Instant Pot Ribs are one of the easiest meals you can make! You need zero culinary skill and only a few ingredients aside from the ribs. But don’t let that fool you. These ribs will taste every bit as good as any you’ll get at a restaurant or from a smoker, and will be done in a fraction of the time.
Your Instant Pot Ribs also don’t have to just be a special treat. I bought these St. Louis style ribs for $2.89 a pound at Costco, and the package included three full racks! I cooked one and stuck the other two in the freezer for later.
So, let’s get cooking!!
- Rack of pork ribs, either St. Louis or Baby Backs
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp or so of Liquid Smoke (optional, but adds to the yumminess)
- Your favorite BBQ dry rub (or make your own)
- 1/2 cup or so of your favorite BBQ sauce. We love the Rufus Teague sauces, and I used the Honey Sweet version for this recipe. The icing on the cake is that many of these sauces are gluten free!
- Remove the ribs from the packaging and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. I use a butter knife to pry the membrane away from the bone on the wide end of the rack; once you pry off enough, you can grip it with a paper towel and slowly tear the sucker off. However…this step isn’t totally necessary. I’ve cooked ribs before without stripping off the membrane, and there weren’t any leftovers!
- Take your BBQ dry rub and coat the meaty side of the ribs LIBERALLY. That means cover every bit! Rub it around (that’s why it’s called a rub – ha!) and pat it down.
- If you’ve got time, stick the rack in the fridge for half an hour or so for the seasonings to penetrate. I usually don’t do that because I want to eat the suckers NOW.
- Add the water, Liquid Smoke (if using), and apple cider vinegar to the Instant Pot liner. Stick the trivet in there.
- Curl up the ribs, careful not to scrape off the rub, meat/rub side out and stick them into the pot with the ribs vertical. Since I manage to mess up the rub a lot, I cut my racks in half and stick them in the pot with the rub side in.
- Set your Instant Pot for high pressure. The timing depends on the style of Instant Pot ribs you’re cooking. For baby backs, I recommend 25 minutes on high pressure and a 15 minute natural pressure release, followed by a quick release. For St. Louis style, which are thicker, I recommend 28 minutes + 25 NPR + QR. For this round, that yielded fall off the bone meat that was incredibly moist and tender.
- CAREFULLY remove the ribs from the Instant Pot. You might need tongs, wooden spoons, a forklift, or some combination of two to six hands to get them out of the pot.
- Lay the ribs out, meaty side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Set one of your oven racks so that the ribs will be about 5 inches or so from the broiler elements, and fire up the broiler.
- Liberally drizzle BBQ sauce over the rub-covered meat, then smear it around, covering every inch (except the bones, unless you’re demented and want to suck on them or something). I use the back of a spoon rather than a brush, as it smooshes the sauce around without disturbing the rub.
- Stick the pan in the oven and KEEP AN EYE ON THOSE RIBS! Don’t walk away and futz around while those beauties are finishing up in there. It’ll take around 5 minutes to as many as 10, depending on your oven, for them to be done. I take mine out when the BBQ sauce is bubbling fiercely and just starting to brown.
That’s it! You’re done! Get those Instant Pot Ribs out of the oven, separate them out (making sure that everyone gets some, but you get the most, of course), and start chowing down. You might want to drizzle a little extra BBQ sauce over them, but I doubt you’ll need it. Pair these yummy Instant Pot ribs with sides like BBQ beans, potato salad, or corn on the cob, and you’ll be all set.