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This easy Keto Cola BBQ Ribs recipe is perfect for food holidays like 4th of July and the rest of the year. For those, like me, who live in an apartment, this dish allows us to easily have the flavors of keto grilled foods despite being indoors.
If you’re short on time, I include directions for how to make these Keto Pork Baby Back Ribs in an Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or other Pressure Cooker. I also include recipes for an easy sugar-free dry rub & a homemade Keto BBQ sauce.
What makes these BBQ Ribs keto-friendly?
Sugar-free Dry Rub
Usually, BBQ dry rubs are mostly brown sugar. So, if you’re trying to stay in ketosis, then you might think that BBQ is out of the question. In this recipe, I’m using an easy dry rub recipe that is sugar-free, Whole30 and keto-friendly.
Instead of sugar, it uses spices that I’m sure you have in your cabinet like paprika, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder.
Keto BBQ Sauce
Like the dry rub, BBQ sauce is typically not keto-friendly because it’s filled with sugar. As you can see in the BBQ sauce chart below, BBQ sauce generally has 10+ grams of net carbs per serving.
In this recipe, I’m using sugar-free options for BBQ sauce to keep the dish keto and low carb.
What are some keto-friendly BBQ sauce options?
Keto BBQ Sauces to Buy
If you would like to buy keto-friendly BBQ sauce, then there are two keto-friendly BBQ sauce options that I enjoy and recommend.
- The first is Sweet & Smokey Hickory BBQ sauce. It has 2g net carbs per serving and is sweetened with Stevia.
- The second is Sugar-Free Hickory. It also has 2g net carbs per serving. But, it’s sweetened with Sucralose.
Either of these would be a good option for these Slow Cooker or Instant Pot BBQ Ribs. However, as mentioned in my Keto Candy post, Stevia has less impact on most people’s bodies when compared to Sucralose. So, keep that in mind if you’re particularly sensitive.
Homemade Keto BBQ Sauce
If you’re interested in making your own Low Carb BBQ sauce, then you can use my Cola BBQ sauce recipe that I used in these Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Kabobs.
The easy recipe includes just six ingredients: sugar-free ketchup, chicken broth, keto brown sugar, hot sauce, garlic powder, and a cola-flavored stevia sweetener.
Keto Bacon Wrapped Cola BBQ Chicken KababsGet this recipe
Can you make Keto BBQ Slow Cooker Ribs in an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi?
Yes! When I first wrote this recipe, I made the ribs in my Slow Cooker.
However, after getting a Ninja Foodi (check out my Ninja Foodi review if you’re thinking about getting one), I realized that I could make these much quicker using the Foodi’s Instant Pot, or Pressure Cooker, function.
How do you make Ninja Foodi Keto BBQ Ribs?
Preparing to cook keto ribs in a Ninja Foodi or other pressure cooker like an Instant is the same as when you make them in a slow cooker.
The major difference between the two cooking methods is time. You can make ribs in a slow cooker in 4 hours or in an Ninja Foodi in 25-30 minutes.
To make my ribs in a Ninja Foodi, I did the following:
- Season the pork ribs on both sides with the dry rub.
- Marinate the ribs for at least 4 hours (ideally, overnight).
- Sit the ribs in the Ninja Foodi or pressure cooker bowl
- Pour chicken broth or keto-friendly Cola soda at the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the ribs on high for 25-30 minutes (your machine will take a few additional minutes to come to pressure)
- Allow the pressure to release
- Top the ribs with BBQ sauce
- Air Crisp the ribs for 5 minutes
How is using the 360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base different from a regular Slow Cooker?
There are two primary differences between making these Keto Slow Cooker Cola BBQ Ribs in a traditional slow cooker and making them on the 360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base. Those differences are being able to use one pot for browning the meat and slow cooking and being able to use less liquid to get a tender result.
There’s a bit of a debate about whether you should brown your meat before putting it into a slow cooker, but I’m a believer in taking the time to brown the meat. For me, this step intensifies the meaty flavor but also renders some of the fat. Typically, browning the meat means adding an extra pot. The 360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base turns your pot into a slow cooker. So, you simply brown the meat then use that same pot for the slow cooking process.
