Instant Pot BBQ Ribs (THM S, paleo, low carb)

How often do you write real snail mail letters?  I really like to write in journals and probably use pen and paper more than most.  But tonight I was finishing three letters for a penpal circle I joined and yowza!  My hand has practically shriveled up into a claw.  It was actually shaking a little at the end.  Apparently I need to get into practice.

Today I had a little bit of a headache but wasn’t actually sick, and didn’t really feel like working out.  Do you ever feel that way?  I went anyway.  For me it has been important not to skip a workout unless I am really unable to complete it.  I am pretty much always glad afterward if I did it.  It’s a little embarrassing giving you a window into my head, but I think a lot of people have gone through similar thought patterns that held back their health.  Actually, it holds back everything.  It goes like this: when I was depressed and unhealthy, I was just trying to get by.  In any given area, I wanted to figure out what I could get away with not doing.

Then, in baby steps, I started to do positive things in a number of areas, and I felt accomplished.  Then I started to see results.  I moved past fear and into action, and it was extremely powerful.  The paradigm shift was in seeing how much fuller life was when I wanted to see positively what I can get done.  Let me save you several years and possibly some professional therapy: fear of failure won’t get you anywhere.  And no, I’m not going to pull out a rainbows and bunnies poster and tell you that you can do anything.  If you haven’t worked out in five years, you are probably not going to go smash a five-mile run in the morning.  You’re also never going to work up to that until you try.  Your first, second, and fiftieth tries might not be perfect.  But if you are willing to learn and take steps, in the end you won’t be disappointed.

Eventually, I noticed something really remarkable.  In a lot of areas, success had become my habit.  Newton’s first law applies here: you tend to keep doing what you were already doing.  It is easier to eat healthy and work out because it’s what I do every day.  It is fun to see what else I can accomplish or set a new goal because I know what happens when I do.  It is satisfying to de-clutter another area of my house because I know how great that feels and how much it helps my family.  Right now I suggest you use your inertia to get up and make some ribs because they are that good.

Instant Pot Ribs

So let’s talk about doing ribs in the Instant Pot.  I had come to accept that perfect, fall-off-the-bone ribs take time.  That is no longer the case.  The method is super easy for a weeknight but they’re special enough for company.  You can really use any rub or sauce depending on your preferences.  I included the recipe for my easy, smoky go-to rub.  To stay Whole30 you can use the BBQ sauce in this recipe by the fabulous Juli Bauer Roth over at PaleOMG, or use the one out of the book.  Personally I use Stubb’s original or spicy depending on my mood (y’all know I can get spicy), but that has a teeny bit of cane sugar in it so partake according to your conscience.

The method is so stinkin’ easy!  Just put a little water and apple cider vinegar in the bottom of the instant pot.  Then rub your ribs and layer them in on the metal trivet that comes with the Instant Pot.

Select the Meat setting and set it for forty minutes.  Release the pressure using the quick release method.

Lay the ribs on a baking sheet and baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.  I might suggest using foil because I used parchment paper and it got, shall we say, crispy… under the broiler(read: I was thirty seconds away from a fire).  Broil for about 5 minutes or until done to your liking.  You can also finish them on the grill, but it was cold outside and I’m lazy.

Then enjoy your porky perfection!

Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Tender, fall-off-the-bone barbecued pork ribs in under an hour using your Instant Pot!


  • 2 racks pork baby back ribs or the amount needed for your family
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • favorite on plan BBQ sauce


  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs if desired.

    Mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

  2. Cut the ribs into 3- or 4-rib pieces.

    Rub generously on both sides with the rub.

  3. Put the water and apple cider vinegar in the Instant Pot, then place the metal trivet.

    Layer the ribs in the pot.

  4. Select the Meat setting and use the +/- to set it for 40 minutes.

    When finished, use the quick release method to release the pressure.

  5. Put the ribs on a baking sheet and brush with your favorite barbecue sauce.

    Broil for about 5 minutes 6 inches from the heat, or until the sauce is slightly caramelized to your liking.  Enjoy!


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