Baby Back Ribs—You Don’t Need A Barbecue

You can enjoy baby back ribs without the barbecue grill and all the sugary barbecue sauces any time of year. After all, it’s just pork 🐖. Think of some of your favorite ways to cook a pork roast or chops, and transfer those flavors to ribs.

I’m cooking mine in a slow cooker with a wet rub of garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Cooked on a bed of onions and a little chicken stock, they will make a savory dish, served with herbed rice and a vegetable.

Unless I’m making stock or cooking dried beans, my favorite way to use the slow cooker is on high for about 5-6 hours. I find that to be best for achieving  results similar to roasting in the oven. You don’t need lots of liquid—sometimes none at all—and I only used 1/2 cup of chicken stock in this dish, mostly to keep the caramelizing onions from drying out, and to provide a little steam to keep the meat moist.

Unlike with barbecued ribs, I like to serve these in larger pieces, about half a rack for one person. It looks pretty impressive on the plate, not at all like summer picnic fare.

Slow Cooker Savory Ribs for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 rack baby back ribs, about 3 lbs or smaller, back membrane removed
  • 2-3 medium onions, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • wet rub:
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or the herb of your choice)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons mashed or grated garlic
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (enough to mix with dry ingredients and still be spreadable)
  1. Scatter sliced onions over bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Pour in chicken stock.
  3. Arrange ribs, probably cut into halves to fit, over onions.
  4. Cover ribs with wet rub.
  5. Cook on high for 5 hours.
  6. Life carefully for serving, as they will want to fall apart.


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