#LowCarbRecipe: Dry-Rubbed Slow-Cooker Ribs

I grew up in New Mexico, about an hour from the Texas border. So I grew up eating western-style barbecue—dry rubs with lots of spices. So when I saw beef ribs on sale at Publix yesterday, I grabbed a small slab and then sat down to figure out how best to do them without adding lots of sugary BBQ sauce to them.

My searching naturally led me to one of Bobby Flay’s recipes. I’ve scaled it down to two serving sizes (really more like 3, or possibly 4, depending on how much you use) and have made a substitution that cuts back a bit on the carbs.

Dry Rubbed Slow-Cooker Ribs
Dry-Rub MixtureIngredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder/granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder/granulated onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon (packed) Spenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1.5 to 2 lb. slab of bone-in beef ribs or 1 to 1.5 lbs bone-in pork ribs (beef rib bones are larger than pork)

Tools and Utensils:

  • Measuring spoons (1/2 Tbsp, 1/2 tsp)
  • Small bowl
  • Fork or spoon
  • Zip-top bag large enough to hold the rib-rack
  • Slow-Cooker (and liner, if you prefer easy cleanup); or foil-lined pan for oven cooking

Directions:
Combine all spices in a bowl and mix well with a fork or spoon to break up any lumps. Generously coat rib rack with spice mixture (I used half the dry rub mix and got my 2 lb. rack generously covered). Tap off excess spice rub and place rib rack in zip-top bag and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3-4 hours.

The secret, or so I’ve learned from years of watching Food Network, to great barbecue is low and slow—low temperature for a long time.

Ribs ready to go in the slow-cookerTo cook in a slow-cooker:
Place rib rack bone-side up in a lined slow cooker on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Or, if you don’t have that much time (or aren’t that patient), on high for 4 hours.

To cook in the oven:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Place rib rack bone-side up in a 9×13-inch baking dish (lined with foil for easy cleanup!). Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 2.5 to 3 hours until tender, depending on the size of the rack. Remove pan from oven, drain liquid, flip rack over, and bake uncovered an additional 30 minutes.

To grill or smoke:
Check with someone else, because I don’t have a grill or a smoker, so I have no idea how to cook anything that way! 😉

To Serve:
Let sit about 5-10 minutes after removing ribs from slow-cooker or oven. Cut into individual ribs and serve. If you have a good low-carb barbecue sauce, or if you have a recipe for a good low-carb barbecue sauce, please share! But these should be tasty enough to eat sauceless.

These were tender enough that the bones started coming out as I was taking them out of the slow-cooker.

These were tender enough that the bones started coming out as I was taking them out of the slow-cooker.

Nutritional Info:
It isn’t until I calculate the nutritional info on a recipe like this rub mix that I remember just how many hidden carbohydrates there might be in foods that we don’t even think about.

For this entire recipe (which yields about 4.5 tablespoons of rub mix):
Calories: 94
Carbs: 18.3 grams
Fiber: 4.0 grams
Net Carbs: 14.3 grams

I used about 1/2 of the mix for a 2.33 lb. slab of ribs, which turned out to be two generous servings, and I did not add any sauce. So I ended up counting 3.5 net carbs per serving.

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About Kaye Dacus

Kaye Dacus Academic Editor (at NCU). Published Author (11 novels, dozens of articles, essays, poems). Prolific Procrastinator. www.kayedacus.com
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