Until recently I'd never considered cooking baby back ribs in the air fryer.
Partially because I've always cooked ribs in a grill or smoker.
Do you cook ribs up or down?
It really doesn't matter if you cook ribs up or down. Using an air fryer to cook ribs like we're doing here I prefer to cook with the meat side up so that it promotes even airflow around the food. Probably the best bet is to flip the ribs a couple of times during cooking.
Do I soak my ribs to make them more tender?
I've heard of people soaking a rack of ribs in apple juice or even water with brown sugar before cooking. This really won't do much to tenderize the ribs. If you are dead set on soaking ribs you could add a couple of tablespoons of salt to a gallon of water essentially brining the ribs but it's really not necessary. Some other tips on cooking pork ribs can be found in this article.
The ribs that I typically cook are on a pellet grill or Kamado grill like the Kamado Joe. I've even gone so far as to sous vide cook ribs and finish them on the Traeger but these methods take a good amount of time.
Using the 3-2-1 method of cooking ribs takes about six hours. But what if you want ribs and don't have six hours to wait? This Ninja Foodi Grill recipe for air fryer baby back ribs will have you licking barbecue sauce off of your fingers in less than an hour. The time savings of the Foodi grill works for other pork dishes too like this pork shoulder recipe.
If you really fancy slow cooking, check out this article on cooking beef short ribs for 75 hours!
I like to think of this method of cooking ribs as a turbo method.
Air fryers like the Ninja Foodi Grill are basically turbo ovens. So it makes sense that we use one here in this recipe. When using an air fryer for meats don't forget to take carryover cooking into consideration. The food will be cooked to your desired doneness and stays nice and juicy.
Make no mistake about it. This method is quick. But it's also quite effective if you want to enjoy ribs in about an hour.
These ribs will have some chew to them. They are not boiled or slow-cooked so the meat is much more firm but still flavorful and delicious.
If you love ribs to be fall off the bone, CJ also has a method for easy fall off the bone air fryer ribs I'm sure you will enjoy.
Scroll down to get the full recipe and our method for making baby back ribs in the air fryer.
This is another amazing dish that CJ of CJ's Tasty Things cooked in the Ninja Foodi Grill.
Recently CJ made a delicious meatloaf in the Ninja Foodi Grill, and it's worth taking a look at.
Like this air fryer baby back rib recipe, it's fun to learn her method of cooking in the Ninja Foodi Grill, and she's been generous enough to share it with us here.
Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs
- ½ rack baby back ribs
- ½ cup bbq rub
- ½ cup bbq sauce
- 3 cups water
- Remove the Ribs from the packaging and don't pat them dry, let the natural juices help the seasoning stick to the Ribs
- Let the Pork Ribs set out at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Remove the membrane by carefully slipping a butter knife between the bone and silver skin to loosen
- Using a paper towel for better leverage grab the loosened membrane and peel free from the bones
- Season both sides of the ribs with the BBQ rub
- Preheat to 390°F on the Roast mode
- Add Ribs to the Air Crisp Basket, meat side up.
- Lower the temperature to 325°F
- Roast at 325°F for 10 minutes.
- Flip the Ribs over, meat side down.
- Add 1 cup of very hot water to the base pan
- Roast on 325°F for another 10 minutes.
- Flip the Ribs over, meat side up.
- Roast on 325°F for an additional 10 minutes. (The internal temperature was 198°F after 30 minutes of roasting.)
- Switch to 350°F on Air Crisp mode
- Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce.
- If the pan has become dry add an additional cup of water to the base pan to prevent the sauce from possibly smoking
- Air Crisp at 350° for 5 minutes to allow the sauce to set
- Remove from the grill, let rest for 5 minutes, serve and enjoy!