Have you ever made a recipe where the minimal work involved does not correlate with the deliciousness of the final dish? Like, you must have unwittingly taken some kind of cooking shortcut because something this easy can't possibly be this good?
These BBQ ribs—cooked in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker and finished under a broiler— are exactly that. They're ready in about an hour (from start to finish!) and will knock the socks off even the most seasoned rib eater.
Why You Should Make Ribs in the Instant Pot
Normally, ribs take a long time to cook. My former approach to cooking ribs was to use the 3-2-1 method. Each of those numbers represents HOURS so the total time involved was—you guessed it—six hours.
But when you use an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and add just a little bit of liquid smoke, you can have smoky fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs in literally an hour. An hour! Once you try it, you will never want to make ribs any other way.
What Kind of Ribs to Buy
In theory, you can use any cut of pork ribs for this recipe, but I think baby back ribs fit best in most pressure cookers. Since spareribs are larger, you wouldn't be able to fit as many in the cooker.
How to Season the Ribs
Definitely dry rub the ribs before pressure-cooking them. If possible, do this up to a day in advance so the seasoning really penetrates the ribs. You can use your favorite store-bought rub, but I recommend this great homemade pork rub—I used it for mine and they were delicious.
To Get Crispy Bits on Your Ribs
While the ribs will be very tender when they come out of the pressure cooker, they will be missing that caramelized top texture that comes after a lot of time on the grill or smoker. You can get some of that back by basting the ribs with barbecue sauce and then broiling them under high heat for five minutes.
You could also toss them on a hot grill until the sauce has caramelized on the ribs.
What to Serve With These Ribs
The ribs pretty much speak for themselves. I like to serve them with big bowls of extra sauce and a few simple sides. You can’t go wrong with this German Potato Salad as a side dish!
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Ribs
If you cook two full racks of ribs, you will probably have leftovers—lucky you! Keep them in the fridge, and when you are ready to reheat them, wrap them well in foil with a little extra sauce and heat them in a 350°F oven until they are tender, about 15 minutes.
More Amazing Rib Recipes!
Can You Use Other Ribs for This Instant Pot Recipe?
You can cook other ribs in your Instant Pot, but you'll have to adjust the cooking time. For pork spareribs, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally. Since spareribs are larger and tougher than baby back ribs, you'll need that extra time to make them tender.
For beef short ribs, cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, then do a 10- to 15-minute natural release.
The Best BBQ Sauce for Ribs
We suggest your favorite BBQ sauce for this recipe. You can use store-bought, but it's so easy to whip up your own, like this South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, Kansas City Barbecue Sauce, or spice it with the sauce from these Korean BBQ Pork Ribs.
Quick Sides for Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
Here are some sides you can make while your baby back ribs are cooking in the Instant Pot.
- Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella
- Summer Squash Green Chile Stir Fry
- Roasted Broccolini With Creamy Mustard Sauce
- Simple Peas and Onions
- Charred Skillet Broccoli
Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs
These ribs do best when the dry rub is applied up to a day in advance so that the seasoning really penetrates the ribs.
Prep the ribs:
Working with one rack at a time, use a paring knife to separate the thin transparent membrane on the inside of the ribs. Peel it away from the ribs. It should come off in one big piece. This will make it easier to slice and serve the ribs.
Apply the dry rub:
Rub the ribs well on all sides with dry rub. If possible, cover and let rest in the fridge overnight.
Cook the ribs:
In the bottom of your Instant Pot, add some foil balls or a rack to raise the ribs above the liquid. Pour water, vinegar, and liquid smoke (optional) into the Instant Pot. Add ribs, bending them to fit. You should be able to fit 2 racks of baby back ribs in a 6-quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
Lock the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then vent off remaining pressure.
Broil the ribs:
Remove the ribs from the Instant Pot and spread them out on a baking sheet. Brush liberally with barbecue sauce and broil on high heat for 5 minutes. Slice the ribs and serve with sides and extra sauce.
To reheat leftover ribs, wrap them tightly in foil and heat them in a 350°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. You can also grill them for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.
Serve with extra sauce!
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 39g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 32g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|