The Ultimate Guide To St. Louis Style Ribs In The Air Fryer

st louis style ribs air fryer recipe

Unleash the True Potential of Your Air Fryer and Discover the Perfect Recipe for St. Louis Style Ribs

If you’re a fan of tender, juicy, and flavorful ribs, then you’re in for a treat! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the wonderful world of St. Louis style ribs prepared in an air fryer. Get ready to indulge in barbecue perfection right from the comfort of your own kitchen. From the food science behind the perfect ribs to cleaning and preparation tips, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive right in!

Understanding St. Louis Style Ribs

Before we start cooking, it’s important to understand what sets St. Louis style ribs apart from other rib cuts. St. Louis style ribs are spareribs that have been trimmed and squared off, resulting in a more uniform shape. These ribs are known for their succulent meat, intense flavor, and tender texture. They are a popular choice for both amateur home cooks and professional chefs.

The Science of Perfectly Cooked Ribs

To achieve mouthwatering St. Louis style ribs, it’s crucial to understand the science behind cooking them to perfection. Ribs consist of tough collagen that needs to be broken down into gelatin to achieve that fall-off-the-bone tenderness. The air fryer’s high heat circulation helps create a crisp exterior while retaining moisture inside the meat, ensuring a fantastic texture and flavor combination.

Selecting the Right Ribs

st louis style ribs

When it comes to selecting St. Louis style ribs, you want to ensure you’re starting with quality cuts of meat. Look for ribs that are nicely marbled with fat. This fat melts during cooking, adding moisture and enhancing the overall taste. Freshness is key, so always choose ribs with a vibrant color and avoid those with a strong odor or discolored spots.

Cleaning Your Air Fryer

Before getting started, it’s essential to clean your air fryer. A clean unit ensures optimal cooking and prevents any unwanted flavors from transferring to your ribs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly clean the removable parts and wipe down the interior of the air fryer.

Preparing Your Air Fryer for Ribs

st louis style ribs

To achieve the best results when air frying St. Louis style ribs, there are a few steps to follow:

  1. Preheat the air fryer: Set the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and allow the air fryer to preheat for a few minutes. This step ensures that the ribs cook evenly and helps to create a nice sear.

  2. Use a perforated or grill pan: Placing a perforated or grill pan in the air fryer basket helps elevate the ribs, allowing hot air to circulate around them and promoting even cooking and caramelization.

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Preparing the Ribs

Now that your air fryer is ready, it’s time to prepare the ribs for cooking:

  1. Remove the membrane: Flip the ribs over, locate the thin membrane on the back, and gently pull it away using a paper towel or your fingers. Removing this membrane allows for better seasoning penetration and results in more tender ribs.

  2. Seasoning the ribs: Generously season both sides of the ribs with a dry rub of your choice. Classic options include a mix of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Rub the mixture into the meat, ensuring it adheres well.

  3. Let them rest: Allow the seasoned ribs to rest at room temperature for around 20 minutes. This step allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat, resulting in deeper flavor.

Tips and Tricks for Air Frying St. Louis Style Ribs

close up view of air fried st louis style ribs

To ensure your ribs turn out divine, here are some additional tips and tricks:

  1. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer: Avoid crowding the air fryer basket with too many ribs. This can hinder the circulation of hot air, resulting in uneven cooking. Cook in batches if needed.

  2. Baste with flavor: As the ribs cook, basting them occasionally with your favorite barbecue sauce or glaze adds flavor and helps maintain moisture.

  3. Flip halfway through: To promote even cooking and achieve a beautifully caramelized exterior, flip the ribs halfway through the cooking time. This ensures both sides develop a delicious crust.

Checking for Doneness

Determining when your St. Louis style ribs are perfectly cooked is crucial. Overcooking can result in dry, tough ribs, while undercooking will leave you with chewy and underwhelming results. Here are a few methods to check for doneness:

  1. Visual cue: The meat should pull back from the bone about ¼ to ½ an inch. This indicates tender ribs that are close to perfection.

  2. Temperature check: Insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ribs, making sure not to touch the bone. The ideal internal temperature should read between 195°F and 203°F (90°C and 95°C).

Serving Suggestions and Variations

close up view of air fried st louis style ribs

Now that your St. Louis style ribs are cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve and enjoy them. Here are a few suggestions and variations to enhance your dining experience:

  1. Classic BBQ style: Serve the ribs with a side of coleslaw, cornbread, and your favorite barbecue sauce for a classic barbecue experience that will surely satisfy your cravings.

  2. Spicy kick: Amp up the heat by adding cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to your dry rub, or try a spicier barbecue sauce to accompany the ribs.

  3. Creative glazes: Experiment with different glazes, such as honey mustard, teriyaki, or bourbon-infused sauces, for a unique and delicious twist.

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Recipe: St. Louis Style Ribs in the Air Fryer

Finally, here’s the ultimate recipe for mouthwatering St. Louis style ribs prepared in the air fryer:


  • 2 racks of St. Louis style ribs
  • Dry rub of your choice (e.g., salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and brown sugar)
  • Barbecue sauce or glaze of your choice


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  3. Generously season both sides of the ribs with the dry rub.
  4. Allow the seasoned ribs to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  5. Place the ribs in the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd.
  6. Cook the ribs for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  7. Baste the ribs with barbecue sauce or glaze of your choice.
  8. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the ribs are caramelized and reach an internal temperature of 195°F to 203°F (90°C to 95°C).

In Conclusion

Preparing St. Louis style ribs in an air fryer is a fantastic cooking method that yields tender, flavorful results. With a little understanding of the science behind cooking ribs and the right seasoning choices, you can achieve barbecue perfection right in your own kitchen. So dust off your air fryer, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy the most amazing St. Louis style ribs you’ve ever tasted. Happy cooking!

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  • FAQS On St Louis Style Ribs Air Fryer Recipe

    What Are St. Louis Style Ribs?

    St. Louis Style Ribs refer to a specific cut of pork ribs that have been trimmed down to remove the breastbone and cartilage to create a rectangular slab of meat. This cut of ribs is meatier and more tender than other cuts, making it a popular choice among BBQ enthusiasts.

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    Can You Cook St. Louis Style Ribs In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can absolutely cook St. Louis Style Ribs in an air fryer. It’s a great way to achieve a perfectly tender and juicy result without having to worry about outdoor grilling or smoking.

    How Do You Prepare St. Louis Style Ribs For Air Frying?

    Start by removing the membrane from the backside of the ribs to ensure they cook evenly and tenderize properly. Then, season the ribs with your favorite dry rub or marinade, or simply season with salt and pepper.

    What Temperature Should I Air Fry St. Louis Style Ribs At?

    Preheat your air fryer to 375°F and cook the ribs for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Depending on the thickness of your ribs, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

    Can I Add BBQ Sauce To My St. Louis Style Ribs In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can add BBQ sauce to your St. Louis Style Ribs during the last few minutes of cooking, or after they are done cooking. If you add the sauce before or during cooking, be sure to brush it on in thin layers to avoid burning.

    How Do I Know When My St. Louis Style Ribs Are Done Cooking In The Air Fryer?

    A good way to test if the ribs are done cooking is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 145°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check for tenderness by gently pulling on the meat. If it easily separates from the bone, they are likely done.

    What Are Some Side Dishes That Pair Well With St. Louis Style Ribs Cooked In An Air Fryer?

    Corn on the cob, potato salad, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and grilled vegetables are all great options to pair with St. Louis Style Ribs cooked in an air fryer.