Beef, Main Course, Slow Cooker

Making Do with Back Ribs

Picking up the cryo-pack of beef ribs, I really didn’t look at it that closely. $10 for an 18″ double layer package of Short Ribs was a good deal…no.. a  great deal. I quickly stuffed it under the bundle of asparagus and the bag of fresh greens, and quickly made my way out of the meat counter – lest someone realize they’ve made a pricing error and the meat police come to snatch them back out of my hands.

Even after I got home, my sight was blinded with thoughts of slow braising the delicious short ribs (al la Alton Brown), the fat and connective tissue literally dissolving into the muscle, creating  oh so tender morsels of meaty goodness. Oh, the stews we’d have…. the stories we’d tell…….

If only I’d been a little less dazzled, a smidge less greedy. Opening the package yesterday to begin the day-long slow roast and expecting to find this:

Short Ribs

Instead – there is this:

Beef Back Ribs

Back Ribs…. the anemic, half brother of the short rib.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing … Nothing… wrong with back ribs. It is still, generally, the same thing. A little less meat, a little more connective tissue, but still a fine meat for slow cooking…. you just can’t do them the same way. A 12-hour braise and slow-roast on a back rib will result in meat putty…and bone. I was really looking forward to those short ribs….

I had to rethink things….

I scrapped the paprika heavy rub, ditched the 200 degree oven in favor of the slow-cooker, and traded in the 12-hour slow cook for a 4-hour braise and 20 minutes in the oven… and got this:

4- Hour Back Ribs
Serves 4 to 6
2 Racks of Beef Back Ribs
2 Oranges, Quartered – (I used Clementines)
1 Rib Of Celery – Whole
2 Cloves
1 Clove Garlic – Whole
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Lager Beer
1/2 Cup Beef Broth
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Cider Vinegar – Basting
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce – Basting
1 Slow Cooker
1 Medium Sauce Pan
Immersion Blender
1 Roasting Pan
1 Basting Brush

  • Place all the liquid seasonings in the slow cooker except the ones marked as “Basting”
  • Place all the dry seasonings with the garlic in a mortar and grind together
  • Score the slabs between each bone to cut through the connective tissue on the back side of the rib
  • Mix all the dry ingredients and garlic – thoroughly rub into the slabs – front and back.
  • Add the celery and orange quarters to the liquids
  • Place the slabs in the slow cooker
  • Cook on the high setting for 4 hours

When the time is up –

  • Remove the slabs and transfer to a roasting pan
  • Preheat the oven to 425
  • Transfer all the remaining stuff to a medium sauce pan and add the vinegar and tomato sauce, and bring to  a boil
  • Remove from the heat and puree with the immersion blender
  • Return the pan to the heat and reduce by 1/2
  • With a pastry brush (or basting brush) coat each slab with a generous layer of the puree
  • Place the coated ribs in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fat and puree begin to bubble
  • Cut each rib through and transfer to a serving plate.

4 Hour Beef Back Ribs on Foodista4 Hour Beef Back Ribs


  1. Great job. I was so desperate to write my essay and with your help I've finally managed.

  2. @Kay HeritageI understand – do the things that matter most, everything else will fall in line.I've seen your BBQ Ribs – I want to eat at your church!Thanks for being a constant visitor – I'm Looking forward to a great year!

  3. Mmmm, these look fabulous! We just had pork ribs last night…my husband did a dry rub and they were awesome.I will have to show him this post and we'll try your meathod the next time we do beef ones!!!!

  4. @The Good SoupThanks so much for digging us out of the verse and visiting!Meat putty isn't a bad thing (it's killer for spreading on toast) but when your taster wants one thing…isn't healthy to feed it something else!

  5. I thought I cooked short ribs a month ago, but it seems I cooked back ribs afterall. Yep, lots of putty, bone and tasty tasty sauce. Thanks for the explanatory pic for next time…PS. So pleased to have found your blog! It's not often that I feel truly amused these days. Thank you.

  6. @Evan ThomasBeers, in general just help slow cooked meats along. That wonderful maltiness adds extra layers of flavor.Thanks for Visiting!

  7. @adventuresomekitchenI know..I've had many a plate of KC back ribs! The sauce came out tasting kinda, sorts like a NC BBQ sauce with a side of OJ. We've been snacking on them the past couple of days 🙂

  8. Way to be flexible! Back ribs are a staple in KC Style BBQ-when I see those I think a jar of my favorite bbq at 250 for 4-6 hours, and I'm in heaven! I really like your sauce- that looks very very tasty!

  9. I love ribs! Koreans use short ribs for delicious Kalbi (BBQ'ed over table top grill)! Back ribs are just as good! Hey, Toby, thank you so much for your visit! I love to be more active with Food Buzz but there is very little time for me. I had to re-prioritize my life. :)Look forward to what you will be cooking in your kitchen this year.

  10. These look great! All the flavors from the citrus to the lager must work really well together with the long cooking time.

  11. I like both short and back ribs, so I wouldn't mind getting whichever. hmmm… ribs… (that's the sound of me thinking about ribs)… yum. The back ribs you made look delish. It must be so tender. I hope they keep you warm in the house.

  12. @JessicaNormally, I might have. But we're still in the throws of the worst snow we've had in years.. and I can't get out of the driveway (5 days after)

  13. What a great emergency backup plan! Looks tender and delicious. I think if it were me, I would just go back and get the short ribs haha.

Comments are closed.