Air Fryer Pork Ribs are our favourite smoky barbecue dinner.
Our homemade Air Fryer Pork Ribs recipe is quick & easy to cook, ready to serve in under 30 minutes.
Roll up your sleeves and grab a pile of napkins when enjoying these sticky and smoky pork ribs. The simple 4 ingredient recipe features pork ribs, bbq spice rub, liquid smoke and barbecue sauce.
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What Are Pork Ribs?
Pork ribs are always a treat, whether cooked indoors or outdoors, but what kind of ribs should you buy at the butcher?
The two most commonly sold types of ribs are baby back ribs and St. Louis-style spareribs.
Baby Back Ribs (also known as pork loin back ribs, back ribs or loin ribs) are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. The upper ribs are called baby back ribs, but not because they come from a baby pig. They’re only called baby because they are shorter in relation to the larger spareribs.
Each baby back rib rack averages 10 to 13 curved ribs that are 3 to 6 inches long and weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, which feeds approximately 2 people.
Baby back ribs are very tender and lean but are in higher demand than St. Louis-style spareribs, so they are typically more expensive.
St. Louis-style Spareribs (also known as breastbone-off pork spareribs) are the meaty ribs cut from the belly of the animal after the belly is removed. They are usually trimmed down into the popular St. Louis-style spareribs by cutting away the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage, so the slab is more rectangular in shape.
St. Louis-style spareribs are flatter than baby back ribs, which makes them easier to brown. There is a lot of bone but also a higher amount of fat, making them very flavorful if cooked properly. Each slab usually weighs 2 1/2 pounds or more and feeds about three to four people. St. Louis-style spareribs are cheaper than baby backs ribs.
You can use either kinds of pork ribs in an air fryer.
My Family Loves Pork Ribs
My family is obsessed with pork ribs.
Every summer our family used to go to the annual Burlington Ribfest to nosh on barbecued meats and crispy bloomin onions.
Barbecue is an artform in America. I’ve enjoyed traveling throughout the USA on press trips as a professional food and travel journalist.
I’ve eaten at many of the top barbecue restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and DC.
American pitmasters use highly specific styles and unique ingredients when preparing baby back ribs and other smoked meats. You really need to travel across the USA to appreciate the nuances in each states unique method.
Now that we’ve upgraded our kitchen with the trendiest new gadget we love making Air Fryer Pork Ribs at home.
Cooking Pork Ribs in an Air Fryer is a modern day marvel for home cooks who have a penchant for American barbecue feasts. Air Fryers cook food much quicker and help ensure pork ribs have a crispy and sticky exterior and moist interior.
Where To Eat Pork Ribs
It may be helpful to first sample Pork Ribs at a local bbq restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess if you enjoy a dry rub or wet barbecue sauce, the number of ribs to serve to each person, and your favourite side dishes like mac & cheese and creamy polenta or grits.
In Toronto, popular barbecue restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve baby back ribs include Cherry Street Bar-B-Que, Barque Smokehouse, Smoke N Bones, Hogtown Smoke, The Stockyards and Carbon Bar.
Best Air Fryers
An air fryer is a small countertop convection oven designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. A fan circulates hot air at high speed, producing a crisp layer via browning reactions.
In 2010, Philips introduced the Airfryer brand of convection oven at a consumer electronics fair in Berlin. It used the patented Rapid Air technology, though the term air fryer is now used generically.
Early air fryers were barrel-shaped, though more recently, many have come to resemble toaster ovens and pressure cookers, offering additional functions like toasting, baking, dehydrating and rotisserie.
A decade after their launch, Air Fryers are now one of the trendiest kitchen appliance. They are particularly popular with gourmands living in condos or apartments in big cities like Toronto as they reduce the number of appliances taking up space in your kitchen.
- Hamilton Beach: I tested this recipe with a Hamilton Beach toaster oven-style air fryer. They are an excellent option for those looking for an affordable air fryer and I particularly like mine as it allowed me to replace my toaster, dehydrator and rotisserie. It’s also easier to spread food out and make it crispy by using a baking tray rather than a basket.
- Instant Vortex: This popular air fryer is brought to you by the inventors of the popular Instant Pot. It’s 6 quart capacity features an easy to clean tray that air frys, roasts and bakes.
- COSORI: This 5.8 quart air fryer is an 11-in-1 cooker featuring a nonstick basket and helpful shake reminder setting.
- Ninja: This premium brand is the perfect option for those looking to invest in a heavy duty stainless steel air fryer. The product has been designed to look similar to an Instant Pot, with the top of the air fryer flipping backwards so you can easily lower a basket filled with food.
- NuWave: This sleek digital air fryer features a traditional removable basket and reaches temperatures up to 390 F.
How To Make Air Fryer Pork Ribs
Our air fryer ribs recipe is so easy to make you’ll have it ready to serve in under 30 minutes!
There are two methods to making pork ribs in an air fryer, which depend on the style of air fryer you are using.
- Traditional Basket: air fryers with a removable basket are still the most common. In order to make Air Fryer pork ribs in these machines, gently lower a section of ribs into the basket in one layer.
- Toaster Oven Tray: modern air fryers featuring a glass door and tray configuration make it easy to prepare smoky air fryer pork ribs at home. Simply place the ribs on the tray and watch them get crispy while watching through the glass door.
Air Fryer Pork Ribs Cooking Tips
- Place the ribs in one flat layer without any overlap or touching, otherwise you’ll end up with unevenly cooked pork.
- We’ve used fresh pork ribs in this recipe but you can also cook from frozen. If you’re cooking from frozen give yourself more time and keep your eye on them so they don’t burn. The internal temperature should be 145°F before serving.
- We’ve used a dry rub and barbecue sauce in this recipe. This ensures a sticky and crunchy rib eating experience. You can also simply use a dry rub on its own or a barbecue sauce on its own.
- We’ve used store bought barbecue seasoning and bbq sauce but could make your own homemade options to impress guests.
- We’ve added mesquite liquid smoke to give the pork ribs cooked in an air fryer the taste of grilled meats prepared over a fire. Feel free to leave out if you can’t find it at your grocery store or prefer a less smoky pork rib recipe.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Pork Ribs
Air Fryer Pork Ribs can be enjoyed as a hearty lunch or part of an epic American barbecue dinner.
For a healthy meal we suggest cooking Pork Ribs in an Air Fryer and serving them with fresh salads like Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad, Warm Orzo Lemon Salad, Canadian Salad, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad, Cherry Pecan Kale Salad, Egyptian Salad Vegan Salata Baladi, or Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers, Rhubarb Strawberry Dutch Baby, Jordgubbstårta Swedish Strawberry Cake and Chocolate Chip Caramel Banana Nut Ice Cream.
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Best Homemade Pork Ribs in Air Fryer Recipe
Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- Pastry brush
- 2.5 lb Pork Baby Back Ribs membrane removed
- 2 tbsp BBQ Spice Rub
- 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
- 3/4 cup BBQ Sauce
- Preheat Air Fryer to 375 F.
- Season the ribs with bbq spice mixture, covering both sides of the pork by using your hands to evenly coat the meat.
- Place the ribs in the air fryer basket or tray, meat side down and cook for 18-20 minutes.
- Use tongs to flip the ribs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the air fryer and cover in bbq sauce and liquid smoke using a pastry brush. Return to the air fryer and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes at 400 F.
- Remove pork ribs from the air fryer and let rest for 3-5 minutes tented in foil to keep the meat moist and juicy.
- Serve ribs covered in additional bbq sauce alongside fresh salads and cornbread.
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