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Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Make tender, delicious ribs in mere minutes with your Instant Pot!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins


For the brine

  • 3 tablespoons Celtic sea salt or 2.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3 cups beer apple cider/juice, or water

For the Ribs

  • one or two racks of pastured baby back ribs
  • BBQ spice rub
  • one yellow onion
  • one cup apple juice
  • BBQ sauce of your choice


For the brine

  • The night before you want to make the ribs (or 6 hours before), prepare the brine by dissolving the salt in the beer (or apple cider or plain water). Place your liquid into a saucepan over medium heat. Once it is warm, add the salt. Continue heating and stirring occasionally until the salt is dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Once the mixture has cooled, pour it over the ribs (I usually have the ribs in a pyrex baking dish.)
  • Refrigerate the ribs for 6 hours or overnight.


  • The next morning (or 6 hours later), pull the ribs from the brine and pat them dry.
  • Rub the spice rub all over the ribs. Be generous!!
  • Slice the yellow onion into round and place in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Place the rack that came with the Instant Pot over the onions and pour the cup of apple juice in. Add the ribs with the meat facing out.
  • Set the Instant Pot for 35 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, do a quick release.
  • Pull the rack out of the Instant Pot (use hot pads!). Place the ribs on a baking tray.
  • Set the Instant Pot to the Saute function and reduce the apple juice onion mixture down. I like to use my stick blender to blend the onions into the sauce, but you could also scoop them out instead.
  • Add about 1 cup of the reduced liquid to your bbq sauce. Smother your ribs in the BBQ sauce mixture.
  • Either cook under the broiler for a few minutes on high to caramelize or alternately use your grill. You can also put them in the fridge with the sauce already on and take them out to cook them the next day.


Note: I have the 8 quart Instant Pot and it works well with one or two racks of ribs (2.5-5 lbs). I tried doing 3 racks, but the middle rack didn't come out as tender. If you are going to do 3 or 4 racks, I recommend doing 2 batches. For each batch, only use 1 cup of apple juice in the bottom of the instant pot.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!