Ribs. Yum. The bane of my existence (and my thighs). I’ve loved ribs forever and ever. And I love a good salad as much as the next girl, but my all-time favorite, special-night-out foods? Shrimp, a great steak, or ribs. Don’t worry, I’ve never attempted all three at the same time!

I guess the good thing about ribs is that they’re generally too expensive to buy on a regular basis. It’s definitely splurge food, both from a calorie and a budget perspective. But here’s a hint–I never buy meat when I actually plan on eating it. I’ve had these ribs in my freezer for 2 months now; they’re normally $4.99 a pound at Kroger, but I got these for $2.99 a pound. This week, I just got brisket for $.97 a pound, even though I have no immediate brisket plans in my future. If you keep an eye on the sales, you can get the pricier cuts of meat for a great deal.
I think one of the main complaints I’ve heard about ribs (other than the fact that people don’t like eating them straight off the bone) is that they’re fatty and tough. I’ve had this recipe for years, but I was never able to really get them as tender as I wanted them. The braising liquid is to DIE for, so I knew there was major potential, but I just couldn’t figure out what to do. After lots of rib research (hard work, I know), I discovered two things: even though spareribs are cheaper, buy babybacks. They’re meatier, less fatty, and more tender. And secondly, I needed to be braising the ribs slower at a lower temperature than I was doing in the oven. Enter my good friend…the crockpot! Yep, slow cooker ribs. Your greatest fantasies have just been realized. These will fall off the bone and a good portion of visible fat will come off during the slow cooking and the grilling.
I really agonized about which order to post my recipes this week–my natural instinct was to save the big guns (ribs) for Friday and get the pansy grilled vegetables out of the way early in the week. But then I realized that if anyone wants to make ribs for any Memorial Day barbeques, they might need more than two days’ notice. So here. Take my pride. You get the rib recipe on Monday. 🙂
Babyback Ribs
Our Best Bites
1 rack babyback ribs (about 2-2.5 pounds; 1 rack feeds two adults; another rack of ribs will work with the marinade if your crockpot can fit them)
3 c. pineapple juice
1 ½ c. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. mustard powder
1/3 c. ketchup
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Your favorite barbecue sauce (try getting some at your favorite BBQ restaurant–they usually sell it pretty cheaply! If you’re in the Provo/Orem area, go to Smokehouse Pizza and BBQ and get some of theirs…I’ll be jealous but happy that your ribs will be delicious!)

Using a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut each rack into about 4 portions (it ends up being about 3-4 rib bones each).
Place in crockpot. Mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, mustard powder, ketchup, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, cloves, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Pour over ribs and cover.
This step can be done the night before. Set to low for 6-7 hours. You can poke ’em occasionally to make sure they all get exposed to the braising liquid and that they’re not getting too tender (like totally falling off the bone; these babies still have to make it onto the grill!)

Um, ew, right? No worries. This just shows that you can be horribly ugly one minute and gloriously gorgeous and delicious about 10 minutes later…


Remove ribs from liquid and heat grill to medium. Place ribs on the grill, brush one side with barbecue sauce, and close the lid for 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn the ribs, brush other side with sauce, close the lid, and wait another 3-4 minutes. Repeat.
And now serve your falling-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth carnal deliciousness!


  1. 1
    Sara says:

    Okay, um, Yum. I’m totally having ribs this weekend (even if I have to pay and arm and a leg for them!)

  2. 2
    Tricia says:

    I always thought that ribs were very un-lady like, but then I had them at Texas Roadhouse and fell in love. To heck with lady-like. . .these look amazing!!

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    Do you believe in “removing the membrane” from ribs? I have read/heard that before, and it has always made me hesitate on making ribs. I don’t know how, and it sounds pretty gross.

  4. 4
    Sara says:

    Tricia- since when are you “lady-like”?? hahaha. By the way, we’re totally overdue for a bbq.

    Jen- I do take off the membrane, but it’s not hard. Just use a sharp knife and cut it right off. But like Kate said, some cuts don’t have much of a membrane anyway.

  5. 5
    Kate says:

    Jen, I didn’t remove the membrane on mine. And I agree that that sounds disgusting. Maybe that’s another perk of baby backs–I really didn’t notice much of a membrane and it seems like anything extraneous just kind of came off while it was braising. I do know that when I’ve made spareribs, I didn’t remove the membranes and they were really, really hard to eat.

  6. 6
    Jodi says:

    Kate, I have never cooked baby back ribs, I tried them for Father’s Day and they were scrumptious and easy! Thank YOu! jodi

  7. 7
    Robyn says:

    Ok, so the braising sauce was sooo good, that I didn’t even put on the BBQ sauce! I need to try it just to see what it’s like, but for the first time trying it, I didn’t want to “ruin” a good thing!

  8. 8
    Matthew says:

    I crocked these last night and put them on the grill tonight. I picked up some BBQ sauce from Glory Days because believe it or not that is one of my favorites. 7 hours on low turned out to be just right to make them tender but also hold together on the grill.

    I saw another comment about membranes, my advice is to leave these on because they basically hold the meat together once it is nice and tender. Anyway, I have not have ribs better than this at any restaurant. They were phenomenal. Thanks for suggest for those of us who don’t have smokers.

