Baby back ribs are my ultimate guilty pleasure food. I grew to love them because my dad always took us out for ribs when I was a kid, and that age, there is nothing better than eating something messy with your hands. In fact, it’s still a lot of fun, which is why these baby back ribs are perfect for a simple weeknight dinner, a fun Sunday supper or a snack during a football game. They are bursting with barbecue flavor and are super simple. That’s right, these baby backs are easier to make at home than it is to drive to the local barbecue hot spot – and cheaper to boot.
The first thing you need to do is make your BBQ spice rub, which is just a blend of spices and seasonings you probably have in your pantry. If you plan on making these a few times during football season, you can make a bunch of the rub now and save it in an airtight container for use down the road. (Bonus: The rub is also tasty on chicken!)
Cut up the racks and fit them into your slow cooker, then pour barbecue sauce over the ribs and let them cook low and slow. This dish is perfect for workday cooking, so it would be easy for Monday or Thursday night football food or an easy after-work weeknight meal for the family.
When the ribs are perfectly tender, but not quite falling off the bone, you can remove them from the slow cooker and stick them under your oven’s broiler for a crisp, straight-from-the-smoker exterior and a juicy, tender bite inside. Brush the ribs with the leftover barbecue sauce and they’re ready to serve.
You can arrange a set on everyone’s plates with some macaroni and cheese and baked beans or cut them into individual pieces and put them on a big platter so people can grab them as they eat. You should probably try one first, though, just to make sure they are okay to eat. And then another to make sure they are perfectly seasoned. And maybe one last rib because you did all the work. What? There wasn’t much work? They’ll never know you followed the easiest recipe ever…
- 4 pounds baby back ribs (3 racks)
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bottle (40 oz.) barbecue sauce, divided
- Combine salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper. Rub mixture over the ribs.
- Cut each rack of ribs into 4 pieces and arrange pieces in slow cooker.
- Pour about 3/4 of the barbecue sauce over the ribs.
- Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 4 1/2 hours or LOW 7 to 8 hours. Ribs should be tender, but not falling of the bones.
- Preheat oven to BROIL. Line two shallow baking pans with aluminum foil. Place ribs on pan.
- Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until ribs begin to brown.
- Brush ribs with remaining barbecue sauce.
For “one-pot” simplicity, nothing beats slow cooking. But when it comes to bringing hot meals to parties and potlucks, spills can be a concern. With the travel-friendly Set & Forget® Slow Cooker, messes aren’t an issue.