Barbecue While You Shop: Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs


I don’t mean you can make ribs in the oven or grill while you shop online. You can, but this is better. The weather is great for a minute! Go outside!

These ribs cook while you’re gone at work, while you’re asleep, while you’re hanging out with your kids, or while you’re wandering Soho, checking out the sales at the art supply store and Sur la Table. I highly recommend the latter. (Though I think I managed to buy the only thing in there that wasn’t discounted.)

I really think slow cookers are worth the counter space, especially for busy folks. And I have precious little counter space. A lot of people have visions of mushy stews and everything tasting the same when it comes out of the crockpot, but really, anything that you braise can be slow-cooked, especially if you’re willing to do a little prep work.


They may not be for the purists among you, but for the rest of us, these ribs are tasty, and cheap, and easy. Isn’t that a worthy trifecta?

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
Serves two

1 full rack pork spare ribs, trimmed and cut in half
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 oranges
1 lemon
2 bottles of beer
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 18-oz (or so) bottle barbecue sauce (I recommend Stubb’s)
hot sauce for serving

Rub ribs with paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder. If you have time, refrigerate after rubbing for 1-3 hours. Zest oranges and lemon. Juice oranges and lemon, adding juice to the slow cooker. Crumble chipotle and add to slow cooker. Bring ribs to room temperature if you refrigerated them. Brown each half of the rack of ribs on both sides in a heavy skillet. Add first half to slow cooker, pour a little barbecue sauce on top, then add second half. Add beers, then top off with more barbecue sauce. Add about 3/4 of the bottle of barbecue sauce total. Ideally ribs will be just submerged in liquid. If you have time, cook ribs for 10-12 hours on low. This way they will be most tender. If not, cook for five hours on high. Remove ribs from liquid (discard liquid), serve with the rest of the barbecue sauce and hot sauce.

If you’re preparing these overnight, refrigerate ribs submerged in the cooking liquid (in a casserole, not your slow cooker insert) during the day. Before heating, remove fat from surface. Reheat in the oven, finishing with a quick broil to crisp them up if you want.

In barbecue, meat, pork, ribs, slow cooker

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