Slow Cooker Beef Ribs – Baking Mischief

Best beef ribs recipe slow cooker

These slow-cooked beef ribs are tender, incredibly easy to make, and only take 5 to 10 minutes of preparation time.

A couple of years ago, I posted these baked beef ribs. In that post, I call them my fast beef ribs and “good enough,” because while they absolutely reach all those sweet spots of BBQ beef ribs, they’re only cooked for an hour, so they don’t have enough cooking time to become truly tender.

Since that post was published, I’ve gotten a bunch of messages to the effect of, well, that’s great, but what if I really want really tender ribs?

Which brings us to today’s recipe. Let’s make some slow-cooking beef ribs.


ribs that crumble Now * these

* ribs, these things crumble, melt tender. They cook long and slowly in the slow cooker, so when you take them out, the meat practically falls off the bone.

And the best part is that they are as simple and easy to make as the oven version. You’ll only need a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, some seasoning salt, and a shelf of beef ribs.

What are beef ribs?

And before we go any further, in case you’re confused at the grocery store, beef ribs are the long, curved beef ribs that should be pretty cheap. Unlike short ribs, which are much more expensive, beef ribs will have little to no meat on top of the bones. Most of the meat will be located between the ribs.

This is because the meat carved into the front of the bones is the main rib eye/rib, so it’s much more valuable as a roast/steak than as extra weight in cheap beef ribs.

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Beef ribs

usually come in sets of 7 ribs, sometimes pre-cut, sometimes still on an intact rack and should be available at most grocery stores.

How to make beef ribs

in slow cooker

Collage photo of a shelf of whole, cut beef ribs.

1. If your ribs are still on a rack, cut them off, doing your best to leave an even amount of meat on both sides.

A note about the membrane: The ribs have a membrane on the back that many people remove before cooking. You can do this if you want, but I normally leave it on, as it helps keep the ribs intact after cooking and is fairly easy to eat/take out the meat.

2. Sprinkle the ribs all over the way with salt or salt and pepper and then place them in your slow cooker. Add 1 1/2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (TBH, I’m partial to this basic sauce) and 1 cup of water.

Yes, it will look super watery. This is not a problem, because this is just the cooking liquid. We will use more sauce on the ribs later.

Beef ribs in a slow cooker with barbecue sauce.


Simmer for 7 to 8 hours or over high heat for 3 to 4. If you have a choice, I personally prefer the texture of the lower and slower cooked ribs, but both turn out great and none of my taste testers could really tell the difference.

4. Once the ribs melt tenderly, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, with the side of the membrane facing down. If you have problems with ribs that fall apart when you move them to the tray, use a spatula to hold them while you move them.

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5. Brush the ribs with a generous amount of barbecue sauce, and then roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized and sticky. If you can’t use your rotisserie, you can also turn up the heat in your oven (about 450°F) and bake the ribs a little more until you get similar results.

6. Let the ribs cool for a couple of minutes and go into town!

Beef ribs on a baking sheet.

What to serve with beef ribs?

For vegetarian sides, since your oven is going to be busy, I recommend these green garlic and butter beans, steamed broccoli or microwaved corn on the cob. Although if you have a double oven or don’t mind waiting, roasted broccoli or toasted green beans are never a bad choice.

Macaroni salad, potato salad or mashed potatoes are my favorite carbohydrates to serve with barbecue. And classic chocolate chip cookies that come out of the oven (perhaps with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and Fudge sauce) are a perfect way to close a good meal.

Slow Cooker Beef Ribs Recipe notes

  • Beef is quite fatty and rich, so I usually find that 3 is a good number per person, especially when served with side dishes
  • .

  • The leftover cooking liquid in the slow cooker will contain a significant amount of fat that probably shouldn’t go down the drain. I pour it all into a 28-ounce can or a quartergallon-sized mason jar, let the top solidify in the refrigerator, and then scrape the grease into the trash.
  • You may also like country-style pork ribs, my favorite roast beef, chicken sauce, baked BBQ chicken thighs and homemade carnitas.
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