Two nights ago, I made dinner for my fiancé, Alasdair, the self-described meat and potatoes guy. One of his all-time favorite foods is BBQ pork ribs. He’s something of a connoisseur so I was a little bit hesitant to cook the ribs, especially without a grill or a smoker. BUT I came across a few slow cooker rib recipes online that seemed too good to pass up. Supplemented with sweet potato and goat cheese tater tots (see my tips page on what not to do when frying) and a summer squash salad to balance out the heavy meat, this was the perfect summertime meal.
The ribs could not be easier. All you need are the ribs, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper. Any BBQ sauce would work but my BBQ sauce gives the ribs a bit of a kick so I recommend using my recipe. I was honestly just using my sauce as a marinade, and I was going to be shamefully wasteful and throw out the excess sauce once the ribs were done cooking because I assumed Alasdair would want to use one of his favorite BBQ sauces (these sauces are sacred in our household). BUT Alasdair said that my sauce was so good we should save it and use more of it to pour over the ribs. He didn’t even touch his usual BBQ sauces that night. I have to agree with him – because the sauce was cooking along with the ribs in the slow cooker, all the flavors melded together beautifully and intensified giving the ribs and the sauce a bit of a kick. Basically the heat gave the sauce more heat!
Anyways, the secret to these amazingly tender ribs is the oven/slow cooker combo. The skin crisps up on the outside while the meat stays so tender on the inside – literally, falling off the bone.
Healthy Recipe Ecstasy? One happy fiancé! Sure pork ribs have a lot of fat, but, if you use my BBQ sauce, these ribs are perfect for the gluten and lactose intolerant. Many store-bought BBQ sauces have hidden sugars and gluten. Plus fresh BBQ sauce tastes better than the sauce that’s probably been sitting in your fridge for the past five years (Mom). And, did I mention, the meat is literally falling off the bone?? These ribs are so good that I woke up the next morning and ate cold ribs for breakfast. And, I am not the type of person to wake up and eat rib meat for breakfast. SO DELICIOUS AND TENDER!
Crock Pot BBQ Pork Ribs with a Kick
- 3 pounds of pork ribs
- 2-3 cups BBQ sauce
- Coarse salt
- BBQ SAUCE:
- 2 cups Simply Heinz ketchup
- 1/2 cup raw agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (check for a gluten-free brand)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally over both sides of the ribs. Put the ribs on a large baking sheet covered with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the ribs begin to brown.
- While the ribs are cooking, mix all the BBQ sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
- Cut the ribs in half and transfer them to your slow cooker. Add 2-3 cups of the BBQ sauce and cook on high for 6 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
- Seriously, these ribs were so tender that some of the ribs didn’t even make it out of the slow cooker.
- Reheat the oven to 400 degrees. Finally, transfer the ribs back to the baking sheet to bake for another 15 minutes so that the sauce caramelizes on top of the ribs.
- Top with more BBQ sauce (or not because they are delicious on their own) and enjoy!