These slow cooker beef back ribs are cooked in a delicious red wine sauce with just a hint of spice from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. By the end of the cook time the rib meat slides off the bones and is full of flavor. The sauce is finished with sour cream and is similar in flavor to a beef Stroganoff.
Recipe notes & tips:
- Before you serve this dish, please make absolutely sure that there are no bone fragments left in it. Check the meat carefully.
- Make sure to add the water and the chicken broth hot rather than cold. That way the contents of the slow cooker will come up to temperature much, much quicker.
- If you don’t have a fat separator, simply pour the liquid into a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the fat has risen to the top, skim it off the surface using a large spoon.
- To reduce the sauce, use a pan with a large surface area to make the process as fast as possible.
How to prepare the ribs:
Start by removing the membrane from the back of the raw beef ribs. You can do this by sliding a metal spatula underneath the membrane and pulling it up and off the ribs. Use a sharp boning knife to cut off the sections that won’t pull off easily.
The photo below shows what the backside of the ribs should look like after the membrane has been removed.
How to cook the ribs:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Cut the rack(s) into individual ribs and season with salt and pepper.
Step 2. Heat the vegetable oil in a cast iron pan until shimmering. Sear the ribs in the hot oil until they are lightly browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Step 3. Add onion, carrot and celery to the pan you browned the ribs in and cook until starting to brown (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Step 4. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker, then add wine, hot chicken broth, hot water, chipotle peppers and thyme. Put on the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
How to finish the sauce:
Step 5. After the 6 hours, turn the slow cooker off and let cool for a few minutes. Ladle the liquid into a fat separator. (See recipe notes below for what to do if you don’t have a fat separator.) Let sit for a few minutes to allow the liquid to separate. Drain the bottom layer into a large pan and discard the top (fat) layer.
Step 6. Cook the sauce uncovered on medium-high heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency (about 30 min.).
Step 7. While the sauce is on the stovetop, transfer the ribs out of the slow cooker. Discard the vegetables. Pull the meat off the bones and shred using two forks or your fingers. Discard any pieces of fat and membrane. Make sure to remove any bone fragments there might be, then add the meat to the sauce and stir in sour cream.
Serve the beef sauce over egg noddles.
Frequently asked questions:
Yes, you can absolutely do that. It won’t have the hint of spiciness but it will still taste delicious.
Yes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze them in a freezer bag.
More hearty soups and stews:
- Chunky Chuck Roast Chili (Dutch Oven)2 Hours
- Gnocchi Beef Stroganoff Spiced with Cinnamon and Clove2 Hours 30 Minutes
- Broccoli Sausage Soup (with Italian Sausage)25 Minutes
- Chicken Tikka Masala (Dutch Oven & Grill)10 Hours 40 Minutes
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Full Printable Recipe
Slow Cooker Beef Back Ribs
- kitchen scale
- measuring cups and spoons
- knife and cutting board
- boning knife
- garlic press (optional)
- small metal spatula
- cast iron pan
- kitchen tongs
- slow cooker
- fat separator (optional)
- wooden spoon
- 2 pounds beef back ribs, bone in
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium-large yellow onion (about 10 ounces), peeled and cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks
- 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
- 2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 ½ cups dry red wine
- 3 cups hot chicken broth
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-3 tablespoons full-fat sour cream, add to taste
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and discard.
- Cut the rib rack into individual ribs, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron pan until shimmering.
- Sear the ribs on all sides until lightly browned, then transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add onion, carrot and celery to the pan you seared the meat in and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until starting to brown.* Be careful not to burn the browned bits from the ribs that are in the pan. Turn the heat down if you need to.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker, then pour in the wine, the hot chicken broth and the hot water.
- Add the chipotle peppers and the thyme, then put on the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Turn the slow cooker off and let cool for a few minutes. Ladle the liquid into a fat separator.**
- Let the liquid sit for a few minutes until separated. Drain the bottom layer into a large pan and discard the top (fat) layer.
- Cook the sauce uncovered on medium-high heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency (about 30 min.).
- Transfer the meat out of the slow cooker and pull it off the bones. Discard the bones and the vegetables. Shred the meat. (You can use two forks for that but I find it easiest to use my fingers.) Discard any pieces of fat and membrane.
- Be sure to remove all bone fragments that might be hidden in the meat, then add the meat to the sauce.
- Stir sour cream into the sauce, then serve over egg noodles.
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.
Christy @ Feasting Not Fasting
This looks so incredibly delicious! I can’t even remember the last time I used my slow cooker and for the life of me, couldn’t tell you why. They’re simply the best for dishes like this. Can’t wait to try this soon!
Thanks so much, Christy! I know, it’s so easy to forget about the slow cooker once it’s out of sight in the cabinet but I’m getting it out more and more now. :)
Abbe @ This is How I Cook
Believe it or not, I still don’t have a slow cooker. Love what you did with this sauce though. So classic but with that addition of chipotle it throws it over the top~
I’ve had one for a long time but have only recently started to use it! It is awesome though, you should get one! Thanks for the lovely comment, as always! :)
Love your new profile photo Nic!!! And glad you are discovering the wonders of slow cookers :) I am wondering if beef back ribs are what we know as beef short ribs. Are they quite large with loads of meet on them?? Almost a square shape? The sauce for this is a ripper!
Hey there! So glad you like the pic! Short ribs actually come from a different section of the animal than back ribs do but they are similar in taste, in my opinion. And yes, large, almost scarily so! :)