I've previously mentioned the site, A Year of CrockPotting, and how its author is making something new in her crock pot every day this year. Being a crock pot lover myself, I am always delighted when Steph declares a recipe a huge success. A couple of weeks ago, I adapted her recipe for Orange Chipotle Ribs in the CrockPot and it was awesome. I made a few changes based on available ingredients and my hope that leaving out spicy spices would make the ribs more palatable to the kids (it didn't). I shared leftovers with my in-laws, who actually called in the middle of their meal to tell me how good it was. As good as this was, though, I think that the next time, I might make things even easier on myself and just toss the ribs into the crock with some bottled barbeque sauce!
Slow cooker ribs
Makes about 6 servings
approximately 3 pounds baby back ribs (I bought two vacuum sealed packages from Trader Joe's and ended up with closer to 3 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange-apricot marmalade (because I couldn't find plain orange marmalade at TJ's)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1. Spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray. Cut the ribs to fit in the crock. I simply cut the two racks in half, then stacked them in the crock. They fit - just barely - in my beloved West Bend 4-quart slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup through garlic (everything remaining except for the 1/4 cup stock or water). Pour the sauce over the ribs. You should probably spread some sauce in between the layers, although I didn't and they turned out fine. But the parts that were exposed to the sauce naturally had more flavor.
3. Add the 1/4 cup stock or water to the bottom of the crock. I did this just to make sure there was no burning, although Steph's original recipe doesn't call for it and it's probably unnecessary.
4. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low, or 5 to 6 hours on high. Slow cookers are so forgiving with time, and you can vary the time based on how tender you want your meat. I actually had my ribs in for about 11 hours and they were falling off the bone, which is my preference.