Less Liquid, More Tender
360 Cookware relies on vapor (or waterless cooking) technology. As a result, you can use less liquid when cooking to achieve more tender results. In this recipe, you use half of the liquid that you would in a traditional slow cooker. This means that if you are making these in a traditional slow cooker, then you need to double the liquid.
What is a keto-friendly replacement for Coca-Cola?
One of my favorite ways to make ribs is by using Coca-Cola soda. I got this tip a long time ago from a BBQ competition team and have used their tip ever since.
After starting keto, regular soda was not an option so I substituted it with chicken broth. Now that I regularly use several soda alternatives, I’m back to my original recipe.
In this case, I use Zevia Cola. It’s one of several flavors in the Zevia variety pack that I get each month from Amazon.
What are good side dishes for Keto Ribs?
If you’re being traditional, then you can pair this with my cauliflower mac and cheese and a sauteed leafy green like Kale or Collard Greens. You might also want to make this an easy meal and pair it with Keto Coleslaw or a salad. If you choose a salad, then I’d recommend topping your salad with my Quick Creamy Caesar Dressing or my keto balsamic vinaigrette.
Loaded CauliflowerGet this recipe
Want more slow cooker recipes?
If you are busy and can use the extra hands-off cooking time that slow cooking provides, then you should check out my keto crock-pot recipes. There are more than 60 options, which make for a perfect easy keto dinner.
If you’re not a fan of pork or want to use chicken, these Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo are a tasty choice too. They are Asian-inspired and remind me so much of the Keto Chinese Food Recipes that I love making instead of getting takeout.
Other Keto Ninja Foodi & Pressure Cooker Recipes:
Keto Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Pulled PorkGet this recipe
Ninja Air Fryer Fried Chicken Wings RecipeGet this recipe
Key Tool I Used
- May Be Necessary: Remove the thin membrane (if it's there) from the back of the rib racks (The tutorial I always use can be found here). I've found that the ribs that I get from Trader Joes do not have it attached.
- Sprinkle spicy dry rub on the ribs. Allow the ribs to marinate at least 4 hours (ideally, overnight).
Method #1: 360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base Directions
- Heat the 4 QT Stainless Steel Stockpot to medium heat
- Drizzle Olive Oil in the pot and brown the ribs (about 3 minutes per side).
- Add the Zevia or Chicken Broth to the stockpot. Use tongs to incorporate.
- Add the lid to the stockpot and set it on the Slow Cooker Base. Turn the Slow Cooker Base to 3 (medium-high) and cook for 3-4 hours.
Method #2: Ninja Foodi, Instant Pot Directions
- Add the ribs to the pressure cooker pot
- Pour the Zevia or Chicken Broth into the bottom of the pot.
- Add the pressure cooker lid and cook on high for 25 minutes
- Allow the pressure to release.
Method #3: Traditional Slow Cooker Directions
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat
- Drizzle Olive Oil in the pot and brown the ribs (about 3 minutes per side).
- Add the ribs and Zevia to the slow cooker pot. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours (or on Low for 6-8 hours).
Finish the Ribs
- Top the ribs with the BBQ sauce.
- For the Ninja Foodi: Air Crisp the ribs (400 degrees) for 15-20 minutes (the longer you keep them them there, the crispier they get). For a broiler: broil them in a broiler-safe dish on high for 5 minutes. This step allows the rib tops and edges to char!
Recipe Nutrition Facts
Cutting the RibsAfter removing the membrane from the ribs, I used to cut the ribs into smaller, 3 - 4 bone sections. I found that this made it easier for the ribs to fit into my pot or Crockpot. However, you don't need to do this if your ribs fit without cutting them.
Add the Sauce LaterSince keto-friendly BBQ sauce is more expensive than sugary BBQ sauce, I add my sauce right before browning the ribs. I've found that this reduces waste.