Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs image showing inside cut of cooked ribs.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs - a year round way to enjoy meaty, tender, finger licking, fall-off-the-bone ribs with the easiest preparation method ever.
Course Dinner, Party Food
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 or more servings
Author Barry C. Parsons


  • 4 large half racks of pork ribs back or side ribs

For the BBQ dry rub

  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground oregano
  • 1 tbsp ground thyme
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp dry mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the Molasses Honey BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic
  • cups plain tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • cup fancy molasses
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground dry oregano
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


To prepare the dry rub

  1. Mix together well and store any unused dry rub in an airtight container in a cool place.
  2. I like to mix it together by pulsing it together in the food processor. This ensures it is very well blended and also breaks up any lumps in the brown sugar. It also makes it a finer consistency, which is helpful when using it in a spice shaker.

To prepare the BBQ sauce

  1. Simply add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer over medium low heat.
  2. Stir the sauce occasionally and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens to a consistency similar to ketchup.

To prepare the slow cooker ribs

  1. Liberally sprinkle both sides of the ribs with dry rub. You don't want to spare the seasoning. Use plenty.
  2. At this stage you can wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and leave them for up to 24 hours before cooking. This allows the seasoning mix to penetrate flavour into the meat. This not essential, you can choose to start cooking them immediately of you don't have time.
  3. After dry rubbing the ribs, brush both sides liberally with the bbq sauce.
  4. Place the ribs into the slow cooker with their ends sticking up. This will allow them to cook more evenly than stacking the racks of ribs on top of each other.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours depending upon the thickness of the ribs. Baby back ribs will be on the lower end of this scale and ticker back or side ribs will take the longest cooing time.
  6. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a rack on a baking sheet.
  7. Turn your broiler on low and broil for just a few minutes on each side before starting to brush on additional BBQ sauce.
  8. Turn and brush the ribs several times while brushing on the barbecue sauce ti get them well coated.
  9. Remove from oven, cut into individual ribs and serve.

Recipe Notes

To make these a day or two ahead, simply wrap and refrigerate  the ribs overnight after they come out of the slow cooker.

About a half hour before serving turn the oven on 350 degrees F. Place the ribs on a rack on a baking sheet and allow them to heat for 15 minutes.

At that point, turn the broiler on low and brush on the BBQ sauce as instructed in the recipe.