Slow Cooker Barbecue Short Ribs

BBQ Short Ribs with Cauliflower & Greens from the Garden

BBQ Short Ribs with Cauliflower & Greens from the Garden

These ribs are extra easy because I make them in the slow cooker. Some people might think this is sacrilege – ribs ought to be smoked and then sauced. But I don’t have a smoker. And I’m kind of lazy. So. Slow cooker it is. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also make them in a Dutch oven in the oven or on the stove top.

If you can, make these a day ahead and let it all sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavors marry. You won’t be sorry. It’s fab either way, but the leftovers are divine.

A note about ingredients. I used a small amount of wheat free, naturally fermented tamari (gluten free soy sauce). Soy is not GAPS legal in any form, but fermented soy is allowed on the Weston A Price (Nourishing Traditions) diet. I really love the umami flavor tamari imparts and none of us has had a problem with small amounts of it. If you are staying away from soy completely, you can substitute in fish sauce or more salt to taste.

Barbecue Short Ribs

serves 8

Browning the Ribs

Browning the Ribs

  • 4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (we got a great deal buy buying a whole cow!)
  • cooking fat (tallow, duck fat, or ghee are good choices)
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 2 (16 oz) jars tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp wheat-free tamari (NOT GAPS Legal because it is derived from soy, it’s OK to omit)
  • 1.5 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


In the Crock Pot with the Sauce

In the Crock Pot with the Sauce

  1. If using a Dutch oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a deep skillet over medium high heat, melt the cooking fat. When it is shimmering, brown ribs in batches in a single layer. Add cooking fat as needed to keep a layer of fat in the bottom of the pan. As they are done, put the ribs in a 6 qt (or larger) slow cooker crock or Dutch oven.
  3. When all ribs are browned, add the onions to the skillet and fry until golden and fragrant. Again, add cooking fat as needed.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Remember that the sauce will pull more spiciness from the pepper flakes as it cooks, so don’t add too much!
  5. Dump sauce and onions over the ribs in the crock or Dutch oven. Rather than stirring and risking dumping ribs everywhere, I used my tongs to pick up the ribs and move them around until they were all coated.
  6. If using Dutch oven, roast at 325 degrees F for 3 to 3.5 hours – until meat is falling off the bone.
  7. If using slow cooker, cook on High for 3 to 4 hours – until meat is falling off the bone.
  8. Remove ribs from sauce and put on plate. Pour sauce into a large saucepan and return the ribs to the slow cooker. Set to warm or low until ready to serve.
  9. Puree sauce with an immersion blender if desired. Simmer over medium low heat until slightly thickened.
  10. Serve with sauce over mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.
  11. This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Traditional Tuesdays.

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