Delicious Slow Cooker Ribs: The Ultimate How-To Guide

Are you looking for a mouth-watering recipe that is perfect for any occasion? Look no further than our ultimate guide to making delicious slow-cooked ribs! This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make the perfect dish. From selecting the best cuts of meat to the perfect seasoning and cooking techniques, we’ve got you covered. So grab your slow cooker and get ready to impress your family and friends with this savory and delectable dish.

Delicious Slow Cooker Ribs: The Ultimate How-To Guide | Eat Urban Garden
Delicious Slow Cooker Ribs: The Ultimate How-To Guide

Why Slow Cooker Ribs?

Are you looking for a foolproof way to cook ribs that guarantees juicy and flavorful meat every time? Look no further than your trusty slow cooker! Slow cooking is a low and slow method of cooking that allows for the natural juices and flavors of the meat to be retained, resulting in a succulent and tender dish that is hard to achieve with other cooking methods.

The Advantages of Slow Cooking Ribs

One of the main advantages of cooking ribs in a slow cooker is the convenience factor. Simply prep your ingredients, add them to the slow cooker, and let the machine do the rest of the work. Plus, the low and slow cooking process allows for the flavors of your seasonings and marinades to fully penetrate the meat, resulting in a tender and flavorful final product.

Another perk of slow cooking ribs is the ability to cook in large quantities, making it perfect for feeding a crowd at parties and gatherings. Plus, the slow cooker also frees up your oven for other dishes, making it a great solution for holiday meals.

And let’s not forget the cleanup factor- cooking ribs in a slow cooker means less mess to clean up afterwards!

What Ribs to Use?

Choosing the right type of ribs is crucial to getting perfect and delicious slow cooker ribs. Here are the different types of ribs that you can choose from:


Spareribs are the most popular type of ribs that are affordable and readily available in most grocery stores. Spareribs are cut from the belly area and are meatier and fattier than other cuts. They are best suited for BBQ sauce or dry rubs with a sweet flavor.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner than spareribs and are cut from the loin area. Although they are less meaty than other types, they are slightly more tender and flavorful. They are best suited for dry rubs with a smoky flavor and are commonly served with mustard-based sauces.

St. Louis-Style Ribs

St. Louis-style ribs are cut from the belly area, similar to spareribs. However, they are trimmed to remove any excess fat, cartilage, and bone, making them a more uniform shape and size. They are meatier and have a higher meat-to-bone ratio than spareribs. They are best suited for dry rubs with a slightly spicy flavor.

Prepping Your Ribs

Preparing your ribs properly is crucial to achieve fall-off-the-bone tender meat that is packed with flavors. Take the time to trim, remove the membrane, and season your ribs before you put them in your slow cooker.

Trimming the Fat

Trimming the excess fat from your ribs before slow cooking them helps to prevent the meat from becoming greasy and unappetizing. Plus, it highlights the natural flavors of the meat itself. Here’s how to trim your ribs:

  1. Place your ribs on a clean cutting board, bone side up.
  2. Locate the excess fat that covers the meaty part of the ribs.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut the excess fat away, leaving about ¼ inch of fat remaining.

Removing the Membrane

Most ribs come with a thin, tough membrane on the backside, which can make the meat chewy and difficult to eat. Removing the membrane not only ensures that the meat is tender and juicy, but also allows the seasoning to better penetrate the meat. Here’s how to remove the membrane from your ribs:

  1. Locate the edge of the membrane on the backside of the ribs, using a paper towel for better grip.
  2. Use a sharp knife or your fingers to lift one corner of the membrane and peel it away from the meat.
  3. Use a paper towel to grab the slippery membrane and pull it off completely.

Seasoning Your Ribs

Seasoning your ribs properly is key to infusing them with mouth-watering flavors. While you can use your favorite spice blend, a simple salt and pepper rub works wonderfully as well. Here’s how to season your ribs:

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides of the ribs and rub it into the meat.
  • Cover the ribs and let them sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for optimal flavor infusion.

Tip: To take your seasoning game up a notch, consider adding some dry rub or barbecue sauce to your ribs before slow cooking them. This will give your ribs an extra layer of flavor that will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Cooking Techniques for Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow cooker ribs are not only delicious, but they are also easy to prepare. Here are different cooking techniques to consider:

The Foil-Wrapped Method

The most common cooking technique for slow cooker ribs is the foil-wrapped method. This method involves wrapping the ribs in aluminum foil before cooking to lock in the moisture and flavor. Here’s how to do it:

  • Season the ribs with your favorite rub or marinade.
  • Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil, sealing all the edges tightly to prevent any steam from escaping.
  • Place the foil-wrapped ribs in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.

