Slow-cooker BBQ Short Rib Sliders

I’m trying to enjoy one last dance with summertime, feeling its warmth on my shoulders and grass under my bare feet. But fall is hovering nearby, threatening to cut in and swoop me away before the song is even over.

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It’s not quite Labor Day yet, but the feeling of autumn is undeniable in Park City. The leaves are starting to turn, with a warm hint of the deep crimson and vibrant gold to come. Welcome rain has left the trails damp, my hikes filled with the delicious aroma of musty pine. Fresh tracks from mountain bikes run alongside hoof prints from the deer starting to make their way down from higher elevations. Gone are the rainbow hillsides of wildflowers, but a few late-summer stars turn their faces toward the intermittent sunshine and soak up the juicy raindrops from afternoon thunderstorms. I’ve been happily wearing my beloved slippers in the morning, wrapping myself up in a cozy throw while I sip my coffee. There’s something comforting about the inevitable change of seasons; Father Time always wins.

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This year, I’d like to embrace slow-cooking more often. It’s just so easy: hardly any prep, toss ingredients right in the pot, and forget about it all day long. And the flavors that come from hours of cooking can’t be duplicated. Fall ushers comfort food back into the mealtime rotation. These BBQ short rib sliders with charred pineapple and jalapeno taste like fall (with a hint of summer, too).

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John picked up 4 pounds of beef short ribs, with bones for more flavor. I tossed in some roughly chopped onion and a couple of jalapenos. I stirred some maple syrup into some store-bought BBQ sauce and poured it over the ribs. With a generous pinch or two of salt and pepper, I put the lid on the crockpot and left it alone until dinnertime!

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I checked on the ribs from time to time, drawn to the kitchen by the intoxicating scent of BBQ. With about an hour to cook, I poured in a little bourbon and gave the ribs a stir. The meat was already falling off the bone!

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While the ribs finished cooking, I charred some pineapple chunks and a jalapeno on the indoor grill and set them aside. John took the ribs out of the crockpot, removed the bones, and shredded the meat. I skimmed the fat from the top of the sauce in the crockpot, and then I used my immersion blender to puree the onions and jalapeno into the sauce. The shredded meat went right back into the sauce to soak it up. YUM.

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I made a simple spicy slaw, using bagged coleslaw to make my life even easier. For the dressing, I combined mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, some cumin and paprika, a few dashes of Cholula, a little sugar, and salt and pepper. John and I assembled our sliders differently. I started with a pile of BBQ meat on my charred bun, then topped it with slaw, some pineapple, and jalapeno. John maintained that the pineapple worked best as the bottom layer. He was right- the slider was much more stable. Either way, these juicy sammies are fabulous!

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The meat itself is tender and juicy, smoky and a little bit spicy. The slaw provides a tang and some texture. The charred pineapple adds a sweet element that balances everything out, and the jalapeno adds more heat. We like it hot! Be prepared: this is a messy meal. But it’s so good that you’ll lick your fingers.

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I call myself a summer girl, but in truth, autumn is my favorite- partly because of comfort food dishes like this one. And so I’ll sway in summer’s arms a bit longer, curtsy my farewell, and then turn to my new partner. Fall is a pretty good dancer, too.

Slow-Cooker BBQ Short Rib Sliders (inspired by the Real Girl’s Kitchen)

You’ll need:

  • 3-4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 onions, rough-chopped
  • 3-4 jalapenos
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (my homemade version is here)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of sliced pineapple
  • Bagged coleslaw
  • Spicy slaw dressing (use ingredients mentioned above, or use this recipe)
  • Slider buns

Place short ribs in slow-cooker. Add chopped onions and 2 of the jalapenos, stemmed and cut in half. In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce and maple syrup and pour over the ribs. Add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Set the slow-cooker for 6 hours on low.

With an hour left to cook, stir the bourbon into the ribs/sauce. On an indoor grill or on a grill pan, char both sides of the pineapple slices and remaining jalapenos. Chop up the jalapenos. Combine the spicy dressing and coleslaw and set aside. Lightly spray the slider buns with olive oil and toast them briefly on the grill.

When the meat is falling off of the bones, pull the ribs out of the slow-cooker. Remove bones and gristle and shred the meat. Skim the fat off of the top of the remaining sauce in the slow-cooker, then blend the onions and jalapenos into the sauce using an immersion blender. Return the shredded meat to the sauce and stir to combine, adjusting seasoning as needed. Keep the meat in the warm slow-cooker until ready to serve.

To assemble the sliders, place charred pineapple on the bottom half of the bun. Add some of the shredded meat, then some spicy slaw. Top with chopped jalapeno. Dig in and get excited for cozy slippers, cool fall days, and slow-cooking. YUM.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page!

Follow me on Pinterest to see my recipe inspiration.

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