Instant Pot VS Traditional Low and Slow
Aaron and I like to have fun cooking. I bought some ribs on sale and we decided one Saturday to have a rib cook off.
I made him prep the ribs (I told him how good he is at it. Works like a charm every time!)
He first cut them in half. For the Instant Pot part of this, I used the short end (that has more cartilage between the bones).
Remove the membrane. Or don’t. I prefer it removed, Aaron removed it on one of his and left it on the other. Some say it helps with retention of fat and moisture during a long cook, others say it hinders smoke penetration. Aaron left it on one of his because he wanted them to be less likely to fall apart and he wanted to see if that helped.
It’s pretty easy to remove once you get it started.
Pulls right off.
Two VERY ALERT corgis during this operation. Any scrap that hits the floor they definitely apply the 15 second rule to.
Rub with mustard.
It’s the glue that holds on the spices. The spices are a mix of cajun seasoning, salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, onion powder and granulated garlic.
Place in the smoker. We use the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. Yeah it’s not “traditional” blabbity bla bla. But staying up all night to tend a fire? In Wisconsin in the winter? Aint nobody got time for that.
After 2 hours he removed my ribs.
Since I knew Aaron was going to have an unfair advantage with the low and slow method, I decided to make sauce from scratch to even the playing field a little.
I wanted a bit of fruity character, so I used Apricot preserves.
Put it all in a pan.
Cooked on medium with the lid on until the onion was breaking down (about 30 minutes)
And pureed it with my Breville immersion blender.
Also, in order to ramp up the flavor a bit, I used beer as my liquid for the pressure part of the cook.
Before pressure. I did 6 minutes max pressure in my Instant Pot Max, but if you’re using one of the other Instant Pots, I’d recommend adding a minute or two.
The meat is about to fall off the bones, and the cartilage is nicely melted.
And here were my ribs.
Several hours later, Aaron’s ribs out of the smoker (it was about 3 hours later). He used a mix of Open Pit and Sweet Baby Ray’s. These were cooked for 3 hours at 250 degrees, with smoke, then for 2 hours under foil with no smoke. In the pan on the bottom of the smoker is a can of beer and apple cider vinegar.
Of course low and slow won it. That’s a no brainer!! When the kids ate mine first they were very happy with them. Then Aaron’s came out. Mason (who is in full teenager mode and hiding in his room all the time) came out, grabbed one and started gnawing on it while heading back to his room. He hollered over his shoulder “Oh yeah, these are way better” (with his mouth full of food). Maddie agreed but said “but your ribs were really good too mom” (she’s so sweet).
There are just 2 things to consider: 1. Mine were on the table hours earlier. A plus when you’re running around (plus I can see that doing the smoking ahead of time and freezing for a weeknight blast in the Instant Pot at a later time would be SO convenient). 2. Finishing in the Instant Pot does definitely break most of the cartilage down to make it edible. It’s VERY tasty and collagen (which cartilage is very rich in) has some huge benefits to joint, skin, hair and nail health.
Apricot Barbecue Sauce
- 1 can tomato paste
- ½ medium onion
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- 4 thick slices jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon granulated garlic
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon MSG
- Add ingredients to a small pot with the lid on, and cook over medium heat for about half an hour (until the onion is breaking down). Puree with an immersion blender or bullet blender.