4 ratings

Instant Pot Smoky Ribs

This Instant Pot recipe will satisfy your barbecue cravings

If you’re a barbecue purist with a smoker who doesn’t like sauce on your ribs, you will love this recipe, as the smoked ribs don’t need it. If you’re a bad planner who wants last-minute ribs, you too will love this recipe. If you don’t have a smoker, a broiling option is provided here, too. — Urvashi Pitre, author of The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook


For the Mexican spice rub: In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. It’s a great rub for these ribs, and for other beef and pork recipes.


  • 2 Tablespoons barbecue rub or Mexican spice rub (see note)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 rack pork baby back ribs, about 2 pounds, cut into 4 pieces

For smoking the ribs

  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup wood chips

For broiling the ribs

  • 1/3 Cup prepared low-carb barbecue sauce


If you’re using a smoker, preheat it to 225 degrees F. (If you do not have a smoker, you can broil the ribs at the end of cooking; see directions below.)

Season the ribs with a rub of your choice, or use my Mexican-spice rub recipe (see notes).

Pour the water and vinegar into the inner cooking pot of the Instant Pot, then place a trivet or steamer rack in the pot.

Place the ribs on the steamer rack so they are standing up.

Lock the lid into place. Select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and adjust the pressure to high. Cook for 20 minutes. When the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure. Unlock the lid.

To finish the ribs, either smoke them or place them under a broiler.

For smoking the ribs

Put a cup of water in the water pan of your smoker.

Put the cooked ribs on the smoker rack.

Add the wood chips and allow the ribs to smoke for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they are browned and acquire a smoky flavor.

You do not need barbecue sauce if you are smoking the meat, as it will simply mask the beautiful smokiness of the meat.

For broiling the ribs

Turn the oven broiler on high. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Put the ribs on the foil.

Brush on the barbecue sauce to add flavor and keep the ribs from drying out.

Broil the ribs for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp.

Excerpted from “The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook” by Urvashi Pitre (Rockridge Press, 2018).