I'm a huge fan of America's Test Kitchen. I pondered, for a long while, if I really wanted to buy their book "Slow Cooker Revolution". I finally did, and I have to say that there are two particular pros to this book. For one, the photos are in color, and they are mouth watering. I also like that the recipes don't use canned soups or mixes. I bookmarked quite a few recipes, vowing that I would see if I could learn to appreciate coming from work, to the aroma of dinner being ready. I realized that I should plan my recipe that night before, and maybe I'd like this method of cooking.
This weekend, I had thawed a frozen 3 pound package of pork ribs that we bought after the Labor Day weekend. NOTE: 2 packs of 1-1/2 pound of baby back ribs is recommended. However, I managed to maneuver my larger rack with a little bit of finesse. Last night, I decided to prepare the ribs with a brown sugar rub. My game plan, was to keep the ribs refrigerated and then I'd start the slow cooker as I left for work at 6:15am.
America's Test Kitchen's recipe for the rubs is 3 Tablespoons sweet paprika, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. However, I had an unopened package of Tyler Florence's Brown Sugar Pork Rub that was given to me at last year's Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. I liked the ingredients, and they were close to ATK's recipe.
Generally, I make my own barbecue sauce. My husband was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. He really likes this BBQ sauce that I buy at Trader Joe's. I like it, too, and there aren't any scary ingredients. Really, that's all that is needed to make these ribs. I like that my slow cooker has a removable ceramic insert.
Right before work, I poured about 1-1/2 cups of the barbecue sauce all over the ribs and turned it on low. I had a crazy busy day at work, and came home feeling really tired-- 10 hours later. The ribs smelled good, and I could tell that they were really tender. I prepared a baking sheet with foil, set a baking rack on top and sprayed it with olive oil spray. Removing the ribs wasn't easy, I'll tell you.
I let the ribs rest for a few minutes.
My husband and son were waiting in the wings, as I cut the rubs. They were very tender.
VERDICT: My son said these were the best ribs ever! My husband was slower to respond. Undoubtedly, he was comparing them to the ribs he's learned to grill well. I do agree that the ribs were very tender. His verdict is that they are very tender, and almost smoky. I liked that there was a slight stickiness to the outside of the ribs, and a slightly charred taste from the broiler. There is nothing like slow-cooked ribs, over wood chips and a Weber grill. However, I will say that after the rough day that I had at work today-- I'm beginning to see how slow cookers can be my new best kitchen helper. I give America's Test Kitchen kudos, for this recipe. Broiling the ribs is key. Otherwise, these would just be braised meat, and not barbecue.
I'm actually posting this in "real time" folks. After dinner, I simply removed the crock pot liner and tossed it away. Clean up was easy for me- which my son and husband graciously did for me.
Here's the recipe: