Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs are tender and juicy, slow cooked all day long with my homemade dry rub, then smothered in BBQ sauce and broiled until lightly charred. They’re perfect for the winter or a rainy day when you don’t want to go outside to use the grill!

It is still summertime for a few more weeks, so there’s still time to enjoy our favorite BBQ foods like my Crockpot BBQ Chicken Thighs, BBQ Slow Cooker Pork Loin, and Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks!

Crockpot Ribs Recipe
Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs are rubbed with my own blend of spices and brown sugar, then slow cooked all day long until they’re falling-off-the-bone tender. Then I like to smother them in my homemade BBQ sauce, and broil them for just a few minutes to give them that charred grill flavor. This recipe is perfect for days when you don’t have time to sit at home watching the ribs cook all day (like my Smoked BBQ Ribs), but you still have that craving. Slow cooker ribs are also a great way to prep them early for a party, freeing up the grill or oven space for other items!

How do you know when slow cooker ribs are cooked?

The USDA says ribs are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 145F. A good way to check is with a meat thermometer. But once they’re falling off the bone, you’re good to go. 

What to Serve With Ribs

Slow Cooker Ribs

What is the difference between baby back ribs and spare ribs?

The difference between baby back ribs and spare ribs is where the cut of ribs comes from on the animal. Spare ribs are cut from the belly and have less meat on them with more bone. Baby back ribs are cut from the back and have more meat. Even though there’s more bone, spare ribs are known for being more flavorful than baby back ribs.  

How long does it take to BBQ ribs?

These slow cooker ribs take 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. Personally, I recommend the low setting, because the longer they cook, the more tender they get. But high will work in a pinch when you don’t have much time.

Tips For Making This Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe

  • Don’t forget to remove the membrane from the ribs. Use a small sharp knife to lift it from the meat, then pull it back and off. Some cuts already have this removed, you should be able to see the white(ish) layer if it is still there. 
  • If you don’t have the ingredients for the spice rub, try slow cooking the ribs in a bottle of Italian salad dressing instead for flavor. 
  • I like to use my homemade BBQ sauce or Honey BBQ sauce at the end, but you can use your favorite brand.
  • I add apple cider on the bottom of the slow cooker for flavor. If you don’t have apple cider, you can use water or broth for this, too. 
  • When you go to take your ribs out of the slow cooker, the meat may start to fall away from the bone. Use a pair of tongs and try to get them around the whole piece, using a slotted spoon if you have to on the bottom, to lift them out of the slow cooker. 
  • Ribs are greasy by nature. If you’re going to broil them with the bbq sauce at the end, I recommend lining a baking sheet with parchment paper first to help protect your baking sheet, and to make cleanup easier. 
  • Use a crockpot liner to make cleanup easier, too!
  • Save some extra BBQ sauce to serve with the ribs at the end, just in case someone wants theirs extra saucy.        

Slow Cooker Ribs Dry Rub

Can you eat pink ribs?

The general rule is to use a meat thermometer and check that they have come to a safe temperature of 145F. Check in the most center part of the rib. Try to choose the biggest part of the meat you can find. Or check it in a few different spots to make sure it has cooked evenly. 

How do you make slow cooker ribs dry rub?

Make slow cooker ribs dry rub by mixing these ingredients together. You can also use this slow cooker ribs dry rub on other cuts of pork. Try using smoked paprika in the dry rub recipe to add some extra smoky flavor, or increase the cayenne for more heat.   

  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt (I add this to the rub if I’m not adding BBQ sauce later)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Crockpot Ribs Recipe

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs are tender and juicy, slow cooked all day long with my homemade dry rub, then smothered in BBQ sauce and broiled until lightly charred. They’re perfect for the winter or a rainy day when you don’t want to go outside to use the grill!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: DishingDelish.com
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 rack pork spare ribs, membrane removed
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, gluten free
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, mix together spices. Rub mixture on to both sides of ribs evenly. 
  • Cut ribs into sections and place them into the slow cooker. Pour apple cider on top. Set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
  • Once the ribs are done, pull them out of the slow cooker and lay them on a baking sheet. Brush with BBQ sauce evenly, then broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly charred on the top. Brush with additional BBQ sauce before serving.

Notes

Click on the time in the instructions to start a timer!
*Nutrition Facts May Vary Depending on BBQ Sauce you use.

Nutrition

Calories: 607kcal (30%)Carbohydrates: 37g (12%)Protein: 26g (52%)Fat: 39g (60%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Cholesterol: 130mg (43%)Sodium: 869mg (38%)Potassium: 625mg (18%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 29g (32%)Vitamin A: 812IU (16%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 60mg (6%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
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