How to Cook Ribs in a Crock-Pot

You Don’t Need an Outdoor Grill to Make Perfect Ribs

Ribs bring to mind summertime and the grill, but they’re delicious in cold weather too. You don’t have to go without in the winter months if you use your Crock-Pot. You might have heard that using a slow cooker automatically means you’ll have watery sauce, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With just one simple, extra step, your family will think it’s July.

And what if it is July? That Crock-Pot will save you some tedious work – time you can spend on more enjoyable pursuits on your day off.

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes to 10 hours | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6


  • 3 pounds pork ribs (beef short ribs will work too)
  • 1 medium onion, diced or sliced
  • 1 clove (or 1/2 teaspoon) minced garlic
  • 18 ounces of your family’s favorite barbecue sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. If you have your own special rub, now’s the time to use it.
  2. Spread the onions and garlic along the bottom of the Crock-Pot, then place the ribs on top.
  3. Pour most of the barbecue sauce on the ribs, reserving about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
  4. Set the Crock-Pot to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours. If you don’t have that much time, you can cook the ribs on high for about 4 hours. 


  • Yes, your sauce will be watery after all those hours in the slow cooker because the ribs have been exuding their own juices, diluting it. But you don’t have to serve them that way. Use tongs to transfer the cooked ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet. Heat the broiler and broil the ribs for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce clinging to them will begin to bubble and caramelize, and you can give them a little extra zip and a tad more crispness by brushing on that sauce you reserved. Another option is to wrap them in foil and place them on the grill over high heat with the lid down for the same amount of time.

    There’s no need to preheat your Crock-Pot. It will gradually come up to the desired temperature on its own – that’s part of the beauty of using one. Just plug it in and walk away.

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