Get ready to do a little dance in your kitchen after you spend 15 minutes putting together this fall-off-the-bone rib dinner. My kids love pork ribs — meaty, savory and just plain good. BBQ is life in Texas, and while I wouldn’t dare suggest that these are the best pork ribs in the state (there are volumes and pulpits that preach on that subject), I may suggest they are the best BBQ pork ribs you can whip up on a weeknight.
A slow cooker does all the work, and with a few minutes to spare you can have dinner waiting at the end of the day. The dry rub and BBQ sauce ingredients are things you may already have stocked in your pantry. I’ve certainly cheated and used jarred BBQ sauce, and if you don’t have time to make the sauce by all means crack open a jar. Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce and Marinade or Bone Suckin’ Sauce, available at most grocery stores, both work well. To keep this Whole30, use Primal Kitchen or Tessemae’s BBQ sauce. Pare this down home dinner with coleslaw, roasted okra, baked sweet potatoes or cornbread.
Let me know if you make these slow cooker BBQ pork ribs for dinner. And please share your photos on social media and tag @smartinthekitchen, I’d love to see what you’re making.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs
If you don't have time to make the dry rub, Trader Joe's makes a Seasoning Salt that is a great substitute. If you'd like, trim the membrane on the back of the ribs. I prefer to keep it attached so the meat doesn't completely fall off the bone. If you're really short on time, sprinkle seasoning salt on the ribs and use good quality jarred BBQ sauce, such as Bone Suckin' Sauce.
To make the BBQ sauce:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- A few dashes hot sauce, such as Crystal or Tabasco
To make the dry rub:
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use Real Salt or Himalayan salt)
- 3-4 pounds baby back ribs
- To make the barbecue sauce, warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, cumin and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep from burning.
- Once the sauce has thickened, after about 10 minutes, stir in the hot pepper sauce of your choosing.
- To make the dry rub, add the spices and salt to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Preheat the broiler. Cut the ribs into 3-4 rib segments. Place the ribs on a sheetpan and sprinkle both sides with the dry rub. Place the ribs under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes. Flip the ribs and continue broiling for 5 more minutes.
- Transfer the ribs to a slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, and evenly coat the ribs in sauce. Cover and cook the ribs on the low for 5-6 hours. The ribs should be very tender.
- If you'd like to separate some of the fat from the pan, after the ribs are cooked pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan and let it stand for a few minutes. This will allow it to separate. Use a spoon to skim the fat off of the top. Bring the remaining sauce to a rapid boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce and thicken.