Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs for BBQ Sliders

BBQ Beef Sliders

The last weekend of summer has finally arrived, finding us packed and ready for yet another road trip to San Francisco to drop our son off at school.   The send-off is much more quiet this year since he’s beginning his second year and I guess that makes him experienced.  No picnic time at the beach for those of us sporting muffin tops, and no barbeques at home planned for the event, but a few card games at home, movies, and some take out fit the bill.  The road trip is a nice way to spend a bit of time together,  with my husband and I hovering in the city a couple of days to make sure the man boy has everything he needs.  While he’s settling in, we’ll be exploring neighborhoods we’ve never walked through, trying new restaurants, and getting much needed exercise.  The one thing about San Francisco we can always count on is that there will be a lot of hills to climb.

For those of you looking forward to pre-season football and last gasp of summer get togethers — or perhaps being stuck in the house due to bad weather — this recipe is for you.  Get out that slow cooker because that’s all you’ll need for these Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs.  Shred the beef and pile it onto a bun.  They’ll make you think you’re having a barbeque no matter what and they’re guaranteed to slide right down.

The good news is, they taste even better the next day, so make a double batch for leftovers.

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs for BBQ Sliders

Rib Rub

A huge recipe for lots of other ideas later.  Cut it down to your own size if you don’t want it super-sized.  You’ll only need 2 T for the short ribs


3/4 c. raw sugar or turbinado

1/2 c. salt

1/4 c. smoked paprika

2 T black pepper, finely ground

1 T granulated garlic

1T onion powder

1 T ground cumin

1 T chili powder

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1/2 tsp. ground allspice


  1. Mix all ingredients  until well combined.
  2. Store in a well-sealed container until ready for use.

Spice Rubbed Beef Short Ribs

slow cooker short ribs

beef short ribs

Recipe Notes:

  • This recipe is from Ribs, Chops, Steaks, and Wings by Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe (Chronicle Books, 2009).  I made it earlier this summer for some slow grilled pork shoulder and we loved it.  Of course the recipe makes so much, I cut it in half and still had lots left over.
  • Try brown sugar if you can’t find raw sugar which retails as “Sugar in the Raw” at most markets.
  • Try any kind of paprika if you don’t have smoked.  Sweet Hungarian will be just fine.
  • Granulated garlic:  I have a shaker of dried garlic bits mixed with chives called “Oh Garlic!  It comes in handy for spice blends like this one, but sue what you can find.  Just get that garlic flavor in there.
  • Maybe you have some of your own favorite rub on hand already — use that.  You know how these recipes work!

Beef Short Ribs Recipe for Sliders


4 lbs. English cut short ribs

2 T spice rub (above)

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. ruby port
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 T soy sauce
1 T freshly ground pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T barley malt syrup
3/4 c. Water
1/2 large onion, diced
4 lg. Cloves garlic


  1. Pat the short ribs with paper towels and sprinkle the spice rub over all surfaces, turning to coat as needed.  To make it easy, do this in a large paper bag and shake.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Place the ribs in your slow cooker and pour liquid mixture over.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and set on Low for 7 hours.
  5. Use a slotted spatula to remove meat from the slow cooker.  It should be falling off the bone.
  6. Allow to cool a bit, then using two forks, shred the meat.
  7. Place in a well-sealed container in the fridge or freezer if not using immediately.
  8. To make the sliders, I use dinner rolls from the bakery.  They’re just the right size.
  9. Either mix the Sweet Mustard BBQ Sauce in with the shredded beef, or pour it over once you’ve put the beef on the bun.  Or do both.  It’s good any way you make it.
  10. We put soft Gorgonzola cheese over the beef, and although the flavor is good — it was overpowering.  Go easy on the cheese if you put it on the sliders or use a more mild cheese.
  11. Finish it off with a crunchy slaw like this one, or this one.
  12. You can also do what I did this time:  shred a half head of cabbage, a quarter of a red onion, and some red pepper.  Toss it around with a splash or two of red wine vinegar and a squirt of fresh lime.  Salt and pepper, then allow to stand so it will soften.  Toss it from time to time and it will be perfect for your sliders.  The cool crunch with the spicy beef and sweet mustard BBQ sauce is so very, very good.

Recipe Notes:

  • Definitely spicy ribs here and SO very good.  I know I already said that, but they are.
  • If you don’t have barley malt syrup (I get mine at Henry’s — Whole Foods probably has it as well) then use molasses instead.
  • On the port — I lovingly refer to port as “raisin juice.”  That’s what it tastes like to me and from a cooking perspective, it adds such amazing flavor to braised meats, leaving it out of a recipe makes my heart wilt.  Tawny or ruby — use it.  So very, very good.

Sweet Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe

This finishes the sliders off, so don’t forget to make it.  Super easy recipe adapted from food52.


1 cup brown mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons left over strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon wildflower honey
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (see below)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons bottled hot sauce

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small pan and over medium heat, bring to a boil.
  2. Stir the mixture a few times, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. If not using immediately, allow to cool completely before pouring into a sealed container and placing in the fridge.

Recipe Notes:

  • As much as I enjoy good barbeque, I love a mustard taste in the mix, so this hit the spot.
  • My bottle of Liquid Smoke is older than the hills so who knows what kind of flavor it added to this.  If you don’t have any, just leave it out.
  • I like Louisana brand or El Pato hot sauce, but use your favorite.