Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Pork » Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs

· · ·
These luscious, perfectly tender Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs are prepped in about 10 minutes and cooked long and low for maximum flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 45 minutes
A platter of barbecued ribs with coleslaw and sauce on the side.

These luscious, perfectly tender Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs are prepped in about 10 minutes and cooked long and low. You may just never go back to cooking them on the grill again!

I remember when I was much younger trying many times, always unsuccessfully, to cook pork ribs on a barbecue grill. Usually, the flame was too hot and the ribs burned to a crispy, unappetizing, black piece of carbon. Or the fire was too cool and the ribs sizzled away for hours becoming tough and unappetizing in the process.

A platter of barbecued ribs with coleslaw and sauce on the side.

I finally gave up trying and we just visited our local barbecue place whenever we had a craving for some of that smoky-sweet goodness. Until…I came up with the idea of using a slow cooker to help me create tender, perfectly cooked ribs.

It just seemed logical to me. I’d give the ribs a head start in the oven and then finish them off low and slow in the crockpot. And it works perfectly. Luscious, tender ribs cooked to perfection every time. You’re sure to enjoy these!

💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • Stress-free and easy. Only 10 minutes of this recipe is prep time. The rest is hands-off, which means it’s great for busy cooks.
  • Simple ingredients. You’ll only need the ribs, some salt and pepper, and barbecue sauce.
  • Perfect for game day (or any other occasion). These slow cooker ribs are tender and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. Make them ahead for game day, a special event, or just for a satisfying dinner with the family.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …

6 hours on low in the slow cooker, and they were FANTASTIC. Absolutely some of the best ribs I have ever had.
— Olivia

🥘 About The Ingredients


The simple ingredients needed for making the recipe.

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Pork Spareribs – I use spareribs for this recipe, but I expect it would work equally well with baby back or boneless ribs.
  • Salt and Black Pepper – Simple seasonings you already have in your kitchen. Use them on both sides of the ribs.
  • Barbecue sauce – I use my family’s bbq sauce recipe that has been handed down through many generations. It’s a vinegar-based sauce and not at all sweet. Use any sauce recipe or purchased sauce that your family enjoys.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How To Make Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs


  1. Cover a baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray it well with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the ribs into serving-sized pieces with 1 or 2 rib bones per piece. Generously salt and pepper both sides.
  3. Place the ribs on the prepared baking pan and cook in a 400-degree oven for 30-45 minutes until they have a light golden brown color. Turn once or twice during the cooking time.

Must Have CrockPot™

Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid for easy cleaning; stainless steel finish.

Check it out >

Crock-Pot 6 Quart Oval

  1. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  2. Coat the inside of a large 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  3. Place a single layer of ribs in the slow cooker. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the top.
  4. Continue layering ribs and sauce as in step 6 until all the ribs are in the crockpot. Pour any remaining sauce over and around the ribs.
  5. Cover and cook on the lowest heat setting for approximately 6 hours. Be sure to stir the pot once during the cooking time to prevent burning. If the sauce seems too thick and in danger of burning add about 1/2 cup of water and stir well.
Finished ribs in the slow cooker.
  1. After about six hours of cooking, check with a meat thermometer to make sure the ribs are done. See the Questions section below for temperature information.

🔀 Recipe Variations


  • Use dry rubs or other seasonings. I only use salt and pepper for this recipe, but you can use garlic, onion powder, paprika, cumin, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, or cayenne, depending on the flavor profile you want. A generous sprinkle of smoked paprika gives a nice smoky flavor to the finished ribs.
  • Experiment with barbecue sauce flavors. I use my homemade barbecue sauce, but you can use your favorite brand…or try something new like honey BBQ, smoky BBQ, or chipotle BBQ. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a purchased sauce and make it your own by adding one or more ingredients such as liquid smoke, cherry juice, apple juice, or brown sugar. 
  • Vary the cut of meat. As I said above, baby back ribs or boneless ribs (country style) would work with this recipe. 

❗ Tips


  • If you have a large oval shaped slow cooker, it will be perfect for this recipe. The long ribs fit into an oval cooker much easier than a smaller round style.
  • Always wait and put the sauce on the ribs only when they’re going into the slow cooker. Sauce in the oven will just burn and make a big mess.
  • Be sure to remove the membrane from the ribs before cooking (see more info in the Questions section below.)
A platter of barbecued ribs with coleslaw and sauce on the side.

🍚 How To Store Leftovers


To store leftovers, wrap closely in aluminum foil, then place in an airtight container. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days before they lose their freshness.

🍽 Serving Suggestions


Serve the ribs piled on a platter or directly from the slow cooker with additional barbecue sauce on the side. The traditional side dishes for barbecued ribs in my area are potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans with a slice or two of plain white loaf bread. They also go well with black bean and corn salad or black eyed pea salad.

