I've talked to a bunch of friends and TPD readers recently who own an Instant Pot and are still afraid to use it. Or who are still only using it to make rice and slow cooking. Slow cooking? The magic is in the pressure cooking man!
But I digress.
What is the Best Way to Make Pork Ribs?
This is a question for the ages, isn’t it? A quick internet search will show that everyone has their own answer. Boiling? Marinade or dry rub? And today we ask: sous vide or pressure cooker?
We’ve made ribs a number of times in our Instant Pot pressure cooker and we’ve loved the results. We aren’t sous vide pros, but since having access to a few sous vide devices and learning how they work (see Sous Vide for Dummies) – cooking the meat at your target temperature for a long time which prevents over-cooking, and breaks down the fibrous connective tissues to give you super tender meat – we decided that these methods needed to be pitted against each other.
Sous Vide Ribs
There are a lot of methods to make sous vide ribs on the net, but I liked the way that Serious Eats’ Food Lab broke down times, temperatures, and results with photos and descriptions. That’s awesome!
From their recommendations, I decided to go with 145°F (63°C) for 30 hours – slightly less time than one of their recommendations, but in the ballpark.
“Over 30 hours!?”
Yeah man, that’s how the magic of cooking meat in the sous vide works. “But I want to eat ribs tonight! I want to eat them NOW!” OK, OK! Calm down, I’m hungry too. That’s why we’re putting it up against the electric pressure cooker.
Instant Pot Ribs
Is 30 minutes more your speed? Good. Let’s do it.
I don’t know why I’m still trying to convince you. I think I’ve already said enough.
Sidenote: The words bouncing around in my head were, “Feed me Seymore!” to which I realized I actually didn’t know what that was from (Little Shop of Horrors for those of you who didn’t know either). And then I realized that I actually haven’t seen it! Holley immediately put it on and we’re watching it right now. I love movies from the 80s. The sets. The acting. The effects. The technology. And the fashions: Holley gave me an education about pointy bras. What a world.
Sous Vide Vs. Pressure Cooker Ribs
Rather un-scientist-like, I went into this matchup with a preconceived expectation. I know. So unprofessional. I expected the sous vide ribs to be head-and-shoulders above than the pressure cooker ribs.
Note: This movie is very distracting…
I prepared all the ribs with a simple sprinkle of salt, pepper, and garlic powder just prior to cooking. After sous vide or pressure cooking we sauced the ribs with Holley's Smokey Balsamic Apple BBQ Sauce and tossed in the oven to caramelize the sauce.
This video covers the whole thing, including our tasting experience and notes:
Winner of Best Ribs
We all agreed that both methods were very tender. But all three of us preferred the texture of the Instant Pot pressure cooker ribs. Plus, you save over 30 hours to do it!
What is your experience with pressure cooker or sous vide ribs? Any tips?Print
Simple ribs, fall-off-the-bone, start to finish in 45 minutes!
- Cut rack into 2-3 bone pieces.
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pile ribs into Instant Pot on top of a trivet or in a basket to keep out of the 1.5 cups water you need for the pressure cooker (add mentioned 1.5 cups to Instant Pot).
- Set to 30 minutes High Manual/Pressure Cooker function and seal with lid.
- When done, release the pressure (quick release), use tongs to ribs to cookie sheet, and preheat oven to high heat (~450 F). Alternatively, you can do this final step on the BBQ.
- Brush on BBQ sauce and then broil until sauce is caramelized – but not burned! Keep an eye on it, you don't want to screw it all up when you're so close to getting this juicy meat in your mouth!
- Flip ribs, brush with more sauce, and broil this side as well.
If finishing on the BBQ, reduce pressure-cooking time to 20-25 minutes. 30 minutes might be too tender and the meat might fall through your BBQ grate…
Keywords: Best Ribs, Instant Pot Ribs, fall-off-the-bone