Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation for a dinner entree or appetizer.  Plus they’re easy to make. Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make. 

I don’t know if it’s due to the second winter of Covid–or maybe just life lately.  But in any case, I’ve been feeling a real need for some EASY!

And so I decided to make tasty BBQ ribs tonight–and to do it as simply as possible.  This recipe works in a slow cooker or in the oven using a Dutch Oven. 

‘Cause everyone needs more than one way to make life easier!  Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.

What Makes This a Winner

BBQ Ribs is a perennial favorite entree and for good reason. It is:

  • Flavorful (almost Comfort Food). Since they are tasty, rich and satisfying BBQ Ribs meet my definition of comfort food! In fact, I’d rank them way above mac ‘n cheese!
  • Easy. There is very little active work in making these ribs. The only time you really need to pay attention is the five or so minutes they spend under the broiler.
  • Adaptable.  No slow cooker?  This works great in a Dutch Oven too

Step by Step Directions

You start by mixing together the spices to form your spice rub. Mix spices for ribs

Remove the tough membrane from the ribs

remove membrane

Cut your ribs to fit the Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven as needed

Cut ribs to fit cooker

Rub with spice rub

Place in cooker and cook until tender, then remove to broiler pan and brush with BBQ sauce

Brush slow cooker ribs with BBQ sauce

Broil until starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Broil to crisp BBQ ribs


Types of Ribs

Pork vs. Beef Ribs

The first thing you need to decide in picking out your ribs is whether you want beef or pork. Pork has always been the classic and you can’t go wrong with that choice.

In recent years beef ribs have become increasingly popular. I used to steer away, finding them slightly tough and occasionally… well, almost slimy. But the long slow cooking method I use here should correct these issues and there are many similar online recipes online using beef ribs.  So I know I need to give them another try. Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.

Cuts of Pork Ribs

Both beef and pork ribs come in a variety of cuts. For pork, some of the more common are:

  • Baby Back Ribs: these come from the top of the rib cage, by the spine. They are shorter than spare ribs  and popular in restaurants.  A rack of baby back ribs may weight in around 2 lbs and will feed 1-2 people.
  • Spare Ribs: these are the ribs I ate growing up and are cut below the baby back ribs. They have a higher ratio of bone and an extension of cartilage at the end of the bones. If they are trimmed up to remove this they may be called St Louis Ribs.  A rack of spare ribs is about 3-4 lbs and will feed 2-3 people.
  • Country Style Ribs: these aren’t technically ribs at all but actually part of the pork shoulder (aka pork butt). These may have few to no bones and are sometimes called boneless ribs. These can be cooked per this recipe since the shoulder needs slow cooking.

For more information (and a picture showing the origin of the cuts), see Smoked BBQ Source.  Beef ribs also come in different cuts. For information about cuts of beef ribs, see BBQ Champs Academy. 

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.

How to remove the membrane

There is one trick to preparing ribs and that is removing the tough membrane that stretches across the back side of the ribs. I read that it’s easy, but I was still worried.

Now truthfully, I wondered if removal was even needed since the slow cooking might tenderize it–and I could swear I’ve left it on in the past . But I decided to give it a try and once I got the hang of it, it was easy. Start a little over from edge to remove membrane

You basically create a flap of membrane then pull the rest off. The only hard part was getting it started. I wasn’t successful starting at the end, but when I move one rib over(see above), then sliced toward the outside I quickly had a nice flap.  Create a flap

Pulling with a cloth is recommended so that’s how I started. I also had some success bare-handed, though that might not have worked in the beginning. remove membrane with a towel

Yup, not so bad after all!

Tips and FAQs

Did you know that you can convert slow cooker recipes to Dutch Oven recipes and vice versa, by changing the cooking time?  I usually bake in a Dutch Oven at about 300F and estimate slightly less cooking time than the time for the high setting of a slow cooker.  Since the oven uses a higher cooking temperature, the Dutch Oven version will tend to lose more liquid so it’s important to check for that periodically.  Otherwise easy peasy. 

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.

Serving Suggestions

A casual side salad like Cole slaw or potato salad is perfect with ribs. We added rye rolls as well for simplicity—remember, we were in search of an easy meal! Fresh roasted corn and cornbread are other tasty sides. Finally, your favorite beer or hard cider makes a good beverage accompaniment.

Ribs even make good appetizers. Just cut them individually and they’ll be a sure hit!

Welcome to our #NationalSlowCookerMonth Celebration! 

