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Slow Cooker And Instant Pot Ribs Recipe

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3.07 from 29 votes
Don't let weather conditions stop you from enjoying tender, juicy, BBQ-style pork ribs. With this comprehensive recipe, you can produce mouthwatering results indoors in a crockpot or instant pot type slow cooker.

Serve with: your favorite red wine or bourbon cocktail.

Main Course


Servings: 2 servings, 1/2 slab each


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours


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).
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 match-sticked ginger slivers. If you want it sweeter, add 2 tablespoons of honey or molasses or even your favorite jelly for a fruity flash. I like to garnish with chopped scallions.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
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 liquid 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.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. Remove the leathery membrane from the back of the rack of ribs then remove any excess fat (read more about how to skin and trim ribs by clicking here). Slice into 2 to 3 rib sections. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Remove the ends and the outer skin of the onion. Cut it in half then into slivers.
  • Peel the carrots and cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Peel the potatoes (optional) then cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Peel the apple, quarter it, remove the core, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Mix the liquid smoke with the barbecue sauce.
  • Cook. (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.
  • 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.
  • Place the cover on the slow cooker 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve. Divide the meat and other stuff between the diners, pour off the sauce, and serve it on the side.