Slow Cooker Barbecued Spareribs

We signed up to be a recipe tester for America’s Test Kitchen, and this was our first recipe we received and tested. It was a success!


3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 racks (2 1/2- to 3-pound each) St. Louis-style spareribs, trimmed, cut in half crosswise*
1/2 cup ketchup
6 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke


  1. Combine paprika, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, pepper, salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, and cayenne in bowl. Pat spareribs dry with paper towels and rub with spice mixture.
  2. Arrange ribs vertically** in slow cooker with thick ends pointing down and meaty side against interior wall (ribs will overlap). Cover and cook until ribs are just tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. Adjust oven rack 3 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set wire rack in aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and coat with vegetable oil spray. Transfer ribs meaty side up to prepared rack. Let ribs sit for 10 minutes to allow surface to dry out.
  4. Whisk ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke, and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar in bowl until sugar has dissolved. Brush ribs with half of sauce and broil until sauce is bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove ribs from broiler and brush with remaining sauce. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones to separate. Serve.

*We don’t have a cleaver, so we are going to ask the butcher to cut them for us next time. First time out, we just laid the ribs in diagonally.

**Standing arrangement image below:



4-6 servings


America’s Test Kitchen

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