These pressure cooker ribs are fall-off-the-bone kind of ribs. Easy option of cooking ribs in pressure cooker provides tender pork ribs. You can finish baking ribs in the oven or on the BBQ for the best results. Homemade smokey BBQ sauce in this recipe as a bonus.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Pressure cooker baby back pork ribs are a quick and easy way to prepare delicious and tender pork ribs. Using a pressure cooker can significantly cut down on cooking time, allowing you to have fall-off-the-bone ribs in just under an hour. The high pressure and heat in the cooker break down the tough connective tissues in the meat, resulting in tender and juicy ribs.
This method is especially great for busy cooks because it requires minimal prep time and attention, and the pressure cooker does most of the work. You can also prepare the ribs in advance, and they will stay warm in the pressure cooker until you’re ready to serve them. Plus, since you’re cooking them under pressure, you don’t need to monitor the heat as closely as with other cooking methods, making it perfect for multitasking or tackling other cooking projects at the same time.
How long does it take to cook ribs in the pressure cooker
To cook the pork ribs in the pressure cooker takes around 15 minutes per 1 (one) pound (450 g) of ribs. For beef ribs, it takes around 20 -25 minutes per 1 (one) pound of beef ribs (450 g).
For this particular recipe, for pork ribs will take around 45 minutes. The amount of pork ribs in this recipe is exactly 3 pounds, which is roughly 1.5 kg of ribs. Plus, we have to count extra time for finishing the ribs, either in the oven or on the BBQ, for great taste. Both finishing options are written right below in the recipe card.
For the ribs:
- Baby Back Pork Ribs: These are the star of the dish, providing the meaty, succulent base for the recipe.
- Salt: Salt is a crucial ingredient in any recipe, and it plays an important role in this one as well. It helps to enhance the natural flavour of the pork and ensures that the meat is properly seasoned throughout.
- Paprika: Paprika adds a deep, smoky flavour to the ribs. It complements the hickory liquid smoke used later in the recipe. It also gives the ribs a rich, reddish-brown colour.
- Garlic: Garlic is a versatile ingredient that adds depth and complexity to the ribs. It provides a pungent, slightly sweet flavour that balances out the salt and spices.
- Black pepper: Black pepper is another staple seasoning that adds a subtle heat and depth of flavour to the ribs. It pairs well with the other spices in the recipe and enhances the overall taste of the dish.
- Hickory liquid smoke: This ingredient adds a distinct, smoky flavour to the ribs. It infuses the meat with a rich, woodsy flavour that is hard to replicate with other cooking methods.
- Water: Water is used in this recipe to create the steam necessary to cook the ribs in the pressure cooker. It helps to keep the meat moist and tender during the cooking process.
- Onion: Onion is a flavour enhancer that adds a subtle sweetness to the dish. It also provides a bit of texture to the dish and adds visual appeal.
- Canola oil: Canola oil is used to brown the ribs before cooking them in the pressure cooker. It helps to develop a rich, caramelized exterior on the ribs, which adds to their overall flavour and appearance.
For the smokey BBQ sauce:
- Chicken bouillon: Chicken bouillon provides a savoury base for the BBQ sauce, adding depth and richness to the flavour.
- Hot water: Hot water is used to dissolve the chicken bouillon and create the base for the BBQ sauce.
- Ketchup: Ketchup is a classic ingredient in BBQ sauce. It’s providing a sweet, tangy flavour that pairs well with the other ingredients.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar adds sweetness and complexity to the BBQ sauce. It’s balancing out the acidity of the ketchup and vinegar.
- Worcestershire sauce: Worcestershire sauce adds a tangy, slightly sweet flavour to the BBQ sauce. It helps to balance out the sweetness of the brown sugar.
- Hickory liquid smoke: Is used in the BBQ sauce to add a rich, smoky flavour.
- Garlic: Garlic provides depth and complexity to the BBQ sauce. Its pungent flavour helps to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Mustard: Mustard adds a tangy, slightly spicy flavour to the BBQ sauce. And helps to balance out the sweetness of the ketchup and brown sugar.
