The Best Ninja Foodi Ribs Recipe for BBQ Enthusiasts

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If you’re a BBQ enthusiast like me, you know there’s something magical about sinking your teeth into perfectly cooked ribs, smothered in mouthwatering barbecue sauce. The tender meat, the flavorful rub, and the sticky-sweet sauce – it’s a symphony of flavors and textures that can turn any meal into a memorable feast. But what if I told you there’s a way to take your rib game to the next level? Enter the Ninja Foodi, the kitchen appliance that’s about to revolutionize your BBQ experience.

Why Ninja Foodi for Ribs?

Before we dive into the juicy details of the best Ninja Foodi ribs recipe, let’s talk about why this versatile kitchen gadget is a game-changer for BBQ enthusiasts.

Advantages of Ninja Foodi for Ribs:

Combines Pressure Cooking and Air Frying: The Ninja Foodi is not just a multi-cooker; it’s a pressure cooker and air fryer in one. This combination is a game-changer when it comes to cooking ribs. Pressure cooking ensures your ribs are incredibly tender, while air frying gives them that irresistible crispy crust.

Time-Saving Benefits: With the Ninja Foodi, you can cut down on cooking time significantly. Ribs that usually take hours to cook can be done in a fraction of the time, without sacrificing flavor or tenderness.

Now that you’re convinced that the Ninja Foodi is your new BBQ sidekick, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of crafting the perfect Ninja Foodi ribs.

Essential Ingredients

Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s gather our essential ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for the ribs and the BBQ sauce:

ninja foodi ribs

For the Ribs:

  • High-quality pork ribs (baby back or St. Louis style)
  • Rib rub (homemade or store-bought)
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (homemade or store-bought)

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustard
  • Spices (paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper)
  • Liquid smoke (for that authentic BBQ flavor)

The Perfect Rib Rub

The secret to mouthwatering ribs lies in the rub. Here’s a simple yet flavorful rub recipe that you can customize to your taste:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Combine these ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a delicious rib rub. Adjust the level of heat by tweaking the cayenne pepper quantity.

Preparing the Ribs

Before the magic happens, you’ll need to prepare your ribs. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Trimming: Start by trimming any excess fat from the ribs. This helps the rub penetrate the meat and ensures even cooking.

Membrane Removal: Flip the ribs over, and you’ll notice a thin, tough membrane covering the bone side. Use a butter knife or your fingers to lift a corner of the membrane, then grab it with a paper towel and pull it off. Removing the membrane allows the flavors to permeate the meat.

Marinating and Resting

With your ribs ready, it’s time to marinate. While marinating isn’t always necessary, it can enhance the flavor of your ribs. Here’s what you should do:

  • Place your ribs in a large Ziploc bag or a shallow dish.
  • Sprinkle the rub generously over both sides of the ribs.
  • Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for the best results.
  • Before cooking, let the ribs rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This helps them cook more evenly.

Setting Up the Ninja Foodi

Now that your ribs are marinating, it’s time to set up your Ninja Foodi. Here are the steps:

  1. Insert the Pressure Cooker Lid: Ensure the pressure cooker lid is securely in place on your Ninja Foodi.
  2. Select Pressure Cooking Mode: Choose the “Pressure” setting on your Ninja Foodi.
  3. Preheat: Preheat the Ninja Foodi by selecting the “Sear/Saute” function and setting it to “High.”
  4. Add Oil: When it’s hot, add a small amount of oil to the pot to prevent sticking.

Pressure Cooking

Pressure cooking is the key to achieving tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sear the Ribs: Place the ribs in the Ninja Foodi and sear them for a couple of minutes on each side until they develop a nice crust.
  2. Pressure Cook: Pour a cup of water into the Ninja Foodi, then lock the pressure cooker lid. Set the timer according to the size of your ribs (typically 25-30 minutes for baby back ribs and 30-35 minutes for St. Louis style ribs).
  3. Pressure Release: After the cooking time, use the quick release method to let out the pressure.

Air Frying for That Perfect Crust

Once your ribs are pressure-cooked to perfection, it’s time to give them that irresistible crispy crust. Here’s how:

Dry the Ribs: Pat the ribs dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Air Frying: Switch the Ninja Foodi to air fry mode. Set the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and cook the ribs for about 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. This will give them that beautiful golden crust.

