Day 10 – Slow-Cooked Pork Spare Ribs

Don’t for one moment think that a slow cooker is best used in cooler months only: Despite being on for hours, a slow cooker does not heat up the kitchen nearly so much as an oven, especially if you do as I did and place it next to an open kitchen window. A slow-cooker can transform any combination of food placed in it, so start thinking about the cuts of meat you enjoy in summer and take it from there.

Which leads me, naturally, to pork spare ribs.

Beloved of barbecue enthusiasts everywhere, you could use what in Australia is called American spare ribs, or in the US, baby back ribs, but I’m going for the cheapest cut of all – the big fat spare ribs that most commonly appear in asian style cooking. And then, I’m going to cook them s-l-o-w-l-y, because after all, no one wants to rush around in thirty-five degree weather.

You could brown them in the oven to begin with, which heats up the kitchen and defeats the purpose of using the slow cooker in the first place, or you can just throw it all in and leave it for 6 hours. Oh yes, you know you want to.


Serves 4


  • 1 kg pork spare ribs
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Barbecue Sauce

  • ½ cup apple juice and ½ cup water OR 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp  Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup tightly-packed brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)
  • large pinch celery salt (optional)


Place ribs in a large pot of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook them for 15 minutes, then drain.

Place sliced onions at bottom of crockpot in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the ribs all over with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs on the onions.

Combine sauce ingredients and pour over the ribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 – 7 hours, or HIGH for 4 – 5 hours, until ribs are very tender and falling apart.

Serve with a green salad, some garlic fried rice or some peach and parsley couscous.


$10.60 for four people

Despite being on for hours, a slow cooker does not heat up the kitchcen nearly so much as an oven, especially if you do as I did and place it next to an open kitchen window.

9 thoughts on “Day 10 – Slow-Cooked Pork Spare Ribs”

  1. Fabulous. Did not have fennel or celery salt but was wonderful. Not a scrap left over. Well done and keep up the good work.

  2. I never quite get around to pork spare-ribs but I hear nothing but yum about them. Must do it one day. Build a hay box (pre-electric slow cooker.) which is good value for casseroles and curries.

  3. I made this on the weekend as my husband is a HUGE fan of BBQ pork ribs. It was soooo easy, just popped them on in the morning before I went out to meet a friend and when I came home the house smelt amazing.
    Was extremely pleased that the taste matched the smell. Will definitely be making them again ;-)

  4. Have just popped the ribs in to simmer for 15 minutes… can’t wait to see how they turn out tonight, i have always been scared of ribs as they seemed complicated to get right (i’m not a confident cook without a great recipe) but these seemed almost fool proof.

    My year 6 son has a school assignment coming up where he has to cook dinner for the family (with or without help depending on the child) i’m thinking this is one he can do himself, now to plan his entree and dessert to go with it (and remember to adjust ingredients if needed to feed our family of 6)

  5. No sure what I did wrong, but my sauce was more like water.
    Thickened up the sauce on the stove top – great taste on the sauce, so I will use this with less water next time.

  6. I just made this a couple of nights ago and it was to die for!! Loved it. Thanks for the beautiful recipes, I’ve told heaps of people about your site – you’re doing a great job!! Jacqui xx

  7. I made this yesterday and it was delicious, it will go onto the ‘make often’ list. I was wondering if I could omit the simmering stage and just slow cook the ribs all day?

    I also varied the recipe a little bit by slicing an apple with the onion and making up the sauce myself – I don’t like store bought bbq sauce and didn’t have any apple juice. Otherwise I had everything in the cupboard that I needed, substituting celery seeds for celery salt.

    Thanks for a great recipe.

  8. I used the base ingredients from this recipe but then tweaked it to my taste. The base of the sauce was 2 large cups of tomato sauce, 1 large cup of wood smoked BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, 3 teaspoons of paprika, enough salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce , 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 1/2 cups of water (from the broth after simmering the ribs for 15 minutes) to help with the flavour, along with 3 sliced and diced onions and voila let the slow cooker do the rest :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s