How to make pressure cooker ribs
- Remove the membrane: Flip the ribs over so that the bone side is facing up. Use a butter knife to loosen the membrane along one end of the rack. Then grip the membrane with a paper towel and peel it off the entire rack of ribs. This will make the ribs more tender and allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat better.
- Trim excess fat: Use a sharp knife to trim any excess fat from the ribs, especially on the meaty side. Leave a thin layer of fat intact to keep the meat moist and flavourful. Then cut the ribs with a knife in sections, about 4–5 ribs at a time.
- Season the ribs: In a small bowl, mix together the salt, paprika and black pepper. Rub the seasoning mixture & minced garlic all over the ribs, making sure to coat them evenly.
- Brown the ribs: Heat the canola oil directly in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ribs and cook for about 2–3 minutes per side, until nicely browned. This will add flavour and help to seal in the juices before pressure-cooking.
- Place the ribs in pressure cooker: Add the diced onion in the pressure cooker (If needed, add extra one tablespoon of canola oil.) Stir and cook for 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add water, liquid smoke and stack the ribs back in the pressure cooker.
- Cook the ribs: Close the lid of pressure cooker and check if safety button is on right position. If you are using a traditional pressure cooker, cook the first 15 minutes on high heat, then turn on medium heat. And cook for 30 minutes. If you are using Instant Pot, choose pressure-cook program and set it for 45 minutes high pressure.
- Turn off the heat and let natural the pressure to release. Once the pressure is released, open the lid carefully and remove the ribs one by one from the pressure cooker. Place them on a baking sheet. Now you have two options on how to finish pork ribs.
- Preheat oven 450 F/232 C and brush over the ribs 3/4 of the homemade smokey BBQ sauce (recipe below). Bake on the middle rack, for 20 minutes, or until the sauce starts to caramelize. At the end, brush over the ribs the rest of the BBQ sauce and let stand on the counter for 5–10 minutes. Serve with your favourite side.
- Reheat BBQ on medium heat, place baby back ribs directly on the BBQ and brush the ribs lightly with BBQ sauce. Turn the ribs on the other side, but only once the BBQ sauce lightly starts to caramelize (in about 1–2 minutes). Turn the ribs 3–4 times. If your ribs are already so tender and starts to fall apart, then brush the ribs once and turn them only once. Finishing the ribs with a last touch of BBQ sauce before serving.
Variations for pork ribs
- Asian-style ribs: To give your ribs an Asian twist, add soy sauce, ginger, and a dash of five-spice powder to the seasoning mix. After pressure-cooking, brush the ribs with hoisin sauce and broil them until they’re sticky and caramelized.
- Sweet and spicy ribs: If you like your ribs with a kick, add chili powder or cayenne pepper to the seasoning mix, and then brush the ribs with a sweet and spicy glaze made from honey, sriracha, and soy sauce.
- Mediterranean-style ribs: To give your ribs a Mediterranean flavour, mix together some oregano, rosemary, and lemon zest, and then rub it onto the ribs. After pressure-cooking, finish the ribs on the grill and serve them with a side of tzatziki.
- Beer-braised ribs: For a unique flavour, try braising your ribs in beer instead of water. Add a bottle of your favourite beer to the pressure cooker along with the ribs and seasonings, and let it cook until tender. Finish the ribs on the grill and serve them with a side of beer cheese dip.
- Jamaican-style jerk ribs: To give your ribs a Caribbean flavour, mix together some jerk seasoning, allspice, and brown sugar, and then rub it onto the ribs. After pressure-cooking, brush the ribs with a jerk sauce made from scallions, thyme, habanero peppers, and lime juice.
- Refrigeration: If you plan to consume the leftovers within 3–4 days, you can store the cooked pork ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the ribs have cooled down completely before placing them in the container. You can reheat the ribs in the oven or microwave when you’re ready to eat them.
- Freezing: If you have a lot of leftovers or don’t plan to consume them within 3–4 days, you can freeze the cooked pork ribs for later use. Place the ribs in an airtight container or freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Be sure to label the container with the date and contents. The ribs can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw the ribs in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven or microwave.
