Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs Recipe

Ribs are one of those foods that always intimidated me, and while I liked them, I was never brave enough to cook them for the first few years I was married. Then, one day, there was a huge sale on ribs at our local store, and having no better idea for dinner, I bought them. On the drive home, I realized that I didn’t have a grill at the time or a ribs recipe, so after some online research, a slow cooker recipe was born. It turned out great and we’ve been cooking these ever since!

This is one of several variations that I make, and it might be my favorite. Adjust spices and sweetener to fit your own taste…

4.6 from 9 reviews
Slow Cooker Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These delicious slow cooker ribs are simple to prepare and a great meal to come home to on a busy day.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: BBQ
Serves: 4+
  • 4 pounds of beef or pork ribs, cut every 3-4 ribs to fit in crock pot
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce (make sure it's grain free. I think Lea and Perrins is)
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ cup honey or molasses (optional)- can also use a dash of stevia
  1. Dice the onion and place at the bottom of a crock pot (at least 6 quarts!).
  2. Sprinkle the garlic and chili powders, salt and pepper on the ribs an put them in the crock pot also.
  3. Mix the tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, worcestershire, liquid smoke and sweetener if using and then pour evenly over the ribs.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until tender.
  5. Toss in sauce before serving.

Ever barbecued in your crock pot? How did it turn out? Share your recipe below!

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Reader Comments

  1. These sound great! I’ve been doing pork country style ribs in the crockpot adobo style. Equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar (about a cup), a few cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of fresh minced ginger and a bay leaf. Toss it all in the crockpot over the ribs and let it cook until tender. Works with any type of  meat. You can serve it with the sauce, but I find it doesn’t need it. I also don’t like to ingest that much soy, but if you just use it to cook you eat very little of it.
    I throw the bones in my “broth bag” in the freezer and when I’ve collected enough odds and ends I make bone broth- no waste!

  2. Thanks for the recipe. There must have been a sale because my husband came home with some yesterday. Instead of letting him grill them or put them in the smoker I wanted to find a recipe for the crockpot . So this comes at the perfect time. Do you know if there is a liquid smoke that does not contain MSG? I think liquid smoke is genius but my husband is highly sensitive to MSG so sadly I threw it out. Thanks 🙂

  3. I never made ribs this way, but I think this weekend I’ll try it.  Thanks for the recipe and great post.  I’ve been using grass fed beef in all my dishes ever since I found out the benefits of it.  You should try it in one of your recipes.  Just check out the La Cense Beef website.  I’ll let you know how my ribs come out.

    • I also cook with grass fed beef almost exclusively. We get it from a local farmer and it is wonderful! I’ve stopped adding “grassfed” to every post though, as I got some complaints from people who weren’t able to find grassfed.

  4. Made these for dinner tonight.  So so easy to get everything in the crock pot this morning, then have dinner ready and waiting after running errands in the late afternoon!  They were delicious, and I can’t wait to try with a roast for some shredded bbq beef.  Thanks!

  5. Made these today!  They were FABULOUS!!!! So good and made the house smell great.  My husband was actually excited about dinner tonight! 

  6. I made this for dinner tonight. It was amazing! The barbecue sauce was so easy to make and delicious. My family loved it, this is definitely an instant classic in our family now.

  7. I would love to try this recipe, but all the Worcestershire sauce I find in the store has terrible ingredients in it like MSG and/or high fructose corn syrup…can you recommend a good brand?

  8. When we travelled over to America a couple months ago we fell in love with ribs! Haven’t tried cooking them yet! It’s 100% on the ‘to cook’ list!

  9. From the first time we made these last summer (2013) to their appearance on this week’s meal plan, every single person has RAVED about these ribs!!

  10. That’s some killer smelling bbq sauce, it’s cooking with the ribs now. For a beginner like me, that’s exciting! I’d like to find some more of your recipes that I can do, any recommendations on where to start? Thanks for this recipe.

  11. I have a rack of ribs and a couple of beef short ribs from the meat csa. Going to try doing them together tomorrow. Added a little extra spices to the sauce, and coconut sugar for the brown sugar flavor. Hoping forthe best. Worried that I have to put them in crockpot at 8:30 but I don’t get home til 6. Will ask hubby to turn them down to warm around 5ish.

  12. This recipes reads “scrumptiously”, and I’ve never been completely satisfied with recipes I’ve tried.
    Love the tomato sauce and paste instead of ketchup, and pineapple and pork love each other.

  13. Very good. I placed mine under the broiler after I took them out of the crock pot with a little homemade bbq tossed on….muy muy Bueno.

  14. This was terrible – mushy meat with no flavor. I should have trusted my instinct (and usual slow cooker grassfed recipes from the Against All Grain cookbook) and browned the meat. There is too much fat otherwise to slow cook this well as a bbq recipe.

  15. These were delicious!

    I modified the recipe slightly by using a tin of crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and added tomato paste which had herbs in it as that was all I had. Also added in a splash of tabasco sauce. The only thing I could have done is add more liquid smoke (mine’s been in the pantry for a while so may have lost its potency).

    It turned out very tasty, meat falling off the bone. My boyfriend couldn’t get enough!

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