Crock-Pot Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

ribs

Who doesn’t love a good, charred, meaty rib slathered in rich BBQ sauce? I know I do and these ribs are so delicious and absolutely perfect for your next summer BBQ! Unlike traditional rib recipes which can be time-consuming this recipe is as easy as 1-2-3 and produces a perfectly tender and super yummy piece of meat. The recipe comes from one of my most favorite cookbooks, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook 10th Anniversary Edition: Every Recipe and Every Review From All Ten Seasons .

Aside from the recipe being foolproof, the BBQ sauce is divine! You’ll never go back to a bottled version again. You can make a batch of this BBQ sauce anytime and use it on chicken, burgers or any other grilled meat. Save yourself time when making the sauce (and the ribs!) by mixing together a batch of the spice rub ahead of time. Triple the recipe and store it in a small spice jar in your cabinet. Anytime that you need a flavorful spice rub or you want to make homemade BBQ sauce you’ll have the mixed spices already on hand.

This recipe calls for St.-Louis style ribs however, when I was in the store they were out so I went ahead and used bone-in country-style ribs instead. They were nice and meaty and worked really well in this recipe. As a bonus, since they come individually cut there was no need to trim the ribs beforehand or separate them after cooking.

Lastly, to finish the ribs the recipe has you using your boiler which is perfectly fine and simple however, I chose to finish them off on the grill. Follow the same steps as if you were broiling the ribs only instead of putting them under the broiler, put them on the grill for a few minutes until nice and charred. The ribs had the amazing smoky flavor of the grill as if they had been cooking on there for hours but with the simplicity of having being cooked in the slow cooker. This meal was a HUGE hit in my house. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the ribs

  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 lbs of St. Louis style ribs (each rack cut in half)  OR bone-in country-style ribs

For the BBQ sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 6 tbs apple juice
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions

For the ribs – Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic in a bowl. Reserve 1 tbs of the spice rub for later use in the BBQ sauce. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and coat all over with the spice rub.

Arrange the ribs vertically with the thick ends pointing down and the meaty side against the interior of the slow cooker. It is fine if the ribs overlap. Cover and cook until ribs are just tender. Low setting, 6-7 hours OR high setting, 5-6 hours.

For the BBQ sauce – In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, apple juice, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper, liquid smoke and the reserved 1 tbs of spice rub. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced down to a cup, about 10 minutes.

To finish the ribs – Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack in the pan. Using tongs, transfer the ribs, meaty side up, to the rack. Let the ribs sit for about 10 minutes to allow the surface to dry out.

Adjust the oven rack 3″ from the broiler and heat. Liberally brush the ribs with about 1/2 cup of sauce and broil until bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven, brush with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

**Tip – The BBQ sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.**

Crock-Pot Pulled Chicken

 

pulled chicken

Pulled chicken is one of my favorite summer meals because it’s not only delicious but it’s super easy to make, especially in the Crock-Pot! You don’t need to heat up your oven and have it on for hours and you don’t even need to keep an eye on it as it cooks. The best part? It’ll come out perfect EVERY time!

I usually like to make my own BBQ sauce for this meal but it isn’t necessary so feel free to choose your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and run with it! The chicken will take about 6-7 hours on low, depending how thick your meat is. You will know it’s ready when it shreds easily with two forks. Also, you can substitute the chicken for pork however, you will need to increase the cooking time as the cut of pork is much bigger and thicker than a few chicken breasts. For pulled pork, I like to use a Boston butt which you can find in most grocery or warehouse stores. BJ’s® usually sells them for under $2/lb and you can easily feed a crowd.

I like to have the chicken cook in the BBQ sauce and I don’t add any additional water to the pot because the meat releases enough of its own juices. With the pulled chicken, you won’t need to drain any of the liquid however, the pork does release a ton of water and fat. When I make the Boston butt, I usually hold off on adding the BBQ sauce until the end. When it’s done cooking I pull the meat out, drain most of the liquid, place the meat back into the pot and then I add the BBQ sauce.

