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dry-rubbed ribs on wood cutting board
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Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs - Dry-Rubbed

Flavorful spice blend, tender ribs, and no sugar!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 89kcal
Author Gary White

Ingredients

Dry rub rib ingredients:

  • 4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 1 cup apple cider

For an incredible homemade barbecue sauce (optional):

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic minced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

For dry rub ribs:

  • Add all spices to a small bowl and combine well.
  • Using a knife, remove the silver skin membrane on the bone side of the ribs.
  • Liberally season ribs with seasoning mix on both sides. 
  • Add one cup of apple cider to pot, along with trivet. Place both racks of ribs on top of trivet. Lock lid and cook for 22 minutes at high pressure.
  • Once cook time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally (will take about 25 minutes.)
  • Transfer ribs to baking sheet and place under high broiler for 5-7 minutes, until desired char is achieved. Watch closely to prevent burning.

For saucy ribs:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat – combine all of the barbecue sauce ingredients, except the salt, and bring to a boil, stirring well. Let cool, then season with salt.
  • Cook the ribs following steps 1 through 5 of the dry rub ribs instructions. Then, transfer ribs to a baking tray and brush sauce all over the bone side. Place ribs under a high broiler for about 5 minutes. Then flip, sauce the meaty side, and broil for a few more minutes.

Video

Notes

  1. Not everyone takes the time to remove the silver membrane from ribs before cooking. Do not skip this step! Removing the silver membrane allows the ribs to absorb more flavor, become more tender, and will make the ribs easier to cut and eat. 
  2. Take the time to do a natural pressure release. I find that a quick pressure release causes meat texture to change, becoming tough and chewy. According to this article by The Kitchnyou should use a natural release when cooking meat

FAQs

Can I use frozen ribs? No. They will not fit in the Instant Pot. You can see in the process shots above that both racks of ribs are curled to fit inside the pot, which is not possible with frozen ribs. If you have frozen ribs, you will need to take the time to thaw them. This article from LiveStrong.com has information on thawing frozen ribs quickly.
Are these beef or pork ribs? Anytime you see “baby back ribs” it’s referring to pork. This article from Spices Inc. is a great reference for information on different kinds of ribs.
Do you use apple cider or apple cider vinegar? Apple cider, not apple cider vinegar. Our grocery store carries it year round. We find it near the OJ.
Can I substitute something else for the apple cider? Apple juice, water or broth would work. For a little extra flavor, you can also add 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke.
How long will it take to do a natural pressure release? Times can vary. It typically takes about 20-30 minutes.
What size pressure cooker did you use? We used a 6 qt Instant Pot Duo to make this.

Nutrition

Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 511mg | Potassium: 113mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.4mg