Do you also have a go-to dish in a certain restaurant whenever you visited? I have that. Whenever we visit a Spur Restaurant in South Africa I always start with the garlic bread followed by their pork spareribs. All of it washed down with a chocolate milkshake and a Don Pedro for dessert.
My father used to tease us and said that the spareribs were made from seal meat! Of course we believed him, but it didn’t stop my brother and I from devouring a rack of ribs each time we went there…
Now that I live in England and pork spareribs are not found on every single menu you look at, I wanted to create a sparerib here at home that doesn’t take forever to make. My absolute go-to pork sparerib recipe is this one: Sticky Pork ribs, but I only find myself making this when I have tonnes of time or when I’m on holiday. I wanted that restaurant feel where you can eat an incredible meal, but it didn’t feel like you slaved away for hours in front of a hot stove or have tonnes of washing-up to do afterwards… That’s when I discovered that you can make the most incredible pork baby back ribs in under an hour by using your Instant Pot pressure cooker. You are not slaving away in the kitchen and you can still feel as if you are dining like Royalty.
You will definitely need a trivet to do this properly. I have managed to cook up to three racks in my 6 QT Instant Pot pressure cooker at the same time. Neither the timing nor the amount of liquid was any different from making one, two or three racks simultaneously.
The first thing you have to do is check if the ribs has a silver membrane on the bone side. If it does, you would need to remove it as it will make the ribs tough to eat and the flavours will also not develop within the meat. This Youtube video from the BBQ Pit Boys will show you exactly how to remove the membrane:
The next thing is to smother your ribs with a dry rub. You can either make your own dry rub or you could use your favourite store-bought spice mix. Nowadays there are some really great dry rubs out there.
Put the trivet into the pot and pour in your liquid. You only need 330ml of liquid. Pop the ribs onto the trivet and seal your pot. Set to the high pressure setting for 20 minutes. If you do it for any longer your ribs will become pulled pork as it will not hold it’s shape.
Once the 20 minutes is up, let your pot do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR) before opening the lid. This can take between 10 and 20 minutes. It is important to leave meat to NPR as it relaxes the muscles and ensures that your ribs are tender.
Take care when lifting the ribs out of the pot. If your trivet has handles, lift your ribs out and carefully slide it onto an oven-proof sheet pan. Gently straighten it out so it lies meat-side up. Brush over your favourite BBQ sauce – my current go-to favourite is Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce – before placing under a hot grill for 5 minutes to caramelise.
Instant Pot ribs can be made successfully with virtually any clear liquid. You only need 330ml of clear liquid to make Instant Pot Ribs, making canned soft drinks ideal. Of course you can use just plain water, but some of my favourites include:
Save it! The stock is so delicious and flavourful. You can use some of the stock to make your BBQ sauce. You can also freeze it into ice cubes and use it for the following:
Oh yes! I buy my ribs from Costco so normally you will get about 4 or 5 racks in a pack. This is naturally way too much for the two of us so I freeze the racks by folding them into a U-shape (see photo below) before placing in a freezer bag. This way I don’t have to defrost the racks and they still sit comfortably on the trivet in the Instant Pot. No need to adjust the time as the Instant Pot will do this for you by taking a bit longer to come to pressure. The only catch here is that you have to dry rub them before you freeze the racks. It will save you even more time on the day.
All products and establishments mentioned in this post is my own view or experience. I have not been paid or gifted or otherwise benefited from voicing my opinion.