You don’t grow up in the South and not have an affinity for barbecue. In Texas we are blessed with many fabulous barbecue spots. But sometimes a gal just needs to fix her own.
Some basics. Good barbecue takes time, time for the rub and time to cook.
You want to start with quality meat; baby back pork ribs make an excellent choice. You want a flavorful rub. A mix of seasonings will enhance and create layers of depth to the meat. There are hundreds of tried and true methods and rubs but this one is a good balance of sweet and spicy. This recipe comes from “Southern Living”, a favorite resource in our family for food, garden and lifestyle ideas. The beauty of this method, it can be prepared in a large slow cooker, then finished on the grill or under the broiler – perfect for busy lives!
Make the rub and get it on the ribs the day before you need it. I normally buy two racks of ribs, put rub on both and freeze one for later. I’ve made some very minor “tweaks” so as with any recipe, adjust to suit your taste. This version makes enough for two racks of ribs.
Slower Cooker Baby Back Ribs
2 racks baby back pork ribs, each about 3-1/2 to 4 pounds
½ cup apple juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
For the rub
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
In a small bowl blend together the ingredients for the dry rub. Rinse off each rack of ribs and blot dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife slice through the membrane on the back of the rib rack. Grab the membrane and pull to remove. This sometimes takes a bit of tugging to get it started, but worth the effort as it will make the ribs more tender.
Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the rub, you’ll use it when cooking the ribs. Lay the rib racks on a large sheet of plastic wrap, and then spread the remainder of the rub on both sides of the ribs.
Wrap up tightly and refrigerate overnight. If you’re freezing one of the racks, also wrap a layer of foil over the top of the plastic wrap, sealing tightly.
When you’re ready to cook, unwrap the rack of ribs and using a sharp knife cut the rack in half.
Stir together the apple juice, the reserved rub, vinegar and garlic in the bottom of a large slow cooker. (I use All-Clad’s large 7-quart slow cooker.) You’ll think there is not enough liquid but there is, so not to worry. Stack in the slow cooker.Cover and cook on low for six hours, or until the ribs are very tender. To finish, lay the rib racks on a baking sheet lined with heavy-duty foil. Brush each side with your favorite barbecue sauce, and broil for 2-3 minutes per side to allow the sauce to caramelize.