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Crockpot Baby-back Ribs with Homemade Rub

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Baby-back ribs, you say? In the Crockpot? Isn’t that like, sacrilegious? No, no it’s not and let me tell you why. What is a rib lover looking for in the perfect rib?

Bangin’ flavor.

Falling-off-the-bone tender meat.

Super saucy sauce.

This recipe gives you all that without setting up a smokehouse, using a billion ingredients to make your own rub or sauce, or making a mess in the kitchen. It’s the best of both worlds! My rib-loving husband was happily surprised by this recipe and I think you will be too!

The Rub

This is a super simple rub that only requires 4 spices! You probably even have them on hand already. How is that for easy?

2 Tablespoons brown sugar                         1/2 Tablespoon black pepper

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt                              2 Tablespoons paprika

Mix these altogether in a small bowl, using a fork to break up any chunks and make sure it is mixed thoroughly.

Get out your trusty rib rubbers (aka your hands!) and smother the ribs in the rub on both sides. Press the rub into the meat on all sides.

Now put the baby-back ribs into the Crockpot with the meaty part of the ribs facing the wall of the slow cooker. This is important to do because it will ensure that the meat gets cooked thoroughly. Set the slow cooker on LOW. If you don’t have a slow cooker yet, you really should get one! It will change your cooking life!

The Sauce

Now grab your favorite BBQ sauce. Maybe you have a favorite BBQ joint in town that bottles their sauce: go get it! Find a sauce that you just can’t get enough of. The kind of sauce that makes you want to lick your fingers AND your plate! But in case you’re out of ideas, store-bought BBQ sauce is perfectly fine. In fact, I like Sweet Baby Ray’s and it’s fairly inexpensive.

Pour 2 to 3 cups of your favorite sauce onto the ribs, dousing them on all sides. Make sure there is plenty of sauce between the meaty ribs and the wall of the Crockpot so that the meat won’t adhere to the pot and burn. Cover and cook the ribs on LOW for 7 hours. If possible, continue to coat the ribs with the sauce (it is cooking in) throughout the 7 hours to keep the meat as moist as possible.

The Final Product

When the ribs are done, they should be nice and brown around the edges. If you insert a knife between the bones, the meat should fall off without any effort. If you would like to caramelize the sauce, broil the ribs in the oven for 5 minutes or so at 400-450 degrees or on your broiler setting.

The meat on my ribs was so tender that I couldn’t keep it on the bone!

I tried to get a snazzy picture to impress ya’ll, but it kept falling right off. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

These baby-back ribs were finger-lickin’ good! My husband ate more than half the rack himself and STILL wanted more! Dan is a big rib fan and can be a little picky when it comes to his meat. But his comment about these ribs was that they could only be better if they were slow-smoked in a smokehouse for 24 hours over hickory or mesquite wood. Well, well, aren’t we the little rib connoisseur? Since I don’t have that option (though Dan is probably drawing up plans on how to build his own smokehouse, being the engineer that he is), the Crockpot is the next best, and easiest thing!

I served these baby-back ribs with roasted parmesan red potatoes and steamed green beans. But if I were to make these for friends or at a BBQ, I would accompany them with my 3 Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese or my Shredded Hashbrown Cheesy Potatoes. They would also go well with Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts or Apple, Broccoli, and Horseradish Slaw. And don’t forget Traditional Fluffy Yeast Rolls to sop up all the extra sauce!


Ribs go with pretty much everything, right? Besides, you can’t be fancy with ribs…nor does anybody want to be! Go ahead and pin this picture so you can reference it later. Happy Cooking ya’ll!

Crockpot Baby-back Ribs with Homemade Rub

Heidi Davison
These baby-back ribs are a cinch to make! Even though they are made in the Crockpot, there is no sacrifice on flavor! The meat is so tender it falls of the bone and the homemade rub keeps you licking your fingers until the last drop.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 7 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 5 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 6 -8

Ingredients
  

  • 5 lbs baby-back ribs
  • 2-3 cups BBQ sauce
  • For the rub:
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp paprika

Instructions
 

  • Mix all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Smear the ribs with the rub on all sides.
  • Place the ribs in the slow cooker with the meaty part of the rib against the wall of the Crockpot.
  • Pour BBQ sauce on all sides of the ribs, especially between the meat and wall.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
  • Optional: Cover ribs in sauce juices throughout cooking. May broil ribs in the oven to caramelize sauce at 400-450 degrees for 5 minutes or at broiler setting.

Notes

Recipe adapted from 12 Tomatoes.

 

These Crockpot Baby-back ribs are super easy and delicious! The dry rub recipe that comes with these instructions is really tasty and only requires 4 ingredients. Slow cooking the ribs make the meat tender, falling off the bone. They can be served with nearly any side dish and will be the hit of your next BBQ or backyard party!

