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Easy Air Fryer BBQ Pork Ribs

White plate with Air fried Pork ribs and sauce

I think my husband would be happy to have all his meals smoked. So this is a way to let him enjoy his favourite flavours, without having to start the BBQ. I’ve used my Thermomix (to steam) and Airfryer to finish these BBQ pork ribs (and he would never know if I didn’t tell him).

This first step is essential if you want soft juicy ribs; however, it can take patience. Remove the silver skin/membrane. I remove it for two reasons,

Classes if you are local (Melbourne) or Zooms from anywhere 🙂
  • Removing it allows the marinade to penetrate the meat, and
  • When the silver skin cooks, it becomes tough, leathery, and not so lovely to eat.

So take a few minutes and prepare the pork ribs. Remove them from the pack and flip them over, showing the underside.  Remove the silver skin, use a blunt knife to work underneath the skin at one end, then once you have enough to push your fingers under it and using a piece of paper towel, grab it and pull it off.  If you struggle to do this and the membrane keeps tearing, I would still remove what you can; you want that lovely marinade flavour to get right in.

The membrane on the back of pork ribs that we want to remove before cooking.

The ingredients I’ve chosen for BBQ pork ribs

  • Pork ribs.  I get my groceries delivered from Woolworths. I wouldn’t say I like all their meat, but my hubby loves these pork ribs. 
  • Garlic granules (dried). I prefer garlic granules to powder; I suspect it has fewer anti-caking agents in the granules than the powder has, so it’s my choice.
  • Onion flakes same here; I like the idea of fewer anti-caking agents; I own a Thermomix and know I can grind anything into a powder.  ?
  • Smoked Paprika. I’ve chosen smoked paprika to give the ribs a smoky BBQ flavour. You could use plain sweet paprika if you wish.
  • Faked Salt. I only buy flaked salt for cooking and baking; if you only have fine salt, use 1 tsp instead of 2.
  • Black peppercorns – great flavour when freshly ground.
  • Cumin seed – once again, seeds are better than powder as the flavour will be more intense.
  • Chilli (optional) – I add a little chilli to give my ribs a touch of heat, but of course, you can leave it out if it’s not you.
  • BBQ sauce, choose your favourite here.  I usually use my own, but there are some great brands, (take a look at this one from Woolworths), but leave the extra chilli out if you’re making these for kids.  oose a flavour that you like to start with, and you can’t go wrong. If your BBQ sauce isn’t sweet (a touch of sweet will help brown your ribs), you could add ½ – 1 tsp of brown sugar to your marinade; this will help bring out more flavour and caramelise them in the air fryer.
  • Olive oil will help keep everything moist and juicy.

Want to see a video on how to do it?

YouTube video
White plate with Air fried Pork ribs and sauce

Easy Air Fryer BBQ Pork Ribs

5 from 2 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

These full flavoured juicy Pork Ribs taste like they've just come from the BBQ. Well, hubby thinks they have. 😉 I'm guessing they're a whole lot better for him too.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Dinner, Dinner or Entree, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Method Air Fryer, Air Fryer AND Thermomix, Steamer


  • Air Fryer
  • Steamer or Thermomix Varoma


  • 1 – 1.5kg of pork ribs. I get these
  • 2 tsp garlic granules dried
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp flaked salt
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • ½ tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp chili optional
  • 200 g BBQ sauce choose your favourite
  • 20 g Olive oil


  • Prepare your ribs by removing the silver skin; see above in my blog post for this.
  • Cut the ribs into portions of 3 or 4 ribs a piece and place them in the Varoma or your steamer.
  • Now make the marinade. Start with the spices blend. Add the garlic granules, onion flakes, smoked paprika, salt flakes, black peppercorns, cumin and coriander seed and chilli flakes if using. Blitz to a powder (TM: MC in 30 seconds/speed 10)
  • Remove the spice mix and place it into a marinating bowl. Weigh the BBQ sauce of choice and olive oil into the bowl.
  • Set the steamer going. TM: Place 1 litre of water into the TM bowl. Place Varoma into position, add ribs and pop on the Varoma lid and steam 30 min/Varoma/speed 1.
  • Remove the Varoma lid and turn the ribs to ensure even cooking; replace the Varoma lid and steam for a further 30 min/Varoma/speed 1.
  • While this happens, mix your marinade ingredients in the bowl and set them aside.
  • Once the Pork Ribs have been steamed for an hour, remove them from the steamer (Varoma). I use a basting brush and baste the marinade all over them. Make sure you get plenty of marinade in all the nooks and crannies. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
  • Place your pork ribs in your air fryer and cook for 15 – 18 minutes at 180°C or until tender and caramelised on the surface.
  • Serve this with a baked spud and coleslaw, and you’ll have happy men in your family.


I make a wide range of sauces; a lot of them are found in my “A Bit On The Side” online course.  This course has 4 modules each with an eBook of recipes. 


  1. 5 stars
    These turned out so well, I’ll definitely be making them again soon! I never knew about removing the membrane from the ribs and this was a game changer, thanks for sharing that extra tip Bec.

  2. These look wonderful , love the idea of steaming first in varoma . I don’t have an air fryer. Could I use the oven to finish them off?

    1. Hi Anne, Sure thing, Put your oven on the hottest it will go, use fan forced and bring them out when they’re deep golden. You can use the BBQ too; that way you can get hubby involved. ???

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