IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Sunny's Kansas City Slow Cooker Rib Sandwiches

Sunny's Kansas City Slow Cooker Rib Sandwiches
Sunny's Kansas City Slow Cooker Rib SandwichesNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
9 hrs
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

I love using a slow cooker for tailgating. You literally can put this in the slow cooker Saturday night and be set for game day Sunday! 


For the rub
  • 1/4 cup hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
For the ribs
  • 2 12-ounce cans beer
  • 1 teaspoon hickory-flavored liquid smoke
  • 3-4 pounds baby back ribs
For the sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • ½ cup reserved rub
To serve
  • 1 loaf fresh white bread
  • Pickled Pepper Sauce
Sunny's 1-2-3 Pickled Pepper
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups small yellow, red and green chili peppers
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt


  1. Make the pickled pepper sauce: In a small pot on medium high heat add the peppers, vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, then turn off and cover with a lid. Steep for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled.

  2. Make the rub: In a large bowl combine the paprika, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a few hefty grinds of black pepper. Reserve ½ cup of rub for sauce. Rub the ribs all over with the remaining blend. 
  3. Slow cook the ribs: In a slow cooker on low, add the beer and liquid smoke, and place the rubbed ribs inside, concave/bone side down. Cook for 6-8 hours without removing the lid. 
  4. Make the sauce: In a small pot on medium heat combine the ketchup, molasses, and reserved rub. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Caramelize the ribs: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Remove the ribs to a large baking sheet with sides and slather with sauce. Place in an oven or over the indirect heat of the grill and heat until the sauce caramelizes, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Make a sandwich and serve: Shred meat and pile onto a piece of bread, add a shake or two of Sunny's 1-2-3 Pickled Pepper Sauce and top with another slice of bread. Enjoy!