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Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Best BBQ Ribs without the BBQ

Posted on Sep 1, 2014 by in Recipes & Food | 0 comments

I used to think that Barbecue ribs were a hard recipe to do well, but that is absolutely untrue! These ribs easily compete with Barbecue restaurants like Lucille’s, and take only about 20 minutes of effort on your part. The ingredients ring in at $10 or less if you get the meat at a good price, I like to buy a whole rack of ribs and have the butcher cut them in half as the ribs freeze well. They are so tender you have to be careful cutting them up when they’re finished or else you’ll end up with shredded pork, the trick is to get them just tender enough so that they don’t become too hard to eat from falling apart so easily. This can be achieved by cooking for a little under 4 hours in the crockpot.

You will need to adjust the time if you’re using a different slow cooker or a larger or smaller amount of ribs, less time for less meat or a higher power slow cooker, more time for lower power slow cookers or more meat. If this is your first time making them and you have a different slow cooker than mine, I’d suggest keeping a meat thermometer ready and checking tenderness and temperature every so often after the 3 hour mark. The ribs can get a little burnt if you leave them in too long, so I think less is more in this case, and you can throw them back in if they aren’t tender enough.


  • Babyback Ribs – I like to do a half rack at a time
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper
  • 1 pinch of Cayenne Pepper (if you like it spicier feel free to add more!)
  • 1 cup Barbecue Sauce (Bulls Eye Original is fantastic, Thanks America’s Test Kitchen!)

Tools Used:

I ended up buying the Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S after doing a bunch of research, I was aiming for an economical slow cooker that would also produce great results.

(Optional) A fat separator makes extracting the juice to make sauce less time intensive and will leave you with more juice to make sauce with than spooning fat off the top will. Thus it made sense to buy for me because I make these a lot. If this is your first time making these and you’re unsure, don’t feel the need to buy it.


  1. Mix together the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne. I like to put it in a small container with a lid and shake it up.
  2. Rub the sugar and spices on the ribs, especially the meaty side.
  3. Place the ribs inside the slow cooker on its side, so that it is standing up. This will allow the juices to run down in to the slow cooker without making the ribs too soggy later on. I lean them slightly against the wall of the slow cooker.
  4. Slather on some BBQ sauce, save about 1/3 cup for later.
  5. Cook on LOW for a little under 4 hours. You’ll want to check on them around 3 hrs and 30 minutes in to see how they’re coming along, don’t let them get too tender or they’ll be hard to eat. Also don’t let them burn.
  6. Get a baking sheet ready, cover with tin foil.
  7. When done, place on tin foil and transfer to the oven while the oven is off, and let it rest a little while you make the sauce.
  8. Transfer the juice in the slow cooker to a large measuring cup or bowl, let it cool off a little, then scoop off the fat. If you have a fat separator, that’s even better.
  9. After removing the fat from the juice, stir in the rest of the Barbecue sauce, and mix it together. Spoon or brush some of this on the ribs.
  10. Broil the ribs for a minute or two until you achieve the perfect browned and juicy look you prefer.
  11. Eat!

Inspired By/Referenced From:
This is a great book! It opens up a lot of recipes that I thought were out of reach either because of time requirements or know how, from soups and stews to perfectly tender shredded beef for tacos and burritos.

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