Am I the only one who thinks of ribs as a summer grilling food? Why is it that food gets pigeon holed to a meal genre or season? For instance do you ever think about how breakfast food can be eaten any time of the day and the novelty about that is charming: ‘backwards day’ or ‘Brinner’ for scrambled eggs and sausage in the evening. But eating dinner foods for breakfast? Unheard of except for pizza that has slipped by on certain occasions without scorn. (Though I’ll admit one of my favorite breakfasts is Costa Rican Gallo Pinto, or Black Beas and Rice).
I have no idea why I think of ribs only as a summer food. I was speaking with a friend a few weeks ago who was extoling the virtues of a new meal service she’s trying. She selects from a weekly menu, all of the components of the meals are shipped fresh to her and she assembles, cooks and serves. The recipes sounded inspired and mouthwatering.
Somewhere in there was something that made Slow Cooker Ribs pop to mind and for some time I have thought a root beer sauce would be great. Not only is root beer sweet but the herbal notes in the soda would lend themselves to spike up a glaze. As soon as ‘slow cooker’ was included in my vision, the ‘ribs=summer’ equation was transformed.
Look at these ribs! Don’t they look luscious? Cooked long and slow, they are falling-off-the-bone tender by the time they are ready. The tangy barbeque sauce flavor is perfection as well as is the Root Beer Sauce made from the slow cooker’s simmering.
I had a lengthy discussion with my butcher about whether to use Baby Back or St. Louis Style ribs and settled on baby back. Though St. Louis style ribs could also be used, they have an extra membrane which needs to be removed and require trimming. My goal with slow cooker recipes is to keep them as easy as possible while delivering a mouthwatering recipe. These do just that!
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Slow Cooker Root Beer Baby Back Ribs
Sweet and saucy slow cooker root beer ribs are a mouthwatering easy recipe.
- 4 ½ pounds Baby Back Ribs , rinsed, patted dry with paper towels and cut into 4 rib portions
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/3 cup Ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Hot Paprika
- ¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- ½ teaspoon Red Pepper flakes
- 3 cloves Garlic , minced or pressed,
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 12 ounce can Root Beer
- ½ teaspoon Cornstarch
Instructions for cooking the Ribs:
- Mix salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub into both sides of the ribs and place into the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl combine all the ingredients except the root beer. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and mix together. Pour into the slow cooker and coat all the ribs (use a basting brush if needed to get the sauce onto all the rib portions).
- Pour 1 cup of root beer (reserve the rest) into the slow cooker. Cook 8 hours on low.
Instructions for making the Root Beer Sauce:
- When the ribs are done, remove them from the slow cooker and place them in the oven on very low heat just to keep them warm. They may be wrapped in foil if preferred.
- Drain the liquids from the slow cooker into a sauce pan or other vessel and allow to cool. As the liquids cool the fat will separate on the top; skim the fat off and discard. If the liquids are not in a saucepan, pour it into a medium saucepan.
- Spoon ¼ cup of the liquid into a small mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch, whisk to combine and return back to the saucepan of liquid.
- Add the remaining root beer (1/2 cup) and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring periodically, until the sauce reduces to 1 ½ cups.