Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs – Slow Cooker, Instant Pot or Oven

Hi ya’ll. Are you getting ready for Ursa? The winter blizzard that’s already hit New Mexico, Colorado & Wyoming and is sweeping through the Midwest? Crazy. Well, here’s a great recipe to make and cook long and slow while you’re waiting out all that snow. Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs

Make your Sweet and Sour Country Style Ribs in the slow-cooker, in your Instant Pot slow cooker, or just lovingly braise them in the oven. Add a vegetable of your choice and be sure to make mashed potatoes. Lots & lots of mashed potatoes for all those lovely juices.

Sweet and Sour Country Style Ribs are adapted (I jazzed them up) from Martha Stewart, and she has a pretty cool method of cooking them. Rather than crisscross the ribs (as I’ve always done, like in this recipe) stand the ribs up vertically, bone up, in the slow cooker.

As you can see, they turned out beautifully; they held together and were absolutely tender throughout, without literally falling off the bone. I’ll be stealing that little hack for other recipes.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs

After the first time I made these Country Style Ribs I wanted a little more flavor, so I added a rub just for more interest. My fave is my own Sweet Heat Rub but the folks especially liked the ribs rubbed with my Cajun Blend. You can use one or the other or whatever you have on hand – or no rub if you prefer…It’s still only a few minutes prep time.

This was the first time I’ve used the Instant Pot Slow Cooker and it worked out very well. While I didn’t do any kind of “testing” it seems to me that the Instant Pot slow cooker was just a little slower than a regular slow cooker. I cooked the ribs 6 1/2 hours and I usually go about 6 hours in the regular slow cooker, but that can vary a bit depending on the amounts and how thick the ribs are.

If you’re not familiar with Country Style Ribs, they’re an extremely economical cut of meat, and they often go on sale in larger “family packs.” Since they need to be cooked low and slow, I usually cook them all rather than dividing for our smaller family because the leftovers are fantastic, too. I save some of the juices and a rib or two for another recipe later in the week, Pork & Mushroom Ragu.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs

Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 6 - 6 3/4 hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds country-style pork ribs, separated into single ribs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of a preferred spice blend or rib rub, optional, or salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • barbecue sauce, optional, for serving

Rub the pork chops with the spice blend or rib rub, or if not using, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In slow cooker, whisk together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard powder, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add ribs to slow cooker, and toss with sauce. Arrange ribs, bone side up, in a single row. Cover; cook on high in the slow cooker for about 6 hours or in the Instant Pot on high for about 6 1/2. If using a low setting, cook for 10 hours.

Serve ribs drizzled with pan juices and, if desired, barbecue sauce.

Note: If you prefer to cook in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 5-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid and proceed with the recipe, adding 1 cup water. Cover; bake until ribs are tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

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I’m linking my recipe up at Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod.

Pork & Mushroom Ragu

25 thoughts on “Sweet & Sour Country Style Ribs – Slow Cooker, Instant Pot or Oven”

  1. Wow Mollie –these look so mouthwatering! and that “gravy” on the mashed potatoes!! You really are such a versatile amazing cook!! Hope you’re into a good week there… xo

    1. Replying late to everyone…it’s been quite a week here! And thanks, Rhonda. Mashed potatoes and gravy (or jus) just makes my knees go weak. Ok, slight exaggeration, but I do love them. Guilty pleasure?

    1. Thanks, Jhuls! I’m having a lot of fun with it. I’ve made all kinds of things, some needed a lot of tweaking before they’re blog ready, but I’m mostly impressed wiht all the frittatas I’ve been making! And the risotto. 🙂 I DO love having a new toy!

    1. Back in the day, they’d be something we would have groaned about it they came to the table – but now there are so many incredible recipes and ways to make them. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tracey. Since I’ve been with my folks helping them out, I’ve found myself cooking more “down home” type food than usual…and this one really hit the spot. 🙂

    1. The bit of rub just takes it to the next level. 🙂 I can’t wait until it’s reliably warm enough to barbecue or grill, here. Whoever heard of a blizzard this late in the year!

  2. The apple cider vinegar is a brilliant addition! I think a slow cooker (or hot pot in your case) is about the only way to go with country ribs, they are a tough cut but very affordable. I am SO glad Ursa missed Oregon. We enjoyed a lovely, sunny 65-degree day yesterday. I got sunburnt working in the yard!

    1. I’m a little jealous, but then I remember you had a KILLER winter this last year – boy did you get hard! Where I grew up in Iowa we had a lot of German people settle, so this kind of flavoring is very familiar to me. It’s a nice take on it. 🙂

    1. It was really good and my folks just about went nuts over it! THey raved on and on. I’ve been trying to include more slow cooker recipes on my blog in the last few months. 🙂

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