These Slow Cooker Ribs are perfect for when you don’t feel like grilling and are laced with great Asian flavors for a fun taste. Perfect braised baby back ribs are smothered in a rich, sweet, tangy, spicy, and salty sauce.
Okay, pitmasters. Drop the judgment before reading any further. Today, we’re discussing ribs. Particularly ribs in the slow cooker.
I know. I hear the barbeque purists clicking their tongues as they scroll past the recipe to read the hate-filled comments. Their loss. This is for those who really want an easy ribs recipe!
Best Crockpot Ribs Recipe
For those of you intrigued by the slow cooker ribs method, get ready for your mind to be blown.
This easy pork recipe may become one of your favorite ways to cook ribs when you don’t want to grill in the winter. Not because you can’t, but because it’s cozy inside and your fluffy slippers are way more comfortable than snow boots.
It’s hard to imagine just how tasty slow cooked ribs can be! This crock pot alternative makes ribs a weeknight or any night meal without a perfect 3-2-1 method and hours at the grill. Easy crock pot ribs are a good way to cook because they are hands-off and simple. Slow cooking the meat until it’s fall off the bone tender and juicy.
Crock pot ribs are an absolute winner. They’ll be devoured by everyone.
- Hoisin Sauce, Sugar, Soy Sauce, and Dry Sherry – makes up a sweet, tangy, and salty base for the Asian sauce (alternatively, just use BBQ sauce).
- Cilantro and Scallions – adds freshness.
- Ginger and Cloves – use freshly minced for the best flavor.
- Orange – you’ll need four 3-4” strips of zest from an orange to add a hint of citrus flavor to the sauce.
- Cayenne Pepper – you can omit the cayenne if you don’t like spice.
- Baby Back Pork Ribs – I use 6 pounds in this recipe.
- Salt and Pepper – a simple way to season the ribs before cooking.
- Hot Pepper Jelly and Apple Cider Vinegar – added to the cooking liquid to create a glaze for the meat.
How to make ribs in the slow cooker
First, you’ll make your sauce by whisking together hoisin, sugar, soy, sherry, cilantro, scallions, ginger, garlic, orange zest, and cayenne.
Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Grease your slow cooker, then add in the ribs. Arrange them standing and wrapping around the rim of the cooker with the meaty side facing out. Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Preheat your broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Place an oven-safe rack onto the baking sheet and coat with vegetable oil. Place the cooked ribs, meat side down, onto the rack.
Strain 3 cups of cooking liquid into a saucepan, then whisk in the hot pepper jelly, vinegar, additional cilantro, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Once thickened, brush the ribs with the sauce and broil for 2-4 minutes. Flip the ribs over, brush with additional sauce and broil for another 8-10 minutes. Brush with liquid every 2 minutes.
Tent the ribs with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving!
What ribs to use
My favorite ribs to use are baby back ribs, also known as pork short ribs. Babyback ribs are the part of the rib cage that is right up next to the spine. So pretty much where the meat is going to be the most tender and succulent. Baby back ribs offer plenty of meat, don’t skimp on flavor, and are almost always on sale.
If you want to use a meatier rib, then use the St. Louis style ribs. These are just a little longer, have more meat, and contain more fat.
No need! We’re slow cooking the ribs first and then broiling them after to give them that crispy crust.
Yes! The liquid, or in this case the sauce, is what helps create a super moist texture as you braise the meat in the slow cooker. Without it, the ribs wouldn’t be nearly as tender or flavorful.
You can easily overcook ribs. If meat actually falls out of the bones then this could be a result of overcooking meat. You want to bite into these with a gentle pressure (the bite). However, if you do cook them too long, shred the meat and make nachos, stir it into bbq hash, or make a bbq pizza with shredded rib meat!
- Cook on low. The longer, slower cook time creates an irresistible tender texture.
- Check the temp. I like to use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temp of the pork is at least 145ºF before serving. With ribs, they will be way past that to get the tender bite you’re looking for.
- Spice it up. A bit of pepper heat goes a long way during the cooking time but if you want a bit more spice, add hot sauce to the braising liquid.
Dinner is served!
How to store
Leftover pork ribs will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen then warm at 250ºF in the oven until heated through.
More rib recipes you’ll love
- Easy Vertical Smoked Ribs
- Spicy Smoked Pork Ribs
- Beginner Dry Rub Smoked Pork Ribs
- Texas Style Barbecue Beef Ribs
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Slow Cooker Asian Pork Ribs
- crockpot or slow cooker
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup dry sherry
- cilantro handful of fresh stems chopped and leaves coarsely chopped
- 8 scallions whites chopped coarsely, greens minced thin, divided
- 3 tbs ginger minced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 4 orange strips of zest from an orange about 3 to 4" long
- 1 ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 lbs baby back pork ribs
- salt and pepper
- 1 10 oz hot pepper jelly full jar of pepper jelly
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Whisk the hoisin, sugar, soy, sherry, cilantro stems, scallion whites, ginger, garlic, orange zest and 1 ½ teaspoon of the cayenne in a bowl.
- Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Grease your slow cooker with vegetable spray and arrange the ribs standing and wrapping around the rim of the cooker with the meaty side facing outwards.
- Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
- Set up and preheat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe rack in it. Coat the rack with vegetable oil. Place the ribs meat side down on the rack.
- Strain 3 cups of cooking liquid from the cooker into a sauce pan.
- Whisk in the hot pepper jelly, vinegar, cilantro leaves, and remaining cayenne pepper to the liquid.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until thickened.
- Brush the ribs with the sauce and broil 2 to 4 minutes.
- Carefully flip the ribs over, brush with sauce and broil another 8 to 10 minutes, until ribs are sticky and browned, brushing with liquid every 2 minutes.
- Tent the ribs with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with minced scallion greens and additional sauce if desired.