  9. 9
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    I finally got around to trying these and we LOVED them. The flavor was awesome and I think they were possibly the most tender ribs I've ever had. I used to slow-roast mine on the grill, but I think I'll stick to this crock and grill method from now on. They were perfect!

    I agree that you don't need to bother taking off the membrane with this recipe either. I always do when I cook mine on the grill, but your right, there's no need when you're crocking them first, and the other poster is probably right- they'd fall apart without it!

    Thanks for a yummy recipe Kate 🙂

  10. 10
    Mochachocolata Rita says:

    i wanna make my first ribs…there's a party i am hosting this saturday…i guess it's too risky to try something now for a party eh…

  11. 11
    Nina Timm says:

    Very innovative!!! I like the idea a lot!! Will have to buy another crockpot……lend mine to a friend and never got it back!!!!

  12. 12
    ROBYN JENSEN says:

    I tried this recipe on the weekend…and it was to die for!! My husband keeps asking when i am going to make them again!

  13. 13
    kicker213 says:

    Mmmm…These rock!! I made them to have while watching the NFL Pro Bowl with my brothers! They were better than the game! Thanks for sharing!

  14. 14
    Mindy says:

    I'm planning on making these for dinner but have a question. You said that we can cook them in the crock pot the day before but how do u store them after the 7 hrs in the crock pot but before grilling? Do I just take them out of the crock pot and wrap them up in foil and put in the fridge until grilling? Thanks!

  15. 15
    Tracey says:

    Hey, I wondered the same thing. I hope someone gets back to us!

  16. 16
    Rene says:

    Is there any way you could make this print friendly? Thank you! I can’t wait to make these, I really want to TRY to make a rib lover out of my husband. They look so good!

  17. 17
    Shannon says:

    YUM! I recently made these ribs and they were delicious. By far, the best ribs I have ever had. I have already shared the recipe with the rest of my family. I will be making these again. Thanks for sharing!

  18. 18
    mathmama says:

    My husband ate the WHOLE rack! His absolute favorite thing!

  19. 19
    Carie says:

    I just got pork loinback ribs. Are those babybacks? The “butcher” said he wasn’t sure if they were the same thing.

  20. 20
    barb says:

    Hi, i really want to make these but our grill died—is there anything else i can do or do i have to wait until spring when mr. cheap buys a new grill 😉 ?

  21. 21
    Suzanne says:

    This was my first attempt at making ribs on the bone and holy delicious!!! My husband and I were both in awe…these were the best ribs we’ve ever had! We also grilled yams, made a spinach salad and made your world’s best rolls, I will never go to a BBQ restaurant again!

  22. 22
    Sandie says:

    I made these for dinner tonight. I used oj instead of pineapple juice. Delish! I think I cooked tem too long in the crock pot but I was out all day. The ribs fell apart when taking them out to put on grill. It was raining o I cooked them in a grill pan. They were soooooooo yummy !

  23. 23
    Laurel says:

    These are in my Crock Pot right now! I don’t have a grill, so I’ll be broiling them though. I’ve never fixed ribs before and my husband is thrilled!

  24. 24
    Y4LYFE says:

    As a man, I probably visit this site too much.

    Getting ribs on tomorrow, but I’ll also add a mesquite smokiness by throwing some mesquite wood chips on the coals (indirectly). Will let you know how it goes.

  25. 25
    Jessica says:

    These by far are my favorites ribs…. ever!!! I have a brother who is a serious smoker/grill master and I hate to say it, but these are better than his!! The flavor is truly to die for. The first time I made ribs was with this recipe and I don’t think I’ll be using any other for a very long time 🙂

  26. 26
    bee me says:

    Oh sweet rib heaven…thought I would try for 4th of July…and they were absolutely stunning…looked exactly like your pics….amazing…I love good ribs and this is a keeper of a recipe…thanks si much for sharing….I got my baby back…baby back…u got my baby back….baby back…baby back ribs….lol…

  27. 27
    jen says:

    I found a fantastic price on ribs… Only two people here who will eat them though….can I freeze them before cooking them?

  28. 28
    Kerilee says:

    Can I use this recipe for boneless pork ribs?

  29. 29
    Reina says:

    We made these with riblets that I bought for $1.68/lb… so GOOD! And when my daughter got home from school she went in search of what was making the house smell so good!

  30. 30
    Y4LYFE says:

    Make these all the time. I used 2 tablespoons of Cinnamon & sit in indirect heat using apple wood chips. Friends are mindblown.

  31. 31
    Y4LYFE says:

    Making this for a small church group in Texas, here we go…

  32. 32
    Wendy Holt says:

    I made these last week, as I am on a quest for delicious ribs. The presentation and tenderness were spot on, but the flavor was kind of bland to my husband and I. (which was surprising with all the spices in the marinade) I am wondering maybe a rub before putting them in the crockpot?

  33. 33
    Y4LYFE says:

    I make these all the time (always use 2 racks) but today had to use my le creuset due to crockpot being used. I put it in the oven at 350 after mixing everything well and added meat. After 45 min turned down to 200 for 3 hours. Couldn’t tell any difference. Still tender and made it to the grill.

  34. 34
    Becky says:

    These are hands down the best ribs outside of a restaurant EVER!!!

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