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Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Fall off the bone, packed with flavor, tender, juicy and oh so perfect! Pressure cooker baby back ribs are all of those things PLUS they are FAST!

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs on paper

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs Recipe

I’ve tried cooking ribs about a million different ways and never got a 100% repeatable result until I started pressure cooking them.

Let me save you some trouble and teach you how to pressure cook baby back ribs and you’ll have flavor and tender juicy ribs every single time.

No worries about a char and a sauce, we’ve got that covered too.

How Long to Cook Baby Back Ribs in the Pressure Cooker

This is going to depend on a few factors, but in general, 20-30 minutes will do it.

It may take longer if …

  • The ribs have a lot of meat
  • You are cooking a large number of ribs (remember to never fill your pressure cooker more than 3/4 full).

Easy Pressure Cooker Ribs, What You’ll Need

  • Pressure Cooker – I use a Calphalon 6 quart Pressure Cooker, but any stove top pressure cooker will work. You can also use your instant pot.
  • Grill, Oven Broiler or Hand Held Torch – We will use this to get the char on a final coat of sauce. YUM!
  • Apple Juice – This adds flavor as you cook, but you can substitute chicken or beef broth instead.
  • Spices and Herbs – this infuses into the meat as it pressure cooks!
  • Favorite Barbecue Sauce – we put this on at the end and then give those ribs a healthy char! We like Sweet Baby Rays or Bone Sucking Sauce.

How To Cook Ribs In a Pressure Cooker

ribs with sauce
  • Pressure Cook the Ribs in Spices – this fully cooks the ribs to “fall off the bone” consistency and packs in a ton of flavor.
  • Sauce It Up! – Paint on a thick barbecue sauce
  • Char the sauce onto the ribs!

Pressure Cooking Ribs Before Grilling

There’s nothing I love more than the char on some BBQ ribs, how about you?

That’s easy to do even when you’ve pressure cooked the ribs. It just involves one simple step further.

While you are waiting for the pressure cooker to return to room pressure, go turn the grill on HOT and let it get completely preheated.

Then follow these steps…

  1. After the cooker returns to room pressure, remove the ribs to a sheet pan that is covered with foil (easier clean up). Be very careful doing this, use tongs and move slowly and gently because the meat is going to want to fall off of the bone. You need it to all hold together until you are ready to serve it.
  2. Place the ribs on the pan with the meat side down. Paint your favorite BBQ sauce on the ribs and make sure to get the sides too. Put on a THICK coat.
  3. Turn the ribs over so that the meat side is facing up and repeat. Slather on your favorite BBQ sauce THICK so that all sides are now coated.
  4. Take your ribs out to the grill and using tongs, place them directly on the hot grate with the meat side down. Do not move them around because the meat will be “fall off the bone” and some of it might if you move them around too much. Allow them to sear for 1-2 minutes. Then very gently flip them over and sear the other side for 1 minute.
  5. Carefully remove the ribs back to the lined sheet pan and serve immediately with extra BBQ sauce for those who prefer it!

How Many Ribs Per Person?

You will want to plan on a half rack or full rack per person. Examine the side dishes that you will be serving. If you are having heavy sides then plan for 1/2 rack. If you are simply planning on light sides such as a salad and green beans, then go with a full rack.

How to Save Money On Ribs

Baby back ribs can be expensive. If you watch my video, you can see what I paid for ribs.

The best way to save money is …

  • Offer heavier side dishes with your ribs so that your guests fill up on sides as opposed to expensive ribs. Then you can figure serving 1/2 rack per person.
  • Cut the ribs into 2-3 ribs per section before placing in the pressure cooker, this will allow for your guests with less appetite to only choose a small amount, if this is what they want.
  • Buy on sale. Watch your sale circulars for local grocery chains. I find that my local grocery usually runs baby back ribs on sale near patriotic holidays. Ribs freeze well and thus, buy near holidays and then freeze for later use.
  • Big Box stores. Costco and Sams club usually offer good deals on ribs year round. They come packaged 3-4 racks per package, so be prepared to freeze some if this is more than you need for immediate use.
fire on grill

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can I Pressure Cook Ribs Before Grilling?

Absolutely YES! I recommend it. See the directions written above for a delicious char on your perfect baby back ribs!

How to Cook Ribs in a Power Pressure Cooker

Just follow the recipe given below and cook on high pressure for the allotted time.

How Do I Make Ribs in the Instant Pot?

Simply follow the directions below with a 20-30 minute cook time at high pressure and a natural release.

Do I Need to Pull Away the Membrane on Baby Back Ribs?

As is often the case, it depends. If you watch the video of this recipe, you will see that I did not. This is because I didn’t have any tough looking silver skin and the pressure cooker makes everything soft, however, if you have a lot of the tough silver skin then that answer follows. The answer is Yes, if the butcher has not already done this for you, then you will need to pull the membrane from your baby back ribs. Here’s a tutorial: Tutorial

Can I Freeze Baby Back Ribs?

Yes, your baby back ribs will freeze beautifully. Simply place in a freezer safe container, remove as much air as possible, seal and then freeze for up to 3 months.

How Long Do Baby Back Ribs last?

Your cooked ribs will last, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

What Happens If I Don’t Remove the Membrane on Ribs?

