Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BBQ ribs in a crockpot

In our busy life, I am constantly on the look out for new crock pot recipes.  Sometimes it's nice (even on non-busy days) to throw something in a crock pot and have dinner ready with minimal effort.  I have been having a hard time coming across new ideas (other than casseroles full of cream or soups or stews), so I decided to give ribs a try.  My family LOVES ribs.  I enjoy them, but don't have the time or inclination to slow roast them in an oven and baste them every 1/2 hour.  The crock pot sounded like the perfect solution.


I set my crock pot to low about 5 minutes before I put the meat.  I also pulled the meat out of the fridge and had it warm up a little before putting it in the crock pot.  I've always heard that it's better for cooking if your meat isn't cold when it gets put in a slow cooker.  I used a full rack of pork baby back ribs and cut them in four sections.  Then I cut off the extra fat and rubbed them down with a BBQ mixture of spices.  I think I used a mix of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  You can use whatever you want, or look one up online.  It really doesn't matter too much.


I put my rib sections around the edges (meat side against the pot) and had one section laying across the bottom of the cooker.  I also cut up a medium yellow onion and threw that in with the ribs.  You don't have to do that, I just like the flavor it gives the meat.  Then I put in a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce over the whole thing.  With the temperature set to low, I cooked the meat (just like that, no liquid) for three hours.  I think I flipped the bottom section once half way through.

After three hours, I pulled everything out, set the ribs aside and drained the cooking liquid.  Then I put them back in (minus the onions) and dumped about a cup of BBQ sauce over the ribs.  You can use a premade BBQ sauce or make your own.  I just started experimenting after reading the label of one of our favorites and so far our family seems to like it.  The recipe for our sauce is at the bottom of the post.  I leave the meat to baste in the slow cooker on high (this time) for about another hour.  I feel like this just helps get the flavor of the sauce in the meat, not just coating it.

Put meat in.
Low for three hours.
Dump in BBQ sauce.
High for one hour.
(Had to recap)

I preheat the broiler (or oven to 500 degrees) and pull the meat out, put it on a foil covered baking tray.  I baste the meat with sauce and stick in the broiler (or oven) for 5 minutes, just long enough to get some color on the meat and a crust.


I do the "in for 5 minutes, out and baste" a couple times and then pull them out for good.  Before I cut them up, I let them rest for about 10 minutes, give the juices a chance to absorb into the meat.

Finished product 

We like them.  The meat is usually pretty tender, easy enough for my six year old with one front tooth to bite off the bone.  It's becoming a favorite and much easier than doing it all in the oven.  You could even do the last part of basting on the grill.  I am all about good, low maintenance food that my family will eat.

Homemade BBQ sauce -

I like my sauce to be thicker, have more molasses and sweet. It doesn't have any of the tangy-ness of vinegar, like you would put on pulled pork with coleslaw.  BBQ sauce is like coffee, everyone likes it their own way.  If you don't like this recipe, it's okay (I'm not offended), you don't have to.  It works for us.  Play around with the flavors and make it your own.

This makes about 2 cups.
Which is around the amount you end up using for this recipe, plus a little extra to dip meat in at the end.

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk these together and taste it.  If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar or you can add honey.  If you want it spicier, add more chili powder or pepper.  If you want it tangy, add apple cider vinegar.

BBQ sauce is one of those things you can't screw up.  It might take you a little while (and you might end up with more than you need) but it's not as hard as it seems.  Give it a try!

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