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Good morning Gravy Heads!
Welcome back to Sunday Gravy.
We are on to week two of our experimentation and dalliances with the food world phenomenon known as the Instant Pot!
Last week we got an introduction, then fucked around and made a pretty goddamn tasty batch of Texas chili.
This week I decided to give the little blue bastard another test run to find out if this is a worthwhile addition to your kitchen toy collection.
This fucker cost 150 bucks and I’m damn sure gonna give it a workout before we have a final verdict on whether you, the innocent Sunday Gravy reader, needs to shell out the big bucks to buy one of these.
I’ve got one or two more recipes after today after which time we can probably reach a pretty sound decision on if this is a trend or if it’s indeed something that you need for your kitchen.
That chili recipe was a natural since I fucking love the stuff and it takes about 3 hours to cook on the stove top. While the actual pressure cooking time was about 30 minutes, there ARE some sneaky and unexpected time delays with this thing and I’m going to bring them to the light of day.
You could say, “Holy fuck dude. It cooks in 30 minutes instead of 3 hours! The fuck are you bitching about?” Well, I’ll get to that.
Let’s stay focused on the pressure cooking element of the Instant Pot. Spoiler Alert! I’m probably not going to use the “Yogurt” function. Don’t get me wrong, I love yogurt, Hell I have some every day but fuck no. I won’t be pasteurizing any milk product at home just yet.
OK so let’s narrow it down. Tough cut of meat, requires slow cooking prep, something that could truly benefit from a reduced prep time?
Let’s make some goddamn ribs!
Those of you who’ve been reading Sunday Gravy since the beginning will be very aware of the fact that I love me the fuck out of some ribs.
In fact! Let’s go over a few of them.
Here’s a tribute to baby back ribs with a few different preparation techniques.
Braised country style ribs and some insanely tasty gratin potatoes.
Grilled Korean kalbi ribs – and homemade egg rolls.
Here we have another recipe for kalbi ribs.
You get the picture. This all has to do with the amount of meat versus fat in the ribs. Once the fat renders down it basically permeates the meat and produces a tenderness and – sorry but I have to use this word – an unctuousness that no other cut can truly deliver.
Why it was just a week ago when some of the LA DFO tribe gathered together to consume alcohol and wander from pub to pub when we visited my local brewery El Segundo Brewing Company and we found out it was their 7th birthday. Happy birthday folks! As part of the celebration there was a barbecue food truck that sold many forms of slow cooked and smoked meaty goodness. By the time we staggered in they had run out of many things but they still had this massive brontosaurus looking beef rib and some chicken links and great God almighty it was some tasty fucking grub.
Now we are going to find out if the use of the Instant Pot to precook the ribs will actually lead to a simplified version of the slow cooked goodness that is a finely prepared rack of ribs.
Here we go now.
A quicker rack of ribs.
2 slabs of back ribs. Today we have St. Louis style ribs.
Dry rub – I’ll get to that.
1 cup of beef or chicken stock.
Preheated charcoal grill.
Barbecue sauce of choice. Remember this is easy shit right?
Let’s get our ribs out and do some quick prep work with them.
That’s a right lovely slab isn’t it? If you will take a look at the ribs you will notice a membrane, or silverskin that runs along the back of the ribs. If we were slow smoking/cooking these you don’t really have to mess with it but we are going for quick, tender deliciousness here so let’s go ahead and remove that membrane.
You can see here the tip of my knife lying along the edge of the membrane. The easiest way to remove the membrane is to dry off the ribs with a paper towel and using another dry paper towel, grab the edge of the silverskin and pull that fucker off. The above photo shows the lower half of the rib with the membrane removed and the upper half, above the knife with the membrane still intact. Get as much of the membrane off as possible.
Next we are going to cut each slab of ribs into thirds so they can fit in the Instant Pot.
Before going in the pressure cooker we are going to apply a dry rub to the ribs. From the linked Baby Back Rib post above, here is my version of a Memphis style dry rub.
“Memphis Style Barbecue Rub!
I’m going to give you a quick recipe that will yield a small-medium size batch of rub. This can be adjusted to size depending on what you’re barbecuing. The important ratios to remember are 3 parts paprika, 2 parts sugar in the raw and one part of everything else.
3 tablespoons paprika (smoked Spanish is nice, as is hot Hungarian)
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw. This is key because regular sugar burns when cooking for a long time and burnt sugar is bullshit.
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of crushed dried oregano
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper – don’t be a sissy Mary here!
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dry mustard powder – optional
Mix everything together and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. This should last for months.”
