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Ree Drummond makes an easy slow cooker ribs recipe that’s loaded with flavor and is a breeze to pull together. The Pioneer Woman star pairs the meaty dish with a quick slaw made with a store-bought shortcut.

Ree Drummond smiles wearing a multicolor top standing at a counter on the set of 'Today'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Drummond demonstrated how to make her slow cooker ribs recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman dedicated to “cheap and easy make-ahead meals.”

The Food Network star shared how no-fuss and inexpensive her slow cooker recipe is. “It has three things going for it,” she said. “It’s make-ahead, it’s very economical, and it couldn’t be easier to make.”

She seasoned baby back ribs with salt then chopped fresh ginger and garlic. Drummond pointed out the versatility of cooking with large family packs of meat. “The great thing about buying packages of ribs is that you can use what you need and then package up the rest for the freezer,” she explained. “So you don’t have to commit right away to using all of it.”

Drummond noted, “When you’re needing to feed a family, ribs are definitely one of the best ways to go.”

She put the garlic and ginger into the pot with the meat and set it to low for 8 hours. “The great thing about a slow cooker is everything cooks low and slow and so you really don’t have to get it chopped too fine,” Drummond said. “It’s going to cook and disappear in the eight hours that the ribs cook. That is easy in itself, not having to chop and chop and mince and mince.”

‘The Pioneer Woman’ star made a simple side dish

Drummond served the ribs with a simple slaw, which she prepared while the ribs cooked. “I think slaw gets better as it sits for several hours,” she explained.

The Pioneer Woman star stirred together mayonnaise, rice vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. “This is a really thin dressing, but that’s good because I don’t want the slaw to be gloopy,” Drummond shared.

“I love dinners like this that you can make ahead of time. You stash it away until it’s ready to serve,” she explained. “I’m happiest when I have dinner all ready to go. You never know when the Drummond boys are going to come in … it’s good to have things ready to go.”

Drummond used a bag of prepared coleslaw mix for the recipe to save time. “Sometimes you can get these on sale if they’re just about to expire,” she shared.

The Food Network host added thinly sliced red onion and cilantro leaves to the side dish for additional flavor and tossed everything together. “The other reason I like to use bagged slaw sometimes is that you don’t have to buy a head of lettuce and carrots and the different things that you like to put in slaw,” Drummond said. “It’s nice to just have one bag — it’s all prepared for you. It’s ready to go.”


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Drummond finished the ribs with a rich sauce

When the ribs were done cooking, Drummond placed them on baking sheets and strained the cooking juices into a pot. She added honey, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to the juices and brought everything to a boil, then she added a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce.

Drummond sliced the ribs and coated them with sauce. “I think the cold, crispy texture of slaw is so perfect with ribs,” she said. “Ribs are just so meaty and messy. It’s nice to have the counterbalance with the slaw.”

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.