(I will edit and repost with pictures later, but in case you want to try these tonight)
This recipe is adapted from my Dad’s. He gave me some frozen country style ribs once and I honestly didn’t know what to do with them. We didn’t eat a lot of pork when I was a kid so until recently it was a bit of a weak spot. But this simple recipe garners praise every time I make it – even when it’s for the same person! It’s not quite a set-it-and-forget-it type deal. But it’s easy and inexpensive enough to have become a bit of a weeknight staple in our house. And, you can make it with chicken. Almost any recipe I post here that is made with pork I am very likely to have also made with chicken breast or tenders (I’m not a big fan of dark meat, but you can certainly use that, too).
- 1.5 to 2 Pounds country style ribs (this works with bone-in or boneless)
- 1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup plain applesauce (I have used with cinnamon, but prefer without): Sometimes, honestly, I’ll take an apple that’s getting all bruised up and/or not likely to be eaten the old-fashioned way, peel it, core it, chunk it, and pulse it in the Nutribullet (food processor) with the Apple Cider Vinegar (commonly abbreviated to ACV) to make a puree and just use that. I’ve used this method with a pear as well. I know what you’re thinking, but it doesn’t taste weird.
- 1/2 Cup water
- Your favorite barbecue sauce: I like Sweet Baby Ray’s Original, it’s sweet and tangy but has a nice peppery kick after a bit.
From the Spice Cabinet:
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Garlic powder
- Old Bay Seasoning (Optional, can be spicy, so omit if that’s not your bag): I use the less-sodium version, but I use the less-sodium or salt-free version of pretty much everything.
How I do it:
- Pull out your crockpot for this one and preheat it on high. I spray the inside of mine with olive oil, but you don’t have to – I feel like it makes it easier to clean, but that could just be in my head. I have yet to not do it and find out for certain. You don’t have to preheat it either, that’s just another thing that as far as I know is just me. Either way, you’ll still need the crockpot.
- Pull out a sheet of foil big enough to lay the ribs on with room enough to catch most of the spices that you’re probably about to spill, don’t worry, that’s normal, this just makes the cleanup easier. Lay the ribs on the foil, if they’re very wet it’s a good idea to pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Some people would take the spices and measure them out and mix them together, but I just see more dishes in that scenario. So, one at a time, sprinkle a good layer of each of the above seasonings onto the raw meat (if you want to try the Old Bay but you’re afraid it’ll be too spicy, just use a little bit and see how it goes, if you’re cutting back on salt, omit it!). Then gently massage the spices over the surface of the meat a bit with your fingertips. Spread them over the sides if you can, too. Then flip the ribs over and do the same on the opposite side. (This technique is referred to as a “spice rub”, or “dry rub”) If you can, let them sit for about 20 minutes so the spices can start to get into the meat. If you don’t have time, it’ll be okay, just skip to the next step. You might not even notice a difference.
- Place the ribs gently into your crockpot. Then, in a separate container (I use a 2 cup liquid measure so I don’t have to use more measuring cups), combine the apple cider vinegar, applesauce, and water. Pour this mixture into the crock pot, on top of the ribs. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 until the ribs are nearly falling apart with tenderness.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and gently place the ribs on the foil. Glaze them liberally with barbecue sauce, I squeeze it on right from the fridge and spread it with the back of the spoon, in a layer thick enough to hide the top of the meat almost completely. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until the barbecue sauce starts to look bubbly (caramelize).
- Serve immediately and weep with delight.
Sunday Prep? Yes.
This is something to throw in your crock pot in the morning before you leave for work or around lunch time. So in that way prepping ahead of time lends itself well, because you can just grab your prepped meat and ACV and toss them together. Then, add some steam-in-bag veggies or rice (or both) into the mix and you’re looking at a 15 minute dinner prep time.
On the other hand, it is a slow-cooker recipe. So it’s not really a 30-minute meal or something that can be thrown together quickly. For that, I have an amazing honey butter pork recipe. I’ll post it soon and link back. In the meantime, let me know if you try these ribs!