Dorothy Porker

Fall Off the Bone Slow Cooker Spareribs

I used to make my spareribs in the oven, based on a recipe I found on Flickr. But since I’ve owned a slow cooker I’ve switched to slow cooking my spareribs. 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 think caramelizing them after the fact works a lot better.

For this to work be sure to get a good quality American barbecue sauce. Dutch barbecue sauce literally tastes like the actual barbecue, whereas American barbecue sauce is used to flavor the meats that go on the barbecue. I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Hot and Spicy or Smokey Chipotle or Annie’s Organic Smokey Maple BBQ for example.

These ribs are so good I never have them with anything else. 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.

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
Total Time8 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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


  • Mix the sugar and spices to create the dry rub. You can either separate the ribs as pictured 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 up, but anything goes formation wise. Slow cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  • At the end of cooking time preheat your oven to 225 C. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker, reserve the liquids and place meat side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat in slow cooking liquid. 
  • Place in the oven for 5 minutes, to get the bottom of the ribs nice and caramelized, before turning them over and coating them in liquid again, to do the same to the top. It’s best to stay nearby to avoid burning. 
  • Once removed from the oven, let rest for another 15 minutes before digging in.
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