- Meal prep: If you want to plan ahead and have meals ready to go, you can meal prep the leftover pork ribs by portioning them out into individual containers with sides or salads. This is a great way to have quick and easy meals ready for busy weeknights or lunches.
Ideas for sides that complement pork ribs
- Coleslaw: A classic coleslaw is a perfect side dish for pork ribs. The crisp and refreshing taste of the coleslaw complements the rich and meaty flavour of the ribs.
- Baked beans: Baked beans are a traditional barbecue side dish and go well with pork ribs. You can either make them from scratch or use canned baked beans.
- Corn on the cob: Grilled or roasted corn on the cob is a great side dish for pork ribs. The sweet and juicy corn kernels add a nice contrast to the smoky and savoury ribs.
- Mac and cheese: Creamy and cheesy mac and cheese is a comforting side dish that goes well with pork ribs. You can either make it from scratch or use a boxed mix.
- Potato salad: A classic potato salad with mayonnaise, mustard, and pickles is another great side dish for pork ribs. It’s a filling and satisfying side that complements the meaty flavour of the ribs.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes, are a healthy and flavourful side dish for pork ribs. The caramelized and roasted flavours of the vegetables pair well with the smoky and savoury flavours of the ribs.
Use a pressure cooker with a rack: To prevent the ribs from sticking to the bottom of the pressure cooker, it’s helpful to use a rack or trivet. This will also help to ensure that the ribs cook evenly.
Don’t skimp on the seasoning: Since the ribs cook quickly in a pressure cooker, it’s important to season them well to ensure that they are packed with flavour. Be generous with the seasoning rub, and consider adding additional spices or herbs to customize the flavour to your liking.
Brown the ribs first: While it’s possible to skip the browning step and just cook the ribs in the pressure cooker, taking the time to brown the ribs in a skillet beforehand will add a rich, caramelized flavour that is hard to replicate with pressure-cooking alone.
Use natural release: Once the ribs are cooked in the pressure cooker, it’s important to let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure. This will prevent the ribs from becoming tough or overcooked.
Finish the ribs on the grill or under the broiler: For a truly authentic BBQ flavour and texture, consider finishing the ribs on the grill or under the broiler for a few minutes after they have been cooked in the pressure cooker. This will give them a nice char and crispness on the outside, while keeping them moist and tender on the inside.
Let the ribs rest: After the ribs are done cooking, it’s important to let them rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and help to ensure that they are juicy and tender.
How to cook ribs in the Instant Pot?
Instantpot is my best friend lately, and I am using it often these days. It is very useful, when you need to quickly prepare a meal during busy weekdays, and it’s perfect for this pork ribs recipe. Follow the recipe card on how to cook the ribs in pressure cooker and set the program on pressure cook-high and set timer to 45 minutes. Once the program finishes, let the steam naturally escape and continue with option finishing ribs in the oven or on the BBQ (all details are written in the recipe card.)
Is it necessary to brown the ribs before pressure cooking them?
While it’s not strictly necessary to brown the ribs before pressure-cooking, it is highly recommended. Browning the ribs will add a deep, caramelized flavour that is hard to replicate with pressure-cooking alone. It will also help to seal in the juices and ensure that the ribs are evenly cooked.
How long should I cook the ribs in a pressure cooker?
The cooking time will vary depending on the type of pressure cooker and the size and thickness of the ribs. As a general rule, baby back ribs will typically take 20-25 minutes at high pressure, while larger, thicker ribs may take up to 40 minutes. It’s always best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and use a meat thermometer to ensure that the ribs are fully cooked.
Should I use natural or quick release when cooking ribs in a pressure cooker?
It’s best to use a natural release method when cooking ribs in a pressure cooker. This will allow the pressure to release gradually and prevent the ribs from becoming tough or overcooked. After the natural release, you can manually release any remaining pressure if needed.
Can I use frozen ribs in a pressure cooker?
While it is technically possible to cook frozen ribs in a pressure cooker, I do not recommend this. Frozen ribs will take longer to cook and may not cook evenly. It’s best to thaw the ribs in the refrigerator or under cold running water before cooking them in the pressure cooker.