The No-Wrap Method

If you prefer a crispy, caramelized exterior on your ribs, the no-wrap method is the way to go. This method does not involve wrapping the ribs in foil and instead relies on a dry rub and long cooking time to achieve the desired texture and flavor. Here’s how:

  • Season the ribs with a dry rub of your choice.
  • Place the seasoned ribs directly in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is tender and the exterior is crispy.
  • You can optionally baste the ribs with barbecue sauce during the last hour of cooking to add extra flavor.

Choosing the Right Method

So which cooking technique should you use for your slow cooker ribs? It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in terms of texture and flavor. If you prefer fall-off-the-bone ribs with a more tender texture, go for the foil-wrapped method. If you want a crispy exterior and don’t mind a firmer texture, try the no-wrap method.

Testing for Doneness

Slow cooker ribs are a delicacy that require time and effort to perfect. One of the most important aspects of making slow cooker ribs is determining whether they are cooked well. Here are some tips to help you understand when your slow cooker ribs are cooked just right by checking for tenderness, pull-away bones, and internal temperature.


One of the most reliable ways to determine whether your slow cooker ribs are cooked well is to check for tenderness. To do this, you should try to bend the rib racks with a pair of tongs or a fork. The meat should come apart easily, but it should still be able to hold its shape. If the meat is too tough and doesn’t seem to be cooked well, you may need to continue cooking the ribs for a bit longer.

Pull-Away Bones

Another indication of well-cooked slow cooker ribs is if the bones pull away without too much effort. This is a good sign that the meat is cooked well and will be more tender.

Internal Temperature

One of the most accurate ways to check if your slow cooker ribs are cooked well is checking the internal temperature. For beef ribs, the ideal temperature is around 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, while pork ribs should be around 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to cook up mouth-watering slow cooker ribs that are perfectly cooked each and every time. Now, let’s get to cooking those ribs!

Serving and Storing Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow cooker ribs are a delicious and easy meal option for any occasion. However, it’s important to serve and store them properly to ensure maximum flavor and freshness. Here are some tips:

Best Ways to Serve Slow Cooker Ribs

Whether you’re hosting a party or a family dinner, serving slow cooker ribs can be a crowd-pleaser. Here are some ideas:

  • On a platter with BBQ sauce: Arrange the ribs on a large platter and drizzle or brush BBQ sauce over them. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.
  • With a side of coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of slow cooker ribs. Serve it on the side or top the ribs with a spoonful.
  • As a sandwich: Shred the meat from the ribs and pile it onto a soft roll or bun. Top with more BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions for a hearty sandwich.

How to Store Slow Cooker Ribs

If you have any leftovers, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their flavor and texture. Here’s what to do:

  1. Let them cool: Before storing the ribs, make sure they are cooled to room temperature first. This will prevent bacteria growth and soggy meat.
  2. Wrap or pack: Wrap the ribs tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can place them in an airtight container.
  3. Refrigerate or freeze: Store the ribs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you want to keep them longer, freeze them for up to 3 months. Just make sure to thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating.

How to Reheat Slow Cooker Ribs

Reheating slow cooker ribs can be tricky – you want to avoid drying out the meat. Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Preheat your oven: Set your oven to 250°F.
  2. Add moisture: Wrap the ribs in foil and add a splash of liquid such as apple juice, beer, or water. This will add moisture to the meat and prevent it from drying out.
  3. Reheat: Place the wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and reheat them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Check on them occasionally to make sure they don’t dry out.

Tasty Recipes to Try with Slow Cooker Ribs

If you’re looking for new and creative ways to enjoy slow cooker ribs, try out these recipes:

Rib Tacos
Shred the meat from the ribs and use it as a filling for soft tacos. Top with chopped onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
Rib Sliders
Make mini sandwiches using dinner rolls or slider buns. Top each one with a small piece of rib meat, BBQ sauce, and a pickle slice.
Rib Quesadillas
Fill a tortilla with shredded cheese and rib meat. Fry it on a griddle until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy.

Thanks for Reading!

We’re glad you enjoyed learning how to cook delicious slow cooker ribs! We hope you found our guide easy to follow and that your ribs turned out finger-licking good. Remember to visit our website again later for more tasty recipes and cooking tips. Happy Cooking!

Delicious Slow Cooker Ribs: The Ultimate How-To Guide | Eat Urban Garden

Delicious Slow Cooker Ribs: The Ultimate How-To Guide

Learn how to cook delicious slow cooker ribs with our step-by-step guide. These ribs are juicy, tender, and fall-off-the-bone delicious. Perfect for a family dinner or a BBQ party.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 410 kcal


  • Pork ribs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Water


  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Season both sides of the ribs with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub the seasonings all over the ribs.
  • Place the ribs in the slow cooker and add water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the ribs on the grill and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is caramelized.
Keyword slow cooker ribs, BBQ ribs, fall off the bone ribs, juicy ribs, tender ribs

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