BBQ Pork Ribs

“Heidi, can you bring the coleslaw?” – this is the go-to answer if I ask the question of what can I bring to a weekend BBQ with our friends, BUT I know that after tasting these amazing ribs – next time it will be ‘Heidi, can you pleeeaaase bring those ribs?” followed by “and make sure you double, or TRIPLE the recipe!!!!”

I know you can buy those already pre-marinated ones from the shop, cut open the packet and – boom – they are ready to cook. But there’s no fun in that!! Plus, I’m not a big fan of any preservatives, artificial flavours, blah blah blah. If I can make it myself, I normally will.  Plus, because these cook in the slow cooker – there’s not much too it. These finger licking ribs will have everyone coming back asking for more!

Being married to an American, I feel there are a few American recipes that should be part of our lives and it wasn’t a hard sell to weave this one in. I love recipes that keep the kids happy and the adults even happier. The leftover meat (if there is any!) works well in a wrap or in a cheese toastie sandwich the next day. And any leftover juices and sauce left in the bottom of the slow cooker can be use for any sort of beef dish like chili con carne, used as a sauce for steak or pour over sausages and mashed potato.

Preparing the ribs by removing the membrane off the back of the ribs:


Cut into serving size pieces of 2-3 ribs – rub with spice mix and grill on hot BBQ until edges are charred.

Next open Molasses and marvel at the cute smily face inside 🙂 Mix up wet mix and pour over the ribs in the slow cooker.

After they are cooked and the meat is falling off the bone – mix up the BBQ sauce and brush over the meaty part of the ribs and pop them under the grill/broiler to melt and caramelise a little. Enlist the help of a small child at this point so you can work on the drinks and salads for the party!

We omit the chili in this recipe so the kids can eat with us. They love any meals they can eat with their fingers and meat like this with bones for holding is always a winner.

Now before you scroll down to the recipe, I just want to say don’t be put off by what looks like a really long recipe. It’s not. You could even double or triple the Spice Rub ingredients and have a jar of it in the cupboard ready to go for next time or add to chicken breasts, lamb chops or steak for another meal.

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs.

  • 2 packs of plain Organic Foods and Cafe pork baby back ribs – 4 racks in total (with approx 10-12 ribs per rack). TIP: Check out the freezer section at Organic Foods and Cafe on the 20% off sale day the third weekend of the month and they are a steal!

Spice Rub

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (smoked salt if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder (optional)

Wet mix

  • 1 cub beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • and a big squirt of tomato ketchup!

Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 a jar of store bought BBQ Sauce

OR it’s easy enough to make your own by just mixing together the below ingredients for homemade BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tomato concentrate or tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (or 1/2 teaspoon smoked maple syrup)


1. Prepare ribs by removing membrane off the back of the rack and remove any excess fat. Watch this video here to show you how to tackle the membrane. Cut into pieces of 3-4 rib each piece for meal size pieces or 2 ribs per piece for finger food and kids size pieces. Massage in the dry spice rub and marinade for an hour or so. If you don’t have any extra time, skip straight to the next step.

2. Next you want to BBQ (or “grill” if you are American!) the rib pieces to seal the meat, start the cooking process and add that yummy BBQ flavour. Don’t cook them all the way through – just want to add some nice grill marks and flavour at this point so they will still look a bit bloody but that’s fine. This BBQ step can also be done on a grill pan on the stove or in the oven on high heat quickly cooking them to seal the meat. I prefer the BBQ as it adds a super nice flavour.

3. Place the ribs in the slow cooker pot, bone side up*. Mix together all the wet mix ingredients and pour all over the ribs. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours in total with lid on. Halfway through the cooking time rotate the bottom ribs to the top and the top ribs to the bottom and then continue cooking checking for doneness. When done, the meat should be falling off the bone. If it’s not quite tender enough to fall right off the bone, then continue cooking until this happens.

4. Lay the ribs on an oven proof tray, bone side down/meat side up. Mix together BBQ sauce ingredients or crack open a jar of premade sauce. Then add some of the reserved liquid from the bottom of the cooking pot to loosen the BBQ sauce mixture enough so it can be ‘painted’ onto the ribs. Apply sauce liberally to the ribs with a silicone brush or smear with the back of a spoon. Broil for 5 mins to melt the bbq sauce and caramalise the top, or place in a hot oven on the top shelf for 10 mins. Watch carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Serve with coleslaw (of course!) and potato salad.

*if you don’t have a slow cooker, then you can easily make these in the oven. Just make sure you cook them low and slow (like 130oC – 150oC for 3-5 hours) and keep them covered with a double foil wrapped dish so they don’t dry out. It will depend a lot on your oven, the dish you use and how many racks of ribs you are making at a time. I’d make them earlier in the day so you have extra cooking time if you need and then just reheat to serve.

From our BBQ to yours 😉

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