Bonus Sunday cooking adventures: Slow cooker barbecue ribs*

*Double bonus recipe at end.


I have posted a recipe here before for oven barbecued ribs. They are great, but it involved three hours of basting every 20 minutes, and I didn’t have the time to do that today. After I looked around online, I didn’t really see a good recipe for cooking ribs in a slow cooker, so I decided to try my own.

I made my own barbecue sauce (I’ve posted it before but will re-run it below). I marinated two racks (about six pounds) of baby back ribs overnight in 2-1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 7-1/2 cups of water (a 1:3 ratio of cider to water). This morning, I took them out of the marinade (and threw the marinade away). I dried the ribs with paper towels and seasoned them with a low-sodium barbecue rub. Then I put them in the slow cooker one by one (I had cut the slabs in half), coating each rib with sauce before I put it in. I also put a little sauce in the crock pot to cover the bottom. I let them cook on low for 8 hours.


Ribs right after they were cooked in the slow cooker. They probably don’t look quite like the barbecue ribs you were probably imagining…

Then I took them out, added a little more sauce, and put them under the broiler until they were brown and crisp. We haven’t had them for dinner yet, they are for later in the week; my husband had a taste, though, and loved them. So it worked.

I am learning to love the slow cooker. I can get more organized with my Sunday cooking: one dish in the slow cooker, one in the oven, one or two on top of the stove. It’s more efficient and can get more done in less time, and then I can do something besides cook.

Hope you enjoy this one.

Slow cooker barbecue ribs:


About 6 pounds of ribs (I purchased two 3-pound slabs)
apple cider vinegar as needed
barbecue rub seasoning of your choice
barbecue sauce (I made mine, you can use bottled, but it is much higher in sodium and sugar. If you want to make your own, try the recipe below).


The night before cooking, marinate ribs in a solution of one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water.
The next morning, remove ribs from marinade. Discard marinade. Dry ribs and season with barbecue dry rub. Cut slabs in half if necessary to fit in slow cooker. Smear some sauce on each slab and place in slow cooker. Be sure to save 1-1/2 to 2 cups of sauce to add after cooking. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 hours, but I’m thinking 7 would have been enough.)

Carefully remove ribs from slow cooker; place ribs on foil-lined jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Add remaining sauce to coat ribs. I only coated the meaty side (though I suppose I could have done both.) Place under broiler until brown and crisp. If you put sauce on both sides be sure to flip them over and broil a little longer. Enjoy!

Homemade barbecue sauce: This is adapted from two recipes on the Calorie Count blog. Puree one large onion and two cloves of garlic in a blender. (If you can’t get it started, add 1/4 cup of water.) It will look like Cream of wheat. Put in a skillet or saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil and brown slightly. Just let it cook down, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown. That can take as long as 20 minutes. Add one 28-ounce can of tomato puree, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons of molasses (or honey — I used molasses), and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper. Combine all in pan with onions and tomatoes, cook down till about 3/4 volume, takes about 30-45 minutes. Add to ribs.


Double bonus recipe: Peas with pearl onions, scallions and fresh thyme: Cook 1-1/2 cups of frozen pearl onions in about 1/4 cup of water for about 6 minutes or until done. Remove from pot and drain; discard water. While they cook, cook 16-20 ounces of frozen peas in microwave for 4-5 minutes on high (or use same pan to boil peas when onions are done. Follow directions on package). While peas cook, chop 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme. Slice 3-4 scallions into thin slices. When peas are done, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add pearl onions and mix. Add thyme and scallions. Combine and serve immediately.

Sunday dinner: Oven fried fish coated in whole wheat flour, cornmeal and spices; peas with pearl onions, scallions and thyme, and brown rice with bay leaves.

Sunday dinner: Oven fried fish coated in whole wheat flour, cornmeal and spices; peas with pearl onions, scallions and thyme, and brown rice with bay leaves.

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