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Slow Cooker Ribs with Sticky Chile and Cherry Sauce

Serves: Makes 8 servings (as an appetizer or side dish)


  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, trimmed, peeled, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 pounds total
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup cherry preserves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for brushing grill grates


Baby back ribs turn meltingly tender when braised gently in the slow cooker before finishing with a spicy-sweet glaze on the grill. You can braise the ribs up to 2 days in advance, and finish on the grill just before serving. Make sure to let the ribs come to room temperature before grilling.

To prepare ribs: In a slow cooker, combine the chicken stock, ¼ cup soy sauce, garlic, carrot, onion and celery. Layer the ribs into the slow cooker. Cook until the ribs are tender; high for 4 hours, medium for 6 hours or slow for 8 hours.

To prepare basting glaze: Strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Place the saucepan over high heat and reduce braising liquid to 1 cup, about 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add tomato sauce and remaining ingredients, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Prepare a moderate charcoal fire, preheat a gas grill to medium, or heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Brush grill grates or grill pan with a thin coating of oil using a silicone pastry brush. Place ribs on grill and brush with glaze. Cook, basting with glaze, until ribs are warmed through, flipping once, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into one- or two-rib portions and serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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