Making perfect ribs doesn’t mean you need a grill or smoker. These Smoky BBQ Instant Pot Ribs are a cinch to make and only take 25 minutes to make. They will literally fall off the bone too!
Ya know, Carrian thought she knew ribs until she met me. No, Southern ribs are waaaaay better than any other and once I introduced her to fall of the bone ribs she was sold for life.
While I’m all about the grill or a Traeger for ribs I also am not above quick and easy. Once we bought our 6 QT 7-in-1 instant pot we knew we had to figure out the best ribs recipe for the instant pot. The problem was that many of the ribs turned out good, but not as flavorful, and lacked those burnt end pieces.
What Kind of Ribs to Buy?
Alright, before I get into how to cook smoky bbq instant pot ribs, let’s chat about what kind of ribs to buy.
Carrian and I did a lot of research on the type of ribs to buy and the number one thing you need to know is that when you order ribs at a restaurant you are generally ordering pork ribs. Many ask us if it’s beef or pork that will end up fall off the bone ribs, and it’s for sure pork.
Beef Short Ribs are a whole different story and if you’re interested we would love to share some fantastic recipes for those.
Baby Back Ribs or Spare Ribs?
So do you want to buy baby back ribs or spare ribs?
Which ribs are better?
We vote for Baby Back Ribs every time.
Baby back ribs are taken from the top of the ribcage – close to the loin of the pig. That is why they are smaller and more tender cut of meat, which is exactly what you want, unless you like gnawing at meat that won’t come off of the bone.
Do Baby Back Ribs Come From a Baby Pig?
No. Carrian just read over my shoulder and said, “oh heavens no!” yeah, that’s not really the way I would say it, so let’s move forward, haha.
Baby back ribs are called that because the ribs are shorter or baby in comparison to spare ribs.
Do Baby Back Ribs Have a Membrane?
Baby back ribs have a membrane, so if you turn them over you’ll see a white, thin membrane.
How to Remove the Membrane From Ribs?
Removing the membrane used to sound like such a chore to me, but it’s so easy. Have your butcher slice a slit or two in the membrane, or just cut it yourself.
Stick the tip of a butterknife into the slit and lift until you can get your finger under it. You can use a paper towel if you prefer to not touch the meat.
Grab the membrane with a firm grip and pull to remove the membrane. Repeat on the opposite end of the ribs.
How to Cook Ribs in an Instant Pot
Alright, so what do you need to know about how to cook ribs in a pressure cooker? First you need to know that unlike a grilled or smoked recipe you’re going to need some liquid to coat the bottom of the pot.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, first you’ll want to start with the smoky bbq rub. We go back to the same favorite every single time. You can try others, but this one really does pack the best flavor. Massage the rub all over the ribs. The back isn’t very important, so concentrate on the meaty side.
Next pour apple cider vinegar and apple cider into the instant pot.
Place the ribs inside, on top of a simple trivet (this is ours if you need to order one), wrapping them around the inside of the pot.
Set the pressure to manual high and close the lid, being sure that the pressure valve is set to seal and not vent.
Set the time for 25 minutes and walk away.
Allow the pressure to natural release for 5 minutes and remove the ribs to a cookie sheet lined with foil.
The Secret to Instant Pot Ribs
Now here’s the secret, smoky bbq instant pot ribs need a little time in the oven. I know, you didn’t want to turn on the oven, but I promise it’s painless. Just turn the oven to broil and pop the ribs in so they can crisp up on top just like they would have on the grill.
How Long do You Cook Ribs in a Pressure Cooker
How long do you cook ribs in an electric pressure cooker? You only need 20-30 minutes, but that does depend on how meaty the ribs are. If for some reason you used spare ribs, though there is less meat, it it more tough so you may find your time increasing in order to really help the meat to tenderize.
If you’re using a bigger rack of pork baby back ribs you will be more like 25-30 minutes while a smaller rack is closer to 20 minutes. The truth is, no cooking time is ever accurate as size and weight differs, so open your pot and see how the meat has done. If it needs more time it’s simple to reset the timer and cook it a little longer.
What is the Trivet in an Instant Pot?
We are big believers in owning a trivet for your instant pot as it allows you to lift the meat or whatever you are cooking off of the bottom of the pot and keeping it from scorching. We recommend you purchase this Trivet if your pot didn’t come with one.
What is the Natural Release on an Instant Pot?
Really quick, the natural release on the instant pot just means that you don’t turn the pressure valve to vent, just leave it on sealing until 5 minutes have passed, then turn the knob and allow any remaining pressure to release then open the lid to find the most amazing smoky bbq instant pot ribs.
What to Eat with Smoky BBQ Instant Pot Ribs?
Looking for the perfect side dish to go with these ribs? A side of grilled corn is always a must, well, in the summer anyway! If corn on the cob isn’t in season, then I would go with roasted garlic veggies!
If you want an awesome free resource for cooking all the basics in the Instant Pot, check out our Instant Pot Cheat Sheet!
More Ribs Recipes You Should Try:
- Traeger Smoked Ribs
- Instant Pot Country Style Ribs
- Oven Braised Short Ribs
- Sticky Instant Pot Bone-In Beef Short Ribs
- Asian Sticky Slow Cooker Ribs
- Mustard Carolina BBQ Sauce Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs
- Korean Oven Braised Short Ribs
- Easy BBQ Ribs
- Blackberry Hoisin BBQ Ribs
Smoky BBQ Instant Pot Ribs
Smoky BBQ Instant Pot Ribs
- 1 Rack Baby Back Pork Ribs
- Smoky BBQ Rub
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Prepare the bbq rub
- Massage the rub all over the meat until covered, store any remaining, untouched rub in a sealed container.
- Place a Trivet in the Instant pot and pour in the water, cider and vinegar along with the liquid smoke.
- Wrap the ribs around the bowl, standing on the ends and following the curve of the bowl.
- Add the lid to the instant pot and make sure the pressure valve is turned to sealing.
- Turn the pot to manual high pressure for 25 minutes.
- Allow the natural release (see the post section above for more information) and then push the valve to vent and release any remaining steam.
- Open the pot and place the ribs on a tin foil lined baking sheet.
- Heat the oven to broil and place the ribs on the pan, meat side up in the oven and cook until crispy, about 2-3 minutes.
Our favorite ribs recipe has an Asian flair that you are sure to love!!!
Looking for another Instant Pot pork recipe? Try this delicious Pork Loin!