How To Cook Spare Ribs In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Spare ribs, known for their rich flavor and tender texture, are a beloved dish for many. Cooking them in a crock pot, also known as a slow cooker, can yield succulent and fall-off-the-bone results. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything from the selection and preparation of spare ribs to the detailed process of cooking them in a crock pot. We will also address common troubleshooting issues to ensure your spare ribs turn out perfect every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Spare Ribs In Crock Pot

Cooking time varies based on the heat setting and the specific recipe. Generally, spare ribs cooked in a crock pot on the low setting for 6-8 hours or on the high setting for 3-4 hours will yield tender, flavorful results. However, the exact time can depend on the size of the spare ribs and the specific model of the crock pot.

Selection

When selecting spare ribs for your crock pot recipe, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, look for ribs that are fresh and high-quality. Fresh spare ribs typically have a pinkish-red color and should not have any off-putting odors.

You also have the option to choose between baby back ribs and St. Louis-style spare ribs. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, with meat that is tender and more subtly flavored. St. Louis-style spare ribs are larger and fattier, with a richer, more robust flavor. Both types can be cooked in a crock pot, so your selection can be based on personal preference.

Preparation

The preparation of spare ribs is a crucial step in ensuring a delicious final dish. Before cooking, it’s essential to remove the membrane that covers the bone side of the ribs. This can be done by sliding a butter knife under the membrane to loosen it, then gripping it with a paper towel and pulling it off.

Once the ribs are prepared, consider marinating or seasoning them to add depth of flavor. Popular marinades and seasonings for spare ribs include barbecue sauce, dry rubs, or Asian-inspired flavors like soy sauce and ginger. After marinating, allow the ribs to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or even overnight to let the flavors infuse the meat.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Spare Ribs

The cooking time for spare ribs in a crock pot can vary based on the heat setting and the size of the ribs. Here’s a general guideline:

  • High Setting: Cooking spare ribs on the high setting typically takes 3-4 hours. This is a good option when you are short on time but still want the ribs to be tender and flavorful.

  • Low Setting: For a more tender and evenly cooked result, cooking spare ribs on the low setting for 6-8 hours is recommended. This longer, slow-cooking method allows the flavors to meld and the meat to become incredibly tender.

It’s important to note that these times are approximate and can vary depending on the specific crock pot model, the size of the spare ribs, and the desired level of tenderness.

How To Cook Spare Ribs In Crock Pot

Step 1: Prepare The Ribs

  • Start by removing the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Use a butter knife to loosen the membrane, then grip it with a paper towel and pull it off.
  • Season or marinate the ribs according to your preferred flavors. This can include a dry rub, barbecue sauce, or any other desired seasonings.

Step 2: Place In Crock Pot

  • Once the ribs are prepared, place them in the crock pot. If needed, you can cut them into smaller sections to ensure they fit comfortably.

Step 3: Set The Cooking Time And Temperature

  • Choose the cooking time and heat setting based on your preference and schedule. As a general guideline, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low will yield excellent results.

Step 4: Add Liquid (Optional)

  • To enhance the flavor and tenderness of the ribs, consider adding a liquid to the crock pot. This can be anything from barbecue sauce to broth or even a combination of flavors like apple juice and cider vinegar.

Step 5: Let It Cook

  • Once everything is in the crock pot, simply cover it with the lid and let it cook according to the chosen settings. Avoid lifting the lid during the cooking process, as this can prolong the cooking time and affect the final result.

Step 6: Check For Doneness

  • After the designated cooking time has elapsed, check the ribs for doneness. They should be tender and easily pull away from the bone.
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Step 7: Optional Finishing Touches

  • If desired, you can transfer the ribs to a baking sheet and brush them with additional sauce before broiling in the oven for a few minutes to caramelize the exterior.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Ribs Are Too Tough

If the spare ribs turn out tough, it could be due to not cooking them for a long enough time. To remedy this, continue cooking the ribs in the crock pot on the low setting for an additional hour or until they reach the desired tenderness.

