This simple recipe for Crockpot Ribs that fall right off the bone is going to wow you. The ribs take no effort to cook and are insanely tender and flavorful. The meat will actually fall right off the bone, no knives needed.
Their are 2 main flavor factors in great ribs – the seasoning and the sauce. Ribs get cooked low and slow (meaning at a low temperature for a long time) to create that super tender fall off the bone texture. While they’re cooking it’s important to have them well seasoned. That bbq dry rub will absorb into the meat and develop that deep rich taste that we all love about good pork.
Once the meat is cooked, the sauce is the second flavor impact. The sauce will be the first thing you taste to go with something you love. The BBQ sauce gets baked on at a high temperature to create a super sticky, thick coating of sweetness that makes you say “can you pass me another napkin?”
This easy slow cooker ribs recipe will surely become a family favorite recipe and you will love that because they are seriously so easy to make.
About the Ingredients for Slow Cooker Ribs
Pork Ribs – a large rack of pork ribs. To fit the ribs in the pot you may need to cut them in half. I use kitchen shears and just cut down the meaty part between 2 of the center bones.
BBQ Spice Rub – I like to make my own bbq rub using brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper but you could also use a store bought rub like this Honey Hog Meat Church seasoning.
BBQ Sauce – you don’t need much sauce because the dry rub will flavor the meat while it cooks but I still like that sticky saucy top on my ribs. Use about 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce or try this delicious Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce.
Scallions – these are entirely optional garnish. The color makes the plate look a lot more appetizing and scallions have a hint of spice that balances out the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
How to Make Crockpot Ribs
Begin by opening up your package of ribs and flip it so the meat side is facing down on your work surface. Starting at an edge, pull up on the white membrane that covers the back of the entire rack. It should peel back fairly easily, like removing a sticker. Lift it slowly until it detaches completely and discard. Here is a simple video on how to remove the membrane from ribs if you aren’t sure.
Now it’s time to prep your ribs for the seasoning. Using paper towels pat the ribs dry and then discard the towels.
Sprinkle the BBQ rub over the meaty side of the ribs and use your fingers to press it onto the meat. Be sure to cover all of the the meat well.
Move your ribs to the crockpot. In order to fit the whole rack in you might need to cut the rack in half. Use kitchen shears and simply cut down the meaty part between 2 of the center bones. Alternatively you could also wrap the rack of ribs around the inside of the pot.
Put the lid on the crockpot and set it to cook for 7 hours on low.
When your ribs are cooked, preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the ribs from the crockpot to a foil lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the ribs generously with BBQ sauce. Move the ribs to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. When the ribs are done they should be falling off the bone and deliciously sticky. Slice them up and sprinkle them with chopped scallions to serve.
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
Switching up the flavor of your Crockpot Ribs is easily done by adjusting your seasonings and your sauce. Rather than BBQ style try an Asian inspired flavor. Use Chinese 5 spice in place of BBQ rub and one of Bachman’s Japanese BBQ Sauces to finish them off in the oven.
Make Ahead Instructions
I love the keep warm function on my crockpot. Unlike using the oven you don’t need an exact time to pull the food out. If you’re serving your ribs the same day, simply prep them, put them in the crockpot and set it to cook. Once it’s done the crockpot will automatically turn to “keep warm” and you don’t have to give your ribs another thought until whatever time you’re ready to serve them. All you’ll need is 10 minutes in the oven so let them stay in the slow cooker and continue to tenderize. And don’t worry about them drying out. They have created plenty of their own liquid from cooking juices so they will stay plenty moist.
If you plan to serve your ribs the next day, the best way to prep them is to cook them according to the recipe but stop when you remove them from the crockpot. Place them on the foil lined baking sheet and let them cool to room temperature. Then cover them with foil and move them to the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to warm up your ribs, move them to the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature while the oven preheats to 425°F. Leave the ribs covered and move them to the hot oven for 20 minutes to get them nice and hot. Once they’re hot you can remove the foil, baste them with bbq sauce and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered to finish them off.
Freezer Meal – How to Freeze Crockpot Ribs
Prepare your ribs all the way through and then let them cool. Wrap them tightly in plastic and then foil and place them in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy your fall off the bone ribs simply thaw them and reheat them. Keep in mind that they may need to be basted with sauce again depending on how much has come off on the wrapping.
FAQ’s and Recipe Tips
Cook the ribs in the slow cooker for 7 hours on low. You can also cook them for 3-4 hours on high but low and slow is the best method.
No, adding liquid to the crockpot is not necessary. The pot will heat up and cook the meat without liquid and the ribs themselves will create plenty of their own cooking juices to keep everything moist.
Low and slow is key for making tender fall off the bone ribs.
There’s no need to flip the ribs in the slow cooker. The heat surrounds them on all sides so they will cook evenly without flipping.
The Recipe for Fall Off the Bone Crockpot Ribs
The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing. If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought. Serve your Crockpot Ribs with Sweet Potato Wedges and roasted asparagus to complete your meal. Enjoy!
Fall Off the Bone Crockpot Ribs
- 1 crockpot
- 1 rack pork ribs large
- 3 tbsp BBQ spice rub
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 scallions chopped
Homemade BBQ Spice Rub
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- Remove the membrane across the back of the rack of ribs using your fingers.1 rack pork ribs
- Pat the ribs dry with paper towels.
- Rub the meaty side of the ribs with barbecue spice rub.3 tbsp BBQ spice rub
- Place ribs in the slow cooker. If you need to cut them in half and stack them on top of each other, that is fine. You could also wrap the rack of ribs around the pot.
- Set slow cooker to cook on low for 7 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Transfer ribs to a foil lined baking sheet.
- Brush the meaty side of the ribs with half a cup of barbecue sauce.1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- Bake for 10 minutes then remove ribs to a cutting board.
- Slice, garnish with scallions and serve.2 scallions