A quick note here, since today’s recipe will only briefly cook on a charcoal grill just to finish, you CAN substitute brown sugar instead of the “turbinado” or raw sugar and it will do just fine. Get a handful of the dry rub and apply liberally to the ribs. Remember this shit is called a rub for a reason we’re not in need of finesse here.
Rub them ribs with INTENT.
These are going to pressure cook on High in the Instant Pot for just 23 minutes. Yes 23 goddamn minutes! You’ll see here in a minute that you could easily overcook the ribs in the pressure cooker so it’s 23 minutes dammit!
Place the ribs on end in the pressure cooker so they aren’t lying on top of each other.
These will go on the rack or “trivet” basket attachment inside the pot.
Just curious but did ANYBODY get my “trouble with trivets” joke from last week? Shit. I didn’t think so.
Pour the 1 cup of stock, I used chicken stock you can use beef if you prefer, right in the center of the pot between the ribs.
Place the lid on the cooker, lock the lid in place, make sure the steam vent is in the “up” or non-venting position. Turn the cooker on and set to “pressure cook high”, with the “keep warm” option on and set your timer to 23! minutes.
Since we have a couple of minutes while this thing comes to temp let’s address the whole “Instant” in the Instant Pot name.
This motherfucker DOES NOT immediately come to temp. Uh-uh. No fucking sir it doesn’t. This time it took at least half an hour to pressurize and begin cooking. “Instant” my puckered bunghole. Factor this time in accordingly.
One more item of non-flattery regarding the Instant Pot. Remember this photo from last week?
The one with the “burn” error message? Well I got this message EVERY time I’ve used the pot so far. Every. Time. It also causes another 10-15 minute delay in cooking time before it gets this message. You have to cancel the settings, reset the time, remove the lid and try again. I did the research and it SOUNDS like this error is caused when you use the “saute” mode then go directly to the pressure cook mode. The reason being there is a sensor under the internal pot that says the cooking pot is too hot which may scorch or burn the food.
But I didn’t use the fucking “saute” function asshole! What now?
Another suggestion says the pot could be overcrowded, you could be using a dense cooking liquid or maybe it’s an issue specific to my individual pot. Shit pisses me off is what it is.
I’ll keep an eye on this for the next week or two and get back to you.
Once we get the goddamn thing where it starts to pressure cook, the countdown clock will start and after cooking we will give this a 10 minute “natural release.” Basically just leave it alone for 10 minutes after it pressure cooks, then cover the steam vent with a towel, press the release valve down and allow the rest of the steam to vent.
When done your pre-cooked ribs should look like this.
Notice some separation with the meat and the bones but not too much. We DON’T want these to “fall off the bone.” That ain’t proper rib production. There needs to be just a hint of resistance. A “bite” to the rib if you will. Shit, you could boil these fuckers and they would fall off the damn bone.
Twenty three goddamn minutes!
Next let’s fire up the trusty charcoal grill. Yes, you could use a gas grill but the charcoal will impart at least a small amount of real smoke flavor. Get the pre-cooked ribs on the hot grill.
Again, notice the bones slightly pulling away from the meat.
No bones were left abandoned in the grilling of these ribs.
To sauce or not to sauce?
Fuck it man, I’m saucing these saucy wenches today.
Here’s my usual sauce of choice.
Use whatever you like. Do you have your own tried and true badass barbecue sauce you make at home?
Break that shit out Bobby Flay!
Whatever you like.
The ribs need just a couple of minutes per side on the grill. Enough to cook them through and impart some color.
Today I also made some homemade baked beans* and some grilled chicken breasts.
* A story for another day but Instant Pot may not be the worlds best bean cooker.
So here again the end results.
These ribs have the fatty goodness or “unctuousness” we desire. The dry rib gives them a kick and the “barbecue” balance you’re looking for and there is just a kiss of the charcoal smoke enhancing everything. These were cooked fucking perfectly.
Now was this the best rib I ever had? It wasn’t, because there wasn’t the slow smoky goodness that comes from slow cooking over a hickory wood fire to take it over the edge.
Would this blow some damn minds at your next grilling session or cookout?
Fuck yes it would.
I will absolutely be making this exact same batch of ribs again.
Instant Pot verdict! Once I figure out the “burn” error message I would say that this reason ALONE is worth the 150 bucks to buy the Instant Pot. You are gonna impress the fuck out of folks with these ribs.
Another test or two but I’m really starting to like the cut if Instant Pot’s jib!
It’s almost Memorial Day weekend folks. Dust off the grill and give it some love.
May all of your grilling sessions be flawless and may your beers always be cold.
Thanks for reading.