Serve on hearty rolls with a side of homemade coleslaw and you have a perfect summer meal that is sure to please everyone. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce, store-bought OR homemade

Instructions

Place the cleaned chicken breasts in the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Cover with the diced onion and season with salt and pepper. Add about half a bottle of BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.

Remove the chicken from the pot. If the sauce is too thin, turn the Crock Pot up to high and let it simmer a little until it thickens. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Add additional BBQ sauce as needed. Serve hot.

Crock-Pot Beef Stew

 

Stew2.jpg

Now that summer is beginning to wind down I am eagerly looking ahead to the crisp, cool days of fall and I am excited to break out all of my recipes for cozy, warm, comfort food. Stew happens to be one of my favorites and there is nothing like a hot bowl of stew on a cold fall night. I don’t recall where I first came across this recipe as I’ve been making it for over 20 years!…………long before Pinterest, Facebook, and the zillions of internet cooking sites that exist today. It’s super easy to pull together and you can even prep everything the night before and just place the bowl in the Crock-Pot in the morning. Within a few hours your house will smell amazing and you will have a hot meal to put on the table. I like to serve this stew with a nice crusty loaf of bread and a glass of red wine.

There is a lot of leeway with this recipe in terms of what goes into it so don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients. If you prefer the flavor of an Irish Beef Stew, just substitute the red wine with a good Guinness beer instead. If you want to be “fancy” you can try out different vegetables such as parsnips or daikon in place of the carrots or potatoes. No matter what flavor profile you’re going for you will end up with a delicious, hearty stew. Be sure to taste your stew right before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2.5 to 3  lbs stew meat cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 3-4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 onions, quartered 
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion soup 
  • 3/4 c ketchup 
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup good red wine (or Guinness
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

Instructions

Place the meat in the bottom of the Crock-Pot and cover with the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Mix the soup packet, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce with the water and wine until well combined. Pour the liquid over the vegetables and meat. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs, or until beef is fork tender.

To thicken the sauce, remove the vegetables and meat with a slotted spoon and increase the Crock-Pot to high. Stir in a slurry of 2 tbs of flour combined with a 1/4 cup of water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Alternatively, you can leave everything in the pot and add a few shakes of Wondra thickening flour to the pot towards the end of cooking.

 

Mommy’s Chicken Soup

chicken soup

There is nothing better when you’re feeling a little under the weather than a hot, steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. It is so warm and comforting and for me, it always reminds me of being a kid. I grew up on my Mom’s chicken soup, it was a staple in our house in the wintertime and one of the meals I’d often request if I got to choose. It’s a very basic, simple recipe but it’s just perfect!

I use to make this on the stovetop and let it simmer most of the day until the chicken was cooked through and falling from the bone. The problem is, cooking it this way binds you to the house for hours so instead, I starting making it in my Crock Pot. It comes out great every time and you’re free to go about your day and then come home to a nice, hot meal. I usually cook this on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken easily falls from the bone. If you get a late start and are pressed for time, you can also cook it on high for about 5 hours or again, until the chicken falls from the bone. You can even cook it with frozen chicken, you will just have to adjust the cooking time and let it go a touch longer.

This soup will keep for about 2-3 days in the fridge and it can also be frozen. If you freeze it, you may need to add a little more stock to the pot when you warm it back up. Also, do NOT add the pasta directly to the pot of soup. The pasta will absorb all of the broth and become mushy so I keep the pasta separate and add it it to the individual bowls as I am serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (32 oz) of good chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2 large bone in split chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of petite baby carrots or about 2-3 carrots sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles or orzo pasta

Instructions

Place the chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot then add all of the veggies and seasonings. Pour in the chicken stock and water. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken falls easily from the bone.

Towards the end of the cooking, boil the pasta and set aside. You can a little olive oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking and forming a clump.

Remove the chicken from the Crock Pot and using two forks, pull the chicken from the bone. Discard all of the bones and skin and then return the chicken to the pot. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Place a scoop of pasta into a soup bowl, cover with a hearty ladling of soup, and serve hot. Enjoy!

chickensoup