Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs are sticky, smoky, and fall-apart delicious…and nobody will ever believe that they came out of the crock pot!
As we near September, I thought I’d share a recipe that magically bridges the gap between summer (barbecued ribs!) and fall (slow cooker comfort food!). Have y’all cooked baby back ribs in the crock pot before? Because you won’t even believe how good they are!
It’s as simple as rubbing a spice mixture over a few racks of baby backs, arranging them in the crock pot, pouring the world’s best barbecue sauce over the top, and slow cooking them until fall-apart tender. You don’t want them to completely fall apart quite yet, because they key to making them taste like fresh-off-the-grill ribs is briefly broiling and basting them after they come out of the slow cooker, which does take a bit of handling. But that, my friends, is when the sticky, saucy magic happens!
I’d been cooking baby back ribs in the crock pot for several years and they always turned out tender and tasty…but then I came across America’s Test Kitchen’s method of popping the ribs under the broiler before serving, which renders them sticky and caramelized like “real” ribs off the grill. That’s when my slow cooker ribs went from good to spectacular!
I do a few things differently than ATK, however. Rather than using liquid smoke, I like to impart my ribs with a grilled/smoky flavor using smoked paprika. I also find that after full racks of ribs are slow cooked, they are too tender to handle, which means they pretty much fall apart when you attempt to transfer them to the baking sheet for broiling and flipping. Therefore, I like to cut each rack in half before arranging it in the crock pot, since smaller racks are easier to wrangle with tongs without having everything fall to pieces.
Seriously, how good do these Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs look?! My husband and kids go crazy for them each time I make them, and I love getting such succulent results with such an effortless recipe.
So the next time you’re in the mood for ribs but don’t feel up to tending the grill for hours on end, I hope you’ll give this recipe a shot! Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs allow you to enjoy BBQ season year-round without ever having to fire up the grill. These ribs are moist, flavorful, and MESSY, just the way good ribs ought to be, but without all of the work. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…three cheers for the crock pot!
Method adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
MORE slow cooker recipes with real food ingredients!
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Tasty side dishes for your ribs…