A platter of barbecued ribs.

❓ Questions About Barbecued Ribs


Is it necessary to remove the membrane from ribs before cooking?

Regardless of the type of ribs you may be cooking, spareribs or baby back ribs, you’ll need to remove the membrane, or silverskin, beforehand. If you leave it on, the seasonings won’t penetrate as well and the membrane itself will cook up with a very unpleasant texture. If you’re not sure how to remove the membrane, here’s a great YouTube video that will show you how step-by-step.

What temperature should the ribs be when fully cooked?

First, let me say that cooked ribs should not be falling off the bone tender. In the barbecue world, those are called “restaurant ribs” and are considered to be overcooked. I know this because I’m a certified Memphis barbecue judge 🙂. For correctly cooked ribs, the meat should still be attached to the bone but should come away when tugged on. In addition, the meat should still have a little “chew” to it.

Second, even though pork is technically done at 145 degrees, ribs require a bit higher temperature in order for the collagen to break down into gelatin for the most desirable bite. That happens at about 165 degrees. 

Having said all that, however, if you like your ribs falling off the bone, then that’s the way you should cook them! In that case, take them up to between 195 and 205 degrees.

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
AND REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR MY FACEBOOK GROUP.
If you’d like to hang out with me and lots of other online Southern Comfort Food lovers, make sure to join my FREE PRIVATE Facebook group.

📖 Recipe

A platter of barbecued ribs with coleslaw and sauce on the side.

Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs

These luscious, perfectly tender Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs are prepped in about 10 minutes and cooked long and low for maximum flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 813kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork spareribs (membrane removed – see post for reference)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • Cover a baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray it well with cooking spray.
  • Cut the ribs into serving-sized pieces with 1 or 2 rib bones per piece. Generously salt and pepper on both sides of the ribs.
  • Place the ribs on the prepared baking pan and cook in a 400-degree oven for 30-45 minutes until they have a light golden brown color. Turn the ribs once or twice during the cooking time.
  • Remove the ribs from the oven.
  • Coat the inside of a large 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Place a single layer of ribs in the slow cooker. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the ribs.
  • Continue layering ribs and sauce as in step 6 until all the ribs are in the crockpot. Pour any remaining sauce over and around the ribs.
  • Cover and cook on the lowest heat setting for approximately 6 hours. Be sure to stir the pot once during the cooking time to prevent the sauce and ribs from burning. If the sauce seems too thick and in danger of burning add about 1/2 cup water and stir well.
  • After about six hours of cooking, check the ribs with a meat thermometer to make sure they're done. See the post for temperature information.

Notes

  • To store leftovers, wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil, then place them in an airtight container. You can keep them in the fridge for 3 days before they start losing their freshness.
  • If you have a large oval shaped slow cooker, it will be perfect for this recipe. The long ribs fit into an oval cooker much easier than a smaller round style.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 813kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 181mg | Sodium: 1288mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!
Slow Cooker Barbecued Ribs - These luscious, fall-off-the-bone tender ribs are prepped in a jiffy and cook long and low in the slow cooker. https://www.lanascooking.com/slow-cooker-ribs/

— This post was originally published on August 7, 2009. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. My family had a vinegar based BBQ sauce…..always my favorite! I wish I had paid more attention on how imy Father made it. Would you share your family recipe?

  2. Has anyone tried starting these in the slow cooker and finishing them on the grill? What did you do and how did it turn out?

    Oven-braising then grilling is the technique used for ribs in many high-end steak & chop houses; I already do a version of this at home but I’d love to replace the oven-braising step with using the slow cooker instead.

    Thanks in advance for all responses!

    1. If the Taylor family BBQ sauce recipe is as good as it is sounding , and you can’t for fear of ‘death’ or worse, share the recipe…..why don’t you guys consider bottling and selling the already made sauce? Sounds like a win-win situation to me. : – )

  3. Going to have to make these. I just saw ribs on sale this week at one of our grocery stores, too.

  4. I have used this method myself! I do turn the ribs in the oven after 30 minutes and continue for 15 more minutes. For bbq sauce, Cattlemen’s is my favorite. I have also found that putting some coils of aluminum foil at the bottom of the slow cooker helps keep the bottom ribs out of the bottom of the pan so you don’t have to stir them to keep them from burning. I also like to coat the ribs before putting them in the slow cocker so that both sides of the ribs have a coating!

  5. What Size cockpot are your receipts made for? Out would help to know how many pounds of ribs for what size cockpot

    1. Jeannine – I used two racks of ribs in this recipe. I cut them into individual servings before putting them in the crockpot.