Best Baby Back Ribs in the Slow Cooker
These ribs will be some of the best you've ever had. The ribs will fall apart right out of the slow cooker, so be warned. Just a little prep work required - make the sauce first to pour some over the ribs at beginning of cooking. Then reduce on the stove-top toward the end of cooking for a thick Asian-inspired sticky sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 -8
- 2 racks of pork baby back ribs
- Dry Rub
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Sticky Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce found in the international section of the grocery store
- ⅔ cup reduced sodium soy sauce or regular if you don't have the low-salt
- ⅔ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon hot water
Lay the pork ribs out on a cutting board and make sure that the membrane from underneath the ribs has been removed (most stores and butchers do remove this).
Make the dry rub:
Mix together all the ingredients listed above for the rub. Using your hands, massage the rub into both sides of the ribs, concentrating a bit more on the top, meaty portion of the rack. Let rest while you start the sauce.
Make the sauce:
In a bowl, stir together the ginger, pepper, and onion powder. Add the garlic and mix again. Add the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and honey. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Get ribs in the slow cooker:
Place the ribs in the slow cooker: To ensure that the ribs cook evenly, stand the racks up along the perimeter of the slow cooker with the wide end down and the meatier side of the ribs facing the slow-cooker insert wall. (The rib bones will be laying vertically and the slabs are now curled around each other in the cooker.)
Pour about 1 1/2 cup of the sauce over the ribs and place the remaining half into a small bowl and put in the refrigerator for now.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook at low for 8 hours. (I have cooked them on high for 2 1/2 hours and then switched to low for 4 hours with perfect success as well.)
Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a tin foil lined broil pan or baking sheet, meaty side up.
Remove the sauce from the refrigerator and brush a little more of the sauce on top of the ribs until nice and shiny. Leave ribs alone for a minute while you finish the sauce.
Heat the saucepan to medium heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Once it starts boiling, whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small dish. Stir together and then while whisking in the saucepan, slowly drizzle in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk until it comes back to a boil and then turn to medium low and allow to simmer until it begins to reduce and thicken, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
Finish the ribs:
Place the meat under the broiler in the middle of the oven for a few minutes or until it looks sticky and broiled. Be sure to watch it carefully. Allow to rest, tented with foil for 3-5 minutes and serve with the sticky sauce on the side.