Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs

Have you ever craved BBQ short ribs that melt in your mouth but dreaded the long cooking process? What if you could have those same savory flavors and tenderness in a fraction of the time? Enter the Instant Pot, your kitchen’s secret weapon for fall-off-the-bone ribs. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the journey of transforming tough cuts into delectable dishes. How do you pick the best ribs? What’s the ideal cooking time to lock in flavors? And how to make instant pot BBQ short ribs? We’ve got all the answers to turn you into an Instant Pot BBQ maestro. So, are you ready to revolutionize your rib game?

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs
Credits to Hip Foodie Mom

Let’s get cooking! Remember, this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for the full article, where we delve into each step, ensuring your BBQ short ribs are nothing short of spectacular.

What Makes Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs So Special?

The allure of BBQ short ribs lies in their rich flavor and the tender, fall-apart texture that’s achieved through slow cooking. However, the Instant Pot transforms this traditionally time-consuming dish into a quick yet equally succulent meal. Let’s dive into what makes these ribs a standout dish and how the Instant Pot plays a pivotal role.

Understanding the Cooking Process

The Instant Pot utilizes high pressure to cook food faster than traditional methods. When it comes to short ribs, this means breaking down the tough connective tissues without drying out the meat, which is often a risk with conventional slow cooking.

Why Pressure Cooking Works for Short Ribs

Short ribs are known for their marbling and connective tissue, which, when cooked slowly, give the meat its signature tenderness. The Instant Pot mimics this slow cooking by using pressure to infuse the meat with moisture and heat, effectively tenderizing it in a fraction of the time.

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs
Credits to Provenir

How to Select the Best Short Ribs for Your Instant Pot

Tips for Choosing Meat Cuts Perfect for BBQ

When shopping for short ribs, look for cuts with a good amount of marbling and meaty sections. The marbling (fat within the meat) will melt under pressure, adding flavor and aiding in tenderization. Ideally, the ribs should be uniform in size to ensure even cooking.

Preparing Your Short Ribs: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Season and Prepare Short Ribs for the Instant Pot

Season Generously: Start by patting the ribs dry with a paper towel. Season them with a mix of salt, pepper, and your favorite BBQ spices to enhance the natural flavors of the meat.

Searing: Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté setting and add a bit of oil. Once hot, sear the ribs on all sides until they develop a golden-brown crust. This step is crucial for locking in flavors.

Layering Flavors: Remove the ribs and sauté onions and garlic in the same pot, scraping up any browned bits from the ribs. These caramelized bits add depth to the dish.

The Cooking Process: How Long and at What Settings?

Understanding Instant Pot Settings for Perfect BBQ Short Ribs

  • Pressure Level: Set your Instant Pot to high pressure to ensure the ribs cook thoroughly.
  • Cooking Time: Typically, short ribs will take about 45 minutes under high pressure. However, this can vary based on the size and thickness of the ribs.
  • Natural Release: Allow the pressure to release naturally after cooking. This helps the ribs to retain their moisture and tenderness.

The Magic of BBQ Sauce: Homemade vs. Store-Bought

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce for Your Short Ribs

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of liquid smoke for a classic BBQ sauce with a balance of sweetness, tanginess, and smokiness. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences.

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce for Your Short Ribs
Credits to The Spruce Eats

While store-bought BBQ sauce is convenient, making your own allows you to control the flavors and sweetness.

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and a dash of liquid smoke for a homemade sauce that complements the ribs beautifully.

While store-bought BBQ sauce
Credits to Serious Eats

Applying the Sauce

Once the ribs are cooked, brush them generously with your BBQ sauce. If you desire a caramelized finish, you can place the sauced ribs under a broiler for a few minutes until bubbly and slightly charred. You’ll ensure your Instant Pot BBQ short ribs are not just quick and easy but also packed with flavor and tenderness that rivals any slow-cooked version.

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs
Credits to

Preparing Your Short Ribs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating the perfect BBQ short ribs in your Instant Pot involves more than just cooking; it starts with the right preparation. Here’s how you can ensure your ribs are seasoned and ready to be transformed into a mouth-watering dish.

