This slow cooker spare rib recipe is pure perfection. It's easy to make and cooks on the low setting so the spare ribs are "fall off the bone" good. Bring your napkins and your appetite!
This girl loves her slow cooker spare ribs. They are one of my favourite things to make, and coincidently, eat. These spare ribs are made in the slow cooker so they are no muss or fuss. Just a few ingredients and you have a fabulous dinner waiting for you at the end of the day.
My mom made the best spare ribs in the world. She always made hers in the pressure cooker. I love them cooked that way, but I can never get mine as perfect as my mom's. Hers were fall off the bone tender. I have such fond memories of those ribs.
Until I absolutely perfect her pressure cooker recipe I will not share it on the blog. It's too special and has to be perfect. I think I've perfected grilled ribs, baked ribs, smoked ribs, and slow cooker ribs. Yet I still have not perfected pressure cooker ribs.
I know, right. I'm admitting I'm not perfect. What a concept, right? It's okay, I'm cool with you knowing I'm not the perfect cook. I'm a dang good cook but I think everyone has something they struggle with. Mine is pressure cookers.
Luckily I'm really skilled using slow cookers. It comes from years of practice, I can assure. I'm an old gal, I'm not a young, hip blogger. I've got kids who in their 20's for crying out loud. That means a ton of hours clocked cooking dinners for the family.
My kids were crazy busy when they were in grade school and high school. They loved participating in school activities and played a ton of sports. Since they went to French Immersion school in another town so I did a ton of driving around to all their stuff.
I volunteered at school a few days a week, then I drove my kids and most of their buddies to after school sports. When we were done with sports we headed to the barn to see the horse. Most days we didn't get home until about ⅞ pm.
My slow cooker got a lot of use during those days. I used it pretty much every day. It was the only way to ensure we had a home cooked meal every day. I made everything under the sun in my slow cooker, from ribs to pasta. Soups, stews, roasts, you name it, I've made it in a slow cooker.
Ribs are one of my favourites. They are also one of my daughter's favourites as well. She loves ribs. She's like her mom, she likes everything from slow cooker ribs to grilled ribs, her only dislike is smoked ribs. She's not a big fan of smoked recipes.
I made these as a part of a "which spare ribs are your favourite" taste test with the family. I made a bunch of different kinds of ribs. These slow cooker ribs, also some Coca Cola Ribs and some Teriyaki Ribs as well. Everyone had a different favourite.
My daughter's favourite were these Slow Cooker Ribs. She went nuts for these ribs. I can't blame her, they are really amazing. She's a sucker for BBQ Sauce slathered on ribs. It's her favourite way to eat them so these were a hit with her.
I hope they're as big of a hit with your family!
Other great dinner recipes
- How to Cook a Sirloin Roast
- Rib Sliders
- Greek Chicken Orzo Power Bowls
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- American Chop Suey
- Saucy Mozzarella Chicken Bake
- Smoked Ribs
- Low and Slow BBQ Ribs
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Slow Cooker Spare Ribs
For the slow cooker rib recipe:
- 4 to 5 pounds pork side ribs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup Italian dressing
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
For the barbecue glaze before placing in the oven to finish:
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
For the slow cooker rib recipe:
- Line the slow cooker with a slow cooker liner if desired.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Mix well, Add Italian dressing, and ¼ cup barbecue sauce, and mix again.
- Add one layer of ribs to the slow cooker at a time. If you need to trim your ribs to get them to fit it's okay. I don't recommend cutting them when grilling them or cooking them quickly, but for this recipe it's going to be so tender that cutting a slab in half to fit the slow cooker is okay. Scoop a big dollop of the sauce over that layer, then repeat with each layer. Ribs, sauce, ribs, sauce, that way each layer is covered in the sauce mixture.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for about 7 to 8 hours on low. Every slow cooker is a bit different so start checking yours at the 6 hour mark and make adjustments as needed. Mine took 7 hours to become fully tender.
- Remove from the slow cooker and drain excess liquid.
For the barbecue glaze before placing in the oven to finish:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the ribs on a baking sheet.
- In a medium size bowl combine the barbecue sauce and minced garlic. Mix well. Reserve ¼ cup of the sauce for when the ribs come out of the oven. Take the remaining ½ cup of sauce mixture and brush generously over the ribs, make sure to coat the tops and sides.
- Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and cook in preheated 400 degree F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. You want the sauce to just start to bubble and the edges of the ribs to brown slightly. It doesn't take long at all.
- Remove from the oven and pour the remaining sauce on while the ribs are hot.
- Place on a platter whole, or cut into smaller pieces if desired.
- Serve with a big old spare rib loving smile!
I usually double batch this recipe so I can use the leftovers to make Rib Sliders. They are absolutely delicious. If you're never had them you should try them immediately!
Swing by my recipe index to find more great slow cooker recipes, as well as pork recipes.
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I'm learning how to use my pressure cooker too. It's great, but things just need tweaking and different timing. Ugh! I'm determined to get it though! Thank goodness for the crock pot and this recipe. I can eat well while I'm figuring the rest out! Love it!
Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories
These look killer good. I just bought my first pressure cooker and it's still in the box. =)
Love the idea of these! I do an oven rib that's really good, but never tried them in the slow cooker. I should -- slow cooker BBQ pulled pork is awesome. Really super recipe -- thanks.
Could you use baby back ribs with this recipe?
Hi Kathy. Oh yes, absolutely. Baby back ribs would rock in the slow cooker. We tend to buy the side ribs because my daughter seems to prefer them. But back ribs are very tender and amazing. I have another recipe coming soon with back ribs so keep your eyes peeled. Should show up in the next couple of weeks.
Omg... best ribs I've ever had ... just fell off bone and melted in your mouth ..
I had never tried to cook ribs in a crockpot before, this recipe was easy and turned out awsome. My girlfriend loved how they felt of the bone ,but weren't soggy. I used Jack Daniels honey steakhouse bbq sauce and my Crockpot on low took 6 hours for 4.5lbs. Thank you
I'm so happy you liked them. We love Jack Daniels sauce too. It's so good. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you made them. I appreciate it.
These ook and sound awesome! I'm making them for dinner tomorrow night! 🙂
Thanks so much. Hope you love them, Linda!
Can these be cooked on high to reduce time in slow cooker? If so how much time on high would you recommend? Thanks so much!
They can. I'm not a fan of high just because low and slow makes things more tender. That said, you can totally try it. I'd try high for 4 hours but start checking at 3 hours.
I have most of the ingredients except Italien dressing ! Can I do this without it ?
I have all the ingredients except Italian dressing! Can I do this without it ?
Just wanted to say how delicious and easy this recipes was. I tried this yesterday and and its fantastic ! This will be my only go to for ribs !
Thanks so much for letting me know, Anne. I'm so happy you liked them. I'm a sucker for grilled spare ribs but these are a great alternate when I need a set it and forget recipe. Have a great week and thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment.
Do you cook these fresh or frozen?
Hi Carissa. Just saw this!
I use fresh spare ribs, not frozen.
Would I be able to make this in an instant pot?
Hi Beatriz. Absolutely. Just do everything the same but set your IP to meat. Hit me up if you have any more questions.
I've been cooking over 50 years but never attempt ribs. I'd love to try these, but what intimidates me about them was my first (and only) experience trying to remove the silverskin. I gave up and never attempted it again. Do you do this for baby back ribs? Do you have any tips?
Hi Carol. Yes, you'll want to remove the membrane from any ribs you buy if they haven't done it already. I have a couple of tips for you.
First, if you really don't want to remove the silverskin you can actually ask your butcher to do it for you. Any butcher or grocery store will do it for you if they have someone on hand while you're there. I often call ahead with things like removing the membrane from ribs or if I want lamb or beef trimmed to make lollipops or tomahawk cuts. They are always happy to do that for customers.
If you would like to do it yourself that's great. Start by drying the ribs then flip them over. If you're nervous, start by using a butter knife or offset baking spatula (the kind for icing cakes) the first time you try. I usually start in the corner but since this is your first time I'd recommend sliding your butter knife or offset spatula under the skin between two rib bones. That's generally the easiest spot to lift up. Gently lift the knife up and pry the skin up, then you can slide the knife along and do the rest of the ribs. If you start in the corner it helps to have a napkin or paper towel ready and you can grab the silverskin with that and pull. It works really well and once you get good at it you'll be able to pull the whole membrane off with ease.
Let me know if you have any other questions.