Slow Cooker Ribs And Instant Pot Ribs For Cabin Fever

If you can't cook outdoors, you can do pretty well indoors. Now let's get this straight, slow cooker ribs can be tasty, but they are an entirely different animal than slow roasted BBQ ribs on a grill, smoker, or even indoors. There is a big difference between meats cooked in dry heat with warm air and in a wet environment like a slow cooker, instant pot, or stew pot. Wet cooked meats, also called stewed or braised, can be very moist and tender, but it is still possible to overcook and dry them out.

The core concept is to cook the meat in a closed pot over a low temp in a flavorful liquid that covers the meat only partially. Slow cookers are cheap and excellent at making braised meat that melts in your mouth. Instant pots are both slow cookers or if you wish, pressure cookers that can get the job done in less than an hour. They have the advantage of being easy to setup and you can start a meal in the morning and when you come home, it's ready and the house smells like a restaurant. Every dorm room needs one.

Slow cookers adhere to the same principles as good outdoor barbecue cookers: Low and slow heat in a moist atmosphere. Slow cookers come in a wide range of sizes. If yours is large enough to hold two slabs, just double the recipe. This recipe is designed for a slow cooker that uses heating coils all around a removable ceramic pot such as the Rival Crock-Pot, West Bend Crockery Cookers, and Cuisinart Slow Cooker. Rival trademarked the name Crock-Pot and it is now owned by Jarden Corp. Some crockery cookers are nothing more than a hot plate with a crock on top. These heat from below only, and will likely burn the sweet sauce. If you don't have a ceramic slow cooker, you can use a Dutch oven, a lidded pot, or even a baking pan covered with foil and put it in your oven at 200°F.

But don't just throw in a slab and a bottle of sauce (although this works fine). Make just little effort and you will be rewarded with this meat, potatoes, and veggie meal in one pot. If you have a Dutch oven or a nice pot with a tight lid, you're good to go. Assemble the ingredients and cook it in your oven so the pot is surrounded by heat, not from just below.

This recipe is so simple. The ribs steam in flavorful aromatics, the sauce penetrates the meat, and they fall off the bone. You can use a storebought sauce or make your own. Even a displaced Alabama girl stuck in a University of Minnesota dorm during a blizzard will feel a little bit like she's back on the farm if you serve her this ribs recipe alongside Pillsbury Buttermilk Flavored Biscuits, deli counter coleslaw, and Sara Lee Peach Pie.

Slow cooker temps

Slow cookers usually have three settings. Depending on the manufacturer, here's what the mean, more or less:

Low. Approximately 200°F

Medium. Approximately 250°F

High. Approximately 300°F

The problem is that if there is a lot of liquid in the crock, then the water temp will rise to 212°F and stay there no matter what temp you have on the dial.

Click here for another recipe for indoor ribs cooked in the oven.

Average: 4.2 (10 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe

slow cooker

Serves. 2

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree.

Cuisine. American.

Preparation time. 30 minutes

Crockpot cooking time. 4-8 hours

Ingredients

1 to 2 pounds of ribs, any cut 

2 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt

1 large onion, sliced into slivers

4 carrots peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 medium potatoes, skin on or off, cut into bite-size pieces (you can even use sweet potatoes)

1 crunchy apple, peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup Kansas City style tomato based barbecue sauce (try my Kansas City Classic or Eve's Pig Paint or one of my favorite store bought sauces) or teriyaki sauce such as my Hawaiian Huli-Huli Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce Recipe

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

About the sauce. Doctor the sauce as you see fit. Add a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce or minced hot peppers. Try a tablespoon of matchsticked ginger slivers. If you want it sweeter, add 2 tablespoons of honey or molasses or even your favorite jelly for a fruity flash. I ike to garnish with chopped scallions.

About liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is made by catching the smoke from smoldering hardwood, concentrating it, and dissolving it in alcohol. Many commercial barbecue sauces already have a nice jolt of iquid smoke in them. If you are using a commercial sauce, taste the sauce and if it tastes smoky, leave the liquid smoke out of the recipe. If you want more, add up to 1 tablespoon.

About the ribs. One slab of baby backs can be enough for two people. If you wish, you can use spares, rib tips, country ribs, and even chops. Use about 1.5 pounds per person of the boney cuts (spares, tips), or 1 pounds per person of the meatier cuts (country ribs and chops).

Method

1) Skin and trim. Slice into 2 to 3 rib sections. Sprinkle with salt. Optional. If you have a broiler, place the meat about 6" under the broiler for about 15 minutes per side until brown. Keep an eye on them because they can start smoking in a very hot broiler. If you don't have a broiler, you can brown them in a pan with a little oil. In an instant pot you can brown the meat in the pot. Otherwise, don't sweat it. The little bit of flavor added by browning will not be missed.

2) Mix the liquid smoke with the barbecue sauce.

