Dorothy Porker – foodblog

Fall Off the Bone Slow Cooker Spareribs

I used to make my spareribs in the oven, based on a recipe that was shared with me by someone who followed me on Flickr. Since I’ve owned a slow cooker I’ve switched to slow cooking my ribs. The ingredients are the same but they come out a guaranteed treat every time.

A lot of recipes tell you to sear your spareribs in the oven before you put them in the slow cooker. I find this dries them out and think caramelizing them after the fact works a whole lot better as they retain far more of their moisture this way while creating a nice ‘bark’ after the fact.

Invest in barbecue sauce

For this to work be sure to get a good American barbecue sauce. I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Hot and Spicy or Smokey Chipotle or Annie’s Organic Smokey Maple BBQ for example.

Have nothing on the side, really

These ribs are so good I never have them with anything on the side. If I have guests I’ll give them a largely symbolic coleslaw, but in my experience nothing is really good enough to hold fort next to these.

Support your local butcher

Finally, support your local butcher and get your ribs there. Over here they tend to sell precooked and -marinated ribs, but they will also have uncooked, plain ribs in the freezer that you can work with by adding the overnight rub. Anyway, to the ribs!

Fall Off The Bone Slow Cooker Spare Ribs

Super easy, spicy slow cooked spare ribs
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs 20 mins
Overnight rub8 hrs
Total Time16 hrs 35 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meat
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 rack ribs per head uncooked, un-marinated
  • 1/2 cup good American barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Please note the dry rub is intended for about 500 grams or 1 pound of ribs. Multiply if necessary.
  • Mix the sugar and spices to create the dry rub. You can either separate the ribs or leave them in slabs that are big enough to fit your slow cooker. Both options have great results. Mix the ribs with the dry rub, cover and place in your fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, thinly coat the spareribs in your choice of barbecue sauce before placing them in your slow cooker. I like to keep them meat-side down, but anything goes formation wise. Slow cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  • At the end of cooking time preheat your grill to 225 C. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker, reserving the liquids and place meat side up on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat in slow cooking liquid. 
  • Place in the oven for 5 minutes, to get the top of the ribs nice and caramelized, before turning them over and coating them in liquid again, to do the same to the bottom and repeat once until the ribs are nice and golden brown. It’s best to stay nearby to avoid burning. 
  • Once removed from the oven, let rest for another 15 minutes before digging in.


To make these in the oven, preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F. Place the ribs meat side down on a large sheet of tinfoil and wrap it airtight, leaving enough room for air and moisture to circulate. If the wrapping is not airtight you run the risk of burning your ribs, so keep a close eye and sniff on them as they cook, adding water into the bottom of your oven if it seems they are burning. Cook for 2 hours, then open the top of the parcel and turn and baste every 5-10 minutes to caramelize. 

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar voor spareribs uit de slowcooker.

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