5-Spice Slow-Cooker Pork Ribs
I don’t know what’s gotten into me this week, but I’ve been on a serious Asian food kick. My poor cumin has been languishing in the spice cabinet as I reach for the Chinese five-spice powder and ginger. We recently got a new delivery of grass-fed beef that just about filled our freezer, so I’ve been working my way through back inventory of frozen meat. Tucked into far left corner of the freezer, I found two packages of pork spare ribs and instantly had a craving for Asian-spiced pig. What I did not have a craving for, however, was spending a buttload of time in the kitchen or tending the grill.

I did zero internet research and didn’t even flip through my favorite go-to cookbooks — I just opened my spice cabinet and starting experimenting. The result was fall-off-the-bone-if-you-look-at-them-askance ribs, infused with the complex but comforting flavors of Chinese five-spice powder.

You can absolutely use this approach for beef ribs, and I suspect it will also work great on larger beef and pork cuts, like shoulder and stew meat. With good spices and a slow cooker, you really can’t go wrong.

Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15minutes
Cook Time
6-10hours
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15minutes
Cook Time
6-10hours
Ingredients

  • 3-4pounds


    baby back or St. Louis pork ribs

  • 2teaspoons


    Chinese five-spice powder

  • 3/4teaspoon


    granulated garlic

  • 1


    fresh jalapeno pepper, cut in rings

  • 2tablespoons


    Rice Vinegar

  • 2tablespoons


    coconut aminos or homemade subsituteLink for homemade substitute below
Instructions
  1. Cut the ribs into pieces that will fit standing up in the slow cooker. Lay the ribs on a cutting board and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the Chinese five- spice and garlic powder together, then massage onto the meat to coat the ribs.
  2. Toss the jalapeño rings into the bottom of the slow cooker, and add the rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste is combined with the other liquids. Add the ribs, standing up so they’re not lying in the liquid – or use a roasting rack inside the cooker so the ribs are not lying on the bottom – cover, and cook 6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  3. When the ribs are fall-apart tender, remove them from the cooker. Pour the liquid into a heat-proof container and refrigerate until the fat separates from the juices. Remove the fat and bring the remaining liquid to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Use as a dipping/drizzle sauce for the meat.
  4. Want ‘em crispy? Throw the ribs in a 400F oven for 10 minutes while you boil the sauce.
Recipe Notes

From Melissa Joulwan’s Well-Fed: Ingredients for a Happy Life. Her homemade substitute for coconut aminos can be found here.