WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: We wanted to use the low, even heat of the slow cooker to make fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued pork spareribs with authentic grilled flavor. To start, we covered the ribs with a dry rub of paprika, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper for deeper flavor. To fit two racks of spareribs into the slow cooker, we stood the racks upright around the perimeter of the slow cooker, spiraling them toward the center. We found that leaving the membrane coating the underside of the ribs attached helped hold the racks together as they cooked (and, as a bonus, shortened our prep time). Once the ribs were fully tender, we transferred them to a wire rack set in a baking sheet and broiled them to develop an authentic crispy, lightly charred exterior. As they broiled, we brushed them with barbecue sauce every few minutes until they were sticky and caramelized.
Serves: 4 to 6
Cooking Time: 4 to 5 Hours on Low
Slow Cooker Size: 6 1/2 to 7 Quarts
Avoid buying racks of ribs labeled only “spareribs”; their large size and irregular shape make them unwieldy in a slow cooker. St. Louis–style spareribs are smaller and more uniform in size and will fit nicely in a standard 6 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker. You will need an oval slow cooker for this recipe.
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 (2 1/2‐ to 3‐pound) racks St. Louis–style spareribs
1 cup barbecue sauce
1. Mix paprika, sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper together in bowl and rub evenly over ribs. Arrange ribs upright in slow cooker with meaty sides facing outward. Cover and cook until ribs are tender, 4 to 5 hours on low.
2. Adjust oven rack 10 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place wire rack in aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer ribs, meaty side up, to prepared sheet. Brush ribs with some of barbecue sauce, then broil until browned and sticky, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping and brushing with additional sauce every few minutes. Serve ribs with remaining sauce.
You can find this and 200 other easy, delicious recipes in our book Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition.