This Crock Pot Baby Back Rib recipe is an easy way to cook delicious and fall-off-the-bone tender BBQ pork ribs—perfect ribs with only 5 minutes of prep and a crock pot.
Crock pot ribs are the perfect all-day rib recipe. Prep the baby back ribs, then position the ribs in the slow cooker for 8 hours—nothing is easier.
This recipe is great for working small households but can work for everybody to get great predictable results when you want them. With only 5 minutes of prep, BBQ ribs become an easy weeknight dinner.
See the other baby back recipes, like Grilled Baby Back Ribs and Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs. Or try some other pork ribs, like 30 Minute Boneless Pork Ribs, Grilled Boneless Country Style Ribs, Grilled Memphis Boneless Pork Ribs, or Bone-In Country Style Pork Ribs.
- Baby back ribs—St. Louis ribs or spare ribs can be used but have less meat.
- Dry rub
- Liquid smoke—optional
- BBQ sauce— use your favorite BBQ sauce, or try my Memphis BBQ Sauce.
- Suggested Dry Rub—brown sugar, Kosher salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper
👨🍳How to Cook Baby Back Ribs in a Crock Pot
- Trim the baby back ribs by removing the membrane and checking for bone chips.
- Apply a light coat of liquid smoke (optional) and dry rub.
- Cut in half and place upright on their side on the side of the crock pot.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours to a minimum of 185°, but 195°-205° is better.
- Remove the ribs, brush with BBQ sauce, and place under a broiler or on the grill until you get the desired browning.
⏲️How long to cook baby back ribs in a crock pot?
Generally, 8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high, but some crock pots will run a bit hot, so it may be shorter. The real answer is "fork tender" and an internal temperature of 195° - 205°, but you may not get above 185° in some crock pots.
When done, give them a good brush of your favorite sauce, and finish browning for a few minutes on a grill or under a broiler.
- To peel the membrane off the back of the ribs. I find this goes better if I use a butter knife and start at the narrow end. Loosen that end and slowly pull it off as you work to be sure you get the whole width.
- Use a large crock pot and lean the ribs against the side of the crock pot. Arrange as you need for your crock pot and crumpled-up foil can be used to elevate the ribs.
- If you want to do two racks of ribs, place them vertically and use some crumpled-up foil if needed. It may take an hour or two longer to cook.
What dry rub to use for crock pot baby back ribs?
8 tablespoons Brown sugar
3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Black pepper
🐖What are baby back ribs
Pork baby back ribs are cut from the upper part of the rib where the rib meets the spine and is next to and inside the loin. They are shorter than the bigger spare ribs or St. Louis ribs, which are trimmed spare ribs.
The inside of baby back ribs contains a membrane that lines the chest cavity and needs to be removed before cooking—it will interfere with seasoning.
A good quality liquid smoke will add some nice flavor but is not required. Just rub a little on the ribs before adding the dry rubs.
There are many "bad" versions of liquid smoke on the market. And the chemical-filled versions will ruin your ribs.
I stick to Wright's brand only. If not available to you, the ingredient list on the bottle should only have smoke and water—nothing else.
No, nothing else is needed. You want a "dry heat" like a grill or smoker would deliver. Lots of fat/fluid is released, so they are in no danger of drying out. I set up my slow cooker as a low and slow "oven."
Most crock pot rib recipes call for some liquid added at the beginning of cooking—a can of Coke, BBQ sauce, water, or whatever. Then there are cut-up onions or many other things. It is all wrong; we should not "parboil" ribs or cook ribs in liquid.
Yes, but probably will not happen—most crock pots just won't get the ribs above 210° which is where texture deteriorates. But, you should check the temperature if you are going over the recommended time.
Serve with Memphis Barbecue Sauce or the BBQ sauce you love.
This is an excellent game-day recipe, but side dishes make the meal. Here are some familiar side dishes.
- Baked Beans
- French Fries
- Potato Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Cole Slaw
- Corn on the Cob
- Cornbread or Cornbread Biscuits
- Mac and Cheese
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
The rub ingredients are shown, but you may use another rub if you have one.
Peel the membrane off the back of the ribs. I find this goes better if I use a butter knife and start at the narrow end. Loosen that end and slowly pull it off as you work to be sure you get the whole width. Also, trim any chunks of fat on the ends and look for bone chips on the end of the ribs.
If you want to use liquid smoke, rub a small amount on the ribs before the dry rub. Use a commercial rub or make your own. Apply a good coat of the rub.
Cut in half and place in a large crock pot. Position the ribs in the crock pot to keep as much of the ribs elevated as possible. Use a rolled-up piece of foil if you want.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Do not remove the top needlessly to check the ribs as they cook. You are creating a mini oven. So, don't let the heat out. The ribs need to be "fork-tender" and reach a minimum of 185°, but 195° to 205° is better.
Remove the ribs. At this point, you could refrigerate it for later use. Or place it on the pan and brush with BBQ sauce.
Place under a broiler or on a grill until you get the desired browning — about 5 minutes.
Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs
- 1 rack baby back ribs - 3-4 pounds
- ¼ cup dry rub - just a nice coating
- liquid smoke - optional
- 4 tablespoons BBQ
Dry Rub Recipe if needed. Will make enough for 2 slabs of ribs
- 8 tablespoons Brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- Peel the membrane off the back of the ribs. I find this goes better if I use a butter knife and start at the narrow end. Loosen that end and slowly pull it off as you work to be sure you get the whole width. Also, trim any chunks of fat on the ends and look for bone chips on the end of the ribs.
- If you want to use liquid smoke, rub a small amount on the ribs before the dry rub. Use a commercial rub or make your own. Apply a good coat of the rub.
- Cut in half and place in a large crock pot. Position the ribs in the crock pot to keep as much of the ribs elevated as possible. Use a rolled-up piece of foil if you want.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Do not remove the top needlessly to check the ribs as they cook. You are creating a mini oven. So, don't let the heat out. The ribs need to be "fork-tender" and reach a minimum of 185°, but 200° to 205° is better.
- Remove the ribs. At this point, you could refrigerate it for later use. Or place it on the pan and brush with BBQ sauce.
- Place under a broiler or on a grill until you get the desired browning — about 5 minutes.
Your Own Private Notes
- Be sure to remove the inner membrane.
- 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high are generally correct but cook to the endpoints discussed in the instructions.
- If cooking more than one slab, you should put them in the pot vertically. You may need to crumple up some foil to elevate the ribs. Also, they may need an hour or two longer.
- If you want some smoke taste, rub on a few teaspoons of liquid smoke just before rub.
- The absolute minimum internal temperature needs to be 185°+. But, 200° to 205° is better.
- Most people will want to brown them some. You can use the broiler or a grill
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days or freeze for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published January 23, 2017. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.