Aug 1

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe

If you've ever watched an episode of BBQ Pitmasters on TLC, you know that some people take their ribs very seriously. While I love ribs as much as anyone, the thought of tending to a grill all. day. long. in this hundred-degree-weather we've had lately just totally overwhelms me.

So while the masters would probably call it sacrilegious, I prefer to make my ribs in the slow cooker. Slow cooker ribs turn out tender, juicy, and flavorful, with minimal mess and hands-on work -- sounds like a winner to me!

I like to experiment with different seasonings and sauces when making ribs in the crockpot. Sometimes I make them from scratch, and other times I'll try a store bought combination. With this method they typically turn out fantastic either way.

For this beautiful 4-lb. rack of ribs, I chose to pair McCormick Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky Rub with Kraft Thick 'n Spicy Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce. I simply gave the ribs a good rub down with about two tablespoons of the rub and then placed them in the crockpot with the meaty side facing the walls and the bones facing inward.

Note that I used a manual 5-qt. Crock-Pot slow cooker for this recipe. I own fancier digital slow cookers, but I always seem to come back to this basic one. I picked it up for a steal (just $5!!!) at Target on Black Friday a few years ago, but it's well worth the current Amazon price.

Then I poured about a bottle-and-a-half of the sauce over them and let them cook over low heat for about seven hours.

Now let me tell you, they were absolutely delicious at this point and my family would have gobbled them up as is, but I made them hold off for just about 15 minutes longer to add the finishing touch...

First, carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack sprayed with cooking spray with the meaty side up. Skim off any grease from the remaining barbecue sauce and then strain into a sauce pan. Reduce over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken up.

Baste the ribs with the sauce and pop the tray under the broiler for about five minutes. This gives them that slightly crispy outer coating -- just as if you've been cooking them on the grill all day!

I'm not kidding when I tell you that my family picked every last bone clean. I served them up with a side of Roasted Parsley and Garlic Fingerling Potatoes and Grilled Corn On The Cob. Gosh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs


  • 4-lbs. baby back ribs
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky Rub
  • 1 1/2 bottles of Kraft Thick 'n Spicy Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce


  1. Rub the ribs down with about two tablespoons of rub and place them meaty side facing the walls in your slow cooker.
  2. Cover with about 1 1/2 bottles of barbecue sauce and cook over low heat for about 6-8 hours. I'd recommend checking them at six hours and going from there.
  3. When the ribs are done in the slow cooker, place them meaty side up on a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Skim any grease off the remaining barbecue sauce and then strain the sauce into a sauce pan. Reduce over medium heat until the sauce thickens back up.
  5. Baste the ribs with the reduced barbecue sauce and place under the broiler for about five minutes and then enjoy!

Do you have a favorite ribs recipe?

Enter your favorite ribs recipe using a McCormick spice/seasoning and a Kraft sauce (if a sauce is used in the recipe) in the Dibs on My Ribs recipe cookoff!

Three finalists will be chosen from both the indoor preparation and the outdoor preparation categories to take part in a finale event cook-off on October 12, 2012 at Tyson Foods, Inc. in Springdale, Arkansas. One winner from each category will win "Groceries for a year from Walmart" and a trip for two to Memphis in May, 2013.

Maybe I'll see you there!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

by Tara | 16 comments

  • I love using the slow cooker! Tks for sharing! I"ll pin it.

  • Wow, I can't believe how easy those are to make! They look so good!

  • Slow Cookin never looked so good ; ) WOW Tara! Want.

  • This looks awesome! What kind of cooling rack do you use that is oven-safe? I am pretty sure my cooling racks for baked goods can't go in the oven :(

    • Good question, Sophie. I've had them for ages, so I'm not really sure of the brand, but I believe I picked them up at Target. I know I've seen non-stick cooling racks from Calphalon recently that are oven safe.

  • Hi Tara! So happy to find your blog. My husband will adore this recipe!

  • I've never put ribs in the slow cooker--I've got to try this!

  • Ribs in the slowcooker, brilliant!

  • Wonder if this would work on chicken?

  • Tara,

    These Easy Slow Cooker Ribs are EXACTLY the thing our readers at Mr. Food are obsessed with! We’d love for you to submit a similar recipe to The Search for the Ultimate Weeknight Meal, offering a grand-prize to one lucky blogger who will tape a segment to air on national TV! If you're interested, check out our contest page for more details.

    Alexis Franzi
    Editor, Mr. Food

  • Omg, this looks so delicious! A shame I can't find the sweet & smoky rub in here, but I'll try it anyway !

  • These look amazing! I must try them soon!

  • Sarah

    Doesn't it concern you though that the first ingredient in the BBQ

  • Sarah

    Don't know why this got cut off! I was concerned about the fact that the first ingredient in the BBQ sauce is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Then, not to mention the "natural flavor" and Red 40. Do you have any other sauces you'd use that don't have all the fake stuff in them? Just curious. :)

    • Yes, these ingredients do concern me -- which is why these yummy ribs are only a very occasional treat for us. On the whole we try to practice an 80/20 approach to eating, with homemade, whole foods comprising 80% of our intake and allowing for some splurges and less healthy options for the remaining 20%.

      I've tried several organic brands of BBQ sauce, and they were all lacking. I have yet to find a homemade version that I'm happy with as well, but I'll keep trying. And of course, I'll share it if/when I do find one!

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