Slow cook spare ribs in a wet rub of liquid smoke and brown sugar and Coke. Finish on the grill with your favorite barbecue sauce for an easy grill recipe.
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Slow cooker spare ribs are the perfect way to cook up pork ribs.  Cook the ribs in the slow cooker,  then simply grill or broil with barbecue sauce for 15 minutes and the ribs are ready to serve!

Ribs are easy to make in a slow cooker! Cook all day in a wet rub made up of brown sugar, liquid smoke, and Coke. Then finish off with some Sweet Baby Ray's or your favorite BBQ sauce on the grill. Everyone will think you spent all day grilling these tender pork ribs.

I grew up eating my dad's absolutely amazing ribs. It was a sad day when I left home and could only eat his ribs a few times a year.

Then a friend sent me this recipe for slow cooking the ribs in a Crock Pot. She lives in Kansas City so they know ribs and she and her husband love this recipe.

My dad still thinks I'm crazy for cooking baby back ribs this way, but they turn out amazing and are no work at all.


Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipe

The marinade that the ribs cook in is pretty simple. It's a wet rub of brown sugar, pepper, salt, liquid smoke and garlic.

Farmer John's Spareribs

We've used both baby back ribs and pork spareribs for this recipe. Both work great!

This time 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. This is a great party recipe and it's super easy.

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! You just need them to fit in the slow cooker.

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.

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!

Now, the ribs are finished off on the grill. Everyone will think you've been slow grilling them all day long.

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. You could also broil the ribs until the are nice and browned if you don't have a grill.


Slow Cooker Ribs from Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipe

Carefully remove ribs to platter to serve.

Slow Cooker Spare Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Spare Ribs

Preparation 15 min
Cook Time 10 hr
Total Time 10 hours 15 minutes


  • 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


  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 1/2 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.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 4708kcal Calories from fat 3345
% Daily Value
Total Fat 372g 572%
Saturated Fat 120g 600%
Transfat 4g
Cholesterol 1270mg 423%
Sodium 3639mg 152%
Carbohydrate 79g 26%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 70g
Protein 247g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
Slow cook spare ribs in a wet rub of liquid smoke and brown sugar and Coke. Finish on the grill with your favorite barbecue sauce for an easy grill recipe.
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64 comments on “Slow Cooker Spare Ribs

  1. Jennifer on said:

    This Kansas City girl uses this recipe exclusively! Great for a party! I cook a TON of ribs with this recipe, and when I finish them, I use a variety of sauces-sweet, spicy, mustard based, etc, so everyone has something they like. Then I put the extra sauce in labeled bowls for those who like them extra saucy! Super easy entertaining.

  2. KELLY HOEFLER on said:


  3. 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.


    • 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.

  4. I need to utilize my slow cooker more often! Who knew? Ribs? Thank you for sharing on Show Me Saturday!

  5. I have never been able to master ribs, but this sounds like a recipe for ribs that I could actually handle! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Those look out of this world!

  7. yummy, one of our fav things too. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo P.S. did you see my new giveaways?

  8. These look divine! On my list to make. Pinned.

  9. Dynamo of Dixie on said:

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

    • 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.

  10. Love that you cooked these gorgeous ribs in the crockpot! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  11. Pingback:30 Game Day Recipes

  12. I love using the Crock Pot for slow cooked beef ribs, I made them last month. Thank you for linking up with us at the #WWDParty, I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  13. These look so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. Hi Camille,
    These are melt in your mouth ribs, great for our upcoming parties! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

  15. 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!!

  16. Pingback:Top 13 Posts of 2013 - Growing Up Gabel

  17. Pingback:75+ Slow Cooker Recipes

  18. Thank you Camille for all the nice recipes. Have a great weekend!

  19. Pingback:Koren Barbecue Pork Ribs - Growing Up Gabel

  20. Pingback:Homemade Barbecue Sauce - Growing Up Gabel

  21. Mikey on said:

    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.

    • 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!

  22. Came across your ribs recipe at the Crockpot Recipe Link Party. These look fantastic! Pinned 😉 Thanks for sharing!!

  23. Pingback:66 Amazing Crock Pot Recipes!

  24. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is a Readers Top 10 Pick for this week on Full Plate Thursday. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great weekend.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  26. Oh my goodness those look so yummy! I hardly ever get to make ribs, but I sure want to this spring or summer. Thanks for sharing how to make them. Visiting from Hope you enjoyed game day. Our hometown team lost, maybe next time right?

  27. Pingback:Teach Me Tuesday #3 - Someday I'll Learn

  28. I am in love with ribs! I can barely leave a piece left for my hubby when I make them! I had no clue I could also make them in the slow cooker! Thank you so much for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza – see you there again this week with more deliciousness 🙂

  29. Thanks for linking up with us this week at FFF.
    Dawn host

  30. Hi Camille,
    These Ribs look delicious, I can almost taste them. Your recipe is awesome and thank you so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday.
    Have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  31. Your Golden Ticket Blog on said:

    This is making my mouth water. I have never tried ribs in the crock pot. Can’t wait to try it out!

  32. What a wonderful treat for Superbowl Sunday. I am pinning!

    hugs x

  33. Yep,…I’ll be trying this recipe. BTW, love the tagline on your website!

  34. Gosh, Camille! Pork spareribs are usually not my favorite, but these look quite amazing!

  35. These ribs look so delicious. Great pictures. Cannot wait to make these.

  36. These look soooooo good! I want! We would love it if you would link up at our new linky party: Two Girls and a Party Hosted by:
    Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
    We hope to see you there!

  37. These ribs look delicious! Thank you for sharing!

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  39. Mmmmm…there’s is NOTHING like the taste of slow-cooked ribs. I’d love to have you come link this up to Teach Me Tuesday!

  40. Looks delicious! I would love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at ‘Or so she says …’ Hope to see you there!

  41. These look just wonderfule. Great pictures. I like the idea of finishing them on the grill.

    Thanks for bringing these to the Super Bowl Party!

  42. These look great, perfect for game day! Thanks for sharing!

  43. I love ribs and these look fabulous!

  44. Looks delish!! Can’t wait to try!!