Can I add BBQ sauce to the pressure cooker?
While you can add BBQ sauce to the pressure cooker, it’s not recommended. The high pressure and heat of the pressure cooker can cause the sauce to become too thick or burn. It’s best to add the sauce after the ribs have been cooked and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes to absorb the flavours.
How to remove the membrane from ribs
I always remove the white membrane on the back of the ribs. It makes the ribs much more tender and the unpleasant chewy part won’t be bothering you. To remove the membrane, take a knife and slide under the membrane, cut it along the edge of the ribs. Then, with your hand, pull it away from the bones. Use paper towel to hold the membrane, if it’s slippery.
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SMOKED BABY BACK PORK RIBS IN PRESSURE COOKER
- Pressure cooker
For the ribs
- 4 pounds (1.5 kg) 2 full racks baby back pork ribs
- 3 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp hickory liquid smoke
- 2 cups water
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsps canola oil
For smokey BBQ sauce
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp hickory liquid smoke
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tbsp mustard
For the Baby Back Pork Ribs
- Clean, wash the Baby Back Ribs and dry with paper towel. Remove the white membrane from the back of the ribs with a knife. Use butter knife and paper towel; membrane might be slipping through the fingers. Cut the ribs with a knife in sections, about 4–5 ribs at a time.
- Season the pork ribs with salt, pepper, red paprika and rub minced garlic in the ribs. Reheat canola oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat. (If you are using Instant Pot, it's sear button option on high). Sear the ribs on each side for 2-3 minute.
- Once seared, remove the ribs from pressure cooker and place them on a plate, set aside. Cut onion on large pieces and add in pressure cooker. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, add water, liquid smoke and stack the ribs back in the pressure cooker.
- Close the lid of pressure cooker and check if safety button is on right position. If you are using traditional pressure cooker, cook first 15 minutes on high heat, then turn on medium heat and cook for another 30 minutes. If you are using Instant Pot, choose pressure cook program and set it for 45 minutes high pressure.
- Turn off the heat and release the pressure, either naturally (let it sit for 10 minutes until the pressure will be released) or press the button release pressure manually. Open the lid carefull and remove the ribs one by one from the pressure cooker. Place them on baking sheet.
- Now you have 2 options. You either preheat you BBQ or oven.
- Preheat oven 450 F/232 C and brush over the ribs 3/4 of the homemade smokey BBQ sauce. Bake on middle rack, for 20 minutes or until the sauce starts to caramelize. At the end brush over the ribs the rest of the BBQ sauce and let stand on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Serve with your favourite side.
- Reheat BBQ on medium heat, place baby back ribs directly on the BBQ and brush the ribs lightly with BBQ sauce. Turn the ribs on other side, but only once the BBQ sauce lightly starts to caramelize (in about 1-2 minutes). Turn the ribs 3-4 times. If your ribs are already so tender and starts to fall apart, then brush the ribs once and turn them only once. Finishing the ribs with last touch of BBQ sauce before serving
For the Smokey BBQ Sauce
- While you pressure cooker is cooking your ribs, you can get ready smokey BBQ sauce.
- Place the chicken bouillon cube in medium bowl and pour over hot water. Mash it with fork to combine with water.
- Add all the other ingredients for BBQ sauce, stir with wooden spatula and brush over the Baby Back Pork Ribs.
- This recipe is suited for traditional and electric Instant Pot pressure cooker.
- I recommend always remove the membrane on the pork ribs. You will enjoy more these tender baby back pork ribs.
- BBQ sauce is smokey flavoured, you can either omit the hickory smoke and add Tabasco or any other hot sauce to spice up the BBQ sauce.
- The pork ribs has to be divided in portions of 4-5 ribs, to fit the pressure cooker.
- Always read safety instructions, that comes with your pressure cooker, as these may vary from one type to another. Also cooking instructions might be slightly different/adjusted for your type of pressure cooker. ALWAYS consult first cooking instruction booklet of your pressure cooker, before following cooking instructions in this recipe.
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