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A platter of BBQ'd Slow-Cooker Ribs
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5 from 2 votes

Slow-Cooker Ribs

Juicy, tender, flavorful ribs slow-cooked then grilled or broiled for the perfect char.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time7 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilling, ribs, slow-cooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 933kcal
Author: Tricia


For the spice rub:

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

For the ribs:

  • 4 pounds pork spareribs St. Louis-style, trimmed (two small racks are best to fit in the slow-cooker)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (see link in notes for recipe)


  • Combine all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Using paper towels, pat the ribs dry and then cover both sides with the spice rub. Be sure to massage the spices into the meaty side of the ribs. Cut the rack(s) in half and place them in the slow-cooker vertically with the thick ends pointing down and the meaty side against the interior wall of the slow-cooker. If the ribs are too tall to fit against the wall, tilt them toward the sides of the slow-cooker. Ribs may overlap, this is okay. Cover and cook until ribs are just tender and the meat is pulling away from the bones, about 5 or 6 hours on high or 6 or 7 hours on low.
  • Using two sets of tongs carefully remove the ribs to a baking sheet (meaty side up) and allow them to rest about ten minutes.

To grill the ribs:

  • While the ribs are resting, preheat the grill on high. Using two sets of tongs transfer ribs to the grill with the meaty side facing up. While the bottom of the ribs char, cover the top meaty part with the barbecue sauce. After five minutes, carefully turn the ribs with the sauce side facing down. Brush sauce on the other side. Grill the ribs, turning one more time adding more sauce until the ribs are well charred and the sauce is caramelized, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the grill, tent with foil and allow ribs to rest for 15 minutes. Cut ribs in between the bones to separate. Serve with remaining sauce.

To broil the ribs:

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Adjust the oven rack 3 inches from the broiler element and heat on high. Place the ribs on the rack, meaty side up. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and broil until the sauce is bubbling and starting to char, about 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven and brush with additional sauce. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut ribs in between the bones to separate. Serve.


  • If you can find smaller racks it’s much easier to fit them in the slow-cooker. Larger racks will be too tall to rest straight up vertically in the slow-cooker. Tilt the large racks until they fit and you’re able to cover the cooker with a lid. They’ll cook fine tilted so no worries.
  • Try our homemade Easy Honey BBQ Sauce recipe
  • Serve with our favorite no-mayo Super Cole Slaw Recipe
  • Cooking method adapted from Cook’s Country.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 933kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 1145mg | Potassium: 882mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 506IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg