Nothing says the last weekend of summer like a rack of ribs, baby. Baby Back Ribs, that is! I prefer “Baby Back Ribs” over “Spare Ribs” because they’re meatier. And when they get so tender that they become Fall Off The Bone Baby Back Ribs, it’s time to tuck your napkin into your collar and get messy. As I’ve lamented recently, our deck is in the approval stage for rebuilding, so we haven’t had ANY grill or smoker accessibility. They’re sitting in our garage, brand new and untouched. It’s like looking at a Christmas present in July. Hate the wait! But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a bad ass rack of ribs. I did some research about wood chips and slow cookers and decided to give this a shot and I was thrilled with the results.
If you’re not familiar with cooking pork ribs, there’s something you have to do before you cook them that is key to that yummy, tender, juicy result. You’ve got to take off the tough and sinewy membrane on the back of the ribs. All you need to do is slide a knife along the edge of the ribs, under the bone and grab the top layer of membrane that pulls up. Take a paper towel and keep pulling it off toward the other side of the ribs. If you lose your grip, just start again where it pulled off.
Once I removed the membrane, I gave this baby a rub down with my spice rub and got my slow cooker ready. If your crockpot is small, you can cut the ribs into smaller sections. I have a larger slow cooker, so I was able to keep the whole rack intact. I took wood chips that you would use in a smoker and put a layer on the bottom of the slow cooker and added water. You want there to be enough water to soak the chips and keep them from burning, but don’t submerge them. Then, I put the ribs on top of a rack above the chips and put the slow cooker on to about 250 and let them cook for 6 hours.
Need a Dessert Recipe? Try this Peanut Butter and Jelly No Bake Cheesecake!
Did the chips make a huge difference? To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure. Were they flavorful? Yep. Juicy? Yep. Fall off the bone tender? YES! I also made a homemade BBQ sauce, but feel free to use your favorite store brand. I’ve found it’s tough to get consistency right with BBQ sauce because there are so many styles and flavors. I prefer thicker sauce that’s spicy with some sweet, while JP prefers a thinner sauce with a sweet vinegar kick. Sauce is personal, y’all!
By the way, check out this Short Ribs with Bacon and Mushrooms recipe for another slam dunk delish rib dish.
And did you get a look at that gorgeous cutting board the ribs are on?? I’m so excited about an entrepreneurial wood genius who my friend Tina introduced me to— you MUST check out Sawdust n’ Rust on Facebook.
These make PERFECT gifts (thanks, T!) and they also do larger scale projects like tables, bed frames and yes, folks, even dog bowls! Huge thank you to both Tina and the talented Sawdust n’ Rust team for a very special Parker’s Plate collector’s item. And, it makes the perfect serving platter for all of the delish! Consider making this savory Mexican Street Corn recipe for an easy Labor Day side dish.
*This was not a paid endorsement for any brand or company. All opinions are my own.
|Prep Time||30 minutes|
|Cook Time||6 hours|
- 1 rack pork baby back ribs 3-4 pounds
- 3 Tb chili powder
- 2 Tb brown sugar
- 2 Tb smoked paprika
- 2 Tb cumin
- 2 Tb garlic powder
- 1 Tb onion powder
- 1 Tb coriander
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cans tomato paste 6 oz cans
- 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce
- 4 Tb apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tb worcestershire
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
For the Ribs and Spice Rub
For the BBQ Sauce
- Remove membrane from the back of the ribs. Mix together spices and rub all over both sides of the rack of ribs.
- Put a layer of smoker chips on the bottom of a slow cooker and add water to cover, but not submerge them. Add a rack if possible to the slow cooker and put ribs on top of rack. Cover and cook on low or at 250 for 6 hours. When ribs are done, baste with sauce and broil for a few minutes to caramelize sauce.
- Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes on low/medium until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until flavors are combined. Put sauce in blender until smooth and then put back on stovetop to keep warm until ribs are done.
- Baste ribs with sauce after 6 hours in the slow cooker. Broil for 3 minutes until sauce is caramelized.