Bourbon Baby Back Ribs | Slow Cooker

These easy bourbon baby back ribs are drenched in a delicious bourbon BBQ sauce, then tossed into the slow cooker and cooked to perfection. Serve with your favorite summer sides and enjoy!

A hand holding one of the ribs over a plate of them. There are more ribs and sauce in the background

Slow cooker equals love

It’s fun that you can make delicious, tender bourbon baby back ribs, even if you don’t own a grill (I haven’t owned one in years).

I make these ribs as often as I can. They are succulent for sure, but what makes them really stand out is the sauce. It’s has to smokey taste of bourbon with just the right amount of sweetness to complement the meat without overpowering it.

The sauce is also so delicious that you might even want to ladle the remaining sauce over baked potatoes, veggies, or dip your bread into it.

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Helpful tips

  • Sometimes baby back ribs are also known as loin ribs. You can use either.
  • You can cook these ribs in your slow cooker either on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. I find they come out exactly the same. I prefer getting the ribs done quicker so I can eat them sooner.
  • Cut the ribs in half so they fit in the slow cooker better.
  • Make sure to cover both sides of the ribs with the bourbon sauce, especially since they will have to overlap a little.
  • Some people put their ribs in the oven to broil for a few minutes before consuming them. This helps caramelize the sauce, but I don’t find that these ribs need that. They are delicious right out of the crock pot.
  • Here’s how to remove the membrane off the back of the ribs: turn the ribs over so the membrane is facing up. Take a butter knife and slide it under the silverskin a few ribs in. Lift the knife and pry the skin up until you can grab it with your fingers. To make it easy to grasp the skin, cover your fingers with a paper towel so the skin doesn’t slip. Pull the skin away from the ribs and discard.
  • When making the bourbon sauce, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use some apple juice.
  • There is no need to add salt to the bourbon barbecue sauce because the addition of soy sauce takes care of any need for sodium.

How to make bourbon baby back ribs

Pre-step

Get out your slow cooker and large glass bowl and whisk.

Step one

Gather the ingredients: bourbon, maple syrup, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic paste (or garlic cloves), onion powder, and black pepper.

The ingredients for the bourbon sauce - bourbon, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic and pepper

Step two

Add all the above ingredients into the mixing bowl. (A)

Step three

Whisk until combined. (B)

The ingredients for the bourbon sauce in a glass bowl and then whisked until combined

Perfect. (Christopher loves this sauce and eats it by the spoonful when he thinks I’m not looking.)

Meat prep

Step four

Take the pork out of its wrapping and trim off some of the fat. Also remove the membrane, see notes to see how to do so.

I also cut the rack in half so it will fit better in the slow cooker.

Step five

Place the ribs in the cooker. (C)

Step six

Pour the bourbon sauce over the ribs and take a spatula and scrape all the sauce out of the bowl. You don’t want to miss any drops of this delicious sauce.

Make sure the sauce coats the ribs, especially where the ribs touch. (D)

Ribs in the slow cooker insert and the bourbon sauce poured on top

Step seven

Cover the slow cooker. Set the temperature to high and the timer for four hours. After two hours, open the cover, switch the ribs on the bottom to the top and visa versa, and ladle the sauce over the ribs.

Replace the lid.

Step eight

Transfer the ribs to a serving plate or platter and pour the bourbon sauce in a bowl. Cut into individual ribs and plate them.

Ladle more bourbon sauce over the meat and plate with a baked potato and a veggie.

baby back ribs on a plate with potato and veggie. There is a platter of ribs, a salad and sauce in the background

Mmmmm.

Let’s get closer.

Close up of the ribs on a white beaded plate with a potato and bok choy. There are ribs and sauce in the background


The meat literally falls off the bone cooking it this way! And boy, is it TASTY!!

I hope you enjoyed this bourbon baby back ribs recipe!

Please feel free to leave me a comment. What’s your favorite bar-b-que sauce? I’d love to know.

And as always, may all your dishes be delish.

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A hand holding one of the baby back ribs over the plate with sauce and more ribs in the background- square

Slow Cooker Bourbon Baby Back Ribs

This bourbon baby back rib recipe is so good, the meat just falls off the bone. The beauty of this recipe is your slow cooker does all the work for you, but you can enjoy the fruits of its labor.
5 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby back ribs, bourbon baby back ribs, slow cooker ribs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 14 ribs
Calories: 220kcal

Ingredients

Bar-bie sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon (or to taste)
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste (or two cloves, crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (or a few shakes)

Meat

  • 3 pounds baby back ribs (trimmed, and cut in half)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add ketchup, bourbon, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, onion powder, and pepper.
    3/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/8 cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons garlic paste, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Mix with a whisk until incorporated.
  • To fit the ribs in my slow cooker, I divide them in two large slabs. Place ribs in the slow cooker.
    3 pounds baby back ribs
  • Pour bourbon sauce on top of ribs and make sure you cover both sides. The ribs will overlap, so make sure there is sauce where they touch.
  • Cover slow cooker and set to high and cook for 4 hours.
  • After 2 hours, open the lid, switch the bottom ribs to the top and visa versa. Baste the ribs by ladling more the sauce over them again.
  • Transfer ribs to a serving platter and pour the bourbon sauce from the crock pot to a serving bowl.
  • Plate and ladle more sauce on the ribs.
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

