Chef's Hat: Don't wait for grilling season to enjoy ribs

You can enjoy fall-off-the-bone ribs made in a crockpot


Are you craving a batch of succulent ribs but you're not quite ready to fire up the grill? There is an alternative.

Making ribs in a crockpot or slow cooker will produce a batch that will end up to be fall-off-the-bone tender.

Of course, cooking ribs in a crockpot does guarantee fall-off-the-bone meat, but to cook a batch of succulent ribs you want that beautiful caramelization that comes from high heat.

Just a couple of extra steps will help to ensure that your ribs are not only tender, but will also get the smoky and sweet flavor you always expect from a good batch of ribs.

Steps to the perfect batch of crockpot ribs:


  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Insert a knife or slide your fingers under the membrane and gently pull the membrane off and throw it away. This isn’t an absolute necessity, but the rub and sauce will be better absorbed into the meat if it is removed.
  • Sprinkle the ribs with a dry rub. This will give the ribs additional flavor.
  • Cook the ribs in the slow cooker.
  • Once the ribs are tender, remove from the crockpot, slather with sauce and then place under a broiler for three to five minutes.

Ribs can be enjoyed any time of year, so don’t wait for grilling season to enjoy a batch. Happy Eating!

If you're craving ribs but aren't yet ready to grill, put them in the crockpot. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Crockpot Ribs

  • 1 rack of ribs
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • 2 teaspoons to ¼ cup dry rub
  • 1 yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons jarred garlic or 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Barbecue sauce

Remove the membrane from the ribs. Pat dry. Squeeze some mustard on one side of the ribs. Use a spoon and spread it around until there is a thin layer of mustard on the ribs.
Sprinkle the rub over the mustard. Turn the ribs over and apply mustard and rub to the other side of the ribs.

Wrap with plastic wrap or place in a large zipped bag. Place in the refrigerator and let the ribs absorb the rub for at least 30 minutes. They can be left in the refrigerator overnight.

Turn the crockpot or slow cooker to low heat. Place the water, bouillon cube and liquid smoke into the crockpot. Add the garlic to the pot. Place the ribs in the pot. Arrange the onions over the ribs.

Cooking time will vary depending on how many ribs are in the pot. The ribs can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours to become tender. Check after 5 hours. If they are still not tender enough for your liking, cook and check every 30 minutes until they are to your desired degree of tenderness.

Remove ribs from the crockpot, shaking off as much liquid as possible. Place the ribs onto a baking sheet or baking pan. Slather barbecue sauce on top of the ribs. Turn the broiler on and place the baking sheet into the oven. Let the ribs broil just a few minutes, 3 to 5, until the sauce gets bubbly.


Rib Rub

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, if desired to give the ribs a bit of heat

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Any rub not used can be placed in a tightly sealed container and kept for up to 3 months.

If you're craving ribs but aren't yet ready to grill, put them in the crockpot. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

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