Unveiling the Secrets: Why Are My Instant Pot Ribs Tough?

Cooking ribs in an Instant Pot promises tender, fall-off-the-bone results, but sometimes, things don’t go as planned, leaving you with tough and chewy ribs. This comprehensive guide delves into the potential reasons behind tough Instant Pot ribs, empowering you with the knowledge to troubleshoot and achieve perfectly cooked ribs every time.

Understanding the Causes of Tough Ribs

To effectively address tough ribs, it’s crucial to understand the underlying factors that contribute to their resilience:

  • Insufficient Cooking Time: Ribs require a specific cooking time to break down the connective tissues and achieve tenderness. If the cooking time is too short, the ribs will remain tough.

  • Improper Pressure Release: After pressure cooking, a gradual release of pressure allows the ribs to continue cooking gently. A quick release can result in tough ribs.

  • Overcrowding the Pot: Overcrowding the Instant Pot prevents the ribs from cooking evenly, leading to some ribs being undercooked and tough.

  • Using the Wrong Cut of Ribs: Certain cuts of ribs, such as spare ribs, are naturally tougher and require longer cooking times than others, like baby back ribs.

Techniques for Tenderizing Tough Ribs

Armed with an understanding of the causes of tough ribs, let’s explore effective techniques for tenderizing them:

1. Extend Cooking Time: If the ribs are still tough after the initial cooking time, consider extending it in 5-minute increments until the desired tenderness is achieved.

2. Gradual Pressure Release: After cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes before opening the lid. This gradual release helps the ribs continue cooking and tenderize.

3. Avoid Overcrowding: Ensure that the ribs are arranged in a single layer in the Instant Pot, allowing for even cooking and heat distribution.

4. Choose Tender Cuts: Opt for baby back ribs or loin ribs, which are naturally more tender than spare ribs.

Additional Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Ribs

  • Use a Dry Rub: Applying a dry rub to the ribs before cooking enhances flavor and helps create a crispy exterior.

  • Add Liquid: Adding liquid, such as water, broth, or apple juice, to the Instant Pot creates a moist cooking environment, preventing the ribs from drying out.

  • Use a Trivet: Placing the ribs on a trivet elevates them from the liquid, allowing for better air circulation and even cooking.

  • Check for Doneness: Insert a fork or toothpick into the thickest part of the ribs to check for doneness. The meat should be tender and easily pierced.

Understanding the causes of tough Instant Pot ribs and implementing the techniques outlined in this guide will empower you to consistently achieve tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs. Remember to adjust cooking times, release pressure gradually, avoid overcrowding, and choose tender cuts of ribs. With practice and a touch of patience, you’ll master the art of cooking perfect Instant Pot ribs, impressing your family and friends with your culinary prowess.

Instant Pot Ribs Cooking Method

  • Remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. With the meat facing down, flip the ribs over to remove the membrane. Use a knife to detach the membrane from the bone. Holding the membrane firmly, pull it away; once it is gone, discard it. Wash and rinse the ribs thoroughly and pat them dry. After placing the ribs in a sizable dish, bowl, or plate, set it aside.
  • Combine the apple juice, salt, black pepper, and paprika in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Pour the mixture over the meat. Turn and stir the mixture until all of the meat is coated. Remove the plastic wrap and allow the food to marinate for at least half an hour, but ideally longer.

why are my ribs tough in instant pot

  • After adding the short ribs to the instant pot, cover the ribs with the mixture. It is best to stand the ribs up, but it is acceptable if you are unable to do so.
  • To seal the Instant Pot, place the lid on and turn the knob.
  • Pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. After the instant pot reaches temperature, which should take ten to fifteen minutes, the forty-minute timer will start. After finishing, let the pressure naturally release for ten minutes before venting the instant pot to release any residual pressure.
  • After putting the ribs on a dish or baking tray, broil them for five minutes on low heat, or until they start to turn golden brown. Set a timer to ensure that you don’t exceed the allotted time. When the timer goes off, take the ribs out of the oven.
  • On the instant pot, click on cancel, then select sauté. Set the timer for thirty minutes and include one sprig of rosemary. Once the sauce/gravy starts to boil, add in the slurry. Continue to cook until the sauce starts to thicken. This process should take about 7-10 minutes.

why are my ribs tough in instant pot

  • Spoon the sauce/gravy over the meat as desired. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, and plantains, and enjoy!.

What Are Beef Short Ribs Used For?

Short ribs are best when making slow-cooked meals. The meat falls off the bone and stays tender when cooked slowly because the tough tissues break down evenly.



How do you fix tough meat in an Instant Pot?

Pot roast still tough? Cook it longer! The pressure cooking process breaks down tough meat, making it tender. If it needs more time, simply put the lid back on, seal the pressure cooker, and cook at high pressure for another 10 to 20 minutes.

Why did my ribs turn out tough?

If your ribs are chewy, you either forgot to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs or you didn’t cook them long enough. If your ribs are dry, you likely cooked them too hot and fast.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook ribs?

And the winner is: The slow cooker, but just by a hair (by a rib?). If you’re pressed for time, pressure cooker is the way to go.

Does Instant Pot release pressure when cooking ribs?

Doing a natural pressure release means that you just leave the Instant Pot alone after the cook time ends. Don’t turn it off, don’t move the steam valve, just let it sit there. You want to allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure when you are cooking ribs because a quick release can make the meat tough.

What is the reason for the pain in the ribs?

Pain in ribs can be due to various reasons including trauma (rib fracture), pulled muscle, joint inflammation, referred pain (liver, spleen, and lungs) and due to underlying undiagnosed auto-immune disorder.

Why are my ribs so tough?

Sometimes your ribs will be tough. They might be too chewy or dry. Fortunately, there are ways to solve this problem and you can even use this experience to learn how to prevent it from happening the next time. With that being said, I personally follow this recipe in which it has never failed me, Raging River Tender Smoked Ribs.

Can you put ribs in an Instant Pot?

You always need at least 1 cup of liquid in your Instant Pot for pressure cooking. Before putting the ribs in your Instant Pot, pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pot. I prefer to use water rather than apple juice in this recipe because I like to let the flavor of the ribs and dry rub shine through without adding apple flavor into the mix.

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