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RECIPESlow-Cooker Recipes

Slow-Cooker BBQ Ribs with Tangy Sauce

6 hours. Cook
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Barbecue ribs are an American culinary treasure, deeply rooted in the country’s rich history and diverse regional flavors. They’re a symbol of community gatherings, backyard cookouts, and the unmistakable aroma of slow-cooked, tender meat smothered in finger-licking barbecue sauce. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of barbecue, specifically focusing on a mouthwatering recipe for Slow-Cooker BBQ Ribs with a tangy sauce that will leave your taste buds dancing.

Historical Context: Barbecue as we know it today has its origins in Native American and African cooking techniques, which were later influenced by Spanish, Caribbean, and European culinary traditions. The word “barbecue” itself is believed to have been derived from the Taíno word “barbacoa,” describing a raised wooden platform used for cooking meat over an open flame. Over the centuries, barbecue has evolved and diversified, with various regions of the United States developing their unique styles and flavors, from Texas brisket to Carolina pulled pork.


1. Prep the Ribs:

  • Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use a knife to lift one corner, then grab it with a paper towel and peel it off. This step ensures that your ribs will be tender and flavorful.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to create a flavorful dry rub.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the racks of ribs, ensuring they’re well coated. Allow the ribs to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or for an even better flavor, refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight.

2. Prepare the Slow Cooker:

  • Place a layer of aluminum foil in the bottom of your slow cooker to make cleanup easier.
  • If your slow cooker has a removable rack or insert, use it to elevate the ribs slightly. If not, you can bunch up balls of aluminum foil to create a makeshift rack.

3. Slow Cook the Ribs:

  • Lay the marinated ribs in the slow cooker, curving them around the inside.
  • Set the slow cooker to low heat and cover it with the lid.
  • Let the ribs cook for 6 to 8 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bones. The slow cooking process will infuse the ribs with flavor and ensure they are incredibly tender.

4. Prepare the Tangy Sauce:

  • While the ribs are cooking, you can prepare the tangy barbecue sauce.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and honey until well combined. This sauce strikes the perfect balance between sweet, tangy, and savory flavors.

5. Finish the Ribs:

  • Once the ribs are done in the slow cooker, carefully remove them and transfer them to a baking sheet or a grill.
  • Preheat your grill or broiler to medium-high heat.

6. Glaze and Grill:

  • Brush a generous amount of the tangy barbecue sauce over both sides of the ribs.
  • Place the ribs on the preheated grill or under the broiler for 3-5 minutes per side, or until they develop a delicious caramelized crust. Be sure to watch them closely to prevent burning.

7. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Once the ribs are nicely glazed and have a slightly charred finish, remove them from the grill or broiler.
  • Let the ribs rest for a few minutes before cutting them into individual portions.
  • Serve the Slow-Cooker BBQ Ribs with extra barbecue sauce on the side, some coleslaw, and your favorite barbecue side dishes.

prep time
6-8 hours.
cooking time
6 hours.
total time
6-8 hours.


  • Slow cooker

  • Mixing bowls

  • Whisk

  • Tongs

  • Basting brush

  • Aluminum foil


  • 2 racks of baby back ribs (about 4-5 pounds)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste for spiciness)

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite store-bought)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey


Prep the Ribs
Prepare the Slow Cooker
Slow Cook the Ribs
Prepare the Tangy Sauce
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