How To Slow Cook Pork Ribs In Crock Pot? The Full Guide

Are you looking for a delicious and easy way to cook pork ribs?

Look no further than your trusty crock pot!

Slow cooking pork ribs in a crock pot is a foolproof way to achieve tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that is bursting with flavor.

Whether you prefer a dry rub or a saucy finish, there are plenty of ways to customize this classic dish to your liking.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best tips and tricks for slow cooking pork ribs in a crock pot, so you can impress your family and friends with your culinary skills.

So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

How To Slow Cook Pork Ribs In Crock Pot?

Step 1: Prepare the Ribs

Before you start cooking, it’s important to prepare your ribs properly. Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. This can be done easily by sliding your fingers around the side to loosen it up and ripping it right off.

Next, you can choose to apply a dry rub for additional flavor. This step is optional, but highly recommended. Once your ribs are prepped, place them in the crock pot.

Choosing The Right Type Of Pork Ribs

When it comes to choosing the right type of pork ribs for your slow cooker, there are a few things to consider. The most popular types of pork ribs are baby back ribs and spare ribs. Baby back ribs are leaner and more tender, while spare ribs have more fat and connective tissue, which can make them more flavorful but also tougher.

If you prefer a leaner cut of meat, baby back ribs may be the way to go. They come from the highest part of the ribcage and contain less fat and marbling than spare ribs. Baby back ribs are also shorter than spare ribs, with each slab typically containing about 10-13 bones. They are usually trimmed at one end, with the shortest bone about 3 inches in length.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more flavorful cut of meat with more fat and connective tissue, spare ribs may be a better choice. Spare ribs come from the belly side of the ribcage and contain more fat and marbling than baby back ribs. They also have more connective tissue, which can make them tougher but also more flavorful.

If you’re looking for a cut of pork that is both lean and tender, country-style ribs may be a good option. These come from the shoulder end of the loin and have the most meat per bone and the least amount of fat. They can be eaten with your fingers or with a knife and fork.

It’s important to note that there are also other types of pork ribs available, such as St. Louis cut ribs and rib tips. St. Louis cut ribs are essentially spare ribs that have been trimmed up a bit for presentation purposes, while rib tips are considered by many to be the most tender part of the pig but can be difficult to eat due to their small bones and cartilage.

Ultimately, the choice of which type of pork ribs to use in your slow cooker will depend on your personal preferences. Experiment with different cuts to find out what you like best!

Preparing The Ribs For Slow Cooking

Step 2: Season and Layer the Ribs

Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar. You can also use a pre-made dry rub if you prefer. Lay the seasoned ribs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil.

If your crock pot is large enough, you can leave the rack whole and curl it around the slow cooker. Otherwise, cut the rack into a few sections. Add half of the rack of ribs into the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour half of your favorite barbecue sauce on top and layer with the other rack with the remaining sauce. You can also wrap the ribs around the slow cooker if the top will fit on.

Step 3: Slow Cook

Cook the ribs on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. The more racks in the pot, the longer you’ll need to cook. You want them to be tender, but not falling off the bone.

Step 4: Crisp

Once your ribs are fully cooked, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the ribs from the crock pot and set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the remaining sauce on top of the ribs.

Cook for 10 minutes until the tops get crispy. Brush with additional sauce if needed. Alternatively, you could wrap them in foil and throw them on a heated grill for a similar effect.

Step 5: Serve

Baste your slow-cooked pork ribs with more barbecue sauce and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!

Creating The Perfect Dry Rub For Pork Ribs

A dry rub is a mixture of spices and herbs that is applied to meat before cooking. It adds flavor and enhances the taste of the meat. For pork ribs, a blend of brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, mustard, black pepper, and cayenne pepper is ideal.

To create the perfect dry rub for pork ribs, start by mixing 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of ground mustard, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Once the dry rub is mixed thoroughly, rub it into the pork ribs. For the best results, allow the ribs to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavors to infuse into the meat and make it more tender.

