Crock to Cue: Short on time? Slow cook Beef Short Ribs first, finish on the grill and dig in.

Thanks to the slow cooker, you can indulge in tender barbecued beef short ribs without spending hours at the grill.

Thanks to the slow cooker, you can indulge in tender barbecued beef short ribs without spending hours at the grill.

I have fall fever. Everything about this season appeals to me from throwing on a baggy sweater to playing in the leaves to settling in to watch a football game. Mind you, culinary-wise, I'm torn between two lovers: I want to embrace my slow cooker but I can't bear to part with the barbecue. With this Crock-to-Cue recipe you can do both and get the best of both -- fall-off-the-bone short ribs with a sticky, slightly charred sauce in a fraction of the time it takes to do them solely on the barbecue. The thing is, autumn is a busy time of year and many people don't have a few hours to spare properly grilling short ribs using the indirect heat method. But by throwing them in the slow cooker first, and then finishing them off on the cue, you get fabulous results in less than 15 minutes grill-time.

And if you’re thinking of having friends over to watch the big game, the Crock-to-Cue method is ideal. Slow cookers can be safely left unattended so you’re free to relax and read up on all the latest football stats or go out and pick up supplies (beer) while your ribs are crocking. 

BBQ Beef Short-on-time Ribs

  • Good quality beef dry rub to taste
  • 3 lbs beef short ribs
  • 2-3 onions, halved or quartered
  • Liquid to cover bottom of slow cooker ¼ inch (water, broth, beer or wine – whatever you have on hand, or hopefully, in hand!)
  • 1 cup of your favourite bottled or homemade barbecue sauce

Rub ribs generously with a good quality beef rub the night before. Wrap tightly in cellophane and refrigerate. The next day, pour liquid into slow cooker. Place onions in slow cooker cut side down to create “stilts” which elevates the ribs so they don’t cook in their own juices. Places ribs on top of onions. Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 7 hours.

Carefully remove ribs from slow cooker (they will be fall-off-the- bone tender) and place on work surface. Slather on all sides with your favourite barbecue sauce. Heat and oil grill well. Cook ribs on medium high for about 10 minutes or so, turning and basting once or twice, until sauce is sticky and ribs are slightly charred.

Tips: If you'd like to add a few more ribs to the slow cooker, go ahead and do so but stack them slightly askew. If you’d prefer to make bite-size ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces after removing from slow cooker, baste and barbecue.  

Looking for other Crock-to-Cue dishes? Try Spiced Chicken Thighs or BBQ Pork Ribs (back, side or button-bone).