Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow cooker ribs are the perfect main dish for a Super Bowl party.  Cook the ribs in the slow cooker, while you do other things, then simply grill or broil with barbecue sauce for 15 minutes and the ribs are ready to serve!

Slow Cooker Ribs


You will need:

  • 3 1/2 pounds pork spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cola
  • Barbecue sauce (my favorite is Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipe

In a small bowl prepare a rub by mixing together the brown sugar, pepper, salt, liquid smoke and garlic.

Farmer John's Spareribs

Remove ribs from package or wrapping  I bought a package of Farmer John’s Spareribs at Smart & Final that was over 8 pounds and contained 2 racks of ribs.

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel

I cooked up one rack, as seen above, which was right around 4 pounds, and froze the other rack for later. For a party, I’d use 2 slow cookers and cook them all.

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel

Cut racks of ribs in to 4 equal parts – or however many pieces you need to fit them in to your slow cooker. I use a rather large slow cooker – this Hamilton Beach slow cooker  is my work horse! But just a basic Crock Pot works, too.   I cut this rack in to 3 pieces because there was a large bone on the top of 1/3 of the rack. Whatever works!

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel

Place half the ribs in the crock of a slow cooker. Rub half of the brown sugar mixture on to the ribs. Layer half the onions over the ribs.  Repeat the process with remaining ribs and onions. Pour the soda over the ribs. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low while you sleep or do something else fun!

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel


Carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker on to a platter. They will literally be falling off the bone so this can be tricky.  Just go slow!

Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipe


Heat your gill to medium high heat.  Put the ribs on the grill on indirect heat.  Brush with your favorite barbecue sauce (mine is Sweet Baby Rays!).  Cook for 15 minutes. If you are under a foot of snow and don’t want to brave the weather, just broil the ribs until the are nice and browned.


Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipe

Carefully remove ribs to platter to serve to your hungry football fans!  So easy to make and you won’t believe how good the taste. Just make sure to have lots of napkins ready for your fans.  You can make that cute no sew football field table runner for serving, too.


Slow Cooker Barbecue Spare Ribs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3½ pounds pork spare ribs
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ cup cola
  • Barbecue sauce
  1. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, salt, pepper, liquid smoke and garlic.
  2. Cut ribs in to 4" pieces - about 4 ribs per piece. I usually try to break it in to 4 pieces.
  3. Place a layer of ribs in the crock of a slow cooker.
  4. Rub ½ the brown sugar mixture into the ribs.
  5. Put a layer of onions on top of the ribs.
  6. Put the rest of the ribs on top of the onions and rub with remaining mixture.
  7. Layer remaining onions on top of ribs.
  8. Pour cola over ribs.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
  10. Carefully remove ribs to a platter - they will want to fall apart! Just go slow and be gentle.
  11. Heat barbecue grill to a medium high heat. Place ribs on grill, 4-6 inches off heat. Cover with barbecue sauce and grill for 15 minutes.


Don’t forget to check out my post containing 30 Super Bowl Recipes!



  1. Paul M says

    I have a question about your recipe. There appears to be a fair amount of liquid in your “rub” mixture bowl. Am I missing somthing as all of the ingrediants are basically dry.


    • says

      That’s actually a very small bowl so it’s not really a marinade, it’s more of a liquid rub. If you poured it over, it wouldn’t get in to all the meat so you need to rub it in.

  2. Dynamo of Dixie says

    They look wonderful, but how would they taste straight from the Crock Pot if we live where we can’t use a grill?

    • says

      Actually they are fine straight out of the crock pot. I’d just put some barbecue sauce on them and serve. But you can also put them on a cookie sheet, brush on some barbecue sauce and then put them under the broiler a little bit to cook on the sauce.

  3. says

    Cooking ribs in the slow cooker is a great idea!! The slow cooker does all of the work. This is a great option for game day weekends! Thank you for linking up to wake up wednesdays! Pinned!!
    Meghan recently posted..5 Alarm Beef ChiliMy Profile

  4. Mikey says

    Isn’t this recipe from Betty Crocker? I saw the exact recipe on the Betty Crocker website, except for the tip at the end about grilling them. Just curious.

    • says

      Really? No, this recipe was given to me by a friend from Kansas City about 10 years ago. Her husband is a KC native and he loved these ribs – said they were as good as any KC barbecue! So she sent me the recipe. Whenever I adapt or make a recipe from a source, I always give credit! Thanks for stopping by!


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