
For the record, these pork ribs contain parts of the shoulder blade and no rib bones at all. They are sold in slabs or individual portions.
Boneless ribs always sound so strange to me. After I tried it I couldn’t get over how tasty they were and loved every bite.
These country style pork ribs have the most meat on them.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to ask your butcher to remove and discard the membrane on the backside of these ribs. You can do it yourself but why do it if you don’t have to?
These pork ribs need to be cooked on a low temperature for a long time. These ribs are AMAZING!
Ingredients in Simple Slow Cooker Ribs
- pork ribs, back or side
- barbecue sauce
- smoked paprika
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- smoked sea salt or sea salt
- pepper, black or cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
Making the Ribs in the Slow Cooker
To prep the slow cooker side ribs, rinse the ribs to make sure there are no bone shards. Pat them dry with a paper towel. If desired, remove the back membrane off the ribs by using a paring knife to gently slide under the membrane and pry it up.
As the skin lifts, I shove my finger underneath. Use a paper towel to grab a hold of the membrane and pull it off.
As the skin lifts up more you pull it towards the other end of the rack. Almost like pulling off a band-aid, very, very slowly.
Throw the membrane away. I find it easier to cut my rib racks in half to cook them. It is up to you.
Trim any visible fat from your ribs.
Rinse and pat dry.
To make the slow cooker ribs dry rub, place the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl and mix to combine. Stir. Set aside.
Cut the ribs in half.
Rub the spices evenly all over both sides of the ribs. We use our hands to do this. It might seem like a lot of seasoning, but you should use all of it.
Spray the slow cooker insert with cooking spray and place the ribs in the slow cooker, around the edges first.
Slow cooking instructions
Slow cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
We remove the ribs once we notice that the meat has shrunk back on each rib bone, about half an inch.
Turn your oven up to broil.
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.
Once ribs are cooked, carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker, they will be extremely tender, and place on top of your prepared sheet.
Brush generously with barbecue sauce. Use your desired amount.
Carefully broil the ribs until lightly charred and caramelized, serve immediately.
You can either use your favorite store bought bbq sauce or homemade sauce for these slow cooker country style ribs!
I suggest not keeping them under the broiler for too long because they may dry out.
Extremely flavorful from the rub with that addictive sticky sweetness the broiling adds to the ribs.
Serve and enjoy your slow cooker side ribs!
Easy Rib Recipes
Simple Slow Cooker Ribs
- large slow cooker
- rimmed baking sheet
- 4 pounds pork ribs, back membrane removed
- 1-2 cups barbecue sauce store bought or homemade - approximately
- 1 tblsp smoked paprika
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tblsp garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper, black or cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- If you are preparing your ribs the night before grab a medium sized bowl and combine the paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir. Set aside.
- Now to get your ribs ready. First you have to peel off the tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs. I start at one end of the rack and I scrape on one of the bones at or near the end. As the skin lifts I shove my finger underneath. As the skin lifts up more you pull it towards the other end of the rack. Almost like pulling off a band aid, very, very slowly. Throw the membrane away. I find it easier to cut my rib racks in half to cook them. It is up to you.
- Trim any visible fat from your ribs. Rinse and pat dry.
- Rub the spices evenly all over both sides of the ribs. We use our hands to do this. It might like seem like a lot of seasoning, but you should use all of it.
- Place each rack or half rack on a piece of tin foil or parchment paper, wrap each rack up, put into a plastic bag and inside the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and place your ribs inside, around the edges first.
- Next pour the barbecue sauce all over them. Use tongs to adjust the ribs to totally coat them in sauce.
- Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 on low.
- If you are able, move the ribs around once or twice throughout the day but if not, that is fine too.
- Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and set aside.
- Turn your oven up to broil.
- Using tongs, remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place gently on to your prepared baking sheet.
- Brush generously with reserved barbecue sauce.
- Broil under your broiler until you begin to see lots of tiny bubbles all over the surface of your ribs. You can baste again with more sauce and let it bubble again to caramelize the sauce some more if desired. We generally do.
- Serve these ribs hot.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- Rinse the ribs to make sure there are no bone shards. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- If desired, remove the back membrane off the ribs by using a pairing knife to gently slide under the membrane and pry it up.
- As the skin lifts I shove my finger underneath. Use a paper towel to grab a hold of the membrane and pull it off. As the skin lifts up more you pull it towards the other end of the rack. Almost like pulling off a band aid, very, very slowly.
- Throw the membrane away. I find it easier to cut my rib racks in half to cook them. It is up to you. Trim any visible fat from your ribs. Rinse and pat dry.
- Once membrane removed, cut the ribs in half.
- Place the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl
- Mix to combine.
- Rub the spices evenly all over both sides of the ribs. We use our hands to do this.
- It might like seem like a lot of seasoning, but you should use all of it.
- Spray the slow cooker insert with cooking spray.
- Place the ribs in the slow cooker, around the edges first if possible.
- Slow cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
- Exact cooking time will vary depending on your slow cooker and the thickness of your ribs. We remove the ribs once we notice that the meat has shrunk back on each rib bone, about a half an inch.
- Place the broiler setting on high. Carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker, they will be extremely tender.
- Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet covered in tinfoil.
- Brush the bbq sauce all over the ribs, use your desired amount. Broil more than one coat of sauce if desired.
- Carefully broil the ribs until lightly charred and caramelized and lots of little bubbles form.
- Serve immediately.
- Enjoy every bite!
Use your favorite store-bought bbq sauce or you can use homemade! I suggest not keeping them under the broiler for too long because they may dry out. Extremely flavorful from the rub with that addictive sticky sweetness the broiling adds to the ribs.