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This Crockpot Ribs Recipe yields the most tender and tasty ribs ever! Cook them until tender in the crockpot and then finish them off on the grill or broiler with lots of BBQ sauce! So delicious with Italian Pasta Salad, Potato Salad or Mexican Street Corn.
Cooking Ribs in a Crockpot | An Easier Way to Cook Ribs!
I have been working on perfecting this Crockpot Ribs recipe for a couple weeks and am so thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you today! I actually ended up cooking six racks of ribs for a family rib cook-off against myself (yes, I totally did that) and had everyone vote on their favorites and this recipe was the clear winner!
So, using a crockpot to cook ribs is probably one of the easiest methods out there. You rub the ribs down generously with some BBQ seasonings and cook them on low (or high!) in the crockpot that has the slightest bit of apple juice to prevent scorching and to keep things as moist as possible. After several hours, they are cooked through and are *almost* fall apart tender. If you are wanting to finish them on the grill, be sure to pull them before they are falling apart. Slather them generously with BBQ sauce and grill or broil until they have a nice crust on them, cut into pieces and serve warm.
It’s a bit of a labor of love because the cook time is 3+ hours when all is said and done, but man oh man the pay off is so worth it!
Main Ingredients Needed
Believe it or not, this simple recipe only requires four main ingredients. FOUR! Here’s what you need:
- Pork Baby Back Ribs– these are typically a smaller rack of ribs, but they fit nicely in any crockpot.
- BBQ Dry Rub– I like the McCormick Mesquite rub.
- Apple Juice– for the bottom of the crockpot to ensure your ribs don’t scorch as they cook. Also keeps everything cooking nice and moist!
- BBQ Sauce– You can finish your ribs on the grill or under the broiler with lots of bbq sauce. Any kind is fine as long as you like it.
Baby Back vs St. Louis Style Ribs
Baby back ribs are typically a little smaller with less meat on them, but sometimes you can find them really meaty (like as seen in these pictures). St. Louis style ribs are a little larger with a little more meat. Honestly, it just comes down to personal preference. Also, you can cook your ribs in the oven (tutorial here) or make crockpot ribs as this post describes.
How to Cook Ribs in a Crockpot
These are pretty simple directions start to finish; the hardest part is waiting until they are ready to grill (or broil). Just be sure to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t start falling apart in the crockpot. They are a PAIN to grill if they don’t even hold together. If you overcook them and they are falling apart, do your best to brush with bbq sauce and broil. Broiling required less movement and will keep them together more than grilling would.
Step 1: Prep Your Rack of Ribs
Prep the ribs: remove silver skin and rub generously with dry rub of your choice. This is the one I use and was voted most delicious by my large extended family.
Step 2: Cook Your Ribs in the Crockpot
Stand two racks of ribs upright in the crockpot, cutting in half if necessary to fit vertically.
Pour in apple juice to the bottom to help prevent scorching.
Cover and cook 4 hours or low or 2 1/2 hours on high or until meat is tender but not falling off the bone. Every crockpot is different, so you’ll have to double check your ribs for doneness.
Step 3: Brush with BBQ Sauce and Grill
Remove from crockpot, brush with BBQ sauce and broil or grill (this bbq sauce was voted our family favorite).
Cut into portions and serve. While I recommend using pork baby back ribs because I just prefer them better, this recipe will work using St. Louis Style ribs.
What is Silver Skin and Do I Have to Remove it?
Silver Skin is a membrane of connective tissue found on the back of every rack of ribs. No matter how long you cook your ribs (in the crockpot, in a smoker, in the oven, etc..), this tissue won’t break down so its best to remove all silver skin before cooking to ensure the ribs are as tender as you want. Removing it also ensures your seasonings penetrate all the meat.
How to Remove Silver Skin
This is actually so much easier than you think! It seems like it would be intimidating but couldn’t be simpler.
- Turn your rack of ribs over so the back, boney side is face up.
- Starting at the smaller, narrower end, use a small knife or kitchen shears to slide under the edge of silver skin and get a little flap to grab.
- Using a paper towel, grip the flap you created and pull off. It should come off in one long sheet but if it doesn’t, use the knife to pull up another section and start pulling again.
What to Serve with Ribs
Here are some of my favorite side dishes that go well with ribs or really anything you’ll be BBQing this summer. My full list of side dishes can be found here.
How to Cook Ribs in the Crockpot
- 2 racks pork baby back ribs or st. louis style
- 1/4 cup dry rub McCormick Mesquite Seasoning recommended
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce Stubb's Smokey Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce recommended
- Prep the ribs: remove silver skin and rub generously with dry rub of your choice.
- Stand two racks of ribs upright in the crockpot, cutting in half if necessary to fit vertically. Pour in apple juice to the bottom. Cover and cook 4 hours or low or 2 1/2 hours on high or until meat is tender but not falling off the bone. Every crockpot is different, so you’ll have to double check your ribs for doneness.
- Remove from crockpot, brush with BBQ sauce liberally on both sides and broil or grill. Cut into portions and serve.