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs preparation

Choosing Your Seasoning

The right blend of spices can elevate your short ribs from good to great. Begin with a base of salt and pepper, then add garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of smoked paprika for that classic BBQ profile.

Marinating for Flavor

If time allows, let your seasoned ribs sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. This step isn’t mandatory, but it helps the flavors penetrate deeper into the meat.

Searing for Depth

Before pressure cooking, sear your ribs directly in the Instant Pot using the sauté function. Heat some oil and brown the ribs on all sides. This creates a flavorful crust and adds a rich depth to the final dish.

Serving Suggestions: What Goes Well with BBQ Short Ribs?

After mastering the art of cooking BBQ short ribs in your Instant Pot, the next step is to present them with sides that complement their rich flavor. Here’s how to round out your meal with the perfect accompaniments.

Instant Pot BBQ Short Ribs pairings
Credits to Jamie Oliver

Pairing Side Dishes for a Complete Meal Experience

Starchy Sides to Balance the Richness

A hearty meat dish like BBQ short ribs calls for starchy sides to absorb the sauce and balance the richness. Consider these options:

  • Steakhouse Smashed Potatoes: Boil baby potatoes until tender, then gently smash them and roast them with olive oil, salt, and herbs until crispy on the outside.
  • Creamy Polenta: Slowly whisk cornmeal into simmering water or broth until thickened, then stir in butter and Parmesan cheese for a creamy delight.
  • Orzo Pasta: Cook orzo until al dente, and toss with butter, Parmesan, and fresh herbs for a simple yet elegant side.

Fresh Salads to Add a Crunch

A fresh salad can lighten up the meal and add a contrasting texture:

  • Garden Balsamic Avocado Salad: Combine mixed greens, ripe avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette just before serving.
  • Steamed Greens: Choose from spinach, kale, or Swiss chard, lightly steamed and seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

Beverages to Complement the Flavors

Pair your meal with a beverage that can stand up to the bold BBQ flavors:

  • Iced Tea: Brew a strong black tea and serve it over ice with a slice of lemon for a refreshing counterpoint to the savory ribs.
  • Red Wine: A full-bodied red wine like a Shiraz or Zinfandel pairs well with the smoky BBQ sauce, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Cooking Instant Pot BBQ short ribs can be a straightforward process, but there are common pitfalls that can affect the outcome. Here’s how to sidestep these issues and ensure your ribs are perfectly cooked every time.

Why Are My Instant Pot Ribs Tough? How to Ensure They’re Tender

The Importance of Cooking Time

Short ribs are a tougher cut of meat that requires sufficient cooking time to become tender. In the Instant Pot, this usually means setting a high-pressure cook time of around 45 minutes. However, if your ribs are still tough, it could be due to undercooking. Make sure to give them enough time, and don’t be afraid to add an extra 5-10 minutes if needed.

Natural Release: A Crucial Step

After the cooking cycle is complete, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for about 15-20 minutes. This gradual process helps the meat fibers relax and reabsorb some of the moisture, leading to tender ribs. A quick release might shock the meat, causing it to seize up and become tough.

How Do I Store Instant Pot Ribs? Can I Freeze Them?

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftover ribs, let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Store them in an airtight container with some of the cooking liquid to keep them moist. They will last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing for Long-Term Storage

For longer storage, wrap the ribs tightly in foil or freezer-safe wrap and place them in a freezer bag. Pour in some of the cooking liquid to help maintain moisture. Label the bag with the date, and they can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and warm in the oven or Instant Pot.

Final Analysis

As you set on the culinary adventure of preparing Instant Pot BBQ short ribs, remember that the journey is as rewarding as the destination. Embrace the process, from selecting the finest cuts to savoring the last succulent bite. Trust in the technology at your fingertips to transform a traditionally laborious meal into a simple pleasure. 

Let your creativity flow with the flavors, and don’t hesitate to tweak the recipe to your taste. Above all, share the joy that good food brings, and let these tender ribs be a testament to the fact that with the right tools and a bit of know-how, anyone can create a feast worthy of celebration. Happy cooking, and may your ribs be as tender as the moments you’ll create around the dinner table.

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