If you love pork ribs but shudder at the prices, then country-style ribs make a great compromise. They tend to be a lot more affordable than baby back ribs or pork spare ribs. But when you cook them right, they're just as tender and tasty as their more expensive cousins.
And making country-style ribs in the slow cooker is how to cook them right. The moist heat in the slow cooker renders the ribs incredibly tender. And by adding just a few seasonings or extra ingredients, you have a delicious main dish that's ready to go at dinner time.
Country-style ribs come from the blade end of the pork, near the shoulder. Unlike other types of ribs, such as baby back ribs, they don't contain rib bones but are quite meaty.
Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs With Apples and Fennel
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- Dash cayenne
- 3 pounds country-style pork ribs
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 3 sweet-tart apples, cored and sliced
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup broth
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to mix.
- Cover the cooker and set it on low. Cook, covered, for eight to nine hours, until pork is tender. You can also cook this on high for four to five hours.
Increase or Decrease Serving Size
You can double or even triple this recipe for larger slow cookers or to feed more people. The dish makes the perfect potluck meal because it can rest set on warm for several hours if needed. The recipe can also be halved for smaller slow cookers or fewer servings.
You can vary this recipe in several ways.
- Replace the apple cider vinegar with bourbon.
- Omit the dry spices except for salt and pepper and add one cup of orange chipotle barbecue sauce or basic barbecue sauce to the slow cooker.
- Replace the apples and fennel with three sliced carrots and two sliced parsnips.
Warming Food That Sticks to Your Ribs
These ribs are very simple, but they make a delicious summer crock pot meal. By using your slow cooker, you're giving the ribs the exact cooking conditions they need to really be able to shine.