These Chinese-style Slow Cooker Spare Ribs feature a sweet and sticky glaze made with honey, hoisin sauce, and the perfect combination of flavorful seasonings. The ribs are cooked low and slow, with very little effort, until the meat is falling off the bone tender.
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Chinese Slow Cooker Ribs Recipes
If you’re looking for a delicious spin on traditional crock pot BBQ ribs, you’re in for a real treat with this recipe. These ribs are cooked slowly in a flavorful blend of soy sauce, honey, and Chinese-infused spices. As they simmer away, the meat becomes so incredibly tender, it practically falls off the bone with each bite.
The slow cooking process not only creates tender ribs, but it also allows the sauce to really soak into and season the ribs. Once done, a quick 5 minutes under the broiler caramelizes the glaze on the spare ribs giving them a sweet, sticky texter and a rich flavor. Whether you’re hosting a casual gathering or treating yourself to a special meal, these ribs are sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Incredible flavors – The combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and Chinese spices in this recipe creates the most amazing sweet and savory glaze for the ribs.
- Easy crockpot recipe: The hands-off cooking method means you can go about your busy day while the ribs tenderize and absorb all those delicious flavors in the crockpot.
- Versatile dish: This is a great recipe you can serve as a hearty appetizer, at dinner time with rice or noodles, or for lunch in a sandwich or wrap.
- St. Louis style spare ribs
- Soy sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Chinese five spice powder
- Brown sugar
- Red pepper flakes
- Garlic cloves (minced)
- Ground ginger
- Red food coloring (optional)
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Green onions (optional)
How to Make Chinese Crock Pot Ribs
Step One: Mix the Marinade Ingredients
- In a small bowl mix, soy sauce, honey, hoisin, five spice blend, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and red food coloring (optional) and set aside.
Step Two: Cut Up the Ribs
- Take the rack of ribs and cut them between the bones, every 2 bones.
Step Three: Slow Cook the Ribs
- Place ribs and marinade in an 8-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high heat for 4 hours.
Step Four: Caramelize the Glaze and Serve
- Remove ribs and place, bone side down, on a baking sheet pan lined with foil. Toss the cornstarch into the slow cooker with the remaining sauce and stir. Baste the ribs all over with the thickened glaze.
- Place the saucy ribs under the broiler for 5-6 minutes or until caramelized.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve!
Chinese Crockpot Ribs Variations and Add-ins
- Vinegar: Add a splash of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar to add a tangy flavor to the sauce. You’ll only need about a tablespoon to give it the perfect amount of tang.
- Citrus zest: Orange or lemon adds a refreshing and citrusy flavor to the sticky glaze.
- Fresh herbs: Consider adding herbs like cilantro, basil, or mint to the marinade or as a garnish for a fresh pop of herby flavor and color.
- Spices: Experiment with additional spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, black pepper, chili powder, or Szechuan peppercorns. Just make sure to use them sparingly until you know how they will taste.
- Chili sauce: If you enjoy spiciness, you can include a little bit of chili sauce like Sriracha or chili garlic sauce for added heat.
- Peanut butter: For a nutty and creamy twist, mix a spoonful of peanut butter into the sauce. It adds richness and depth to the dish.
- Fruit juice: For a touch of sweet acidity with a little pineapple juice or apple juice. It will reduce as the sauce cooks and the flavors will intensify.
How to Store Slow Cooker Pork Ribs?
Store leftover ribs in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap before placing them in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 3-4 days. You can also freeze them for about 2 to 3 months.
What Kind of Ribs are Best for Slow Cooking
When it comes to the best ribs, it’s more of a personal preference because they all taste great cooked in the crockpot. The three most popular types are pork spare ribs, pork baby back ribs, and country style. While they are all delicious, they are quite different and require different cooking times.
- Pork spare ribs: Also known as St. Louis style ribs, pork spare ribs are larger and meatier compared to baby back ribs. They have more connective tissue that runs through the meat that breaks down during slow cooking, making extra tender and flavorful ribs. This is the type you’ll see in most Chinese rib recipes.
- Baby back pork ribs: These ribs are smaller and leaner than spare ribs. They come from the top of the ribcage. Baby back ribs are tender and cook relatively faster than spare ribs. These racks of ribs are great for grilling or cooking low and slow in the oven with your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Country-style ribs: These ribs are cut from the pork shoulder. Country-style ribs can be boneless or have a single bone. They also render more fat when cooked compared to other rib cuts.
Should I Remove the Membrane on the Back of the Ribs?
It’s not required, but by removing the shiny membrane, it allows the flavors and seasonings to penetrate the meat and help with even cooking. With slow cooker ribs recipes, they cook over low heat, creating such tender meat, that a lot of people decide to leave the membrane on. If you want to remove it, it’s super easy with just a couple of easy steps:
- Start by loosening a corner of the membrane using a butter knife or the tips of your fingers.
- Once you have a corner lifted, the best way to grip it is with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Slowly pull the membrane away from the ribs. If it tears, use the knife or towel to lift it and continue removing it.
That’s all there is to it! They are ready for you to add your favorite homemade rub or other seasonings.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Crockpot Smokies
- Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
- Crockpot Beef Stew
- Simple Slow Cooker Chili
- Crockpot Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken
Slow Cooker Chinese Spare Ribs
- 3 pounds spare ribs
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon red food coloring optional
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- sesame seeds optional for garnish
- green onions optional for garnish
- In a small bowl mix, soy sauce, honey, hoisin, five spice blend, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, red food coloring (optional) and set aside.
- Cut the ribs between the bones, every 2 bones.
- Place ribs and marinade in an 8 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Remove ribs and place on a sheet pan lined with foil. Toss the cornstarch into the slow cooker with the marinade and stir, baste the ribs all over with the marinade from the slow cooker.
- Place under the broiler for 5-6 minutes or until caramelized.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve.
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