A Date... with Ribs

I know that the rest of the world LOVES their slow cooker.... I mean - in love, married to it. I'm pretty sure my slow cooker and I are still dating, and I don't mean grown-up dating, I mean jr. high dating. Sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it and my feelings can change in a flash! Today is a love day.

My husband is the griller/smoker in the family. On one side of our deck is a gas grill and on the other side, there is a big ol' charcoal grill/smoker. I don't really mess with either one because well, why bother, our arrangement works. The big problemo with this little arrangement is that I can't just whip up some ribs - and sometimes a girl wants ribs. Come on, you know I'm not the only one who feels that way. 

It was this feeling that led me to give the slow cooker another date. I saw this little pin and thought - "self, we need to try this."

I looked over the recipe from mmm is for mommy that she adapted from America's Test Kitchen and decided to give it a shot, mainly because it came from America's Test Kitchen and they are professional testers, so how bad could it be?

I gathered up all the supplies and made my little rub. I did add a little of this and that to spice the rub up a tad, so here's my spin!

Easy BBQ Ribs - Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution

2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of each salt and pepper
3 lbs pork (baby) back ribs - leave the membrane on the ribs to help hold them together
1.5 cup bbq sauce
dash of liquid smoke (optional)
Vegetable oil spray
In a little bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Rub your fancy mixture all over both sides of your ribs well.  Arrange ribs in the slow cooker by standing them up against the wall of the stoneware pot, thicker side down and meaty side against the pot. The ribs will want to slide around some, let them know who's boss... and if that doesn't work, don't worry - they'll still be great! Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low. I cooked mine for about 7 1/2 hours.

No, your ribs are not done... no, they aren't. No, you can't skip the next steps... yes, they are important - really important. I know its a little bit of work and yes, I know they are called easy ribs. Pay attention people, this is the tricky part - and I am not joking - I had to bring in Allen re-enforcements. 

You need to take the ribs out of the slow cooker - be very very very very careful. It is not an easy task. They are SO tender, and they want to fall apart like mine started to. Put them, bone side up onto a baking pan with a rack. My suggestion is to have another rack ready for later. Trust me. For now, just set the ribs aside... and no, they are NOT done.

Inside your slow cooker, you will find lots of juices and goodness. Skim any fat off the top and then pour all of the goodness into a saucepan. Add a dash of liquid smoke - if you want. Bring it to a boil and reduce it to a simmer to reduce it by a third. This will take about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, lower your oven rack so its about 10 inches from your broiler and then pre-heat the broiler.

Once the sauce is reduced, brush the ribs with the sauce and stick them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.  This is where the other rack is handy. Take the ribs out of the broiler and FLIP THEM. Yup, flip. I placed my second rack on top of the ribs and rack and did the quick flip (and a prayer). Breathe. Brush the ribs with the sauce and stick them back under the broiler for 9-10 minutes. Make sure you brush them  a couple times during that 10 minutes so they get even more flavor. 

Take them out of the oven and now.... yes, they are done... and yes, they are delicious!!!!!! 

I am not going to tell you that they are the same as the ones from the smoker, or that they are the best ribs I have ever had, but they have certainly helped the slow cooker's chances for another date because this date was memorable!

Make a date with your slow cooker, you won't be disappointed.

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Scharffen Berger.