Cheater BBQ Ribs

Last January we started a BBQ kick that has lasted pretty much every Sunday since. Since this is WI, and the weather isn’t always cooperative, I spent an inordinate amount researching and developing techniques to get the flavors in a variety of ways to ensure tastings and ease.


This weekend we made pork ribs, which I started Saturday and finished Sunday. Although they take a bit of time to pull off…it’s mostly hands off time.

We started with 2 1/2 lbs of pork ribs. I cut them into four pieces so that they would fit into out crackpot and later on the plate. I laid them on the butchers paper they came in, and rubbed every inch of them with a dry rub. We used about 1 cup.

You can use store bought or a pre-made, but we like concocting from scratch. There are several elements that always make it in: kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and smoked paprika.  Beyond that, it’s a hodge podge of what we have in the cupboard, tweaked until the mix smells appealing. Some suggestions include: cumin, nutmeg, chili powder, dry mustard, cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, or shallots.

Then they go into a 1 gallon freezer bag and are put into the fridge for 12-48 hours. More time is advisable, however anything over 12 provides enough flavor.

To cook: cut up one large onion into half moons (cut in half and then slice your way around) so that you have pieces to lay across the bottom on the crock pot. Carefully place all the ribs info the crock pot and cover. Heat on low for 4-6 hours. Cooking time depends on amount of meat and fat. You want them practically falling off the bone, but still in tact.

To finish, remove from the crock pot with tongs, and place on a tinfoil lined baking sheet, bones down. (In the warmer months we actually finish them on the grill, but it’s too cold right now). Baste with your favorite bbq sauce and let it sit for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400. Baste a 2nd time with the same sauce or for a variation, add a complimentary sauce. I often pick up random types of bbq sauce when it’s on sale to have on hand year round. Sometimes I Also ADD ingredients such as honey or bourbon.

Once the oven is ready, put the ribs in for 10 minutes. Check the level of bark (crust) and if it’s not sufficient yet, stick back in the oven for 2-5 more minutes. Serve with plenty of napkins or moist towelettes.


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