Basting with BBQ Sauce

What’s BBQ without that smoky, sticky-sweet sauce? Here’s how to baste your ribs to perfection:

Brush with Sauce: Generously brush your ribs with your homemade or favorite store-bought BBQ sauce.

Air Fry Again: Return the ribs to the air fryer mode in the Ninja Foodi for another 5-7 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize.

Serving Your Delicious Ribs

Your Ninja Foodi ribs are now ready to be devoured. Here’s how to serve them up in style:

  1. Carefully remove the ribs from the Ninja Foodi and place them on a cutting board.
  2. Slice them between the bones for easy serving.
  3. Plate your ribs, drizzle with a bit more BBQ sauce if desired, and garnish with fresh herbs or sliced green onions.
  4. Pair your ribs with classic BBQ sides like coleslaw, baked beans, or cornbread for the ultimate BBQ feast.

Cleanup and Maintenance

Once you’ve satisfied your BBQ cravings, it’s time to deal with the aftermath. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your Ninja Foodi:

Cleaning: Wait for the Ninja Foodi to cool down before cleaning. Remove the inner pot, air fryer basket, and other removable parts to wash them with warm, soapy water. Wipe down the interior and exterior of the appliance. The Ninja Foodi’s parts are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.

Storing BBQ Sauce: If you have leftover BBQ sauce, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can last for several weeks, allowing you to enjoy more BBQ goodness in the future.

Maintenance: To keep your Ninja Foodi performing at its best, regularly check and clean the pressure release valve, sealing ring, and any other components that may need attention.

Troubleshooting Tips

Even with the best Ninja Foodi ribs recipe, you might encounter a hiccup or two. Here are some common issues and how to fix them:

Ribs Aren’t Tender Enough: If your ribs aren’t as tender as you’d like, you can pressure cook them for a few more minutes. Adjust the time to your preference.

Sauce Burned During Air Frying: To prevent your sauce from burning during air frying, reduce the temperature or cover the ribs with aluminum foil before air frying.

Too Much Smoke: If your Ninja Foodi produces excessive smoke, check if any food residue has accumulated at the bottom. Clean it to prevent smoke.

Inviting Friends and Family

Now that you’re armed with the best Ninja Foodi ribs recipe, don’t keep it to yourself. Invite your friends and family over for a BBQ feast they won’t forget. There’s something truly special about sharing great food with loved ones.

As a kitchen enthusiast, I can tell you that few things rival the satisfaction of seeing your loved ones savoring a meal you’ve prepared with love and care. So, fire up your Ninja Foodi, get those ribs cooking, and create unforgettable memories.


In the world of BBQ enthusiasts, the Ninja Foodi has emerged as a true hero. Its ability to pressure cook and air fry in one appliance has revolutionized the way we make ribs. With the perfect rib rub, marinating, and careful cooking, you can achieve ribs that are tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor. Don’t forget that sticky, smoky BBQ sauce that takes them to the next level.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure with your Ninja Foodi. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice BBQ enthusiast, this recipe will have you creating the best ribs you’ve ever tasted. Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to unleash your inner BBQ ninja and enjoy the ultimate ribs experience!

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

Yes, while pork ribs are a classic choice, you can adapt this recipe for beef ribs or even chicken if that’s your preference. Adjust the cooking times accordingly.

Q2. What if I don’t have a Ninja Foodi?

If you don’t have a Ninja Foodi, you can still follow the same recipe using a pressure cooker and a separate air fryer. The results will be equally delicious.

Q3. How can I make the BBQ sauce less spicy?

If you prefer a milder sauce, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper in the rub and adjust the spices in the BBQ sauce to your taste.

Q4. Can I freeze leftover ribs?

Yes, you can freeze leftover ribs for future enjoyment. Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, place them in an airtight container, and store them in the freezer for up to three months.

Q5. Can I cook the ribs entirely in the air fryer without pressure cooking?

While you can cook ribs in an air fryer, pressure cooking them first ensures they become tender and juicy. Skipping the pressure cooking step may result in tougher ribs.


Rachel Buyan

Hey, I'm Rachel Buyan, a culinary enthusiast with a passion for all things innovative in the kitchen, especially Ninja appliances. From whipping up smoothies to mastering air frying, I'm on a mission to unlock the full potential of these cutting-edge tools. Let's dive into the world of Ninja and revolutionize the way we cook, one delicious meal at a time!

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