This recipe gives you a good amount of sauce so you will have leftover.
Helpful tips
  • Sometimes baby back ribs are also known as loin ribs. You can use either.
  • You can cook these ribs in your slow cooker either on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. I find they come out exactly the same. I prefer getting the ribs done quicker so I can eat them sooner.
  • Cut the ribs in half so they fit in the slow cooker better.
  • Make sure to cover both sides of the ribs with the bourbon sauce, especially since they will have to overlap a little.
  • Some people put their ribs in the oven to broil for a few minutes before consuming them. This helps caramelize the sauce, but I don’t find that these ribs need that. They are delicious right out of the crock pot.
  • Here’s how to remove the membrane off the back of the ribs: turn the ribs over so the membrane is facing up. Take a butter knife and slide it under the silverskin a few ribs in. Lift the knife and pry the skin up until you can grab it with your fingers. To make it easy to grasp the skin, cover your fingers with a paper towel so the skin doesn’t slip. Pull the skin away from the ribs and discard.
  • When making the bourbon sauce, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use some apple juice.
  • There is no need to add salt to the bourbon barbecue sauce because the addition of soy sauce takes care of any need for sodium.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ribs | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
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Originally published July of 2017.

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64 Comments

  1. I know what you mean, all the time that takes to cook, and take pictures, and assemble, and write… I like your new style, plus you get to have some extra time to enjoy doing other things you love. As for this recipe, I am vegetarian, but my husband is a baby back rib lover and appreciates cooking with a slow cooker. He’d love this recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ .

    1. Thank you for commenting Nicoletta, especially since you are a vegetarian! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you agree about the time it takes photographing, cooking etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Golly! These ribs are so tempting it’s hard to look at the pictures, I’m drooling, I love how they fall of the bone! Please Elaine, feed me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This sauce looks amazing, I think I may try this recipe in the Instant Pot to see if it also holds up.

  4. Anything with bourbon has to be a good thing, right? These look incredible and I bet the sauce is epic.

  5. You had my attention at the mere mention of Bourbon ๐Ÿ™‚ I hear ya on the multi photos – I wrestle with that question myself but totally understand. I think the way this is laid out is perfect and am absolutely loving your blog!

  6. OH MY! I think I could lick that whole slow cooker clean! That sauce! WOW! Your bourbon baby back ribs look so incredibly wonderful!

  7. I think your idea of no process shots is great! More time to create more recipes…. and I know you have us covered it its something a little tricks!

  8. I am such a sucker for perfectly cooked ribs – I love how you’ve made them in the slow cooker. Definitely going to be giving these a try!

  9. Although I do not like drinking bourbon….I LOVE cooking with bourbon. These sound fantastic. I love my slow cooker…and pork. I just know these would be finger licking good.

  10. Yum Yum Yum! What a scrumptious dish! Cannot wait to try this! Looks very delicious! Great recipe. I’m delighted! Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

  11. Around here we use bourbon like some people use vanilla – many recipes benefit from a splash! So, this sounds just divine and cooking the ribs in the slow cooker no doubt makes them tender as can be.

  12. Yes, bourbon, just like bacon makes everything delicious. These ribs sound finger licking good. I actually have used this brand as well. You can never go wrong adding bourbon to recipes.

  13. My hubs is a huge bourbon fan and we loved this recipe for bourbon baby back ribs. Will make again! great sauce!

  14. What an incredible recipe! A restaurant worthy dish, indeed! Looking forward to making this for dinner tonight!

  15. Your shots are mouthwatering! This looks fall-off-the-bone delicious and super tender. I’m craving a rack of these ribs now!!

    1. Hehe. Thanks Tammy! I actually had some for lunch. Just took them out of the freezer and heated them up. Yum.

  16. Those look so tasty – that sauce sounds so flavorful. I agree using the slow cooker is great for ribs.

  17. Oh gosh, that sauce!! I’m veggie but that sauce has me drooling, I can just imagine it with a baked potato! Going to send this on to my meat-loving friends, they will love this!

  18. These Baby Back Ribs looks so delicious! I love that they are made in a Slow Cooker and that Bourbon Sauce is amazing!

  19. It’s amazing how easy recipes have become with the invention of a slow cooker! Love the way the ribs look – so inviting. I am definitely trying this recipe over the weekend – can’t wait to get my hands dirty!

  20. You caught my attention with bourbon ๐Ÿ˜‰ These ribs look fall off the bone good! I love that the slow cooker does all the work for me while I am at work.

    1. They have to be my favorite rib recipe. The bourbon goes so well in the sauce and complement the ribs! Thanks Jacquelyn!

  21. Oh my gosh Elaine, you are speaking to my heart with this ribs! They look so delicious and easy to make! Can’t wait to try these!

  22. It has been a long time since I’ve baby back ribs! This reminds me that I need to do it. Saving this recipe to use at an end of summer party!!

  23. What a delicious recipe! The slow cooker makes these ribs so tender, and I love the flavor the bourbon adds. Thanks for sharing!

  24. My stomach is growling currently and I’m drooling while reading this. Ive never tried slow cooker ribs but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference! I definitely will try these ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Bourbon and back ribs! My husband will definitely love this recipe! Can imagine how tasty that with with a splash of bourbon!

  26. Yum! I love this homemade bbq sauce and that you made these in the crockpot!! What a convenient way to make these ribs!