For us, Friday often means “Margarita Madness.” Consequently, frozen margaritas dictate the menu, which often means something other than Italian and, more than likely, something along the lines of grilled meat, Tex-Mex or, as we enjoyed last night, barbecue.

I wanted pork ribs with meat falling off the bones, which meant either slow-cooking or pressure-cooking. Given my schedule, I opted for the latter. One of my go-to books for pressure cooking is Pressure Cooker Perfectionfrom America’s Test Kitchen, which is where I found a great recipe for Barbecued Baby Back Ribs.

When I went to the butcher, he was actually butchering a pig. He said he could only provide me with a small rack of baby backs so I opted for standard pork spare ribs to have enough for our party.

Local sourced pork ribs

One gripe I have with the book I used is their highlighting the pressure cooking time in the recipe, which was 30 minutes. It leads one to believe that it’s a 30-minute recipe, when in fact it’s more like a 60 minute one. Lesson learned, at least for now: READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE STARTING TO COOK!

When I cook, I like to have all the prep completed. I’ve therefore modified the book recipe to follow my style of cooking.

This recipe yielded some of the most mouth-watering ribs I’ve ever had, with a sauce that was the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory. Neither the generous dry nor and the ketchup-molasses sauce overpowered the succulence of these local sourced ribs.

Unbuttered corn on the cob was the side.

Barbecued Baby Back Ribs Adapted from Pressure Cooker Perfection

3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (1 1/2-to 2-pound) racks baby back ribs, cut into 2-rib sections
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Prepare Dry Rub: Combine paprika, sugar, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and cayenne, then rub mixture evenly over ribs.

2. Prepare Sauce: Combine ketchup, water, molasses, vinegar, and mustard. Measure out and reserve 1 cup sauce.

3. Heat oil in pressure-cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce, except for the reserved cup, and stir.

4. Arrange ribs upright in pot with meaty sides facing outward, then pour reserved sauce over ribs.

5. Lock pressure-cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.

6. Remove pot from heat and allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

Ribs right after cooking

7. Adjust over rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place wire rack inside aluminum foil-lined rimmed backing sheet and spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer ribs, meaty side up, to prepared baking sheet. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Bring sauce to simmer and cook until thickened and measures 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Brush ribs with some of the sauce, then broil until browned and sticky, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping and brushing with additional sauce every few minutes. Serve ribs with remaining sauce.

Ribs sauced before going under the broiler

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