It’s officially that time of year, it’s the season when I pretty much avoid turning my oven on. If you have been following the blog for a while you know that our house doesn’t have central air. Yes we have a big window a/c unit but anytime I turn an oven on in my kitchen it’s pretty much an instant sauna in there!
But I so desperately want to make some ribs. Especially because I had a mini stash in my freezer just waiting to be used and also because I just knew my 6 ingredient smoky spice rub from Monday would be the perfect way to help flavor those ribs. In the past I have made ribs that need to cook in the oven for 2 hours (<– ribs with cherry bourbon BBQ sauce – yum)!!!! Yes, at a low temperature of 200 degrees, but still that 2 hours will turn my kitchen into the king of saunas. What’s a girl to do about cooking her ribs?! (<- umm not really MY ribs, but THE ribs in my FREEZER! Insert awkward emoji face here.)
The solution is…you guessed it, stick them in the slow cooker! But you knew that because you read the title of the post, you’re so smart like that. 😉
TBH I was a little nervous about this slow cooker ribs situation. I was worried the ribs wouldn’t have a good texture, that they would end up being too tender or sort of mushy like meat tends to be in the slow cooker. You guys, I was totally wrong! The ribs were perfectly fall-of-the-bone tender while not being mushy. I even think they are as good as making them in the oven! WIN!
I mean just how cool is the slow cooker?! No oven, no heat released into my tiny, non air conditioned kitchen and it makes amazing ribs! Let’s all bow down to our slow cookers!
We must talk about the BBQ sauce for a minute, because what are slow cooker ribs without BBQ sauce?! Pretty much just another piece of meat, am I right?! Of course you could use a bottle of store bought BBQ sauce to keep things extra easy – no shame in that. BUT I prefer to make my own whenever possible, because you know me. One of the main reasons I like to make my own BBQ sauce is because I am in 100% control of the ingredients that goes into it. Especially the amount of sugar and kind of sugar. I only used molasses and coconut sugar to keep things a little bit more blood sugar level friendly.
The other reason I like to make my own BBQ sauce is because it is ridiculously easy. Okay so it does add 15 to 20 minutes of time onto the ribs process but since we are using the magic of the slow cooker and don’t have to do anything during the actual cooking of the ribs I think that’s a reasonable trade off. To make BBQ sauce all you do is mix a handful of ingredients, ones that you likely already have on hand, in a small sauce pot. Bring it to a simmer and let it simmer for 15 ish minutes until it’s nice and thickened sticky, sweet and delicious! This BBQ sauce has a nice tangy, sweet, spicy balance that I love with a hint of smoky flavor to go along with that smoky spice rub.
Guys, these slow cooker ribs are tender, juicy, smoky, sticky and sweet. They taste just like they were slow cooked in your oven for hours, but really the slow cooker saved the day! I’m not joking when I tell you these smoky slow cooker ribs will be my go to method for cooking ribs until the end of time! Or at least until we move into a house/kitchen with central air. Three cheers for slow cooker ribs all summer long!!!!
- Smoky BBQ Sauce
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 to 3 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Optional : ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Optional: ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper each
- 2 pounds pork ribs (any type will do)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of Smoky spice rub
- Make BBQ Sauce: Add all of the ingredients to a small sauce pot. Whisk until well combined. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly and clings to the back of your spoon.
- Prepare the ribs: Use the smoky spice rub without oil, (as a dry rub) and rub it all over the ribs. Brush the ribs with ¼ cup BBQ sauce.
- Cook the ribs: Place the ribs in your slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Once the ribs are cooked heat up the remaining BBQ sauce and serve immediately.
If you want a crispy skin you can pop your ribs under a broiler for 5 ish minutes or on the grill for 10 ish minutes before you add anymore BBQ sauce. We enjoyed ours straight out of the slow cooker.
You may have leftover BBQ sauce, lucky you. Store it in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.
BBQ sauce recipeadapted from Clean and Delicious
Nutrition info is difficult to calculate for this recipe because there is quite a lot of BBQ sauce left over.