slow cooker barbecued ribs

Posted on Oct 19, 2011 in Food

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

Babyface has been asking me to make ribs for years. And I haven’t. Mostly, because I was completely and utterly intimidated by them. There are a lot of great rib recipes in my family. There was even a “rib-off” last summer between my sister and my Dad. Ribs are a bit of an art form ’round these parts. Could I possibly live up to that?

Turns out, I totally can!

Most of the ribs in this family are done in a smoker, but I went a different route and went slow cooker finished off in the broiler. This worked perfectly for the small amount ribs to serve four people (we had the leftovers the next day). Anymore than that, and you’ll have to leave the slow cooker.

This recipe is kind of embarrassingly easy. A simple dry rub on the meat, a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce, and then a few hours in the slow cooker. I finished them off in the broiler to get a caramelized, crispy exterior, but that would be totally optional (but highly recommended).

Choose whatever barbecue sauce makes you and your family happy. We like Famous Dave’s because they catered our wedding. And it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy anytime I think about our fancy picnic reception with food served on trash can lids (seriously). Plus, the sauce is pretty darn good!

Print this recipe

Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs

This is a slow cooker recipe to impress any rib fan. Use the concentrated sauce made at the end to make the ribs as sticky as you’d like. Babyface said these were the best ribs he ever had. Score!

Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-1/2 pounds ribs
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce


  1. In a small bowl, combine paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to make dry rub.
  2. Liberally rub spice mixture on all sides of ribs.
  3. Prop ribs into slow cooker against the sides and leaning in like a tent. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just propped up so there can be a bit of air around the ribs.
  4. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs.
  5. Cook in slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours or until ribs are cooked through and falling off the bone.
  6. Preheat broiler. Carefully transfer tender ribs to a broiler pan. Set aside.
  7. Pour sauce and drippings from slow cooker through a sieve into a medium sauce pan. Heat on high until boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  8. Brush sauce on ribs and place under broiler for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Pull out 2-3 times during cooking and baste with more sauce. Serve with more sauce on the side.

Have you ever made ribs before?


  1. panic panic!! No updates in 2 days! Are you ok? :)

    • And no I wasn’t being sarcastic!!

    • Hahah! Yes, I am fine. :) Just got a little overwhelmed with to-dos over the past few days. We’re back to normal now. :D Thanks for being concerned!

  2. This is a very bad (and by bad, I mean…very good) picture to look at when you’re ravagingly hungry!

  3. Your blog is new to me but I’m already loving it. Found this recipe on Tastespotting and made it yesterday!! Success!! Very easy, super yum and a great option for winter time.

    • Awesome! So glad you liked it. Definitely a great option for winter. Normally ribs feel like a summer food, but they are so heavy that the work perfectly when the weather cools. :) Thanks for reading!

  4. your blog is gorgeous! i love ribs, and a slow-cooker version?? so now i can eat low-and-slow ribs even when i get home late from a long day at work! this rules. i’ll be making them soon :)

    • Aww, thanks so much Sophie! Let me know if you like ‘em. :)

  5. These look delish I am going to make them on Thursday. But I want to know how you made the recipe into a printable page? I put a recipe up on my blog today and wanted to do this

    • I use an awesome service called Recipage. They are absolutely fantastic!

  6. I had a question regarding your rib receipe? Do you not put in liquid in the crockpot?? Or does it make its own liquid?

    • Other than the BBQ sauce? Nope!

  7. What ribs did you use? These look Yummy!

  8. Are you just kind of propping them up on each other or along the sides of the cooker. Also what does that do for the ribs, is it to keep them out of the liquid so they don’t just end up boiling? I am very excited to try this recipe!

    • Honestly? It’s the only want I could get them to fit! :)

  9. These look so good. Thanks for figuring out how they can be unintimidating!!!!!!!

  10. Did you remove the membrane from the ribs before putting them in the slow cooker?

    • I didn’t, mostly because I don’t think my ribs had one! It might have been already removed by my butcher.

  11. What type of ribs did you use? I love good ribs but have been too intimidated to make them….I think I can do your recipe though!

  12. I made these a few weeks ago with baby back ribs. They were SOOOOOOOOOOO delicious and your recipe is so straightforward and easy to follow! First time I have ever made AWESOME, tender, fall of the bone ribs! I may be crazy but attempting to make them this weekend for a backyard pinic party at my house for about 30 adults! What what!? THANK YOU!

  13. Your recipe is wonderful. My guys loved it. Now sharing with the girlfriends. Thank you !

  14. I found this recipe last night, prepared it today. It was divine. The hubby loved it. Thank you!!

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