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Burgers and hot dogs are great, but nothing screams “SUMMER” quite like messy, saucy, bone-in ribs. And, while the oven-to-grill method can be overwhelming, slow-cooker ribs are far easier and come out pretty much the same way. Time in the slow cooker gives your ribs that fall-off-the-bone quality, but doesn’t take too much time out of your day. Sounds perfect, right?
There are so many styles of slow-cooker ribs to choose from, too. First off, you need to pick what type of rib to use. If you want pork, you can get baby back ribs (small) or spare ribs (bigger). If you’d rather go with beef, you can get short ribs—just note that these will probably be a knife-and-fork kind of deal.
Once you’ve chosen a cut for your slow-cooker ribs, you’ll need to choose a recipe. The ones below range from typical barbecue ribs, to less-common choices like Asian-style ribs or brothy braised short ribs. Choose one to make this weekend, invite friends over, and let the night go where it will.
1. Dr. Pepper Ribs
These baby back ribs are extra sweet, thanks to a generous pour of Dr. Pepper.
2. Simple Barbecue Ribs
These easy slow-cooker ribs get their flavor from spices and barbecue sauce (which you can make from scratch, or buy).
3. Country-Style Ribs
These big ol’ slow-cooker pork ribs stew in a great broth that you should definitely save for later.
4. Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs aren’t the ones you think about when someone says “summer barbecue,” but maybe it’s time to change that.
5. Fall-off-the-Bone Ribs
These tender ribs have double the flavor, thanks to a sweet-and-spicy rub—plus barbecue sauce.
6. Sticky Asian Pork Ribs
These Asian-style slow-cooker ribs don’t stray too far from the barbecue ribs you grew up eating, but sesame seeds and a special glaze make them interesting.
7. Apple Barbecue Ribs
These apple ribs don’t count as a serving of fruit, but they sure are delicious.
8. Baby Back Ribs
It literally couldn’t be easier to whip up a batch of these kid-friendly baby back ribs.
9. Sriracha-Cranberry Ribs
Sweet, spicy and crowd-pleasing, these slow-cooker Sriracha ribs are sure to delight.
10. Chinese Spare Ribs
These big, Asian-style ribs taste great alongside a rice salad, or some grilled vegetables.
11. Louisiana Ribs
You’ll probably be craving beignets after tucking into these Cajun-style ribs.
12. Beer-Braised Short Ribs
There’s no reason you can’t treat yourself to slow-cooker beer-braised ribs in the summertime.
13. Korea-Style Short Ribs
You’ll definitely need a knife and fork for these saucy Korean-style short ribs.
14. Honey Buffalo Ribs
Honey Buffalo ribs are just as they sound—sweet, spicy, and unbeatable.
15. Country-Style Pork Ribs With Parmesan Grits
The country-style ribs are great, but the Parmesan grits are the real star here.
16. Coca-Cola Ribs
Don’t worry, these slow-cooker Coca-Cola ribs don’t actually taste like you’re drinking a Coke.
17. Guinness Beef Ribs
These Guinness-braised ribs work any time of year. And, the drink pairing is obvious.