Easy Instant Pot Country Style Ribs

Tender and full of flavor this Instant Pot Country Style Ribs recipe is an easy way to make a delicious family dinner. Use a light seasoning and drizzle with BBQ sauce for the best country ribs!

Generous pile of easy country style ribs on a dinner plate

Serve with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli for a wholesome weeknight meal.

Best Instant Pot Country Style Ribs Recipe

Pressure cooking ribs is the fastest way to cook fork tender country style ribs that we’ve found. With only a few minutes of hands on time this is an easy meal that everyone in our family enjoys.

Fall apart country ribs will taste a lot like pulled pork with bbq sauce. We prefer a simple coat of seasoned salt or a pre-made BBQ rub, but a homemade meat seasoning is great too. 

The instant pot is more convenient because ribs can be browned and then cooked in the same pot. Less dishes and less hassle means more time for fun!

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Close up fork tender country ribs coated with bbq sauce

We like to buy pork country ribs because they are a great value and make a cheap protein packed meal. I like to make a big batch and shred leftovers. They reheat to make great lunches throughout the week.

Ingredients Needed

  • 2 – 3 pounds pork rib country style ribs
  • Seasoned salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Chicken broth
  • Cherry Pepsi or Coke
  • Balsamic vinegar

Pork Rib Basics

I’ve been shopping at several grocery stores for country style ribs and found a huge variety in the appearance and sizes of pork country ribs.

Country ribs are typically cut of the ends, sides and edges of other popular cuts of meat. Thus they are typically one of the best values in the meat case. Since the cuts are inconsistent the eating experience can be too.

The challenge is that the variation of muscles often means a variety of cooking times.

Know that pork butt is actually the shoulder of the pig. Butt ribs and shoulder ribs are actually the same cut, but I noticed that different grocery stores label them differently.

Spare ribs and baby back ribs have an actual portion of a rib bone in the meat and will be much more consistent at all stores and restaurants.

Plate of fork tender country ribs with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts

Another meal we love with country style ribs is our Ribs and Sauerkraut in the oven. The sheet pan meal is great for feeding our family!

Recipe Tips & Tricks:

  • Bone-in ribs will likely be more tender, but do take a little more effort to eat. I like to buy bone-in ribs for adults and boneless country style ribs for a family with younger kids
  • This is a keto or low-carb recipe
  • Sauerkraut is very popular to serve with country ribs and can be added to the Instant Pot below the rack along with the other liquid ingredients. For crispier sauerkraut use the details in this Kielbasa and Sauerkraut recipe to prepare it in a skillet.

Are Country Ribs Better in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker?

Pork butt or shoulder country ribs create the best meal and are our favorite type to use. They will cook well in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. The instant pot is a much faster way to prepare ribs.

Loin ribs will be better in the instant pot than crock pot.

Plate of shredded country style ribs on a blue and white plaid napkin in front of and Instant Pot

Butt or Shoulder Ribs vs. Loin Ribs

When multiple muscles come together in the shoulder this cut of meat is ideal for a moist cooking method like the instant pot or a low and slow cooking method like the slow cooker. 

These muscles typically have more marbling which adds tenderness and flavor. They also have more connective tissue between the different muscles that becomes so tender and delicious under a high pressure cooking method.  

When there is a single loin muscle or only a couple muscles in very lean pieces a fast cooking method with higher heat like a grill or skillet will yield the best eating experience. Frankly we try to avoid purchasing this type of rib because it is typically more difficult to work with and more likely to be tough regardless of cooking method. 

Loin ribs will be fine in the instant pot, but know that shoulder ribs are the best if you like meat to cut as easy as soft butter!

Choosing Ribs to Be the Most Tender and Not Tough

If the ribs look like a piece of a pork shoulder or blade steak they have maximum potential to be tender and amazing! The label will likely say Pork Shoulder Butt Country Style Ribs.

Pink meat tray filled with pork shoulder butt country style ribs on a wooden table

If the ribs look more like a pork chop they will not have the highest potential to be fall apart fork tender in the instant pot and grilling or a quick cooking method will likely be better for these ribs.

Often when I buy a big pack of country style ribs I can’t see exactly what types of ribs are inside. It’s not until opening the package at home and finding a variety of shoulder of butt and loin ribs that you have to figure out what to do.

Ideally the leaner ribs would get marinated and grilled like our Farmhouse Marinated Pork Chops and the shoulder ribs could be oven baked, pressure cooked or slow cooked.

This is where the pressure cooker is a tool to help prepare all of the ribs in an assorted pack to be as tender as possible.