 

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  • Camryn Pinner says:

    These were so incredibly good and super simple to make. I have never cooked ribs before and I was a bit nervous about trying them in a crockpot for the first time, but they turned out perfectly… so tender and full of flavor. The family said I scored a home run! Thanks for the recipe Heidi! I will definitely be making these again.

    • Thank you for entrusting me with so much cooking confidence! These ribs have never disappointed me either. I think you’ll find yourself making them very often. 😉

  • 5 stars
    Delicious!! Made these for my husband & I this evening. No leftovers!! Thank you for yummy & easy recipe.

  • 5 stars
    I’ve made these ribs twice because the recipe is so easy to follow, they are tasty, and super tender. I don’t consider myself a good cook, I’m not even a good crockpot cook, nor do I know how to bbq anything. When I came across this recipe I decided to give it a try because it was so easy to follow and it only required 5 ingredients! I followed the recipe, set my crockpot, and waited the final result. To my surprise, they were soo tasty and tender and approved by my bbq loving husband and picky 2 and 5 year old kids. Yes, even my 2 year old had them (without the bones of course). Thank you Heidi for this awesome and easy recipe!

    • I’m so glad you were able to find a recipe that makes you look like a star! Props for trying something new! And thank you for reporting back.

  • 5 stars
    This looks very delicious. It won’t be a bad idea for me to try it out this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think!

  • I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have several types of paprika (for multiple BBQ recipes- I live in the South too!) What type do you recommend? Smoked, Hot, or just regular. (I’m assuming regular, but would love to know if one or the other is preferred.)
    Thank you for an inspiring start to the Thanksgiving-prep weekend!

    • I’m excited for you to try this, Linda! You’re right, I used regular paprika, but if your family doesn’t mind the heat, I would also try the hot. My kids don’t like things as spicy as my husband and I do so I try to keep the ribs tame for them.

  • Rhonda Versteegh says:

    5 stars
    Another great recipe! These turned out so good, I can’t wait for my daughter to taste them. She loves ribs! Thanks Heidi!

    • I’m so glad you tried them and like them! Funny thing is that I have them in the Crockpot as I write this! I guess today calls for ribs!

  • Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a foil lines broil pan with the meaty side up. Brush some sauce from the slow cooker on top of the ribs and broil until the edges start to look crisp and broiled.

    • This is a great idea! I think everyone should try this. There’s only one problem, the ribs are so tender and juicy that sometimes they fall right off the bone! It might be worth taking them out a half an hour early to try this broil method.

    • Oh great! These would sure make football fans happy!

  • Linda Capps says:

    Do you have any ideas for cooking these WITHOUT sauce (my hubby HATES BBQ sauce of any kind)?

    • Hi Linda! You do not need to add any BBQ sauce if you don’t like it. One idea I have is smothering the ribs in the rub and letting it cook in it’s own juice. You could even cut the ribs up and layer them in the Crockpot so they baste in their own juice. Another thing you could do is put down a layer of onions or potatoes and set the ribs on top. This way the ribs will sort of “steam” themselves but not get burnt without the liquid. Then you can serve your husband his version and smother sauce on your own. I hope those ideas help!

  • 5 stars
    Heidi These ribs were outstanding. I made less than 5 lbs so the cooking time was much less than 7 hrs. My husband loved them and was astonished how good they came out of the crock pot. No oven needed and clean up was a breeze. Most definitely will make these again.

    • I’m so glad to hear that the ribs turned out great! There is nothing better than finding a new staple dish you can use over and over.

  • Elaine L. says:

    5 stars
    These ribs were fall off the bone good. I left mine in over 7 hrs and that was a bit too long. I would have liked to throw them on the grill for a few minutes just before eating, but they got rave reviews straight out of the crockpot from my son. I did substitute 1/2 T of the paprika for 1/2 T of chili powder. Spiced it up just a little. I did an extra coating of sauce 2’X while cooking. I plan on making again! It’s so nice to come home to the house smelling great and having the main dish done.

    • Thank you Maye! That is kind of you to say!

  • These ribs look delicious! Can’t wait
    to try. I’d like to slow cook them and then
    crisp them up
    on a grill. If they are “falling off the bone”, would this be
    possible? Meaning: could I move the racks to
    the grill without falling apart?

    • Hi Gail! Truth be told, I don’t think my ribs would have made it to the grill! I had a hard enough time keeping them together just taking them out of the Crockpot! That being said, I bet you could take them out before they are done and finish them on the grill. I would probably take them out an hour early though I have not personally done this before. If you do want to crisp them up a bit, you can always try broiling them at the end too. That makes a really yummy caramelization! Let me know what you decide and how it works out. Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be delicious!

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