Healthy Beginnings

Treat Dad to Some Ribs This Father’s Day: And Make Them Healthy, Too!

The weather is starting to warm up and June is upon us, which can mean one thing: Father’s Day! Surprise the great guy(s) in your life with a lip- smacking meal, easy for the whole family to make. What makes this recipe so amazing is the use of a slow cooker, and you can even use a BBQ grill, too! Since the rub and sauce are homemade (recipe and ingredients below) you can customize these ribs to t you and your lifestyle. Whether you’re limiting the amount of salt or adding in some other spices – you can make these ribs all your own.

Ingredients (use organic when possible):

  • 5 1/2 pounds of pork spare ribs (1 large rack)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


First, combine the cumin, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt in a small bowl. Let those spices mingle together to create an amazing rub for your ribs. Turn the ribs over and remove the membrane from the back. Coat both sides of ribs with the already-prepared rub, pressing the seasoning into the meat. Don’t be shy, you want to make sure those spices are going to cook into the ribs for the perfect smoky flavor.

Next, cut the rack into halves or thirds and then place the meat into a slow cooker and cook on the lowest setting for 6-8 hours. About 15 minutes before the crock pot timer goes o , you will make your own sauce for the ribs. Mix together the ketchup, cider vinegar, mustard, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a saucepan for this homemade BBQ sauce. Bring these ingredients to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This sauce will be a bit healthier than store-bought, as you can control the sodium levels yourself, making it as delicious and healthy as you want.

When the ribs are done, gently remove them from the slow cooker and place them on your BBQ grill. Make sure you add that BBQ sauce you just made! You can also place these in an oven instead, on a foil-lined sheet pan. If you go this route, heat the oven to broil, with the BBQ sauce on. Broil until bubbly and caramelized. The last step is the easiest, go enjoy!

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