I cooked a big ole batch of baby back ribs in my slow cooker the other day. The recipe I used made for smoky barbecue-inspired ribs that came out tender and flavorful. These slow cooker roadhouse ribs are a tad bit different, but still tender and delicious. They’re packed with flavor, inside and out. There’s nothing worse than a rib whose flavor is only ‘skin deep’. You know the kind. Covered in sauce. You take one bite and as soon as you’re past the sauce … nothing. Nada. As boring as a cup of warm water. Not these ribs.
Now, sure, I’d prefer a rack of ribs off my smoker or grill, but sometimes that’s just not an option. And honestly, I can devour a rack of slow cooker roadhouse ribs just as quickly as one that has been smoked for 6 hours. They’re different. I don’t think they compete with each other. They’re different ways of cooking ribs, each with it’s own merits.
I prefer a spicy BBQ sauce on this roadhouse ribs. Well, usually. Sometimes I go the sweet route instead.
I know my buddies on the grilling and smoker forums are going to give me grief over making slow cooker baby back ribs. But I am always up to trying something new (to me). Now, yes, I know these baby back ribs don’t sit in a smoker for 6 or so hours and get a beautiful smoke ring. But, they are tender, almost fall-off-the-bone tender, and with a little help, quite tasty. And hey, when it’s blowing 45 MPH winds outside with a wind chill well below 0, slow cooker baby back ribs will do just nicely.
Like with boiling ribs (ok, don’t hate me for boiling ribs!) before grilling them, you have to add something so that the ribs get some flavor to them. Last time I boiled ribs, I added Old Bay seafood boil seasoning. When I made these baby back ribs I added a drop or two of liquid smoke and a little smoky BBQ sauce to boot. Sure, it’s not the same as sitting over hickory smoke for a long time, but those smoky flavors do absorb into the meat as it cooks.