If you want tender, melt-in-your-mouth ribs, then using your slow cooker is the secret. But how do you go from a messy-looking dish in the slow cooker to perfectly caramelized, fall-off-the-bone goodness? We’ve got the answers for you! In this article, we’ll share the secrets to making the best slow cooker ribs that are full of flavor and have that restaurant-quality perfection.
The Key to Crockpot (Slow Cooker) Ribs
Follow these easy steps to achieve tender and delicious slow cooker ribs:
Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Simply slide your fingers along the side to loosen it up and rip it off. (Watch the video for a demonstration!)
Consider giving your ribs a dry rub for extra flavor. This step is optional but highly recommended by some.
Place your ribs in the crockpot and generously brush them with barbecue sauce. You can use homemade sauce or a store-bought bottle. Just make sure to save some sauce for later.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. If you’re cooking multiple racks of ribs, you may need to increase the cooking time.
Carefully remove the ribs from the crockpot and transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet. Apply more barbecue sauce on top.
Broil the ribs under a broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until the barbecue sauce starts to bubble and caramelize. Alternatively, you can wrap them in foil and grill them on a heated grill for the same effect. Grilling is especially convenient for picnics or gatherings as it keeps the ribs warm and makes portioning easy. Enjoy the deliciousness!
What Type of Ribs to Use?
This recipe and method work best with pork ribs, such as baby back ribs, spare ribs, St. Louis style ribs, and country-style pork ribs. If you’re craving beef short ribs, check out our slow cooker short rib recipe or our classic braised beef short ribs. And if you have a smoker, don’t miss out on our recommendation for Smoked Beef Ribs.
Grilling Instead of Broiling
While our secret to perfect slow cooker ribs involves caramelizing them under the broiler, you can achieve the same effect on the grill. Simply place the ribs directly on the grill or on a piece of aluminum foil over high heat (500 degrees). Brush them with extra barbecue sauce and close the lid. Grill for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble and caramelize.
PRO TIP: Make cleanup a breeze by using a crockpot liner. These BPA-free plastic bags line your crockpot and save you from scrubbing off caramelized, burnt-on sauce. Find them in your grocery store near aluminum foil and plastic bags. They’re a huge time-saver!
Join the hundreds of satisfied cooks who have tried and loved this slow cooker rib recipe. It’s perfect for holidays, family gatherings, and any occasion that calls for finger-licking ribs. Give it a try and let us know how much you enjoy it!