Slow Cooker Ribs

By Corinne

The biggest problem I’ve had with making ribs in the slow cooker is that they end up so tender they fall apart and you can’t even pick them up without them slipping off the bones. Now, that’s awesome in one way, but it means that they don’t have the crispy bbq bark goodness you get from cooking them on the bbq or in the oven. This method combines the best of both worlds. Ribs are dry rubbed and cooked in the slow cooker for no longer than 6 hours on low, then finished on the bbq or in the oven. They are incredibly tender, and still have the crisped goodness from finishing them under high heat.

You will need:

  • 1 rack of ribs, cut into 3-4 bone sections
  • your favourite bbq sauce for finishing

Dry rub:

  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked, sweet or hot, whatever your preference)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients for dry rub. Sprinkle generously over ribs- I usually use all the rub for one large rack of ribs.

Stand ribs up on slow cooker so they are not all laying on top of one another. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, but no longer than 6 hours. If you cook them too long you will have difficulty finishing them in the oven or on the bbq as they will easily fall apart.

Remove ribs from slow cooker. If finishing the ribs on the bbq, heat grill to medium heat and generously slather with your favourite bbq sauce, basting ribs a few times on each side over direct heat. I always think they look prettier when they’ve been finished on the bbq, but it was -25C the night I made these so this time I did it in the oven.

To finish in the oven, place ribs on a cookie sheet or baking stone. If using a cookie sheet, you may wish to cover with tinfoil to aid in clean up. Baste ribs generously on both sides and place under broil. Watch carefully, flipping and basting about every 2-3 minutes until both sides have been crisped up a bit.

Enjoy!

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Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks with Lentils

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By Corinne

This is a hearty, healthy, and VERY easy to put together meal. The lamb is slow cooked in a simple broth until it’s mild, tender and falling apart. The lentils are cooked with it, so your side is already done!

This recipe is inspired by and lightly altered from Wholesome Kitchen by Ross Dobson- which unfortunately is no longer in print. It’s a nice cookbook with lots of recipes for beans and legumes, so if you ever happen to find a copy, pick it up!

Time: 10 min prep, 3 hours in oven, or 6-8 hours in slow cooker (crock pot) directions at the end)

Serves: 2-3

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 oz pancetta or bacon
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 lamb shanks
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F. In a dutch oven, or other large heavy lidded pot, cook pancetta or bacon, remove from pot and then cook onion in the leftover fat until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, the shanks should be just covered by broth.  If they aren’t, ensure that at 1 1/2 hour mark you turn them over. Cook covered for 3 hours until meat on shanks pulls easily away from the bone and is very tender. Serve with a generous portion of lentils and sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Crockpot- cook bacon and add to slow cooker. Chop onions (no need to pre cook) and add all ingredients to crockpot. I usually prepare everything the night before in the crock pot, throw it in the fridge overnight and then take it out and turn it on in the morning.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If desired, reduce stock to 1/2 cup rather than one cup, as cooking in the crockpot there will be extra liquid – I usually just leave it at 1 cup and mop up the extra broth with some delicious bread!

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Slowcooker Pulled Pork

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By: Corinne

I have a busy life. One of the ways I manage cooking is just recognizing that sometimes I’m not going to have a lot of time to put something together for supper. I like my slow cooker for these applications, but even more so like things that I can prep and freeze and then throw into the slowcooker when I need to.

I like this recipe for pulled pork, mostly because I find it’s much easier to use the leftovers for a variety of things, pulled pork pizza, pulled pork wraps with avocado and sprouts, baked pulled pork pasta with peppers, or soup. I find a more thick BBQ saucy type pulled pork for sandwiches, but not much else. So if you like that style, but anticipate having a lot of leftovers, just pull out what you want for sandwiches and sauce it up.

I usually buy boneless pork rib roast as they go on sale fairly frequently. This tends to be a less fatty cut than others used for pulled pork. In the photo below you can see that I didn’t need to drain off any fat, but you may if you use a fatty cut of meat.

You Will Need:

  • 1.5 – 2kg roast, cut in half (mine was 1.86kg)
  • 2 large freezer baggies
  • 2 large onions chopped (one for each bag)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped (two for each bag)
  • 1 beer (half for each bag)- not an IPA as the bitterness really comes through. Use a more boring beer like Alexander Keith’s or Sleeman’s honey brown. To make GF, omit the beer and add 1 cup of water or veggie or chicken stock, or use a GF beer. While I haven’t tried it, I bet a cider would be good in this recipe too, not one of the really pop-like ones.. but a dry cider would probably work just fine and would also be gluten free.

All of the following ingredients are that amount for each half of the roast- so you put that amount in each baggie

  • 1 tbsp chili powder (I used my homemade stuff, depending on your spice level you may want more or less)
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 3oz tomato paste-  half of a small can
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (for GF substitute balsamic vinegar or a GF Worcestershire)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped

Add all of the ingredients to the baggies, it really doesn’t matter what order you do it in, as long as you add the beer last and smush everything around so it mixes before you add the pork. If you happened to oopsie and add a whole beer to each bag instead of just half, don’t worry it will be just fine 🙂 Then pop it in the freezer and you are good to go for another day. If you are skipping the freezing step you can of course do this all directly in the slow cooker 🙂 When that other day comes, take your already good to go pulled pork from the freezer, let it thaw in your fridge over night (in the slowcooker even so it’s all ready to go in the morning) and then into your slowcooker on low for 6-8 hours. My slowcooker on low is quite gentle, so it’s been fine for up to 10 hours.

When it’s finished, if you used a very fatty roast and seem to have too much juice, feel free to pour some off (but don’t toss it yet!) before using two forks to shred the pork. If you have time to let it sit for another 15 min after shredding it gives the sauciness a chance to get right in the meat and you might find you want to use some of those juices you poured off.

Serve on soft buns with your favourite coleslaw. Even though this is just half of the original roast- it makes a lot and I always plan to make something with the leftovers.

Favourite things to make with leftovers- pulled pork pizza, pulled pork pasta and pulled pork soup!