BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

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These slow-cooker baby back ribs take a grand total of 5 minutes of prep time before they cook away all day in the slow cooker with Paleo-friendly BBQ sauce, resulting in fall-off-the bone amazingly good ribs.

overhead view of cut BBQ slow cooker baby back ribs on a sheet pan

If there is one food that inspires me to throw “what’s in the sauce?” caution, “but I’m wearing white” fear, and “I’m getting full” notions to the wind, it’s baby back ribs.

I want my baby back, baby back, baby back reeeibs.” –the best Chili’s commercial of all time. …“BBQ saawwse.”

Are you with me?

I mostly avoid BBQ baby back ribs from restaurants. I mostly avoid them because the meat sourcing is usually questionable, the sauce is FULL of mysterious “not food” foods, and I have limited ordering willpower. Here’s how it usually goes on a typical night out with my honey, Austin:

Austin: “What do you think you’re going to get?”

Me: “Hm, I think the grilled chicken salad …you know, minus the cheese, croutons, and dressing. What are you going to get?”

Austin: “Either the enchiladas (he’s only Paleo when I cook) or maybe the ribs.”

Me: “Ribs!? What ribs??”

Austin flips my menu to the page with the giant, delectable picture of baby back ribs that are dripping in a dreamy maroon BBQ sauce.

Me: “Oh my gawd. Those look AMAZING.”

Austin: “Haha, change your mind?”

Me: “No way. Who knows what’s in that sauce or if they’re even cooked right. I’m getting the salad.”

Sweet Unsuspecting Waiter: “Ma’am, what can I get you to eat?”

Me: “I’m going to have the grilled chicken salad, please. Hold the cheese, croutons, and dressing.”

Austin: “I’d like the green ench…”

I burst in: “I CHANGED MY MIND. I want the baby back ribs.”

Waiter: “Oh, no problem! Half rack? Would you like a side salad?”

Me: “Um, yes. Yes, please. Thank you!”

Waiter: “And sir, you were saying?”

Austin (chuckling): “I’d like the green enchilada…”

I burst in again: “I WANT THE WHOLE RACK. Forget the salad, too. Just bring fries. Haha, you know? Can’t have ribs without fries!”

They’re always delicious and I’m in absolute heaven right up to the point that I throw my last licked-clean bone down on the plate. Then, I feel miserable. Too much food. Too much sugar, starches, unhealthy fats, and other crazy ingredients. I waddle out of the restaurant, wedge myself in the passenger seat of Austin’s car, and whine all the way home about how my tummy hurts.

Desperate for a way to have my cake (BBQ baby back ribs) and eat it too (BBQ baby back ribs that don’t make me feel like death), I got to work on a homemade Paleo-friendly slow-cooker baby back ribs recipe.

These ribs are LEGIT. Legit, I tell you! They’re sourced from the very, very best (US Wellness Meats), covered in my customizable Paleo BBQ Sauce, and brought together in holy BBQ baby back rib harmony in everyone’s favorite “no experience required” kitchen tool, the slow-cooker.

Best of all? They take a grand total of 5 minutes to prep. Then you just walk away, go have yourself an awesome day, and come home to your very own indulgent (but still good for your tummy) dinner.

a mason jar full of paleo BBQ sauce on a marble table with blurred ribs in the background

Let’s get cookin’!

First, you’re going to need a full rack of pork baby back ribs. I like to put a few of them in my US Wellness Meats order so, after a quick thaw, I can take care of those pesky BBQ rib cravings without running to the nearest smokehouse.

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs | Fed and Fit-4

After they’ve thawed, place them on a plate. Dust both sides with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper.

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs | Fed and Fit-6

These babies are prepped! Place the ribs in your favorite slow-cooker with the meaty side up. Got ‘em both in there? Excellent.

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs | Fed and Fit-10

It’s BBQ sawse time! Find my Paleo recipe here.

Pour half of my recipe (or 2 cups) of sauce over the ribs. Put the lid on, turn to cook on “high,” and let them sit for about 7-8 lovely, your-house-will-smell-amazing, hours.

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs | Fed and Fit-13

When they’re all done, they should look like this!

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs | Fed and Fit-15

Mmmmm …yumm. If you want the sauce to crisp up further, you can put them on a baking sheet and zap in a 450 F oven for about 3-5 minutes. They’ll be totally delicious if you decide to eat straight from the slow-cooker, too.

Let them cool a bit, chop up, and serve!

cut BBQ slow cooker baby back ribs on a sheet pan


BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7-8 hours
  • Total Time: 7-8 hours
  • Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 package pork baby back ribs∞
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce


  1. Pat ribs dry with paper towels.
  2. Rub with salt and pepper.
  3. Lay meat-side up in slow cooker {or crockpot}.
  4. Pour half of the BBQ sauce over the ribs, cover, and cook on high for 7-8 hours.
  5. Before serving and if you want the ribs more caramelized, turn oven to 450°F and then bake the ribs for no more than 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
  6. Cut and serve with extra BBQ sauce. Enjoy!


Instant Pot Version:

  1. Set Instant Pot to ‘saute' mode and add ghee.
  2. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Once ghee is melted, add short ribs to the Instant pot to brown, 4-5 minutes per side. You will need to work in 2-3 batches to make sure you don't overcrowd the pan.
  3. Once the short ribs are browned, add the BBQ sauce over.
  4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to “manual” and adjust to 45 minutes. Let the pressure release for about 15-20 minutes, then open the pot.
  5. Follow Steps 5 and on to serve!

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  1. Lori Ann says:

    These were foolishly good! And the BBQ sauce was equally wonderful!
    Thanks so much

    1. Cassy says:

      That makes me so happy!

  2. Adriana says:

    I was wondering about the difference between cooking the ribs on a high versus low setting in the crock pot? Your recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. I usually cook meat on a low setting for a long time in the crock pot. Thank you!

    1. Kelly says:

      Hi Adriana! Cooking it on high allow for more heat. Feel try to try it on low, but it might need a longer cooking time.

  3. Kara says:

    Have you doubled the recipe before? If so, how did it turn out? 🙂 thanks!

    1. Kelly says:

      Hi Kara! I am not sure as it hasn’t been tried, but if you try, make sure you have enough sauce to cover the top layer of ribs so they do not dry out. Let us know if you try it!

  4. Sara says:

    I’m also wondering if you have doubled the recipe. Would they still cook ok in the slow cooker if they had another layer stacked on top? Just found your site through Foodgawker…love it! Thanks!

    1. Kelly says:

      Hi Sara, glad you found us! It would be a tough to say, but if you double the recipe, the ribs on the top might get dry if there is not enough sauce to cover them. If you add more liquid to make sure they don’t dry out you could give it a try. Let us know if you do!!

  5. Kirsten says:

    I made these tonight! They were fall-off-the-bone tender, and the sauce was good, but the meat itself was so bland. I wonder if marinating them would help. Of course I am used to ribs that have spent 6+ hours on a smoker and the meat takes on that nice smokey flavor. Tending to a crock pot is WAY easier than stoking a fire in a smoker though!

    1. Kelly says:

      Thanks for trying them Kirsten! I would say you can definitely try to marinate them. Please let us know if you try it and it works!

  6. Alex says:

    I marinated mine overnight and they are in the slow cooker as I type this…lets see how it goes!