Making Instant Pot Ribs is the perfect way to get tender "fall off the bone" ribs that comes together quickly and easily for a quick weeknight dinner! These require very little effort to produce a delicious BBQ family meal.
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Cooking meat with fire
Our ancestors have cooked meat over fire for a millennia, but it wasn't until later that we mastered the art of smoking meat with indirect heat. Barbecue is a word that derives from the Spanish "barbacoa". Barbecue is sometimes used to refer to a social gathering of friends and family.
Refined in the Caribbean BBQ has become a beloved American past time and culture of it's own. There are four main types: Carolina, Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City. No matter which one you pick you'll be in for a real treat. If you would like to find out more head over the Smithsonian to read this article.
Homemade rub or store bought?
After doing several tests in the Instant Pot I found that store bought rub does not penetrate the meat as well as making one from scratch. The store bought rub seemed to have a tendency to lay on top of the meat which made it seem like that is all you were tasting. Of course, everyone likely has their own opinion but I found I preferred to make a quick rub for this recipe.
What kind of ribs should I choose?
For this recipe I used St. Louis style ribs as they come from the lower portion of the rib cage on the pig, and have more fat which equates to more flavor. I also look for the meatier ones to use. They also fit really well into my 6-Quart Instant Pot. You can also use baby back ribs for this recipe with the same cooking time recommendations.
Preparing the BBQ rub & ribs
I chose a rub that is considered a Kansas-City style rub. Of course, any homemade rub will work for this recipe as well. In a small bowl combine the dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and ginger powder.
Set aside while you prepare your ribs. You might notice I forgot the pepper in the shot below, but remembered as I was combining the ingredients later. LOL 😉
You'll need to remove the silverskin from the back or bone-side of the ribs. This is a thin membrane that if left on will not allow the seasonings to penetrate the meat. Furthermore, once cooked it has a leathery texture.
Simply slide a knife under the silverskin, and then use a paper towel to gently separate the membrane. It should separate in one large piece, but sometimes it will come off in a couple of pieces. Next coat the ribs, and I mean coat the ribs well with the rub you made. Of course, you can use store bought as well.
This step can be done as early as the night before. It's nice if you can let the ribs marinate for at least 30 minutes, but it's not necessary.
Cooking the Instant Pot Ribs
Place the your rack in the Instant Pot. Add to this the apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider can make a great substitute for the apple juice if you have it on hand.
Arrange the ribs standing up with the meat side facing inward, and the bones facing outward. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure (normal) for 27 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release. Note if the ribs you found are a little scrawny you may want to reduce the time to 23 minutes on high pressure with a 5 minute natural pressure release.
Once done remove the ribs gently to a baking sheet. Coat with your favorite BBQ sauce, and broil for about ten minutes to finish. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week in an airtight container.
Basic Easy Instant Pot Ribs
- 1 racks of ribs St. Louis style or baby back ribs
- 1 ¼ cup apple juice high quality, may substitute apple cider
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp ginger powder
- Combine all ingredients for rub in a small bowl. Remove silverskin from the ribs. Slip a knife under the silverskin and then using a paper towel gently tear away.
- Coat the ribs generously with the rub. This step can be done ahead, and if time allows marinate for 30 minutes. They can be cooked immediately though.
- Cook on high pressure (normal) for 27 minutes then follow with a 10 minute natural pressure release. If the ribs are small then cook for 23 minutes followed with a 5 minute natural pressure release.
- Preheat the oven to broil. Place cooked ribs on a baking sheet, and coat with BBQ sauce. Broil for up to ten minutes.
- Serve immediately, or keep in an airtight container for up to one week.