3) Line the bottom of the crockpot with the onion slices, carrots, apples, and potatoes. Place a layer of ribs on top, meaty side up. Pour the sauce over the ribs and coat the surface with a brush, spoon, or your (clean) fingers. Place another layer of ribs on top of the first layer, pour on more sauce, and spread. Keep going until all the ribs are in. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Resist the temptation to put the meat on the bottom. It will just get mushy.

3) In a slow cooker, cover and cook on low (about 200°F) for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. In an instant pot on pressure cook for about 45 minutes.

4) When you're done you will notice that the sauce is not as thick as when you started. A lot of the juices from the meat and other gredients will be extracted and you'll have a rich, but runny sauce. If you have a stovetop, you can cook it down and thicken it, but I never bother. The thin sauce is concentrated in flavor and delicious.

5) Divide the meat and other stuff between the diners, pour off the sauce, and serve it on the side.

"Without such a thing as fast food, there would be no need for slow food."Michael Pollan

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

What people say about us

"The world’s leading outdoor cooking resource." Larry Olmsted, Forbes.com

"An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge." Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin

"I was crowned World Brisket Champion at the Jack Daniels World Championships using your Big Bad Beef Rub. Your site has played a pivotal role in my development." John Lattuca, WeekendWarriorBBQ, Montreal, Canada

"This meal was as memorable as my first sex, only better." Marie Overholt, San Francisco, CA

"The BBQ community is so extremely fortunate to have someone as passionate and articulate as you." Frank Ostini, Chef Winemaker, Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery, Buellton, CA

"I adapted your brisket rub recipe this summer and my customers love it (8,000 pounds served in 6 months)! My brisket even won 'best beef' in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair." Chef Larry Vito, BBQ Smokehouse, Sebastapol, CA

"Meathead is the best writer covering this part of the culinary world." John Markus, Producer, BBQ Pitmasters TV show

"The Rosetta Stone of BBQ." Bill Lamb

"I got laid last night because of your pastrami" Name withheld for obvious reasons

"Knowledgeable, smart, hilarious, and self-effacing." Laurel Stone

"I have worked as a professional cook in high end French restaurants for several years, so when I hit the internet looking for some BBQ info, I was really pleased to find an in depth and expansive site that had all the tips I was looking for." Aaron Ettlin, Portland, OR

"A Famous Dave's commercial came on claiming the best ribs in the world, and my honey shook his head and said, 'nope, it's right here.' Many, many thanks!" Red Taylor, San Francisco, CA

"We had a fantastic season winning two Grand Championships and five Reserve Grand Championships. I always appreciate referring to your site. Thanks." Steve, Grills Gone Wild, IA

"I have always loved cooking ribs but with our new gas grill they were never as good as charcoal. Well that all changed last night when I made the greatest ribs I have ever tasted. My wife wanted to know if I bought them somewhere and then claimed I cooked them myself." Allen Nicley, Mont Alto, PA

"The Memphis Dust and the pulled pork are excellent! I had to dang near run people out of my house!" Aswad Johnson

"I was about to buy a new smoker. After reading your article about setting up a horizontal smoker, I decided to try rehabilitating something the previous owner of my house left in the backyard. Total investment: $100. I figure I saved at least $500!" Coleman Shelton, Calvert City, KY

"Amazingribs.com is the most information packed barbecue site known to man." Pitmaster and BBQ Columnist George Hensler

"AmazingRibs.com is the world's go-to place for a barbecue treasure house of reliable information." Ardie "Remus Powers" Davis, author of numerous barbecue books

"This is my new go-to method for prime rib." Candy Weaver, President, Kansas City Barbeque Society

"We've won five Grand Championships and two Reserve Championships in the past three months. Learned much about BBQ from you and wanted to give you credit." Harry Soo, SlapYoDaddyBBQ.com

"The Alton Brown of Que." Joe Mizrahi, Smokin' Joe's, NYC

"I have always loved to travel and eat. Life became boring when I had to give up my worldly adventures. Thanks to you I now love to cook. I am now having adventures at home in my kitchen and my back yard. I am no longer bored, and my large family is grateful too. Thank you so much." Dugan Hoeflinger, Tucson, AZ

"I am in the process of opening a cafe and thought your simple sweet sour slaw is an amazing winner." James Murray, Toronto

"I had two ribs and my boyfriend ate the other 3 1/2 pounds. He couldn't stop to talk. He had to bring a box of tissues to the table because these ribs are so good they make him weep. He tells me that my ribs have deepened his love for me. Well, fine, but I know that just means he wants more ribs." Nancy J. Mostad, Minnesota


Placeholder

Related articles

Placeholder

Placeholder

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

...some HTML for the first variant...

Placeholder

Placeholder

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling, get a FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Lookit what our members are cooking:


Post comments and questions below

Placeholder

1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

 

Click to ask questions and make comments