Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

I thought I would share one of the crock pot recipes I've been doing for years. It's so easy and delicious (and relatively cheap) that I thought others might like to give it a try.


  • 2.5 pounds of country style ribs (beef or pork, try to catch them when they're on sale, they freeze great!)
  • 1 bottle of the BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is my absolute favorite and they recently went on sale at $0.88 for an 18 oz bottle, I bought 20)
  • 1 medium size onion (I love red onions, but any kind will do)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 10, as you prefer ) 
  • 6 mushrooms (optional, I buy cremini but anything works)
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T vegetable oil (or bacon grease, if you're like me and always have some handy :) )
  • Salt and pepper to flavor (or your favorite BBQ spice rub)

This really is about as easy as cooking can get. Dice the onion, when I made it this morning I had red and white onions in the fridge so I used half a red and half a white onion but the key really is to get a nice dice going and get that onion-y goodness in your crock pot. 

Break down your garlic cloves, dice them finely or use a press, and toss em in the crock pot. 

Grab your bottle of BBQ sauce and pour the whole thing in. In order to get all of the yumminess out of the BBQ bottle, pour your beef broth into the bottle and shake, shake, shake it up. Pour the beef broth into the mix as well. 

Now, if you're lucky enough to have a bottle of Wickersham Family Authentic Down Home BBQ Spice Rub shake a decent helping into the pot, otherwise add a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and send me an email begging for a sample of my spice rub. 

Next quarter (or smaller, if you're a little mushroom queasy) the mushrooms and mix them into your crock pot. These mushroom are totally optional, you could leave them out completely if you wish but why would you! Their primary role is, of course, to add their earthy, nutty flavor to the recipe. The added benefit, even more of course, is that they give you something else to soak up the yummy base you just made over the next 8 hours and help stretch the recipe if you're feeding a large family. And an earthy, nutty flavor, of course. 

Now that you have your base taken care of (that was really easy, right) it's time to turn to your meat. You could just throw the ribs into the crock pot and be done; I've done this on many occasions when I've been in a hurry. It will be delicious. 

If you have a few extra minutes, however (a really, really small number of minutes) you can crank the flavor up a few notches by browning the ribs before you put them in the crock pot. The flavor benefit to lightly browning these ribs before you braise them all day in the crock pot is unbelievable. The secret to all this extra flavor, obviously, is the Maillard reaction. It's also an opportunity to sneak some bacon into your ribs, which is never a bad idea. If you happen to have a tub (or a skillet left over from breakfast) of bacon grease you owe your family an apology if you skip this step. Seriously, it's bacon. Vegetable oil works well too if that's all you have (seriously, save your bacon grease). You want a mid-hot pan so you get a good sizzle, grab your tongs and lightly brown each side of your ribs. Then toss them into the crock pot. That's it. 5 minutes for flavor magic.

Now, if you browned your ribs you've got to keep all those brown bits in the pan. Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar (I said 1 tablespoon but I just use a couple splashes to cover the pan) and use your wooden spoon or silicon spatula to to get all that gooey goodness off the bottom of the pan. Let it reduce for just another minute (really, you've got the time!) and pour it into the crock pot. 

If you didn't brown your ribs, just pour a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar into the crock pot. Seriously though, brown the ribs. 

That's it! Stir it up a little to make sure the ribs are coated and set the timer so they're done by dinner. I like to go low for at least 8 hours but it's up to you. These ribs tend to be pretty tough and chewy so the lower and slower you can cook them the better they'll be. I like to serve them on a plate with some rice and my kids love them. Let me know if you try it!


Grammysham said...

You are so my son:)

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