Melt in your mouth, falling off the bone ribs can easily be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. This paleo and whole30 recipe cooks the ribs and the potatoes all at once.
Updated 2019 with Instant Pot instructions
If you’re one of those people who swears ribs should only be grilled then this recipe is not for you. However if you’re looking for tender ribs with minimal fuss, keep reading.
When slow cooked, rib meat cooks to the point where it literally falls off the bone. You can use between 2-3 pounds of pork ribs. Anything more than 3 pounds, you might have a hard time fitting in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Don’t forget potatoes are going in there too. I used approximately 2 1/2 lbs of baby back ribs. No, I have not used beef ribs so I do not know what the cook time would be for that. I would imagine it would be longer.
The timing for when you add bbq sauce is up to you. I wait until cook time is completed and add my sauce before the ribs go under the broiler. You can add it at the beginning of cook time or half even way through. Of course you don’t have to use a sauce. A nice dry rub can be used solo on the meat.
For the potatoes, as usual waxy potatoes are better because they hold up better during the cooking process. I used red potatoes. You can use your preferred potato but if you’re not using a waxy one, I suggest you cut the potato (or sweet potato) into larger chunks than usual. This will help them hold their shape and not turn to mush.
If you’re using the slow cooker, do not add liquid! Just the meat and the potatoes. The liquid you see in the after pic is the natural juices that cooked off from the food. You will need the 1 cup of water for broth for the Instant Pot though.
If you have a go-to seasoning salt or bbq rub, yes you can use that on the ribs. However I encourage you to read the ingredients first. If you don’t have one to use, below is my go-to homemade seasoning salt. Make sure the potatoes get some seasoning too. Speaking of potatoes, I added a few dollops of ghee (clarified butter) on top of mine. This is another optional step.
Homemade Seasoning Salt
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp pepper
I’ve found that this is not a recipe that can let sit on warm for extended hours. A lot of this will depend on the slow cooker because each one heats different but the ribs will overcook and dry out if cooked too long (and start to burn the slow cooker base). 2 1/2 pounds of ribs for me cooked in 4 hour on low, 30 minutes on the warm setting before I was home to turn it off. The potatoes were tender at this time. You can always continue to cook the potatoes once you remove the ribs to place them under the broiler. After you make this the 1st time you’ll have a better understanding of how long you’ll need to cook it.
My homemade slow cooker or Instant Pot bbq sauce is both paleo and whole30! Omit the potatoes and you have a low-carb ribs recipe.Print
- 2–3 lbs pork ribs
- 1 lb potatoes or sweet potatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup seasoning salt (see blog post for homemade) or more
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce (optional)
- Season ribs generously with the seasoning salt. Add to the ribs to the slow cooker, standing up with the meat facing out.
- Add potatoes in the center inside the ribs.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hour or LOW 4-6.
- Add the broth to the IP and add the trivet rack.
- Season ribs generously with the seasoning salt. Add the ribs to the IP, standing up around the trivet with the meat facing out. Add the potatoes inside the ribs on the trivet rack. Season potatoes with additional seasoning salt if needed.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 35 minutes. Natural release pressure for 10 minutes then manually the remaining pressure.
nutritional info calculated without bbq sauce
When they’re done cooking, remove your ribs from the slow cooker or Instant Pot and place them under the broiler for a few minutes. This is an optional but recommended step.
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