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Instant pot baby back ribs with bbq sauce plated on white plate with sweet kale salad on side.

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Love the taste of BBQ baby back ribs but don’t love how long it takes to cook them? This simple recipe for baby back ribs made in the Instant Pot takes less than one hour (start to finish), making it easy to enjoy delicious ribs when time is not on your side. 

Prep: 10 minsCook: 40 minsTotal: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

  • 2– to 2½- lb. rack of baby back ribs, cut into 3 equal sections
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • BBQ sauce of choice*

For the Spice Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Combine the ingredients for the spice rub; set aside.
  2. Cut the rack of ribs into 3 equal sections, then pat the ribs dry with paper towels. Rub and press the spice rub generously over each section of the ribs, pressing the spices into the ribs.
  3. Place the metal rack into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the broth or water to the Instant Pot.
  4. Place the ribs on the rack and arrange the ribs into a pyramid by standing each section up on its end and leaning them against one another.
  5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock it into place. Flip the valve to the ‘Sealing’ position.
  6. Select the high-pressure setting and set the cooking time to 30 minutes. It will take several minutes for the Instant Pot to build up pressure before the 30-minute timer starts. 
  7. As soon as the cooking time is up, immediately release the pressure by flipping the valve to the ‘Venting’ position.
  8. Preheat the broiler to medium-high heat. Remove the ribs from Instant Pot and place them on a rimmed baking sheet (line the baking sheet with foil for easy clean up).
  9. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce on both sides. See the Notes section below for finishing the ribs on the grill instead of under the broiler. 
  10. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and slightly caramelized.
  11. Cut into individual ribs for serving.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Combine the ingredients for the spice rub.
  2. Cut the rack of ribs into 2 or 3 equal sections (whatever you need to do to get them to fit into your slow cooker) then rub each section with the spice rub.
  3. Place the ribs in the bottom of a slow cooker with ½ cup of water.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours) or until tender, then proceed with the saucing, broiling, or grilling as indicated next.
  5. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a rimmed baking sheet (line the baking sheet with foil for easy clean up).
  6. Preheat the broiler to medium-high heat. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce on both sides.
  7. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and slightly caramelized. Alternatively, you can finish the ribs by placing them on a hot grill until the sauce is slightly caramelized. 
  8. Cut into individual ribs for serving.

Notes

*Try Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce for a no-added-sugar, Whole30-friendly BBQ Sauce option

To finish the ribs on the grill, preheat the grill to low-medium and place them directly on the rack over indirect heat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce ‘tightens’ and becomes thick and sticky.

If using a Traeger Grill, preheat the grill to 185℉ using your favorite pellets (we love the hickory, mesquite, or Traeger Signature Blend pellets for ribs). Place the ribs directly on the grill grates and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce tightens.

 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/4th recipe
  • Calories: 514
  • Fat: 26 g
  • (Sat Fat: 17 g)
  • Sodium: 563 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 17 g
  • (Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 2 g)
  • Protein: 30 g

Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Jessica Beacom
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