Slow Cooker Pork Ribs in a Barbecue Sauce

Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding. 

I seem to be cooking all sorts in the slow cooker these days, and using it more often than my oven for cooking meat. I sometimes feel that slow cookers are regarded as a bit old-fashioned these days; even Nigella gave them a thumbs down in the introduction to her book Kitchen. But I love mine, and it's become as essential in our kitchen as the toaster or kettle.

I happened to notice a barbecue ribs recipe done in the slow cooker on Pinterest the other day and so I thought I'd give it a go myself. The recipe I saw suggested standing up a whole rack of back ribs in the slow cooker on its side but as my ribs were all chopped into individual chunks, I just slathered them in BBQ sauce and dumped them into the crockpot but made sure to put a layer of onions on the base to stop them sticking. There isn't much liquid at all and so I was paranoid about it sitting on the bottom and the meat sticking to it in a jammy mess. But it didn't. The onions, as they cook, let off quite a bit of steam by themselves, helping to cook the ribs.

They were so easy to make, soft and tender and the meat just fell off the bone. My children loved the carnivore element of nibbling on the ribs and we served ours up with home-made coleslaw and chips. Next time I make them I'm going to give them a Chinese marinade instead. Cheap, cheerful and so, so tasty.

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs in a Barbecue Sauce
Serves 4-5
  • 10 meaty pork ribs
  • 1 bottle of your favourite Barbecue sauce
  • 1 large onion
  1. Switch on your slow cooker and set it to medium. Peel and slice an onion, and lay the slices in the bottom of the crockpot. With your hands, rub the bottle of barbecue sauce into the ribs, making sure each one is well covered. Place the ribs in the slow cooker on top of the onions and tip in any remaining sauce. Put the lid on and leave to cook for 4 hours, on medium.
  2. Once the 4 hours are up, switch the slow cooker up to high and cook for a further 2 hours. At the end of the cooking time, push one of the meatier ribs with a spoon; the meat should move away from the bone but still be fairly firm. Switch off your slow cooker and preheat your oven to 220C.
  3. Line a baking tray with foil and remove each of the ribs carefully with tongs (you don't want them to break up too much, but if they do don't worry) and transfer to the foil-lined baking tray. Spoon out some of the liquid in the slow cooker and drizzle over each of the ribs. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, until crisp on the outside.
  4. While the ribs are in the oven, discard the onions and tip the sauce into a shallow pan. Bring to the boil and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve the ribs and ladle some of the sauce over them.

Baked Pork Ribs