January is National Slow Cooker Month and this week we are celebrating all things slow cooker! We have delicious recipes from across the country to fill your meal plans with delicious slow cooker recipes!

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs

Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs deliver a flavor sensation dinner or appetizer.  Plus they're easy to make.
Author: Inger
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 737 kcal


Spice Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika smoked or regular
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • pinch cayenne

Other ingredients:

  • 4 pounds ribs about 1 rack spare ribs or 2 racks baby back ribs
  • ½ cup beer or stock or other liquid for moisture
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce plus extra for serving


  • Blend spices to create a dry rub.
  • Remove tough membrane from back of ribs. Use a knife to create a flap, then pull off the rest of the membrane.
  • Cut ribs to fit your slow cooker or Dutch Oven. Rub the spice rub onto both sides of ribs then set aside.
  • Pour beer or stock into bottom of slow cooker or Dutch Oven, add ribs and cover. Slow cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours or if using Dutch oven bake at 300F for 3-4 hours. Check periodically and add additional liquid if it has dried out.
  • When ribs are tender to your tastes, remove and place on broiler safe pan. Brush with BBQ sauce. Broil until starting to crisp, about 5 mintues.
  • Serve hot with additional BBQ sauce on the side.


Calories: 737kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 55gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 197mgSodium: 1202mgPotassium: 845mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 391IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 3mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

41 thoughts on “Easy Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs

  1. Dave

    I think i’m the only one that does it rite lol I cit the ribs separate each rib I cur rite up against the bone that way each rib has all the meat on one side none on the other. be easier with s drawing

    1. Inger Post author

      I get that actually because it’s how I cut them when I eat them :). But it sounds like you cut before cooking–interesting, probably perfect for kids.

  2. Ann Orr

    5 stars
    I did a teepee with my ribs. Cut the slab 2 or 3 ribs at a time, did the rub and put the biggest side against the bottom, the tops touching, each one balanced to stay up. Then I positioned the rest of the ribs in the spaces left, again teepee-like. Turned out great. Love the taste. Put a little liquid smoke on before the rub. Ummmm

    1. Inger Post author

      Cook it covered–that will keep the moisture in for the long cooking time. Thanks for commenting, I’ll try to make it clearer.

  3. kate

    Not sure if this is a typo, but you’ve written ” low for 4-5 hours or high for 7-8 hours” wouldn’t it be the other way around?

  4. David Scott Allen

    I’m not sure my comments are showing up. I’m wondering if you stack the ribs and, assuming so, how deep? These really sound wonderful, but I’ve never cooked them in the slow cooker… I’m very curious!

    1. Inger Post author

      Yes, David, sorry I’m a bit behind in replying to comments. Yes, you fit the ribs in however you can which will likely involve stacking. Mine worked in two layers. I’ll update the recipe to make this clear. Let me know how you like them! Now I want ribs again!

      1. David Scott Allen

        Hi Inger – no worries, I’ve been having a lot of tech problems and find some blogger’s posts won’t come in, or I’m unable to subscribe or comment… Glad this is working! Thanks for the recipe clarification — can’t wait to try them! And thanks also for all the nice comments you just posted! 🙂

  5. David Scott Allen

    Wow — I learned a lot from this! I never really knew the difference between baby back and spareribs, and I didn’t know about removing the membrane! Definitely something to try with my slow cooker! maybe I missed this in the write up, but do you stack the ribs in the slow cooker? I would imagine that would be fine… Just want to make sure!

  6. John / Kitchen Riffs

    Love ribs! We cook pork ribs a lot more than beef ones, but beef are excellent too. I need to try this — we sometimes do an oven slow-cooked version of BBQ ribs, but I like your method a lot. Thanks!

  7. Kathleen Pope

    How simple are these succulent ribs!?! Making while we head out skiing this weekend!

  8. Thao @ In Good Flavor

    My style of cooking has gravitated more towards simple and easy, so L this is my kind of recipe! I’m a fan of slow cooked meat and can eat it anytime. This in fact is the kind of dish that makes (except for my vegetarian daughter) my family happy!

    1. Inger Post author

      When I quit my corporate job I figured I could do more time consuming cooking. But I’m with you this year–need to get simpler and more efficient!

  9. Jennifer

    I love easy crockpot meals like this one. Ribs are so good and usually take a long time to make but the slow cooker cuts down on that perfectly.

    1. Inger Post author

      I think I’m going to be doing more slow cooker meals after all the great food for slow cooker week!

    1. Inger Post author

      I want a smoker for fish! But I’d be happy to judge that competition any time. Pretty sure no losers!

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