Edward's Birthday Ribs: An Instant Pot Love Story


Edward The Savage on the afternoon of his eighth birthday.

Edward The Savage on the afternoon of his eighth birthday.

Future sticky fingers.


I love my Instant Pot. LOVE. IT. I would give up half of my kitchen equipment before I let go of of this miraculous contraption. I knew it was something I needed in my life when I read it cooked beans from dry in less than an hour AND without an overnight soak or quick-boil. I bought it for the beans, I fell in love because of the ribs. (Also, hardboiled eggs peel like dream!)

I am not much of a planner when it comes to cooking. Life is busy, plans change, and I don't always know what I might want to eat three days from now. I also hate planning and shopping for a future meal, only to be felled by a Bad Migraine Day. The truth is, my disease often makes it hard to plan ahead and sometimes just exhausts me. Checking off the essentials during the day, like going to work and running after the kids, while under the influence of my Migraine Brain, sometimes means I don't have the energy to make a meal when I'm home in the evening. And sometimes I don't plan ahead, just so I'm not disappointed when I end up in bed instead of the kitchen. So when I got my Instant Pot and started looking for recipes to try, I was thrilled to see that so many people were making ribs in their Instant Pots. Everyone in our family loves ribs. This recipe is so easy and quick, if I'm feeling well I can decide to make them for dinner at 4 in the afternoon, do a quick grocery run, and have dinner ready by 6:30. It's a luxurious thing for someone whose disease is a time thief. I'm not going to lie -- I kind of went crazy making ribs for about three months. I made them five times, five different ways. I thought everyone was sick of them, until Edward requested them for his birthday meal this year. He calls it "Steak With a Bone". He devoured eight ribs on his eighth birthday then declared himself a savage over his plate of bones. Edward loves food, eats with enthusiasm, and talks about what he eats like a thoughtful little critic. He is very excited about this blog and made me promise to share this recipe next. 

This recipe relies on a trick that make these ribs stand out over other recipes for preparing ribs indoors rather than in a smoker: A magic broth of umami goodness and liquid smoke that permeates the meat as it cooks under pressure. A quick rest under the broiler after you sauce them gets them all glazed and sticky. This is an incredibly versatile recipe. I've made a few different bbq versions, also teriyaki versions -- Just change the rub and sauce to change the style of rib you make. Use the following as a guideline for the process and get as creative as you'd like. I've included the cooking procedure and two different rubs to get you started. This recipe is super easy to scale up or down. I have made this for as few as four and as many as 16.



Edward's Birthday Ribs, AKA Steak With a Bone

You need an 8 Qt or larger Instant Pot + wire trivet rack
1 to 2 racks St. Louis pork spare ribs, approx. 4 to 8 pounds
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cracked dried rosemary
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground Ancho chile powder
2 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional. It may seem weird. It won't taste fishy!)

Pat ribs dry. Remove the membrane/silverskin from the back of the ribs, if necessary. Don't skip this easy-to-do step! (Simple instructions may be found here: https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-remove-silverskin-from-ribs )
Mix salt, brown sugar, rosemary, garlic powder, black pepper, and Ancho together in a small bowl. Generously rub this mixture all over ribs, massaging pretty well to ensure it sticks.
In a measuring cup, stir water, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and fish sauce together. Pour into Instant Pot cooking insert. The liquid will just cover the bottom with about a half inch to inch of depth.
Place wire trivet rack in cooking insert with liquid ingredients. Roll racks of ribs to fit, ribs standing vertically, as pictured above. The meaty side should face out. If you have a spare sprig or two of rosemary, throw that in, too. 
Position lid and secure.
Position vent to SEALING.
Choose PRESSURE COOK and set Pressure Level to High.
Using the + button, set timer for 25 minutes. (Remember, cooking time does not start counting down until unit reaches full pressure, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes.)
Disable KEEP WARM if it is on.
When the timer beeps at the end of the cooking time, allow the ribs to rest 15 minutes before turning the QUICK RELEASE valve.
Carefully remove lid as there will be a lot of condensation and steam.
Remove ribs to foil-lined cookie sheet, meaty side up. 
Slather with your choice of sauce and broil until sticky looking and bubbly.

Alternately, you may prepare the rub with...
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground Szechwan pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger

This version is great with teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with scallions and sesame seeds after the broil.

Happy cooking, all!