Instant Pot Ribs

This is a very official version.  I use whatever rub is handy, and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.  Personally.  And these ribs are great!

According to a savvy male friend of mine, a relationship has four toll booths a year: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, Birthday.  The trick of it is to skitter by safely, avoiding all potential pitfalls.  For instance, you don’t want to under do it, or you’re in the doghouse. Conversely, if you overdo it, either you have set the bar too high and you’ll end up in the doghouse next time, or, even worse, you arouse suspicion – another route to the doghouse. (This same wily rascal  also advised that if it’s time for a young man to propose, he should present the ring at Christmas, Valentine’s Day or her birthday, thus saving himself the cost of that gift.  “She’ll never notice!” Sage advice). 

So now we have the price range.  What could possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing, there are strongly held views about what constitutes a gift.  Some say if it’s practical, or housework related, it is not a gift. Mother, on the other hand, felt that if it’s wrapped, it’s a gift, as she annually replenished our sock and underwear requirements in festive packages under the tree.   I recall a co-worker who, quite pleased with himself, let us in on the secret that his Christmas gift to his wife that year, was fish. Fish?  He had it all planned. The fish would be lurking in his neighbour’s freezer until the big moment!  When we expressed our doubts, he assured us, with rapidly waning confidence, that, “She likes fish!”.  Doghouse. 

Fortunately, there is bound to be a madly interesting trend gift bandwagon that you can hop onto. 

We are reminded of the ghosts of trendy Christmasses past. The year of the electric toothbrush. The terrarium. The digital tablet. The glass cutting device that cleverly transformed beer bottles into drinking glasses!  The device that would magically transform newspapers into fireplace logs! There have been some hits and some misses. This year though, the chances are pretty good that you will be either on the giving end or the receiving end of the hot gift of this season, the Instant Pot! If the receiver is of the belief that an appliance is indeed personal, and romantic, another toll booth will have been safely passed. 

Once the excitement has died down and gratitude has been expressed, the Instant Potted receiver is confronted with the task of figuring out what to do with this daunting new addition to the household. Fortunately, last year’s trend gift bandwagon was the tablet!  Armed with the tablet’s access to Google, YouTube, and Pinterest, the dubious recipient will on the road to culinary success as fast as it takes to pressure cook a rack of ribs – which is, by the way, fast!  Beyond that, whether it becomes an indispensable tool, or a feature of next year’s yard sale will depend, as so many things do, on whether one is up for a challenge of learning a newer, faster way to cook some of those time-consuming old favourites. I encourage everyone to overcome all apprehensions and give it a whirl!

Ok. The ribs.  The following is a lovely recipe from 

For Dry Rub

• 1 tbsp dry mustard

• 1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

• 1 tbsp onion powder

• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

• 1 tsp cumin ground

• 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1 tbsp brown sugar

• 1 tsp black pepper ground

• 2 tsp salt

For Ribs

• 2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 3 to 4 lbs)

• 4 cups apple juice

• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

• 2 tbsp liquid smoke

For BBQ Sauce

• 1/2 cup bbq sauce store bought

• 1/2 cup ketchup

• 1/4 cup whiskey

• 1/4 cup brown sugar

• 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

• 1 tbsp liquid smoke


1. Prepare the dry rub by combining all the dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs with a paper towel. 

3. Season the baby back ribs with the dry rub generously on both sides. 

4. Place the ribs inside the Instant Pot, standing up and wrapping around the Instant Pot. 

5. Pour the apple juice, apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke inside the Instant pot, no need to stir. Close the lid (follow the manufacturer's guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the Meat/Stew setting and set the timer to 20 minutes.

6. Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, should take about 15 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release, if in a rush. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot.

7. While the ribs are cooking prepare the BBQ sauce. In a small saucepan add all the BBQ sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, the sauce should reduce a bit. 

8. Carefully remove the ribs from the Instant Pot and place them onto a baking sheet. Brush them generously with the prepared BBQ sauce on both sides and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Keep the door to your oven open while broiling the ribs and keep an eye on them, because they could burn quickly. (Or 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven just to sizzling). 

9. Serve with leftover BBQ sauce.

You can really play fast and loose with this recipe. I mixed all the odds and ends from my spice area together and decreed it a “dry rub”.  Put that on the ribs in the pot with half a beer (You need some liquid to pressure cook. Read your instructions) and, slathered with store bought BBQ sauce, they were delicious. Some folks skip the rub part altogether. 

Once those ribs hit the deck, there will be no one in the doghouse! Safe until the next toll booth!