Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs Recipe

I'm a huge fan of fall-off the bone, super tender beef ribs. My trick is to marinate them overnight with (I used an Asian pear purée and ground papaya mixture) to tenderize the meat. The following day, I cooked them, wrapped in aluminum foil, for several hours in a slow cooker. Lastly, I smothered them in barbecue sauce and place them on a barbecue grill.

July 4th isn't the same without beef ribs. I don't make them that often because I find it quite time-consuming and the result is pretty meager for the amount of work. What I mean by that is that there is very little meat falling off the bone. What can I say, I'm very greedy when it comes to eating meat! Purists will probably think it's wrong to par-boil or steam the ribs in a slow cooker because flavors are lost. But the slow cooker method guarantees that they turn out very tender.


Yields: 4 servings

3 pounds beef ribs, about 2 racks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 sprig oregano, chopped
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 ripe Asian pear
1 tablespoon papaya paste (see tips)
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil, as needed
1-½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly cracked
3 cups BBQ sauce (see tips)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley (leaves only)


The day before...

Rinse the ribs and pat them dry using paper towels.

Place the beef ribs in a large glass baking dish. Rub the meat with a mixture of granulated sugar, oregano, cayenne pepper and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cut the pear into large cubes. Gather the pear with its juice, core and seeds in a blender. Add the chopped onions, papaya paste and liquid smoke (if used). Blend into a smooth purée.

Spread the marinade over the ribs. Mix well; the marinade should coat the pieces of beef.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Plastic-wrap the dish and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat occasionally.

The next day...

Preheat the slow cooker (set on low mode).

Remove the ribs from the marinade. Pat the meat dry using paper towels. Season with salt.

Flip 2 heat-proof small bowls and place at the bottom of the slow cooker.

Create small incisions into the meat so the ribs are easy to roll. Roll the ribs forming 2 cylinders and wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Prick the packages. Place several chopsticks over the bowls so the packages are stable.

Pour in about 1-½ to 2 cups of warm water and cover the slow cooker with a lid and let simmer for 6 to 8 hours (I cooked them for 6-½ hours).

Assembly time:

Remove the aluminum packages from the slow cooker. Drain the liquid and fat from the bottom. Let cool for a few minutes. Cut the ribs and place them in a large glass baking dish. Cover them in barbecue sauce.

With a brush, grease the grill of your barbecue and heat until it's really hot, almost at the smoking point.

Using tongs (I use chopsticks), place the ribs directly on a hot barbecue grill. Cook until you get grill marks (about 2 minutes on all sides), turning the ribs frequently (count every minute for even cooking) and brushing frequently with more barbecue sauce.

Remove from the grill and transfer to a platter. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let the meat rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Garnish with parsley leaves.

Bon appétit!

Slow Cooker Beef Ribs Recipe with Picture


Pear juice and papaya paste are great meat tenderizers to ensure juicy and moist meat. Papaya paste was Baji, Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a blender, place about 1 tablespoon of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them.

I used store-bought Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce. You could make your own by mixing ketchup, chili sauce, hot sauce, light brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 4, 2011.


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