Juicy racks of ribs are a staple at any summer barbecue, especially down South. For years, I prepared ours in the oven. As if the hot summer days weren’t hot enough, I had my oven running for hours on days we wanted this dish for dinner! The oven method did produce delicious results, and I will share the recipe below. A recent change, however, is my switch to the Instant Pot. Now I can cook ribs at any time of year (literally without even breaking a sweat!), and am able to cook them in about half the time. My Instant Pot version is also below. I’ve included both methods because not everyone has jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon (yet). Which method do you prefer?


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Oven Directions

1 rack of baby back pork ribs (about 4-5 lbs)

salt and pepper to taste.


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pat ribs dry with paper towels, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper to taste. You may want to cut the rack into smaller sections to fit onto your baking sheet.

Once the oven has reached the cooking temperature, wrap the ribs snugly in two layers of aluminum foil. If you’ve cut them into multiple pieces, they may be stacked before wrapping.

Place on a baking tray, and back for two hours (or up to three) until very tender.

Unwrap the ribs, and carefully drain any excess liquid out of the aluminum foil packet. Arrange the ribs in a single layer, or prepare to proceed to the next step in batches.

Set your oven to broil, and place an oven rack in the upper third. You may place the rack even closer to the broiler but you must monitor closely to ensure splattering sauce or excess liquid doesn’t start a fire. Pour desired amount of sauce of your choice onto the ribs, and set under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling and browned in spots. Be very careful to monitor this step as it goes quickly, and burning is a real possibility. This step takes about five minutes depending how close you put the ribs to the broiler.

Remove, allow to cool, and enjoy (scroll to the bottom for the sauce recipe).


Instant Pot Directions

1 rack of baby back pork ribs (about 4-5 lbs)

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

Large splash of apple cider vinegar (depends on the size of your Instant Pot, about a quarter cup)

salt and pepper to taste


Place the chopped onions in the bottom of the pot, and then a generous splash of apple cider vinegar.

Cut the rack of ribs into smaller sections, if necessary, and pat dry with paper towels. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and stack in the pot.

Close the lid, set the vent to “seal”, and set the cook time to 45 minutes on High pressure.

Once the Instant Pot is finished, and it is safe to remove the lid, VERY carefully remove the ribs. They will likely be already falling off the bone, to lift gently. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Preheat the broiler. Broil following the final directions for the oven method: place an oven rack in the upper third. You may place the rack even closer to the broiler but you must monitor closely to ensure splattering sauce or excess liquid doesn’t start a fire. Pour desired amount of sauce of your choice onto the ribs, and set under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling and browned in spots. Be very careful to monitor this step as it goes quickly, and burning is a real possibility. This step takes about five minutes depending how close you put the ribs to the broiler.


Homemade Sauce Recipe

This sauce can be prepared quickly, while the ribs are cooking (either method)

3 tablespoons of butter (or almost half a stick)

1 large onion, grated

1 whole head of garlic, peeled and grated

1 ½ cups ketchup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ to ½ teaspoons powdered chili pepper (I use Indian chili pepper, but cayenne is also good)

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


I recommend pre-measuring the ingredients before starting, so you can quickly dump them into the pot before the onion and garlic burns.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Once hot, briefly saute the onions and then garlic (no longer than a minute as they will quickly burn since they are finely grated).

Add the rest of the ingredients and carefully stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat. The sauce may be used while still hot, but allow to completely cool before storing in the refrigerator.20180709_184929

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