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Crock Pot Ribs are seasoned with a dry rub and basted with barbecue sauce for a flavorful, easy dinner recipe that’s perfect on busy weeknights! This all-day slow cooker recipe transforms the pork ribs into tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that melts in your mouth — with only 10 minutes of prep!

Close overhead shot of Crock Pot Ribs on a cutting board with basting brush and barbecue sauce

It may not be summer grilling season, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a homemade barbecue feast! This easy slow cooker ribs recipe gives you that smokehouse restaurant taste in the comfort of your own home.

What type of ribs for the Slow Cooker?

I prefer St. Louis-style pork ribs, but this recipe and cooking method will also work for baby back ribs and country-style pork ribs. St. Louis-style ribs are cut from the belly of the animal after the belly is removed, and are meatier than the baby back ribs. These St. Louis-style ribs have a higher amount of fat, which makes them really flavorful.

By contrast, country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They contain no rib bones, but instead contain parts of the shoulder blade.

Close overhead shot of crock pot ribs on a blue and white plate

How to make Crock Pot Ribs:

Since the slow cooker adds liquid (condensation) to the ribs and sauce, I find that a dry rub is really necessary in order to give the meat a lot of flavor. Otherwise, you end up with a watered-down barbecue sauce and not much else!

Dry rub for crock pot ribs in a small glass bowl

Crock Pot Ribs Dry Rub Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

Rub the seasoning mixture onto both sides of the ribs and place them in a slow cooker.

Ribs with dry rub in slow cooker

Pour your favorite barbecue sauce over the top, along with the liquid smoke. While it’s impossible to recreate the smokey flavor of barbecue ribs that are actually smoked over real wood outside, the combination of smoked paprika (in the rub) and the liquid smoke give this Crock Pot version some nice smokey taste!

Bottle of Stubbs Barbecue Sauce

How long to cook Crock Pot Ribs:

Pork ribs are best when cooked low-and-slow, because this method allows the tough meat fibers to break down and become tender and juicy. The fat on the ribs also helps to keep the meat moist and tender as it cooks over a long period of time.

Cook the ribs in a Crock Pot for 9-10 hours on LOW. If you’re using baby back ribs instead of the St. Louis-style or country-style ribs, you may need to decrease the cooking time to about 8 hours on LOW (to account for the smaller ribs).

You know the ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 203°F, because the collagens and fats melt at this temp and make the meat more tender and juicy.

Front shot of cut up Crock Pot ribs on a cutting board

What sides go with ribs?

Ribs pair perfectly with just about any of the classic Southern sides. Here are some of our favorites:

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • While we prefer St. Louis-style ribs, you can also use this recipe with baby back ribs and country-style ribs. If using baby back ribs, decrease the cooking time to 8 hours on LOW to account for the smaller ribs.
  • We like Stubbs Original Barbecue Sauce which is slightly spicy and not too sweet, but you can use any barbecue sauce that you prefer. You can also make your own barbecue sauce at home, or try a homemade sauce with Coke!
  • If you can’t find St. Louis-style ribs at your store, you can use pork spareribs and trim them to be St. Louis ribs. There’s a great tutorial in this article if you’d like to trim your own spareribs at home.
Slow Cooker Ribs on a plate with cornbread and coleslaw with more cornbread in the background

More Crock Pot barbecue recipes that you might enjoy:

Close overhead shot of Crock Pot Ribs on a cutting board with basting brush and barbecue sauce

Crock Pot Ribs

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 9 hours
0 minutes
Total: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 553.2 kcal
Crock Pot Ribs are seasoned with a dry rub and basted with barbecue sauce for a flavorful, easy dinner recipe that's perfect on busy weeknights!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 lbs. St. Louis-style pork ribs (or substitute with baby back ribs or country-style ribs)
  • 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke, optional

Instructions

  • Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, chili powder, salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
  • Prepare the ribs by removing the shiny, thin membrane that covers most of the backside of the ribs. To do so, use a knife or fingernail to pry up a corner of the thin membrane from one edge of the ribs. Grab that with a paper towel (for grip) and slowly pull it up. Once a good portion of the membrane is free, you should be able to pull the rest off in one quick motion.
  • Pat the ribs dry and rub the seasoning mixture onto both sides of the ribs. Place ribs in slow cooker.
  • Pour barbecue sauce and liquid smoke (if using) over the ribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 9-10 hours.

Notes

  • While we prefer St. Louis-style ribs, you can also use this recipe with baby back ribs and country-style ribs. If using baby back ribs, decrease the cooking time to 8 hours on LOW to account for the smaller ribs.
  • We like Stubbs Original Barbecue Sauce which is slightly spicy and not too sweet, but you can use any barbecue sauce that you prefer. You can also make your own barbecue sauce at home, or try a homemade sauce with Coke!
  • If you can’t find St. Louis-style ribs at your store, you can use pork spareribs and trim them to be St. Louis ribs. There’s a great tutorial in this article if you’d like to trim your own spareribs at home.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 553.2kcalCarbohydrates: 17.8gProtein: 34.2gFat: 36.2gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1213.8mgPotassium: 35.1mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 10.3g
Keyword: Crock Pot Ribs, slow cooker ribs, st. louis style ribs recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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