One of the major grill foods we all think of is ribs. Sticky, tasty, eat with your hands but get them all over your face... there’s really nothing more amazing. But honestly, good fall-off-the-bone ribs are hard to accomplish on the grill. Often ribs tend to be a little tougher, and although they have that good charred taste, they’re not as good as you can get at a restaurant.
But (shocker) I’ve got a secret!
Amazing Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs
Start with a rack of baby back ribs. Chris and I got this rack thinking it was a nice size, not too big, maybe a little leftovers but would be good for us.
Aaand then we completely unpackaged it, realized what we thought was a good size was actually folded in half…
…and we found ourselves in possession of a ridiculous amount of ribs. Oh well!
Start by rubbing a hefty amount of liquid smoke on both sides of the ribs. This will add the smoky flavor (obviously) but will also help the dry seasonings to stick to the ribs. Then coat the ribs in a good crust of dry ingredients. Whatever you choose, just make sure to use a ton of it! We used sweet mesquite seasoning (from Costco), salt, pepper, Pullman Pork Seasoning (from Spice House), smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
Now on to the secret. Our very close friends taught us this secret one night when we went over to their place for ribs, and we will never again do ribs any other way.
Stick the ribs in your crock pot.
Ok, ok. So ours look a little ridiculous in there. We should have cut the rack in half and set each half on its side so that they fit nicely in there. But hindsight is always 20/20 so oh well. It still accomplishes the same goal!
So getting back to crock potting your ribs. Why would you do such a thing?!? Because you want them tender, silly! We all know deep in our hearts that the way to make something truly fall-apart melt-in-your-mouth tender is to cook it low and slow in a crock pot. So why not ribs?
Put them in the crock pot (maybe a little more gracefully than my little arrangement here) on low with some chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, and lots of cracked pepper. Leave for about 4-5 hours. The important thing is you take them out before they get too tender. Though you want them to fall off the bone when people eat them, you don’t want them to fall off the bone before you even get them out of the crock pot.
I feel the need to take a moment to express that the little red you see there on top is my husband putting a teeny tiny bit of bbq sauce on the ribs partway through for no good reason. I just thought I had to reassure that 1) that’s not blood and 2) you don’t have to put red stuff of any kind on your ribs at this point so I didn’t miss a step.
Remove the ribs and place on a baking sheet, and brush the ribs with your bbq sauce of choice. I choose to use the homemade stuff, you can find the recipe in my brisket post.
Now place in a 200 degree oven to let the sauce begin to dry out and get sticky.
While they’re in the oven, fire up the grill. In our case, plug in the electric grill. Since we’re only trying to get a char, not trying to actually cook the ribs, this does just fine. Make sure you put it on the highest setting.
Once it’s hot enough, take the ribs out and stick them on the hot grill.
Flip after about 2-3 minutes.
Leave for another couple minutes, and flip again. You should start to get a really good char as the sugars in the bbq sauce begin to caramelize and burn.
Then remove from heat, and plate 2-4 ribs per person, with your favorite side.
These are super tasty, fall-off-the-bone, amazing ribs! Happy summer eating!