I love BBQ...chicken, steaks, burgers, chops, shrimp, you name it, but my favorite is barbecued pork ribs. I especially love it when the meat is falling off the bone tender with a smoky tangy sauce. The best ones are cooked slowly over a low wood fire for hours and hours until they are meltingly delicious...but who has time for that?!?
Perpetually in a hurry and looking to do more in less time, I've experimented over the years with ways to accelerate the process of getting all-day-bbq results in an hour or so. I'd read about people pre-boiling their ribs to get them cooked and start the process. After trying that, I found it still took over an hour of boiling to make a difference, and that even when I mixed spices into the water, the ribs lost flavor.
Then I tried starting them in my trusty pressure cooker, which is like magic. If you don't have a pressure cooker, get one! They save energy, time, and produce fantastic results. This is all because the temperature inside these pots gets much higher, up to 260 degrees, versus a maximum of 212 degrees when boiling in a regular pot. The other nice feature of a pressure cooker is that the foods can effectively be steamed rather than immersed in cooking liquid, allowing them to retain more of their original flavor.
So here's how I put all that kitchen science to work for me. I salt and pepper a rack of ribs and pressure cook for 20-30 minutes. For added flavor, I mix 1 bottle of beer with 12 ounces of water as the cooking liquor. After about 25 minutes the meat will be tender and pulling away from the bone.
As a second step, I slather the ribs with a favorite BBQ sauce, then put on my gas grill on high for 15-20 minutes. For an added smokiness, I put wet wood chips into a foil pouch, poke holes in it, and throw it on the grill with the ribs. At a good high heat on a gas grill, the sauce condenses and the sugars caramelize while absorbing the smoke very quickly.
With this approach, you get "rib shack quality" ribs in about an hour!
Great Explanation of how Pressure Cookers work.
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