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.**

Homemade BBQ Sauce

homemade bbq sauce

There is nothing better in the summer than grilled meat dripping in thick, sticky BBQ sauce and while there are plenty of great tasting ones to choose from in the supermarket I’m not always thrilled about the ingredients that they contain. So instead of resorting to the bottle variety of BBQ sauce, I make my own! It’s so simple to make and there are literally countless recipes and variations to choose from.

I adapted this BBQ sauce recipe from one that I came across online by Jamie Deen, he used the sauce on his BBQ Baby Back Ribs . The sauce came out really great, it was a nice mix of sweet and spicy however, it did have a strong vinegar taste initially so I adjusted the seasonings to create a more balanced flavor. I added in 1/2 cup of brown sugar for a little extra sweetness plus a 1/2 tbs molasses. I also cut back on the amount of cayenne pepper that was called for, I added only 1/4 tsp and the resulting sauce was plenty spicy.

The recipe made more sauce than I actually needed so I just stored the rest in a Mason Jar and used it for my next BBQ meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 2 tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used only 1/4 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For adjusted sauce recipe include:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs molasses

Instructions

Heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the onion until softened. Add all of the other ingredients and simmer on medium low heat until thickened, about 35 minutes. Use immediately or store in a Mason Jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

bbqribs

 

Meatloaf – Pioneer Woman Style

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For years and years I’ve used my same “go-to” meatloaf recipe that I love. It’s beefy, has a nice onion flavor and everyone in my house loves it. But yesterday, I decided to go out on a limb and try something completely different after I came across this meatloaf recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I love her cookbooks, she has so many meals and desserts that are interesting and delicious. This particular meatloaf recipe is from, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl“, her first cookbook. You can get this cookbook on Amazon, just click below!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

At first I was a little hesitant mainly because I detest ketchup and this recipe called for a sauce made from ketchup. I was actually pleasantly surprised though, after the meatloaf was cooked the sauce took on a really nice sticky, spicy BBQ quality which added great flavor to the meatloaf. The one thing I’d do differently the next time I make this meal would be to run the bacon slices down the length of the meatloaf as opposed to running them across and tucking them under. The top of the bacon was delicious and nicely cooked but the ends of the bacon that were tucked under the meatloaf remained barely cooked and “blubbery” which I found to be inedible. There is nothing worse than inedible bacon!!!

Overall, this was a really good meatloaf and was well received by my family. It has more of a meatball flavor rather than the beefy onion flavor I’m use to from a meatloaf due in part to the parsley and Parmesan cheese. Also, because soaked bread was used instead of breadcrumbs the meatloaf had a really nice texture and structurally, it was perfect! It sliced beautifully and stayed together even after only letting it rest for about 15 minutes. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers today!

Ingredients

For the meatloaf

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 8-12 thin bacon slices

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 6 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • Dash or two of hot sauce

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the milk over the bread until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley. Pour in the beaten eggs and with clean hands, mix until combined.

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of a broiler pan which will allow the fat from the meat and bacon to drain away. Line the bottom of the broiler pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up.

Lay the bacon slices across the top of the meatloaf and tuck the ends underneath.

Next, make the tomato sauce. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard and hot sauce. Mix well.

Pour 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf and spread. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove meatloaf from the oven, pour another 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the top and spread. Place back in oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes. Serve the remainder of the tomato sauce on the side.

**NOTE** – Oven temps vary so adjust your cooking time accordingly. I cooked this meatloaf for an additional 20 minutes and it came out beautifully. Generally speaking, I think an hour is a little too short on time for a meatloaf of this size. 

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