For intensely flavorful ribs that practically melt off the bone into your mouth, this recipe is a must. Under low heat for hour after hour, the gelatin and connective tissue in the ribs breaks down to a velvety smoothness, and the barbecue sauce soaks deep into the meat: even barbecue purists will have to admit that in this case, the slow-cooker has something going for it.
To make sure you get perfectly savory meat, and also to make the ribs easier to eat once they’re finally on your plate, you’ll want to remove the membrane before cooking them. The membrane is a very thin layer of tissue on the bone side of the ribs; it’s pale and quite elastic when you touch it. If you cook the ribs with the membrane on, the flavor of the sauce won’t be able to permeate the meat as well, so it’s better to take it off.
To remove the membrane, grab a fairly dull knife (a table knife works fine). You don’t want something that will cut the membrane; this actually makes the job harder. Slide a knife between the membrane and the bone at one end of the rack of ribs, and wiggle it around until you can loosen the membrane and lift it away from the ribs. Grab the edge you just freed up, and gently lift and pull; the membrane should come off in one whole piece. If it doesn’t, you can always pick another point along the rack of ribs, loosen up another section with your knife, and try again.
Removing the membrane makes your ribs much tenderer and easier to cut, and the flavor difference is very noticeable: if you’ve never tried ribs this way, you’re missing out! And considering that the prep time for all this deliciousness is only a few minutes, you really have no reason to stay deprived: go grab a big rack of ribs, whip yourself up a batch of homemade ketchup if you need one, and dig in!
Slow-Cooker Barbecue Ribs Recipe
- 4 lbs pork baby back ribs;
- 1 onion, minced;
- 1 pear, peeled and diced;
- 2 ½ cups homemade ketchup;
- 1 tbsp. chili powder;
- ½ tbsp. smoked paprika;
- 2 tsp. dried oregano;
- ¼ cup honey; (optional)
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar;
- 2 tsp. coconut aminos;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Remove the membrane from the ribs by loosening it with a dull knife and then peeling it off, as described above.
- Season the ribs to taste on both side with sea salt and black pepper.
- Place the ribs in a baking pan. Brown them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes on each side and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine together the ketchup, onion, pear, chili powder, paprika, oregano, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, and honey (if using), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the ribs in your slow cooker, and pour in the sauce, making sure that all the meat is coated.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.