Once you try this recipe for air fryer ribs, you’ll never make them any other way!
Is it possible to have succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs ready in just 25 minutes? With the air fryer, it is.
And these ribs will blow your taste buds away!
Honestly, I didn’t think it would work. I like my ribs grilled. Or baked.
But my desire to try, finger-licking ribs in less than an hour was stronger.
So I tried it. And it changed my life!
If you’re a meat-lover, you have to try these air fryer ribs today. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Air Fryer Ribs
Want to make your loved ones’ jaws drop and their mouths water? If you’re cooking only one thing this week, let it be these air fryer ribs.
Thanks to the air fryer, you and your family can enjoy the best-tasting ribs. Even on a busy weeknight!
It doesn’t take much to make the most drool-worthy BBQ ribs! Four ingredients are all you’ll need:
- Pork Back Ribs- Baby back ribs are best. Spare ribs also work, but you’ll need to cook them longer.
- Salt and Pepper- For seasoning the ribs. It’s nothing fancy, but the flavors are spot on!
- BBQ Sauce- Either homemade or store-bought. What matters is that you like the flavor.
Tips for the Best Ribs
- First thing’s first: check your air fryer’s manual. This will tell you whether you need to preheat it before cooking. Mine doesn’t, but yours might!
- Let raw ribs warm to room temperature. Cooking the meat immediately after taking it out of the fridge will shock it, yielding unevenly cooked ribs.
- Pat the ribs dry. Before seasoning the ribs, dry with a paper towel to help them soak up the marinade.
- Use your favorite seasonings! This recipe calls only for salt and pepper to season the ribs. As long as you season both sides generously, you’re good! You can certainly spice things up with cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin. You can also use your favorite rub.
- Prep your ribs the night before! Marinate the ribs in salt and pepper overnight for more a flavorful dish.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Arrange ribs in a single layer and avoid overlapping or stacking. The ribs need enough space to cook. If your air fryer isn’t big enough to fit all the ribs, don’t force it! You can always cook in batches.
- Do you like a crispy exterior? Add an extra 5 minutes of cooking towards the end give your ribs an extra crispy crust. If you’re not a fan, you can take out the ribs after cooking the bony sides.
- Watch out for burning! Monitor the ribs closely towards the end of cooking to avoid burning.
- Make them taste like they’ve been grilled. Pour a few drops of liquid smoke over the ribs after you brush them with BBQ sauce. It adds a grill-like smokiness!
- Give them time to rest. Let the ribs sit for 5 minutes before eating. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat.
How to Tell When Ribs are Done
The the best way to test for doneness is to use a meat thermometer.
According to the USDA, cooked pork ribs are safe to eat a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the meat’s tissues and collagens have a higher melting point. So at 145 degrees, the ribs will still be tough and rubbery.
You’ll want the temperature to be somewhere between 185 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a thermometer, let visual cues guide you. The meat should pull away from the bone, revealing 1/2-inch of the bone at the thinner end.
Removing the Membrane
That thin, silver membrane on the underside of the ribs is completely edible. Technically, you need not remove it, though I highly suggest you do.
You see, as the membrane cooks, it gets super tough and bothersome to eat. Without it, the ribs will be 10 times more tender and flavorful.
Don’t worry, removing the membrane is very easy. Here’s how:
- Place the ribs on a chopping board with the rack-side facing up.
- Slide a knife under the membrane, lift, and loosen it up.
- You can then peel off that silver skin effortlessly with your hands.
If it’s too slippery, use a dry kitchen towel or paper towel to help with your grip.
What Side to Cook the Ribs on First
When slow cooking your meat, it’s important to use indirect heat. That said, whenever I cook ribs on the grill, I place the bony side down first.
However, this is not the case when using the air fryer. The whole process takes only 20 minutes. So, you want to expose the meaty side to direct heat as much as possible.
With this in mind, it makes more sense to cook the ribs with the meaty side down first.
Flip the ribs over after 10 minutes, and cook the other side for another 10.
What to Serve with Ribs
Make your ribs a meal with these delicious side options!
- Caesar salad- creamy and refreshing!
- French fries, potato salad, or scalloped potatoes– any potato dish works.
- Cornbread muffins– for a hearty southern feast.
- Macaroni salad– the perfect cool side for a hot dish.
- Macaroni and cheese– there’s nothing better than ribs and mac and cheese!
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