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By Callie Snow

Slow cooker ribs, take them or leave them?

Unless you have been living under a rock for quite some time, you are probably aware that slow cooker recipes are a big trend. I mean big! There are people who spend entire days prepping slow cooker dinners to freeze and last them for weeks on end. I am not one of those people; I do, however, appreciate a quick meal as much as the next person. Any dinner that I can prep quickly and have on the table in a matter of minutes is okay in my book. But the first thing I think of when I look at a slow cooker recipe is, what about the texture? That was definitely the case with this recipe in particular.

Ribs are loved by many, but they aren't something you typically see on the quick weeknight dinner list. At least not in my house! So when I started seeing recipes for slow cooker ribs, I was intrigued. I was skeptical to say the least. In fact, I was weary right up until the moment they were on the table waiting for my husband and me to dig in. The moment of truth finally came, and I'm astonished to say that they were great!

I read recipe after recipe in my contemplation of making this dish. And as with all great things that come from my kitchen, I just winged it. For the most part, all the recipes had the same general concepts. The one main thing I noticed consistently was the need to either prebake the ribs or finish them in the oven before serving. I make slow cooker meals for convenience, and there is nothing convenient about baking them first thing in the morning and then putting them in the slow cooker. Also, my oven is on the fritz. So I decided that once mine were out of the slow cooker I would grill them. Not for very long, but long enough to crisp them just a little and stick the sauce to them.

This recipe was very simple to achieve and overall was a pretty big hit!

Slow cooker ribs
• 1 rack of ribs, cut in half
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. black pepper
• 1/2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup apple juice (I used apple liquor but apple juice or apple ale will do just fine)
• BBQ sauce
1.) Season ribs with all the spices and brown sugar and place in slow cooker. Pour vinegar and apple liquid of choice into the bottom. Cook on high for four hours.
2.) I chose to grill my ribs over charcoal for about eight minutes per side, smothered in BBQ sauce. However, you could just as easily place them under the broiler just long enough to caramelize the sauce. That's it, easy as can be!

BBQ sauce
• 1½ cups ketchup
• 2 cups brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp. mustard
• 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
• 2 Tbsp. honey
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to medium/low and cook for 20 minutes.

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