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These are tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs and so quick and easy to prepare, before letting the slow-cooker do all the work for you.  The BBQ sauce is both savory and slightly sweet; a harmonious combination. Hope that word is used correctly.  I mean a balanced combination of savory and sweet flavors.

Mustard is spread over the spare ribs to help the spice rub to adhere better.  This makes for an unusual recipe and so good!

The spice rub is delicious with plenty of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme and, of course, salt and pepper with some Montreal Steak seasoning as well.  2 tbsp (30 mL) of the spice rub is set aside and then stirred in the BBQ sauce. A bit of hot sauce is added to give the BBQ sauce a bit of a kick.

Since the ribs are slow-cooked, you can make them any time of the year.  We love ribs from time to time.  Ribs are fairly rich and they satiate very quickly - plenty of good protein and fat for sure.

The mustard keeps the ribs moist as well as the 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Only after slow-cooking on low for 7 hours, the ribs are spread with BBQ sauce and cooked a further 3 or 4 hours, until the rib meat is so tender that it practically falls off the bones.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and broil 3 to 4 minutes.  I broiled mine a bit longer than that!  Then spread with the remainder of the BBQ sauce and serve!

Broiling them at the end gives a bit of a charred look - I may have overdone mine slightly, but they were absolutely delicious with caramelized, sticky sauce that turned dark.  Then even more sauce is spread over the ribs.

Slow-cooker ribs are to me even better than those done on the barbecue.  They are so tender and that is the way I love them.   Higher carb recipes call for a very sweet BBQ sauce, but mine is plenty sweet enough and as I said a good balance of savory and sweet flavors.  The tiny bit of molasses helps mimic brown sugar.

The only part that is done in the oven is to broil the pork ribs.  These BBQ ribs are the best!  I hope you will try these pork spare ribs, which are different to baby back ribs.


4 lbs pork spare ribs (1.8 kg)

1/4 cup yellow mustard (60 mL)

1/2 cup water (125 mL)

Spice Rub:

1/4 cup bulk sweetener (60 mL)

2 tsp garlic powder (10 mL)

2 tsp salt (10 mL)

1 tsp black pepper (5 mL)

1 tsp paprika (5 mL)

1 tsp onion powder (5 mL)

1 tsp thyme (5 mL)

1/2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (2 mL)

Barbecue Sauce:

6 oz tomato paste (170 g)

1/2 cup water (125 mL)

Liquid sweetener to equal 1/3 cup sugar (75 mL)

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, OR other (45 mL)

2 tbsp reserved spice rub (30 mL)

1 tsp molasses (5 mL)

4 drops hot sauce (optional)


Remove any tough membrane from the underside of the ribs, if possible.  You can Google how to do it.  I found it next to impossible, but it did not affect the outcome as the ribs just fell apart.  Cut spare ribs into sections, if necessary, to fit comfortably in the slow-cooker.  Spread mustard over the spare ribs.  This will help the spice rub to adhere better.


Spice Rub: In small bowl, combine bulk sweetener, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, thyme and Montreal Steak seasoning.  Set aside 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the spice rub.  Rub the bulk of the mixture over the ribs on all the meaty bits.


Barbecue Sauce: In small bowl, whisk together well tomato paste, water, liquid sweetener, apple cider vinegar, OR other vinegar you have on hand, reserved spice rub, molasses and hot sauce, if using.


Pour water in the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Add the ribs, meaty side up and cook overnight 7 hours on low.  Then spread with about 1 cup (250 mL) Barbecue sauce.  Cook on low another 3 or 4 hours (the rib meat must be soft and literally almost falling off the bones.  Remove the ribs from the slow-cooker and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Broil on high about 3 to 4 minutes.  Watch it as they can get too well done quite quickly, but you do want some charred looking areas.  Spread with the remainder of the sauce and serve.

Yield:  8 servings

1 serving

587.3 calories

44.3 g protein

41.9 g fat

1.3 g fiber

5.2 g net carbs 

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