Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs (Slow Cooker or Oven)

You can make fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs in your slow cooker or oven that taste as good as restaurant ribs~at a fraction of the cost!

baby back ribs recipe

Just before New Year’s Day, some stores have baby back ribs on sale, and this is when I stock up. Just yesterday I bought 3 huge packages of ribs at The Fresh Market. At $3.99 per pound, this is a steal of a deal.

When I buy ribs in bulk, I cut the racks in half, coat them in dry rub, and package them for the freezer. The photo at right is what the ribs looked like before being put in the freezer.

Cooking method: Cooking fall apart tender ribs isn’t as hard as it might seem. The secret is simply long, low and slow cooking~either in an oven or slow cooker. I’ve made ribs both ways with wonderful results. The slow cooker is best for smaller amounts (feeding 2-3) whereas the oven will cook for larger crowds.

Seasonings: I use both a dry rub and a bottled sauce. The dry rub in the recipe below is adapted from Plain Chicken, but you can use any rub you like.  The dry rub works best if rubbed in and allowed to penetrate overnight. Wet sauce is added at the end, and any bottled sauce will work. I love Bob Gibsons and Dreamland, both available in most grocery stores.

Note: If your ribs have the membrane on, you’ll want to remove it so that the seasonings will penetrate the meat, making it more flavorful and tender. This short video clip shows how to easily remove a membrane. (You will be amused at the man’s voice~gruff as sandpaper:-)


Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs (Slow Cooker or Oven Method)

These baby back ribs are fall off the bone tender after all day in the slow cooker!

10 min

7 hr

7 hr, 10

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  • baby back ribs (1 1/2 - 2 racks)
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce (I love Bob Gibson's)
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  • Remove membrane from ribs; cut racks in half.
  • Rub ribs all over with dry rub mixture. (This can be done the night before cooking).
  • Stand ribs upright in slow cooker, with meaty sides facing the walls.
  • Pour about half of sauce over ribs.
  • Cook on high for the first hour or two. Add remainder of sauce and reduce to low. Cook at least 7 hours total and then keep on warm until serving.
  • Remove carefully from slow cooker. You can add more sauce and put these under the broiler if you want a caramelized look; otherwise, they are delicious straight from the pot.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Lay ribs on roasting pan (pan with slits so fat can drip down). Cover tightly with foil.
  • Bake 6 - 7 hours. (Don't open door during the entire baking time.)
  • Remove from oven; let ribs rest for 30 minutes (to let juices settle so meat will be tender).
  • Remove foil; brush ribs with bottled sauce.
  • Place ribs under broiler for 5-10 minutes for glazed exterior.

baby back ribsOven method: Simply place ribs atop a broiler pan (spray grates well so that ribs won’t stick). Line the bottom of the pan with heavy duty foil to catch all the drippings and make cleanup a snap.

Cover ribs tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. This creates a seal that keeps in heat and moisture so that ribs will be moist. After ribs have cooked for 6-7 hours, let rest for 30 minutes. Then remove foil, brush with bottled sauce, and place under the broiler for a glazed, caramelized exterior.

A handy kitchen tool: For better basting, this OXO Silicone Basting Brush can stand up to the thickest sauces.