Crock pot BBQ Ribs

So, ever since Jeremy went to Houston for 4 months last year, he has been obsessed with barbeque. Not your typical "hamburger on the grill" type BBQ, oh no... He means the kind where you get up at an unearthly hour of the morning, go outside in the freezing cold, stick a huge blob of meat on a rack that's being warmed with applewood or hickory chips ONLY (he's a little snobby about this), and get it smokin'. Yes, we have had many jokes in the house lately about "smoking something"--I wish all of them were funny. Anyway, then one has to stay at home all day in order to babysit said piece of meat... Betcha can guess who stayed home, huh?

Honestly though, it's been kind of fun to see Jeremy take on this challenge. A good-quality smoker typically costs upwards of $600-700, hence there was no chance that we were going to buy one. So instead, he decided to make one on his own! His best friend in the whole wide world, Alton Brown, taught him how. I will not give you the link to this video, because then your husband will get addicted too... You're welcome for doing you a favor. It's taken a few trips to the local garden nursery for different size pots, new BBQ racks coming in the mail (surprise!), melted hot plates, a couple discoveries that the fridge/freezer weren't on because the smoker had shorted out the kitchen appliance circuit, and usually the meat ends up in the crock pot for a few hours, but I am happy to announce that it has all been worth it! The meat that comes off this baby is unbelievable, as a few of our Maryland friends can attest. We've only invited people over who we know will still be friends with us no matter how the food tastes, because we're still in the testing phase. But I don't think anyone's been disappointed yet :)

Now for those of you who know us well, you know that Jeremy and I each have our roles in the kitchen. I am the cook/chef/whatever you want to call it--I make the meals. I prefer salty to sweet, so I've never been much of a baker. Frankly, that was probably a good thing. And then I married Jeremy! I've never had a dessert he's made that I haven't loved. That one kind of tipped the scales a bit, but he's worth it :) However, since he started doing this smoking thing (see what I mean about the jokes?), I am feeling showed up!!! He's taking over my territory!!! So what do I do??? I stage a comeback.

And this is where the recipe comes in, my friends... But haven't you enjoyed my little story? Can you tell I'm in rare form today? It's called being stuck in the house with a sick child for over a week. I needed a creative outlet :) Anyway, I found a recipe for crock pot ribs a while back, which sounded like an easy cop-out effort to make Jeremy happy. "What's for dinner, honey?" Oh, I just made some.. RIBS!" What husband would not love to hear that when they walked through the door one night? Don't have to tell him that you made them in the crock pot! That always seems to put a damper on things... Anyway, I tried them, they were a cinch, and they were really good. I've been tweaking the recipe for a while now, and I finally think I've got it down perfect. Start looking for a good deal on a rack of ribs, ladies... I found some at the commissary up here for $5!!! That was right around Superbowl weekend. Oh whoops, guess I should have posted this earlier for y'all. That would have been timely. Sorry!

Anyway, I made my ribs alongside Jeremy's smoked pulled pork last weekend for a little get-together we had... Needless to say, I think the ribs were a hit. Jeremy was jealous :o) Mission accomplished!!! Just kidding--a win for me is a win for him, too :) Right? RIGHT??? Truly, though--we had a blast. I love that we both love to cook; it's something we didn't realize we both enjoyed before we got married. It's been a fun adventure together!

Crock pot BBQ Ribs
Adapted from
1 full rack of pork ribs, cut in half
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika (Penzey's Smoked Hungarian is awesome!)
1 tsp chili powder (or less if you don't want a little kick)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar

(I have a large crock pot, so I can actually double this recipe, cut the racks in half, and fit them on their sides in my crock pot. The more the merrier, IMO). Combine dry ingredients  until well incorporated; apply rub over entire area of ribs. Place ribs in crock pot meat-side up, and cook for 6-8 hours. I can usually get away with a little less time, but make sure you leave enough time just in case you need to cook it longer...

You can put BBQ sauce on these babies if you want to, but we found we didn't need it. YUM!
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