UPC’s Slow-Cooked Smoked Babyback Ribs
I’ve been slowly but surely refining my basic process for cooking up a “Smoked” meat dish, in the comfort of your own home using a slow-cooker or crock pot. I consider these ribs to be the final proof of the process for that. So the good news (other than that I had a delicious dinner, and loved every minute of it) is that I can finally document my “Slow-Cooker Smoked” process and start to build some recipes around it. Keep your eyes peeled for this in the future as I intend to be sharing many of these recipes with you!
As far as this recipe is concerned, you could do this using the “Smoked” process which I will document separately, or you could do these in a more “traditional” slow-cooker process. In fact, this recipe will work well for a grilled meal as well. All you would do is change this recipe slightly to do the final cooking on the grill rather than in a slow-cooker. Also, since a grill is quite a bit hotter than a slow-cooker, the cook time for grilling these will be somewhere in the neighborhood of between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the temperature you use. A higher cook-time will give you a faster turn around. It will also sear the outside of the ribs more, which may be preferable. A lower temperature and longer cook time will encourage the use of sauces and other flavors to change the flavor of the ribs.
Slow-Cooked Smoked Babyback Ribs; What you’ll need:
- 1 large rack Babyback Ribs
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar (you can use a flavored one too, if you have one)
- 1 cup water (filtered, please!)
- Spices: Turmeric, Sage, Sea Salt
Serves: 2 (depending on the size of the rib rack; and how good it is!)
Cook and Prep time: 1.5 days.
1. In a pan or on a griddle, thoroughly brown the ribs on both sides. Do this using high heat – you want the outside to be browned, but you don’t want to cook the meat on the inside much, if any.
2. Put the ribs, spices, and oil and vinegar in a marinating container and put it away for a day.
3. About 6-8 hours before meal time, dump the ribs and marinade all in to a slow cooker or crock pot and turn it on to low.
4. Serve and enjoy!!
Instead of slow-cooking for 6-8 hours, slow cook for 1 hour. Then finish cooking on the grill on high heat for 20-40 minutes, brushing the marinade onto the ribs to keep them moist.
To do the “Smoked Slow-Cooked” Version:
- Save the bones from your last ribs in the freezer (or you can buy some bones from your local butcher – most have some for sale; If you buy, I’d cook these up at least once for some Bone Broth first!).
- Follow the slow-cooker instructions steps 1 and 2 above.
- Before above step 3: Thaw and arrange the bones across the bottom of the slow-cooker so that the meat will be lifted up above the marinade liquid.
- Return to the slow-cooker step 3 instructions, though this time drizzle the marinade over the top of the meat several times during the 8-hours of cook time.
This is a fascinating idea that I’ve been playing around with since this post, many months ago. What happens is the marinade will heat up, evaporating the liquids, and will effectively steam the meat slab suspended above it. If that were all that happened, this would be somewhat different than it ends up being. At the same time, the oils in the marinade allow the slow-cooker to over-cook the bones that were left in the bottom of the pan, letting them caramelize and smoke the meat above it. The intentional overcooking of the bones making the smoke, along with the flavors in the marinade, combine to create the same effect as using a smoker, while allowing you to do the whole thing relatively safely in your own kitchen.
As a note on this: I did recently find a crack in my crock pot, and it’s entirely possible that it was doing this that ruined it. Even using the Low heat setting will result in a lot of heat being funneled in to the slow-cooker, and since there’s not a lot of liquid in there to absorb the heat (that’s kind of our intention) it will end up causing the pot itself to heat up quite a lot. Of course, the benefit to this is that the bones on the bottom, since they’re touching the pot, will heat up a lot and smoke the meat. And it’s delicious! On the other hand, I suggest paying extra attention to the crock pot; keep it away from walls and potentially flammable stuff on the counter, and only do this when you’re home to monitor it regularly.
- Do you like smoked/cured meat?
- Have you ever smoked your own meat?
- Will you be trying the slow-cooker smoked meat steps/process that I’ve outlined above?
- What kinds of meat would you be most interested in smoking?
- Do you have a smoker? How often do you use it?
- What kinds of sides would you serve with this meal?
- What kind of dessert would you serve with this meal?