Sticky Paleo Ribs are AMAZING! They're slow cooked until fall off the bone tender then smothered in an easy to make (and refined sugar-free!) chocolate BBQ sauce then quickly grilled or baked. You will LOVE them!

Turn these paleo ribs into a meal with some sauteed green beans with garlic and some herb and garlic butter smashed sweet potatoes.

A close up of sticky paleo ribs on a baking sheet.

I hope you're hungry, my friends. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get sticky fingers, a full belly, and all over happy. Today's recipe is one of my favs. I've made three times in the past week and have no plans to stop the weekly ribs feast any time soon.

These babies are first covered in a simple rib rub then cooked in your crockpot until they're fall off the bone amazing. Then they're coated in the most ridiculously delicious chocolate BBQ sauce (yes, chocolate!) and popped on your grill or into your oven for a few minutes to finish them.

I think we should plan a giant online party where we all make these baby back paleo ribs together. What do you think? You in? 

dry spice rub for ribs in a white bowl.

Easy Paleo Baby Back Ribs

Making ribs is so not complicated. Trust me on this one. Here's how you're going to rock your paleo ribs:

  1. Spice it up! Sprinkle a few pantry-staple spices on the rack and massage them into the meat. So far so good right?
  2. Slow cooker magic! Put the rack in your crockpot and set it to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Don't worry if you're not at home as soon as they're done cooking. As long as your crockpot has a warming feature, you've got some leeway.
  3. Make the BBQ sauce! Five minutes is all you need here. Super simple.
  4. Put it all together! Baste the fall off the bone tender ribs with the chocolate BBQ sauce then grill them for 20 minutes or broil them for 10 minutes.

See how easy that was? Making paleo pork ribs is so simple and so delicious!

paleo ribs out of the crockpot waiting for bbq sauce.

baby back ribs vs pork back ribs

Back in my pre rib cooking days, I wondered if there was a difference between baby back ribs and pork back ribs. Here's what I learned: there is no difference. They're the same cut with two different names. (or same cut many different names since you may also see them called pork loin back ribs or loin ribs.)

Pork back ribs (and baby back ribs) are meaty ribs and my go-to choice. More meat = better ribs!

Can you use spare ribs?

Back ribs are pretty easy to find, but if your store is out, don't despair. You can still make this recipe using spare ribs. AKA pork side ribs.

Sidebar – why do ribs have so many different names?

Spare ribs have less meat and are fattier than back ribs. But … fattier means they're really tasty. They make delicious paleo ribs.

Side ribs/ spare ribs are bigger than back ribs but because this recipe cooks them first in the slow cooker, the time to cook them is the same.

Collagen powder beside bbq sauce.

Unless this is your first time here (and if it is, welcome!) then you probably know that I love love love Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I have two scoops every morning without fail. Sometimes in a smoothie and other times in my coffee. ← that sounds weird, I know. You can't taste the unflavored version at all so it totally blends into the coffee.

But my favorite way to get more healthy collagen into my diet is to cook with it. In this ribs recipe, I've added it to the chocolate BBQ sauce to give it a boost of good-for-you-ness. 

And in case you didn't believe me that I love to cook with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides …

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Recipes

A sheet pan of sticky paleo ribs with bbq sauce.

Video: How to make sticky paleo ribs

A close up of sticky paleo ribs on a baking sheet.

Sticky Paleo Ribs with Chocolate BBQ Sauce

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours, 30 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: North American


Sticky Paleo Ribs are AMAZING! They're slow-cooked until fall of the bone tender then smothered in an easy to make (and refined sugar-free!) chocolate BBQ sauce then quickly grilled or baked. You will LOVE them!



1 rack of baby back ribs (also called pork back ribs)

Paleo Rib Rub

  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Paleo BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon each: chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: 6 drops of liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate


  1. Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of the ribs. Once you get it started, it should pull off in one piece. Some butchers will do this for you. If you have a small BBQ (like me!) cut the rack of ribs in half.
  2. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub over the meaty side of the ribs and pat it down so that it is well covered.
  3. Pop the ribs into your crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, collagen, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and (if using) the liquid smoke to a small pan over medium-high heat. Whisk the ingredients together and bring it to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk it into the BBQ sauce.

To Grill the ribs

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Take the ribs out of the crockpot and baste them generously in the chocolate BBQ sauce. Grill for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

To Bake the Ribs

Preheat your oven to broil. Take the ribs out of the crockpot and place them on a baking sheet. Baste them generously with the chocolate BBQ sauce then broil for 3-5 minutes on each side.