Baby back ribs smothered in barbecue sauce are a staple among barbecue and steak restaurants across the United States. For me, I used to request barbecue spare ribs for my birthday every year. I love biting into a rib and tearing the tender pork meat away from the bone and devouring it. The tang of the barbecue sauce and the smoky flavor from the grill is heaven on a plate. Did you know you can get that same great flavor in 2 to 3 times less time? When you use an Instant Pot, you can be eating fall off the bone baby back ribs in under 90 minutes. They are really easy to make, if I can do it you can do it. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
In order to make Instant Pot baby back ribs we need to gather up the ingredients and tools. For these ribs you will need the following items:
- Baby back ribs – generally are sold in the meat department in the grocery store
- Kosher salt – you don’t have to use kosher salt per se, any big crystal salt will work great
- Ground pepper
- Water – use filtered water if your tap water doesn’t taste very good
- Liquid smoke – this is used to give the ribs that awesome smoky flavor. It can be found in the grocery store or online.
- Barbecue sauce – use your favorite storebought barbecue sauce or if you have a good homemade barbecue sauce use that.
- Instant Pot – In order to make these you need some sort of Instant Pot/Pressure cooker
- Tongs – these are needed to pull the ribs out of the instant pot
- Sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- Basting brush
- Butter knife
How the Instant Pot Works
An Instant Pot is essentially an electric pressure cooker which is much easier to use and safer than traditional pressure cookers. With that said I do have fond memories growing up around the kitchen and watching my mom use our old fashioned pressure cooker. I was fascinated by the little pressure regulator moving around wildly on top and the steam venting.
Without proper safety precautions though, those old-style pressure cookers can and have been known to explode. Explosions in the kitchen aren’t any fun. Instant pots reduce that risk significantly allowing for a safer pressure cooking experience. The Instant pot function is simple to affect the pressure on the inside so water can boil at up to 120 C instead of 100 C. Which in turn cooks food much much faster.
Step 2: Prepping the baby back ribs
First, let’s remove the ribs from their packaging and place them on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Next, use a paper towel and dab/dry off the extra moisture on both sides of the ribs.
Step 3: Remove the membrane
Now we need to remove the thin membrane on the back of the ribs. This just isn’t very appetizing, although if for some reason you can get it off, you can leave it on. Use a butter knife and go under the member and then start pulling it away from the bones. Switch to your hand and pull the membrane all the way off.
Step 4: Season those baby back ribs
Time to season these ribs. Add a generous about more kosher salt or other large crystal salts. The ribs can handle a lot of seasoning. After adding the salt add a good amount of pepper as well. You can add more or less depending on your tastes. And optional seasoning you can add is some garlic powder. These basic seasonings are all we need for the ribs.
Step 5: On to the Instant Pot
Now we add a cup of water to the instant pot. I like to use filtered water because my tap water here in Phoenix tastes terrible. Make sure you have the trivet on the bottom of the instant pot. The trivet is the little rack that came with it. Next, add about 6 to 7 drops of liquid smoke to the water, this is going to add that awesome smoky flavor to the ribs. Then curl up the ribs, bone side in, and place in the instant pot.
Step 6: Setting the time for the Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
Now add the lid and lock it in place. Then using the manual setting set the time for 23 minutes. This doesn’t mean it is only going to take 23 minutes, the whole process is longer than that. It will take some time for the pressure to build up, then the 23-minute timer will start.
Step 7: Pressure release
Once the timer has counted down and completed wait for the pressure to dissipate naturally. This will take 20 minutes or so. This added time will help the baby back ribs get more tender for that awesome fall off the bone texture that we want. After waiting you can release whatever pressure is left with the release switch on the top. Then open up the top and look at those amazing ribs.
Step 8: Barbecue sauce time
Now remove the ribs using a couple of pairs of tongs and place on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Be careful with the ribs pulling them out so they don’t fall apart. Next take your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce, in this case, we used an awesome sauce called Sweet Baby Ray’s. You could also use a yummy homemade barbecue sauce as well if you like. Baste on the barbecue sauce on top of the ribs using a basting brush.
While you are putting on the barbecue sauce preheat the oven to 450 F (232 C). Then place the ribs in the oven on the middle rack and cook them for 13 to 15 minutes until you have a nice crusty glaze from the barbecue sauce.
Let those amazing ribs cool for a bit and then enjoy! You can serve them with a side of homemade thin crispy potato chips if you like. Potato salad, watermelon, and a number of other foods go great with homemade fall of the bone baby back ribs.
Fall Off The Bone Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- Instant Pot
- sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- Basting brush
- Butter knife
- 3 pounds of baby back ribs 1 1/3 kg
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp. ground pepper more or less according to taste
- 1 cup of water 250ml
- 6 to 7 drops of liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce 115g more as needed
- First, remove the ribs from the packaging and damp each side dry with a paper towel.
- Use a butter knife and go under the membrane on the back of the ribs. Then pull it off using your hands. If you can't get the membrane off, you can leave it on.
- Season heavily on the top with kosher salt and pepper. You may also add some garlic powder if you like. These simple seasonings work wonders for the meat.
- Add 1 cup of filtered or good-tasting tap water to the Instant Pot. Then add 6 to 8 drops of liquid smoke.
- Curl the ribs bone side in and place in the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and set the time manually for 23 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to work its magic or science.
- After the timer goes off, allow the pressure to dissipate naturally. Meaning just let it sit there for 20 to 30 minutes. Then open the pressure regulator on the top and let any remaining steam out.
- Remove the ribs with tongs and place on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Cover generously with your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Cook the ribs in a preheated oven at 450 F (232 C) for 13 to 15 minutes until a nice crusty barbecue sauce glaze forms on the top. Remove the ribs and let them cool for a few minutes before serving them up. Enjoy!
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.