Monthly Meal Ideas – Crockpot Baby Back Beef Ribs

Guess what?  I have monthly meal for you!  Last month, we focused on homemade hamburger helper. This month, we are going to dive back into the food preparation.

This week we have beef baby back ribs on the menu. It’s warm enough outside that you can make this outside on the barbecue; but, I’m going to give you an equally tantalizing recipe that you can prepare in your crockpot in the house. This meal takes 8 hours to cook, so make sure that you start the meal preparation early in the morning so that you can have them by dinner time.


  • Beef Short Ribs
  • Water
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt (or seasoning salt) and pepper
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice

These crockpot ribs are genuinely a hands-off meal preparation.  You literally don’t have to do much, but observe the meal cooking and turn the meat occasionally.  If you don’t have a crockpot, I  suggest you go out and get one because this makes easy meals, especially when you don’t want to be slaving it up in the kitchen over a hot stove.  They are relatively cheap too, and they come in different sizes to make all kinds of big and small meals.

Start with the beef short ribs.  Salt and pepper them and place them in an empty crockpot.  Then get one cup of water and add to the crockpot.  The water to meat ratio will depend on how big your crockpot is and how many ribs you place in the crockpot.  So add more or less water as you need to. One thing you don’t want to do is drown them in water.  Many types of meat make their own water as they cook, and in this instance, there will be a lot of water coming off the ribs, particularly if you have several stuffed into the crockpot.  Don’t worry if the crockpot is crowded with meat.  As I said, water will come out of the meat as it cooks, which will cause the meat to shrink a bit and provide more space for the meat to be moved around.

After loading the meat into the crockpot, add some brown sugar to the water.  I will let you discern how much sugar to add.  Some people only want a bit of sweetness on their meat, and others will go to the extreme of liking the meat extremely sweet or not sweet at all.  You can add a little butter or oil to make all the flavors stick to the meat, but it is not necessary.  Also, you can add a little bit of barbecue sauce (not too much) or some smoke flavor seasoning to the water.  The water should still be soupy and not thick.  The barbecue sauce or smoke flavoring will give the barbecue that fresh off the grill flavor we all know and love.  Then cover the meat with the top and let it cook.

In about two hours, you will notice changes in the meat.  It will start to brown, and at that point, you can begin to move and turn the meat so that it can cook thoroughly.  Keep checking every hour or two until the ribs have cooked for seven hours.  By this time, the meat should look tender and be falling off the bone.  In the seventh hour, remove most of the water from the meat by pouring it off.  Maybe leave just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Place the crockpot back into its position, and now it’s time the final true layer of barbecue sauce.  If you don’t like barbecue sauce, then go ahead and just let the meat continue to cook for the last hour.  Otherwise, add your favorite sauce and plenty of it this time.  The barbecue sauce can be store-bought, or you can make your own from scratch.  I usually get the stuff from the store, but I know there are some barbecue experts out there who have family recipes that they love to add to the barbecue.  Let the meat cook for its final hour until it reaches hour eight and then turn the crockpot off.  Let the meat sit for about 15-30 covered so that it can “rest” before you start to chow down.  This resting period will give it that last little magical amount of tenderness.  When it’s done resting, prepare to get messy!

You can add the sides of your choice to this meal, such as potato salad, mac and cheese, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked beans or whatever you feel would go great with the beef ribs.

I hope you like this segment of my blog. Check back for more monthly food ideas. If you have any questions about preparing this meal, leave them in the comments section or contact me directly here. To get more meal ideas, click here.

Image courtesy of ID 31375267 © Joey Swart |


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