Adding Sauce For A Saucy Finish

One of the best things about slow-cooking ribs in a crock pot is that they come out incredibly tender and juicy. But to take them to the next level, you’ll want to add a delicious sauce for a saucy finish. Here are some tips for adding sauce to your slow-cooked pork ribs:

1. Wait until the end: While you might be tempted to add your sauce at the beginning of the cooking process, it’s best to wait until the end. This will prevent your sauce from becoming too watery and diluted.

2. Degrease the sauce: After your ribs are finished cooking, remove them from the crock pot and degrease the sauce. This can be done by spooning off the top layer of fat. This will make your sauce less oily and more flavorful.

3. Thicken your sauce: If your sauce is too thin, you can thicken it up by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with water and whisking it into the sauce. Turn the crock pot to high and whisk occasionally until thickened. If needed, you can add another tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water to thicken further.

4. Broil or grill for extra flavor: Once your ribs are cooked and sauced, you can take them to the next level by broiling or grilling them for extra smokiness and flavor. This will also help to caramelize the barbecue sauce, making them extra sticky and yummy.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create fall-off-the-bone tender pork ribs with a saucy finish that will have everyone asking for seconds!

Slow Cooking The Pork Ribs In The Crock Pot

Once your ribs are in the crock pot, it’s time to start slow cooking them. The key to achieving tender, juicy ribs is to cook them low and slow. You can choose to cook them on high for 3-4 hours, but it is recommended to use the low setting if you have the time. This will give your ribs ample time to cook and become fall-off-the-bone delicious.

Depending on how many racks of ribs you are cooking, the cooking time may vary. For one rack of pork baby back ribs, you should cook on low for about 8 hours. If you’re cooking multiple racks of ribs, you may need to add more time.

It’s important not to lift the lid and peek while your ribs are cooking as this can increase the cooking time substantially. Just let them cook undisturbed until they are ready.

Once your ribs are fully cooked, remove them from the crock pot and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. You can choose to add more barbecue sauce on top at this point if you desire. Then, broil under a broiler for 3-5 minutes until the barbecue sauce starts to bubble and caramelize. Alternatively, you could wrap them in foil and throw them on a heated grill for the same effect.

After broiling or grilling, remove the ribs from the oven or grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Then, cut them into pieces and serve with any remaining barbecue sauce or juices from the crock pot.

Checking For Doneness And Serving Suggestions

One of the most important aspects of cooking pork ribs is ensuring that they are cooked to the right temperature. A quality, instant-read thermometer can give you a great deal of information on what’s happening inside those ribs during the cooking process. The light connective tissue in ribs begins to break down around 195 degrees F. Anything under that temperature and your ribs will be chewy, stringy, and tough. At 195 degrees F, that tissue starts to gelatinize and turn into tasty, melty deliciousness. Most ribs hit their sweet spot for doneness around 198 degrees F, but some take until 203 degrees F to be perfectly tender.

This spread in final temperature is one reason why thermometers are a great jumping off-point for rib perfection, but not the be-all-end-all indicator. To check pork ribs for temperature, place the probe between the bones making sure to not touch the bone. You are looking for 195°F when the ribs are done and tender.

Once your pork ribs are cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve them up! There are many different ways to enjoy slow-cooked pork ribs. You can serve them straight out of the crock pot with a side of coleslaw or potato salad. Alternatively, you can take them out of the crock pot and place them under the broiler or on a heated grill to get that extra caramelization.

If you choose to use the grill, instead of placing them under the broiler, put them straight onto the grill (or onto a piece of aluminum foil) over high heat (500 degrees). Brush them with additional barbecue sauce and then close the lid. Let them grill for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble and caramelize.

Another option is to wrap them in foil and throw them on a heated grill for the same effect. Another serving suggestion is to shred the pork and serve it on buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw for a delicious pulled pork sandwich.