Instant Pot Basics

  • Enough liquid is needed to cover the bottom of the pot – this is probably 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid.
  • 3/4 cup of plain water or chicken broth may be used, but we like the additional flavors from the soda and vinegar, some people like to add liquid smoke.
  • Apple juice, Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar may be used interchangeably. 
  • Beer may be used as the sole liquid in the pressure cooker if desired.
  • After searing the ribs add liquid to the pot, cleaning the pot is not necessary.
  • I like to use the wire insert to keep the ribs up off the bottom of the pot, this helps prevent the burn feature from kicking on and stopping cooking.
  • I use a 6 or 8 quart Instapot for this recipe
  • Test cooking time and exact details in your own appliance. Different brands, sizes and other factors can affect cooking times and the outcome of the recipe.

How Long to Cook Country Style Pork Ribs in the Pressure Cooker?

For a single layer of smaller ribs cook on high pressure for at least 30 minutes. For a single layer of larger ribs cook on high for 45 minutes.

When layering ribs or filling the pot allow more time to sear the ribs in batches as well as more time for the pot to pressurize once sealed. Add at least 10 to 20 additional minutes to the base time used in making a single layer.

The cooking time isn’t affected with bone-in or boneless pork ribs. The size of the ribs will affect cooking time more than having a bone or not.

Why Are My Ribs Tough in the Instant Pot?

Always use the natural release for at least 15 minutes to create tender ribs. Using the quick release feature immediately will not allow the protein in the meat to finish cooking properly and will cause them to be tougher. Natural release gives the proteins time to relax and tenderize.

If shoulder ribs are not fork tender replace the lid and pressure cook for an additional 15 minutes. Then natural release pressure again for 10 – 15 minutes. Butt shoulder ribs may be tough if they have not cooked long enough. Cooking longer will make them more tender.

If loin ribs are not tender after 30 minutes of pressure cooking with a natural pressure release additional cooking time will not make them more tender. Loin ribs can be tough as there is not enough marbling, fat and a variety of components in the meat. The pigs may be genetically too lean to be tender also.

Fork in a bite of fall apart country ribs with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes and green vegetables in the background

What Does Broiling Do?

Putting the ribs on a baking sheet under broil or high heat after pressure cooking until tender will brown them up. They will look more like we think of spare ribs or baby back ribs. The browning does create a deeper, meatier flavors.

The reality is the extra step takes extra time and if you like tender meat that tastes like a roast there’s no obligation to do it.

This additional step and flavor is certainly personal preference.  My preference is to spend less time in the kitchen, so I rarely do this.

Step By Step Instructions

Set instant pot to saute and add 1 – 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When oil is hot add ribs in a single layer in the instant pot. 

While oil is warming rub seasoned salt or your favorite dry rub into the ribs.

Browning country style shoulder ribs in oil in a pressure cooker

Use long handled tongs to flip the country ribs until each side is browned.

Set ribs aside on a clean plate and put the wire rack in the pot.

Pour liquid ingredients in the pot and add ribs on top of the rack. 

Put the lid on and set to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes for smaller ribs and 40 minutes for larger ribs. Add cooking time for layers of ribs.

Once done cooking allow to natural release for 15 minutes and then perform a quick release.

Lightly brown boneless country style pork ribs on rack over liquid in Instant Pot

Remove the lid and use a fork to test the tenderness of the meat. 

Shred pork and drizzle your favorite bbq sauce over tender and delicious ribs.

Storage and Freezing

Store cooked ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days. 

Ribs can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer bag. 

I prefer to shred ribs before chilling so that reheating and serving is a bit easier, especially for my kids.

Side Dish Ideas to Serve with Ribs

Potato Salad is a family recipe that often shows up at big gatherings.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese always tastes good with BBQ meat!

Green Beans with bacon is one of the best ways to enjoy vegetables.

Close up barbecue pork country ribs with a fork in the bite on top

Easy Instant Pot Country Style Ribs

Servings 6 ribs
Author: Jennifer
Tender and full of flavor this Instant Pot Country Style Ribs recipe is an easy way to make a delicious family dinner. Use a light seasoning and drizzle with BBQ sauce for the best country ribs!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Pressurizing and natural release time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds Shoulder or butt country style ribs
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry Pepsi
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Rub seasoned salt into both sides of each rib.
  • Set Instant Pot to saute and add oil. Once oil is hot brown pork ribs on at least two sides. This take 5 minutes or less.
  • Set ribs aside and put the wire rack in the pot.
  • Pour liquid into the pot.
  • Add ribs in a single layer on the rack. Turn lid to the sealing position.
  • Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes for smaller ribs and 40 minutes for larger ribs. The pot will take 5 – 10 minutes to pressurize.
  • Allow to natural release for 15 minutes and then perform a quick release to remove the lid.
  • Ribs should be fork tender and ready to enjoy warm!

Nutrition

Calories: 291kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 29gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 906mgPotassium: 477mgSugar: 3gVitamin A: 12IUCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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