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Baby back ribs with dry rub on a red plate, with an Instant Pot and a jar of dry rub in the background

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs with Memphis Dry Rub

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs with Memphis Dry Rub. Pressure cooker baby back ribs, Memphis style, with a spice rub and no sauce.


  • 1 slab baby back ribs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)

Memphis Dry Rub (or substitute 3 tablespoons of your favorite rub)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder


  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs: On the bone side of the ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and the bone, then grab with a paper towel and pull the membrane off of the ribs. (If it tears while you’re pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off as well.)
  2. Mix the Memphis rub: In a small bowl, stir the Memphis Dry Rub ingredients, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the dry rub.
  3. Season the ribs and put them in the pot: Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the remaining rub (about 2 tablespoons). Cut the rib rack into 4 pieces, cutting between every third bone. Pour a cup of water and the liquid smoke into an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, then add the pressure cooker rack. Stack the ribs loosely on top of the rack.
  4. Pressure cook the ribs for 30 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, or for 24 minutes in a stovetop PC. (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 more minutes.
  5. Second seasoning: Gently lift the ribs out of the pressure cooker and put them on a rimmed baking sheet, bone side down. Sprinkle the meaty side of the ribs with the remaining tablespoon of Memphis rub. You can serve the ribs as-is, or brown the ribs with an extra step…
  6. Broil the ribs (Optional): Put the baking sheet of ribs under a broiler set to high, and broil the ribs until they start to brown, about 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Remove the ribs from the broiler, serve, and enjoy!


  • Don’t have a pressure cooker rack? That’s OK - just stack the ribs, bony side down, in the pressure cooker pot. The parts of the ribs that wind up in the water will be extra tender, but still good.
  • Can’t live without BBQ sauce? It’s not very Memphis of you, but if you insist, brush a layer of sauce on the ribs after adding cooking, and adding the remaining tablespoon of rub. (Or, use one of my with-sauce recipes in the Related Posts section, below.)


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American