Excess Fat

If you notice excessive fat in the cooking liquid, you can use a ladle to skim off the fat from the top. Alternatively, prior to cooking, you can trim excess fat from the spare ribs to reduce the amount of fat released during cooking.

Dry Ribs

If the spare ribs turn out dry, it may be due to insufficient moisture during the cooking process. To prevent dryness, consider adding a flavorful liquid such as barbecue sauce, broth, or even apple juice to the crock pot before cooking.

Uneven Cooking

To ensure even cooking, it’s essential to arrange the spare ribs in a single layer in the crock pot. If necessary, cut the ribs into smaller sections to ensure they fit comfortably and cook evenly.

Overly Soggy Ribs

If the spare ribs turn out overly soggy, it might be due to too much liquid in the crock pot. To prevent this, reduce the amount of liquid added or consider removing the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow excess liquid to evaporate.

Cooking spare ribs in a crock pot can result in a mouthwatering, tender dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you prefer the leaner baby back ribs or the rich, flavorful St. Louis-style spare ribs, the crock pot can help you achieve delectable results with minimal effort. By carefully selecting, preparing, and cooking the spare ribs, as well as addressing common troubleshooting issues, you can ensure that your crock pot spare ribs turn out perfectly every time. Experiment with different flavors and techniques to create your own signature dish that will leave your guests coming back for more.

Crock Pot Cook Time For Frozen Spare Ribs

If you’re a fan of tender, flavorful spare ribs but don’t want to spend hours tending to a grill or oven, using a crock pot can be a convenient and delicious alternative. The slow cooking method of a crock pot allows the spare ribs to become incredibly tender and infuse flavors, making them fall-off-the-bone delicious.

One of the advantages of using a crock pot is its ability to cook meat from a frozen state, saving you the hassle of waiting for the spare ribs to thaw. When cooking frozen spare ribs in a crock pot, it is important to ensure that they reach a safe internal temperature for consumption.

The general rule of thumb is to cook frozen spare ribs on the low setting for 10-12 hours. This extended cooking time allows the meat to slowly thaw and cook through, resulting in tender and juicy spare ribs. It is important to note that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness and size of the spare ribs, so it is always recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure they have reached an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.

Achieving Perfect Texture

To achieve the perfect texture when cooking spare ribs in a crock pot, it is essential to use the low heat setting. The low heat setting allows for a slow and gentle cooking process, which breaks down the connective tissues in the meat and results in tender and succulent spare ribs. Cooking spare ribs on high heat runs the risk of drying out the meat and yielding a tougher texture.

Additionally, placing the spare ribs bone-side down in the crock pot can help ensure even cooking and prevent them from becoming overly soggy. The bones act as a natural barrier, allowing the meat to cook evenly and retain its shape and texture.

Flavor Infusion

One of the great advantages of cooking spare ribs in a crock pot is the ability to infuse flavors into the meat. By slow cooking the spare ribs, the flavors from the marinade or seasoning penetrate deep into the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tasty end result.

To enhance the flavor infusion, it is recommended to marinate the spare ribs overnight before placing them in the crock pot. This allows the flavors to fully penetrate the meat and enhances the overall taste.

Furthermore, adding flavorful liquids such as broth, beer, or barbecue sauce to the crock pot can enhance the taste and keep the spare ribs moist during the cooking process. The slow cooking allows the spare ribs to absorb these flavors, resulting in a rich and delicious final dish.

Cooking Techniques

While using a crock pot is a straightforward cooking method, there are a few techniques that can enhance the cooking process and yield even better results.

  1. Sear the spare ribs: Searing the spare ribs before placing them in the crock pot can add a depth of flavor and give the meat a beautiful caramelized exterior. Simply heat a skillet with oil over medium-high heat and sear the spare ribs on all sides until browned. This extra step can greatly enhance the taste of the spare ribs.

  2. Use a rack: Placing a rack at the bottom of the crock pot can elevate the spare ribs, allowing the heat to circulate evenly around them. This prevents the spare ribs from sitting in their own juices and becoming overly tender or soggy. A rack also allows the spare ribs to develop a slight crust on the bottom, adding more texture and flavor to the dish.