If you do not remove the membrane on ribs before pressure cooking, you may find that the membrane is tough and chewy and largely inedible. Many times, the pressure cooker will soften everything so much, that it won’t matter.

Pressure cooking does soften nearly everything on the ribs and so, it may not actually be a problem for you with this cooking method.

Best practice IS to always remove the membrane if you are able to do so.

How to Cut Baby Back Ribs

To cut baby back ribs into servings a few ribs each, turn the ribs with the bone side up so that you can see the entire length of the bone.

Using a very sharp chefs knife (8″ or more length), cut through the meat that is between the bones.

You will note that these bones are not straight bones and that they curve and run at an angle. You’ll need to angle your cut so that it stays in the space between the bones.

Where the bones run into each other at the ends, you may notice that it is difficult to get the ribs apart. Using your hands, break the piece that holds them together by folding away from each other.

baby back ribs with tongs over fire

Tips and Tricks

  • Choose ribs with some fat and then you can be in charge of trimming off the part you don’t want. Some fat on the ribs gives more flavor as they cook.
  • Remove the silver skin membrane before cooking.
  • You may have to cut the ribs into smaller pieces before putting in the pressure cooker. I usually cut 2-3 ribs together.
  • When cutting ribs, remember that they are at an angle and you can’t slice a straight cut or you’ll run into bone.
  • The reason for adding the apple juice or stock and the herbs and spices in the pressure cooker is to allow flavor to penetrate the meat as it pressure cooks.
  • Putting the ribs under the broiler or on the grill after pressure cooking isn’t going to cook the ribs more, it is simply charring on the sauce and giving the meat a little char for flavor.

PRO TIP: Sweeter BBQ sauces like Sweet Baby Rays sauce generally works best for charing under the broiler or on the grill. The sugar in the sauce is what “burns” and makes the char marks and flavor. For the best flavor, I recommend using a sweeter and very thick sauce.

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ribs with sauce

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Fall off the bone, packed with flavor, tender, juicy and oh so perfect! Pressure cooker baby back ribs are all of those things PLUS they are FAST!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pressure cooker baby back ribs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Grill/Broil Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 889kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 1 rack baby back ribs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Cup Apple Juice substitute: chicken broth, beef broth or water with stock concentrate.
  • 3/4 Cup BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Remove the silver skin membrane from the back of the ribs and cut the ribs into sections of 2-3 ribs per piece.
  • Place the ribs into the pressure cooker and sprinkle with the herbs and spices. Add the apple sauce or the substituting liquid to the pressure cooker. Apply the lid to the cooker and then bring the cooker up to temperature and cook on high for 20-30 minutes (If this is your first time cooking, set for 25 minutes).
  • After 25 minutes, allow pressure cooker to come back to room pressure naturally by doing a natural release.
  • While the pressure is releasing, line a sheet pan or platter with aluminum foil. Turn the broiler on high or turn your grill on high (which ever one you will use to char and set the BBQ sauce).
  • Once released, very gently (extremely gently) remove the ribs to the platter/sheet pan using tongs and place them meat side down. Be gentle lest the meat fall completely from the bones.
  • Generously paint the ribs with a thick and sweet BBQ sauce on the piece facing up as well as the sides. Gently turn the ribs over using your tongs and repeat on the other side.
  • If using the broiler, place the sheet pan into the oven with the meat side up facing the broiler. Broil for 2 minutes on the meat side and then flip the ribs over to broil for 1 minute on the back. If using the grill, set the ribs on the grill very gently with the meat side facing down onto the grill grates. This will make for nice grill marks on the meat side of the ribs. Allow to char on that side for 2 minutes and then turn over to char on the other side for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and serve hot with extra BBQ sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Choose ribs with some fat and then you can be in charge of trimming off the part you don’t want. Some fat on the ribs gives more flavor as they cook.
  • Remove the silver skin membrane before cooking.
  • You may have to cut the ribs into smaller pieces before putting in the pressure cooker. I usually cut 2-3 ribs together.
  • When cutting ribs, remember that they are at an angle and you can’t slice a straight cut or you’ll run into bone.
  • The reason for adding the apple juice or stock and the herbs and spices in the pressure cooker is to allow flavor to penetrate the meat as it pressure cooks.
  • Putting the ribs under the broiler or on the grill after pressure cooking isn’t going to cook the ribs more, it is simply charring on the sauce and giving the meat a little char for flavor.
  • You will want to plan on a half rack or full rack per person. Examine the side dishes that you will be serving. If you are having heavy sides then plan for 1/2 rack. If you are simply planning on light sides such as a salad and green beans, then go with a full rack.
PRO TIP: Sweeter BBQ sauces like Sweet Baby Rays sauce generally works best for charing under the broiler or on the grill. The sugar in the sauce is what “burns” and makes the char marks and flavor. For the best flavor, I recommend using a sweeter and very thick sauce.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 889 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Fat 47g72%
Saturated Fat 17g85%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 8g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 196mg65%
Sodium 1945mg81%
Potassium 1123mg32%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 48g53%
Protein 56g112%
Vitamin A 474IU9%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 152mg15%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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A VERSE TO SHARE

What counts as a burden? I think this verse refers to more than just praying for someone and it calls us to action. What do you think?

Galatians 6:2

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

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