Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Barbecue Ribs in the Pressure Cooker

I had mentioned before that D loves ribs.  We have never tried to make them at home because he doesn't really like meat on the bone and he says that it's the sauce that makes the ribs at the restaurants. When I finished making Ina Garten's Barbecue Sauce I suggested to D that we give ribs a try.  We bought some short ribs from the supermarket, fired up the pressure cooker and found a recipe for easy mac 'n' cheese to serve on the side.

Even though we knew the sauce we were going to use, I still wanted a recipe to guide me.  Ribs and pressure cookers were both quite new to me so I just wanted a little help.  I chose Emeril Legasse's Garlic-Ginger Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, out of all the recipes for ribs on the internet.  Why this particular recipe?

Well, it came about in a roundabout way as these things often do.  I chose Emeril's recipe because it used his Essence, which is a blend of eight different spices which Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Edible Experience enthusiastically endorsed here.  I was reading Elizabeth's blog because of her recipe for Golden Macaroni and Cheese which I have previously made here and which I was going to make again as a side dish.  I read about the essence and then came across Emeril's recipe while searching and from then on the decision was easy.

I love a good spice mix. I don't use spices nearly as much as I'd like to and I know it's my own fault. I love making spice mixes too, it's the same excitement I get from mixing together my dry ingredients while baking.

Once the essence is made, all you do is coat the ribs in the essence and then sear them in the pressure cooker along with some onions, garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, Sriracha sauce, and bay leaves.  Add some beef stock and then bring the cooker up to pressure.  The recipe says forty minutes, opening twice during cooking.  My pressure cooker, although awesome, doesn't have an easy way to release the pressure so it's the old school wait 10-15 minutes before opening each time.  After the first wait to open and stir, the ribs were well and truly cooked.  This was after only 15 minutes on heat and 15 minutes depressurising.

I did have a small issue - well, not really an issue and more of an annoyance - with the pressure cooker.  Our pressure cooker is large which is awesome as I said, but there is only two of us and the manufacturer of our pressure cooker recommends at least 2 cups of liquid.  In the case of this meal, 2 cups was really too much liquid for the amount of meat I had.  I increased the spices to try and compensate, but it didn't really work.  I have no idea whether it's even possible to adjust liquid/other ingredients in this situation so I'm not making plates and plates of food that we couldn't eat.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

Notwithstanding my braised ribs, once they were cooked I tossed them in Ina's barbecue sauce and they were very good.  I do agree with D, it's really the sauce that makes the ribs and Ina's sauce is fantastic so the ribs were fantastic.

As a side dish D wanted some macaroni cheese.  As I said before, I was going to make Elizabeth's golden macaroni and cheese but I wanted an easier, faster recipe.  I turned to Esi's recipe for stovetop mac and cheese instead.  I was very very lazy and used the shake it up technique from Elizabeth's recipe and the stovetop method from Esi's recipe and made an easy, tasty mac and cheese that went surprisingly well with the rich sauce.

I honestly did not think that a cheesy pasta dish would work with something as strongly flavoured as barbecued ribs.  Who was the person that first thought to serve them together?  Even though the flavours worked together the two dishes together were very very heavy and it needed something to cut through the stodginess.  What do you normally serve with these kinds of dishes?

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