Crock pot BBQ country style ribs are a great meat alternative that is inexpensive and easy to scale for large groups!

Crock pot BBQ country style ribs are a great meat alternative that is inexpensive and easy to scale for large groups!

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UPDATED: 4/15/2023

Using my crock pot in the summer is one of my favorite ways to save time, conserve energy and beat the heat.  A few years ago I found a recipe for crock pot BBQ country style ribs and after a couple of tweaks, it quickly made its way into our meal time rotation.  Country style ribs are a great meat alternative to chicken or beef/turkey. They are generally inexpensive and not very fatty so you get more meat for your money.  We’ve use this recipe for our own family, but it works equally as well when serving larger crowds.

Jump to Recipe

Before diving into the recipe, feel free to check out the most commonly asked questions about preparing this dish:

Should I use bone-in or boneless country style ribs?

Generally bone-in country style ribs will cost less than boneless. That being said, you will get more meat with boneless ribs because. I prefer using the boneless ribs for this reason. I also like that I don’t have to worry about removing the bones, although that isn’t difficult to do because the meat literally falls off them.

Can I substitute the country style ribs for baby back ribs?

I haven’t personally tried this, although I’m sure you could. If you try it out, I’d recommend combining the onions and other spices together and rubbing it onto the ribs instead of just sprinkling it on top like you do in this recipe.

Should I increase the cook time if my ribs are frozen?

I suggest having your ribs thawed before putting them into your crock pot. However, I know life happens and at some point you’ll probably forget to take them out of the freezer. If this is the case, you can definitely still put the meat in frozen, but it may take a little longer to cook. Another option is to increase the cooking temperature to HIGH, although this may result it meat that isn’t quite as tender.

Can I double or triple this recipe for larger groups?

YES! This is one of my favorite meals to serve bigger groups because it’s so easy to just double or triple the recipe. If you are making the recipe with the ingredients and quantities listed below, a 3-quart crock pot will be fine. However, use a 6-quart or larger if you’re making more. Additionally, if you need to layer the meat, I suggest putting the brown sugar and other seasonings in between the layers to more evenly distribute the flavor.

My Favorite Kitchen Must-Haves

How to Make Crock Pot BBQ Country Style Ribs

In your crock pot, place the ribs on the bottom.

Sprinkle the top with brown sugar, covering the top of the meat.

Add the onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You do not need to mix it together once it’s in the crock pot. I like to measure my onion and spices into a bowl and then sprinkle it over the top to distribute.

*PRO TIP* Using dehydrated onions helps save time (and your eyes) without sacrificing flavor.

Pour in the apple juice.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

When the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F, remove the meat from the crock pot using tongs and put on a plate.  Drain the liquid and (carefully) wipe out the pot with a paper towel.  Put the ribs back into the pot and add your favorite BBQ sauce.  (We use Famous Dave’s or Sweet Baby Ray’s.)  The meat will be very tender by this point so you can break it up a little when you mix the BBQ sauce around or wait until you serve it.

Set the crock pot on HIGH and heat through for another 30 minutes. Or you can set it to LOW if you don’t need to serve it right away or want to keep it warm.

Serve on rolls as a sandwich or eat as is with rolls, salad, potatoes and a veggie or fruit for a complete meal.

Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container for no more than a week.  This stores really well and the leftovers are delicious.  My family loves this meal and I love how easy it is!

Crock Pot BBQ Country Style Ribs

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless country style ribs
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp dried, chopped onion OR 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 c. apple juice
  • 1 1/2 c. your favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • In your crock pot, place the ribs on the bottom.
  • Sprinkle the top with brown sugar, covering the top of the meat.
  • Add the onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You do not need to mix it together once it's in the crock pot. I like to measure my onion and spices into a bowl and then sprinkle it over the top to distribute.
  • Pour in the apple juice.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.
  • When the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F, remove the meat from the crock pot using tongs and put on a plate.  Drain the liquid and (carefully) wipe out the pot with a paper towel. 
  • Put the ribs back into the pot and add your favorite BBQ sauce.  (We use Famous Dave's or Sweet Baby Ray's.)  The meat will be very tender by this point so you can break it up a little when you mix the BBQ sauce around or wait until you serve it.
  • Set the crock pot on HIGH and heat through for another 30 minutes. Or you can set it to LOW if you don't need to serve it right away or want to keep it warm.
  • Serve on rolls as a sandwich or eat as is with rolls, salad, potatoes and a veggie or fruit for a complete meal.
  • Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container for no more than a week.

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Crock pot BBQ country style ribs are a great meat alternative that is inexpensive and easy to scale for large groups!
Crock pot BBQ country style ribs are a great meat alternative that is inexpensive and easy to scale for large groups!

19 Comments

  1. thanks for this yummy idea! summer is always so hard for planning meals since nothing sounds good when it's hot…this I can do! 🙂

    • Great pantry-friendly recipe. Easy and delicious. Kids loved it! Thank you!

  2. Oh my goodness this looks amazing! We cook in the crockpot all the time and I seriously can't believe we have not thought of BBQ ribs. Totally going to be making this one day soon!

  3. Oh I love ribs! These ribs look so delicious, and I could eat the entire pot at once 🙂 I'm pinning this recipe to make soon

  4. Kim M. Fogarty Reply

    I have 2 lbs. of boneless ribs – do I need to adjust any of the other ingredients? Thanks, KIM

    • Shani Ogden Reply

      Hi Kim! The extra 1/2 lb shouldn’t make much of a difference. If the liquid starts getting low, feel free to add a little more apple juice. You might need more BBQ sauce but I’ve found that is more of a personal preference for people when it comes to how much they use anyway. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  5. Alma Smith Reply

    Would this same recipe work just as well for babyback ribs? If so, this is my Sunday dinner meal.

    • Shani Ogden Reply

      Hi Alma! I’ve never used this recipe for baby back ribs, however, it certainly has all the ingredients needed based on other recipes I’ve seen for cooking baby back ribs in a slow cooker. If you decide to try it out, I would recommend mixing the brown sugar and other spices in a bowl and then rubbing them on the ribs before transferring them to the slow cooker. Then add the BBQ sauce on top and the apple juice in the bottom of the slow cooker. 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high should do the trick. Let me know if you try it out!

  6. Can you cook on High for a shorter time and achieve the same results? I had planned to make them tonight, but didn’t start early enough.

    • Shani Ogden Reply

      Yes, if your ribs are thawed, then you can cook on high for a shorter time. If they are frozen, run them under hot water to thaw them a bit before putting them in the crock pot. I would also check the liquid as it cooks since the higher heat may cause more evaporation. I’d start at 3 hours and then check it to see if it needs more time. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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