Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lip Smackin' Ribs

Now I know this is not an everyday meal for most of us, but when you want to do something special for your family or guests, it’s an easy knock-your-socks-off main dish. So few ingredients to produce something incredibly delicious and tender! I had been planning on experimenting with my rice cooker as a slow cooker for making ribs, but an extended nap in the afternoon left me with less than 2 hours for braising. Most recipes I came across suggested a minimum braise of at least 2 hours so that was out of the question. Out came my pressure cooker to the rescue, and in an hour I had mouthwatering, fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs. You’ve seriously got to try this! I bought my ribs from a cold storage meat supplier, but they are the local ones—not the crazy expensive imported ones. I would imagine you could just point to your own ribs at a local butcher and get the same thing, too. It might just require some trimming of skin and excess fat at home—from the pork, that is, not you. 

Barbecue Pork Ribs 
1 slab pork ribs, cut into smaller sections of 2-3 ribs
2 Tablespoons oil
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or bottled)
1 ½ cups liquid (broth, red wine, beer, etc.)
Salt and Pepper

Once you cut the ribs apart, lightly cut an X into the back of them to keep them from curling during cooking. Heat the pressure cooker over medium heat and add the oil. You’ll need to vent your kitchen as this next part may get a little smoky. Sprinkle the ribs with a small amount of the brown sugar and season liberally with salt and pepper on one side. Lay the ribs sugar side down (do two batches) into the pan, allowing them to get some brown searing. Seasoning the other side while they are in the pan. When the ribs lift easily from the bottom, flip them and sear the other side. Remove from pan and sear the second batch. Once you’ve removed all the browned ribs, add your liquid to the bottom of the pan. As it heats, scrape the browned bits off the bottom to flavor the sauce. I used ½ cup red wine for this deglazing and 1 cup chicken stock. Add all the remaining brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and liquid. Keep on medium heat, stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved. Add the ribs to the pan, and clamp on the pressure cooker lid. Bring the cooker up to pressure on high heat, and after the first “whistle” or reaching of pressure, reduce the heat to low. That’s it! Wait 1 hour with it on low, release the pressure, and enjoy. The sauce will thicken some on standing. Serve with something that can soak up all that delicious sauce like roasted or mashed potatoes, rice, or bread.

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