Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with dry spice rub


For the last day of our Whole 30, I decided I wanted to make fall off the bone ribs.  Despite not being able to use any type of sugar in the dry spice rub, I felt slightly rebellious and adventurous in adding a little unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture.  It didn’t make the ribs sweet or replace brown sugar in anyway what so ever, but I do feel like it added a greater depth of flavor.  By the time the ribs were done cooking, the house was filled with an aroma such that my 7 year old asked if we can start eating already.

The below ingredients are what I used and the approximate measurements since my kids don’t like spicy food.  For an added kick, increase chili powder and add a teaspoon of cayenne.

Tip: Make this spice rub in advance to save time in the morning


  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T 100% cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2t chili powder
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2t dry mustard
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4lb bone-in pork ribs
  • 1T evoo
  • 1-2T apple cider vinegar


  • In a small bowl, mix all the seasonings (from the sea salt to the cumin)
  • Rub mixture onto the ribs (especially the meatier side)
  • Place ribs in slow cooker on their side
  • Drizzle a little evoo and vinegar along the bone standing up and let the liquid drip onto the rest of the meat
  • Set on low for 8-10 hours

Serve as is (pictured) or glaze with BBQ sauce (make your own or Tessemae’s has a whole 30 option)