Tonight’s dinner is very easy and makes good use of your slow cooker. Since it’s not quite grill season yet here in New York, I decided to try a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that uses the slow cooker for Barbecued Ribs. This recipe uses baby back ribs, my personal favorite, and has very few ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier than this one and from the looks of the ribs (they are almost done as I write this) they are going to taste great.
Barbecued Ribs in the Slow Cooker
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
6 pounds pork baby back ribs
3 cups barbecue sauce
Vegetable oil spray
Mix the paprika, sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper together, then rub the mixture evenly over the ribs. Arrange the ribs upright in the slow cooker, with the meaty sides facing outward toward the slow cooker insert wall. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook until the ribs are tender, 6 to 8 hours on low.
Position an oven rack 10 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Place a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and coat with vegetable spray. Carefully transfer the ribs, meaty side down, to the prepared baking sheet and tent with foil. Let the braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon.
Strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan and simmer until thickened and measures 2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush the ribs with some sauce and broil until the ribs begin to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the ribs over, brush with more sauce, and continue to broil until the ribs are well browned and sticky, 9 to 12 minutes longer, brushing with additional sauce every few minutes. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce.
This recipe serves 6 to 8, so I cut the recipe in half since there is only the three of us for dinner tonight. You can replace the dry rub ingredients with any type of dry rub you prefer. Everyone seems to have their own rub they like to use for ribs (I know I have one I use, and as we get into the summer I’ll post it). The same can be said for the barbecue sauce. You can use any bottled sauce that you’re family prefers, make your own sauce that you like, or make a simple one, like this:
Quick and Easy Barbecue Sauce
2 1/4 cups ketchup
3/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Whisk all the ingredients together in bowl until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For this rib recipe, the baby backs work really well since they are smaller and fit in the slow cooker better than larger spare ribs. Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you may not be able to fit a rack of ribs larger than 2 pounds anyway ( I know I can’t).
To go with the ribs, I decided to make some potato salad today. Like barbecue sauce or a dry rub, everyone has their own version or recipe of potato salad. I keep mine pretty simple and don’t really add anything to it. Occasionally I’ll put some diced red onion in, but that’s a rare occasion. I really prefer just the potatoes myself, but add whatever your family likes best or use whatever recipe you have been using.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
In large bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper. Add the potatoes and gently mix until blended. Chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
Sean is not a big fan of potato salad, so he’ll be having a sweet potato tonight with his ribs. I am serving some corn with this meal, off the cob since it’s not in season yet, so we’ll settle for frozen this time.
That’s all there is to this dinner. I just took the ribs out of the slow cooker to get ready to transfer to the broiler to crisp up, and they are fall off the bone tender already; they look great. Here’s a picture:
Tomorrow’s dinner is a Sean’s choice and we’re going to try it completely homemade. I am making Chicken Fingers, Tater Tots and Broccoli. I’ve never tried making tater tots at home before, so we’ll see how it goes. The recipe seems pretty straightforward, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Tune in tomorrow to find out how it goes! Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!