  3. Baste with sauce: To further enhance the flavor of the spare ribs, basting them with sauce or marinade during the cooking process can add moisture and depth. Simply brush the spare ribs with your desired sauce every hour or so while they are cooking in the crock pot. This technique adds an extra layer of flavor and ensures that the spare ribs remain moist throughout the cooking process.

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Crock Pot Tips For Spare Ribs

To ensure the best results when cooking spare ribs in a crock pot, here are a few additional tips:

  1. Trim excess fat: Trimming excess fat from the spare ribs before cooking can help prevent a greasy end result. Removing excessive fat also allows the flavors to penetrate the meat more effectively.

  2. Allow for proper ventilation: It’s essential to leave the lid slightly cracked during the last hour of cooking to allow excess moisture to evaporate. This will help prevent the spare ribs from becoming too tender and soggy.

  3. Let them rest: Once the spare ribs are cooked, it is important to let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more juicy and flavorful eating experience.

  4. Finish on the grill: If you prefer a crispy exterior or a smoky flavor, you can finish the spare ribs on a grill after they have been slow cooked in the crock pot. This additional step adds a beautiful char and enhances the overall taste of the spare ribs.

Creative Crock Pot Spare Ribs Recipes

Here are a few creative and mouthwatering crock pot spare ribs recipes to try:

  1. Honey Garlic Spare Ribs:

    • In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup honey, ¼ cup soy sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
    • Place the spare ribs in the crock pot, pour the honey garlic mixture over them, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until tender.
    • Optional: To achieve a caramelized exterior, transfer the spare ribs to a baking sheet lined with foil and broil them in the oven for 5-7 minutes, basting with the cooking juices halfway through.
  2. Asian-inspired Spare Ribs:

    • In a bowl, combine ½ cup hoisin sauce, ¼ cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
    • Place the spare ribs in the crock pot, pour the Asian-inspired sauce over them, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until tender.
    • Serve the spare ribs with steamed rice and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.
  3. Spicy BBQ Spare Ribs:

    • In a bowl, mix 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, ½ cup ketchup, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
    • Place the spare ribs in the crock pot, pour the spicy BBQ sauce over them, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until tender.
    • Optional: Before serving, brush the spare ribs with additional BBQ sauce and broil in the oven for 5-7 minutes to caramelize the sauce.

Conclusion

Cooking spare ribs in a crock pot is a convenient and delicious alternative to traditional grilling or baking methods. The slow cooking process allows the spare ribs to become tender and flavorful, while also infusing them with rich tastes and aromas. By following the recommended techniques, tips, and recipes outlined in this article, you can achieve succulent, fall-off-the-bone spare ribs that will satisfy any barbecue lover. So dust off your crock pot, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy mouthwatering spare ribs with minimal effort and maximum flavor.

FAQS

What Type Of Ribs Should I Use For Cooking Spare Ribs In A Crock Pot?

Pork spare ribs are the most commonly used type of ribs for cooking in a crock pot. Beef spare ribs can also be used but may require a longer cooking time.

How Long Should I Cook Spare Ribs In A Crock Pot?

The cooking time for spare ribs in a crock pot can vary depending on the recipe and the size of the ribs. On average, spare ribs can be cooked on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-5 hours.

Do I Need To Pre-cook The Spare Ribs Before Placing Them In The Crock Pot?

It is not necessary to pre-cook the spare ribs before placing them in the crock pot. However, some recipes may call for the ribs to be seared or parboiled beforehand for additional flavor and tenderness.

What Are Some Recommended Seasonings Or Sauces For Cooking Spare Ribs In A Crock Pot?

Common seasonings for cooking spare ribs in a crock pot include garlic, onion, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and soy sauce are popular sauces to add to the ribs for extra flavor.

Can Spare Ribs Be Cooked With Vegetables In A Crock Pot?

Yes, vegetables such as onions, carrots, and potatoes can be added to the crock pot with the spare ribs for a complete one-pot meal. However, it is recommended to place the vegetables on the bottom of the crock pot and the ribs on top to prevent overcooking of the vegetables.