Asian Pork Ribs

Posted by Mike Miryala on

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No grill, no problem! This low-carb slow cooker Asian Pork Ribs recipe was made for the great indoors!

Pork Ribs

Pork ribs can have several effects and benefits when incorporated into a low-carb diet. Here are some of them:

  • Provides protein: Pork ribs are a good source of protein, which is important for building and repairing muscles. This can be particularly beneficial for those on a low-carb diet who may need to increase their protein intake.
  • Low-carb option: Pork ribs can be a good low-carb option if prepared with the right ingredients and cooking method. By choosing a low-carb marinade and seasoning, pork ribs can provide a satisfying and flavorful meal while keeping carb intake low.
  • Satiety: Pork ribs can be a filling and satisfying meal, which can help reduce overall calorie intake and prevent overeating. This can be particularly beneficial for those on a low-carb diet who may be trying to lose weight.
  • Nutrient-dense: Pork ribs contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium, which are important for overall health and wellbeing.

However, it's important to note that pork ribs can also be high in fat and calories, depending on the cut and preparation method. Choosing leaner cuts of pork ribs and removing excess fat can help reduce the calorie and fat content.


Selecting Pork Ribs

This recipe calls for baby back pork ribs. Baby back ribs are the upper ribs, which are shorter than spareribs.

That’s going to help you when you’re arranging the ribs in your slow cooker.

Look for a meaty rack with streaks of fat. Stay away from ribs that have been enhanced, injected, basted, or marinated if you can. You’re paying a premium for meat that has had salty water added that will bump up the weight.

And besides, you’re going to be seasoning the meat yourself.

As always, stay away from meat with a foul odor. The package should not have contain a lot of liquid. That’s moisture you can’t get back.


Preparing and Cooking Your Ribs

Since baby back ribs are smaller than spareribs, they cook faster, but still not fast.

Tender baby backs need to cook low and slow. This recipe will be done in about four hours, depending on your particular slow cooker and the thickness of your meat.

If your rack comes with a membrane, you’ll likely want to remove it. Slide a knife under the skin and cut lengthwise.

Grab a paper towel (the skin will be slippery) and gently peel it away from the ribs.

You may need to cut the rack in half in order for it to fit.


Chinese Five Spice

This blend of spices is typically used with fatty meats (such as ribs) or as part of breading.

The exact blend varies, but Chinese five spice often contains star anise, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese cinnamon, and cloves.

Nutmeg, turmeric, licorice, Mandarin orange, and ginger root may also be included.

If you’re interested in making your own, you could do so with the help of a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Toast the Sichuan peppercorns first to enhance the flavor.

You only need a small amount for these ribs, but you’ll use it for other things.

Asian Pork Ribs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Yield: 4 servings
Category: Dinner, Entrée
Cuisine: Asian

Description: Deliciously sticky pork ribs with Chinese 5-spice – definitely made to be eaten with your hands!


  • 1 rack (approx. 1 lb or 450 g) of baby back pork ribs
  • 1/2 medium onion (2 oz or 55 g), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic (6 g), peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon (5 g) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) gluten-free tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) Chinese five-spice seasoning
  • 2 green onions (10 g), sliced, for garnish (optional)


                    1. Place the rack of pork ribs into a slow cooker. You may have to cut the rack into smaller pieces to fit in the slow cooker.
                    2. In a blender or food processor, blend the onion, garlic, fresh ginger, chicken or vegetable broth, tamari sauce or coconut aminos, and Chinese five-spice to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the ribs in the slow cooker.
                    3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
                    4. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker. If desired, pour the sauce into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until thickened to your liking.
                    5. Serve the ribs with the sauce and garnish with the optional sliced green onions.


                                • Beef ribs can be used instead of pork ribs. Boneless or country-style ribs can be used but reduce the cooking time to about 5 to 6 hours on low heat.
                                • You can use 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic or 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder instead of garlic cloves.
                                • You can use 2 teaspoons of onion powder instead of the onion.
                                • You can use 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder instead of fresh ginger.
                                • You can omit the Chinese five-spice seasoning completely if you don’t have any in your pantry.

                                Nutrition: (Estimated and based on per-serving amounts.)

                                • Calories: 242
                                • Fat: 19 g
                                • Total Carbs: 3 g
                                • Fiber: 0 g
                                • Sugar: 1 g
                                • Net Carbs: 3 g
                                • Protein: 12 g

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