Enjoy delicious, fall-off-the-bone ribs in under an hour!
Ribs! There’s not much that can beat a great tender, long-cooked, saucy rack of ribs. But, these days, who has the time to go through all the steps to marinate or dry rub them, then either smoke them (do you even HAVE a smoker?), bake them in the oven for hours ’til they get tender, and then…there’s the sauce! That’s where our easiest bbq air fryer ribs recipe comes to the rescue! Using the wildly popular air fryer, we can get “low and slow” results in a fraction of the time. And they come out tasting fantastic!
Don’t Skimp on the Rub
So, any pitmaster worth her (or his!) salt will tell you the rub is where it all begins. And, we agree! So, that’s where the process to making our bbq air fryer ribs begins!
We are going to combine a whole bunch of spices to make our rub. Chili powder, smoked paprika, a bit of brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, cayenne for a spot of heat, salt, and pepper are all combined in a small bowl. These ingredients are going to be the underlying flavor elements of our ribs.
Want Tender Ribs? It’s the Membrane that Matters
To prep our ribs for this type of cooking, we’ll want to remove the stringy membrane on the curved side of the ribs. It can be a little tricky, but don’t worry…we’ll walk you through this.
Flip the ribs over so the curved side is towards you. You’ll want a butter or dinner knife and a piece of paper towel. Slide the tip of the knife under the thin section of membrane and work the knife to free a section from the ribs. If you need “traction” to pull the membrane while you are loosening it, use the paper towel to provide some grip while you tear the membrane back. If it gives resistance, use the butter knife to pry it off the ribs.
It may seem clumsy at first, but with a little patience, the membrane will come off. Discard this piece, cut the rack in half, and let’s move on to the fun part.
Here’s Why it’s “Easiest!”
So, now that your ribs are prepped, you’ll take your spice mixture and rub it all over them, front and back. Pop them into the air fryer, with the meaty side down. Cook the ribs at 380 degrees for 20 minutes. Then, still at 380 degrees, flip the ribs over and cook them for another 10 minutes. The final step is to brush the ribs with the BBQ sauce and return them to the air fryer for another 5 minutes, still at 380 degrees.
That’s it! Flavorful, tender, juicy ribs and it only took you 45 minutes, including your bit of struggle with the membrane! Now can you see why we call these the Easiest BBQ Air Fryer Ribs?
The Easiest BBQ Air Fryer Ribs
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 pounds baby back ribs
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, black pepper, kosher salt, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Cut the rib rack in half so they can fit in the air fryer.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the ribs. Place the ribs in the air fryer meat side down and cook for 20 minutes on 380 degrees. Once the ribs are done, use tongs or a fork to flip them, and cook for 10 additional minutes on 380 degrees.
- Spread the barbecue sauce over the ribs and cook for 5 more minutes on 380 degrees.
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If you try this recipe for our air fryer ribs, let us know how they turned out. We always appreciate your feedback.
If you’re looking for some sides to go with these fabulous ribs, what’s more traditional than coleslaw? Here are some great options for you to try:
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OMG these are delicious! Removed the membrane as instructed and followed recipe to the letter. They were super juicy and tender. My usual go to ribs recipe takes nearly 24 hours…..low and slow so didn’t really expect them to compare. Won’t be using any other recipe again. Thank you so much.
Sue, GREAT!!! I’m thrilled you also love our ribs recipe. You’re right, this recipe is soooo much easier and just as delicious.