Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow Cooker Ribs recipe

Prep: 5 min | Total: 4 to 10 hr | Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 – 4 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce, divided (store-bought or homemade)*

* I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's.


  1. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs: use your fingers to get underneath and loosen the membrane along one side of the ribs, and then pull off the membrane.
  3. If needed, cut the racks of ribs into smaller sections so that they will fit better in your slow cooker.
  4. Season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. If you’re cooking them immediately, proceed to the next step. If you want to season your ribs overnight for deeper flavor, cover them and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
  5. Measure one cup of barbecue sauce. Place one rack or section of ribs in the slow cooker and cover it with a layer of barbecue sauce. Repeat the process with the remaining racks or sections of ribs and what remains of that one cup of barbecue sauce.
  6. Cook on LOW heat for 8-10 hours, or on HIGH heat for 4-5 hours, depending on how many racks of ribs you are cooking and the temperature of your slow cooker. (If you have a small slow cooker and end up having to stack your rib sections more than two high, they will need more time to cook fully.) Burnt barbecue sauce is a pain to clean off of your slow cooker, so don’t leave these too much longer than the suggested cooking time. When the ribs are tender, gently remove the racks and lay them out on your foil-lined baking sheet.
  7. Reuse those meaty juices and combine the liquid from your slow cooker with the reserved barbecue sauce, then reduce it over medium heat until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. (This is optional, you can also discard the liquid from your slow cooker and just use the remaining BBQ sauce as-is.)
  8. Allow the ribs to cool slightly before cutting them into individual ribs or portions. Brush the remaining one cup of barbecue sauce on top of the ribs.
  9. If desired, you can also place the ribs under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize and set the sauce.
  10. Serve the ribs with extra BBQ sauce.