Easy Slow-Cooker BBQ Short Ribs


If you're one of the few American's who didn't throw your slow cooker out the window after last season of This Is Us, this recipe is about to change your life. As a born and raised Texan and a transplanted Kansan, I basically have BBQ sauce running through my veins. And as any good neighbor will assure you, unless your friend/spouse/guardian angel has a smoker and a generous heart, chances are you aren't getting good, home-made BBQ on a weeknight- until now

Thanks to the butchers of Trader Joes and your family slow cooker, you can have ribs for dinner that are so buttery-soft they won't even make it into your mouth intact. Ribs so tender, a grown woman will voluntarily put on a bib.  Ribs so flavorful, you'll utter noises you didn't realize food could induce. And you won't even have to touch a grill, smoker, or subsequent fire-extinguisher.

Here's the deal: Plan to wake up in the morning an extra 15 minutes early to prep the ingredients, a little less if you chop that onion the night before. Dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and 8 hours later you'll have falling-off-the-bone ribs that you can serve with some cauliflower-mash and veggies, mac and cheese, or just eat right out of the pot over the sink. 

Grab your bibs, crock-pots, and BBQ sauce- it's time for ribs, y'all! 

Easy Slow-Cooker Short Ribs

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6-9 hours
Serves: 4 people with no seconds, 3 people with seconds, or 2 people who will have happy full bellies and possibly no left-overs


  • 1 Yellow Onion, roughly chopped 
  • 1 Rack of ribs from Trader Joes (these are the cheapest, "cleanest meat" I've found- about $8.99) 
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 cup BBQ sauce (you can home-make this, or straight outta the bottle)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper *optional
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Wash your meat and pat it dry. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper, both sides. Slice the rack down so that there are only 2 or 3 ribs per piece.
  2. Heat some oil/grease in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat and sear each side of the rib pieces for just a few seconds. Once each side is seared (no bright pink or red is showing), place all ribs on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Dump in all other ingredients and stir to coat.
  4. Set the slow cooker to high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8-9 hours. If you can stir it once or twice during the day, that's ideal but not necessary. Some people come home on lunch breaks, bribe them to stir your treasure. 
  5. Open the lid and inhale the sweet aroma of your minimal labors then devour immediately without reserve.

Meal options

Typically, I serve this with cauliflower mash and some seasonal veggie. However, this would taste excellent with salad, potatoes, risotto, mac-and-cheese, on a sandwich, through an IV- whatever way you serve this- I promise it will be a crowd-pleaser.
**If you have a larger crock-pot, you can double this recipe and keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or eat more. You do you.***

This meal is Huck approved. All photo's by the the talented Christine Lou.