Instant Pot BBQ Pork Ribs

Instant Pot BBQ Pork Ribs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 rack St. Louis style or spare pork ribs, membrane removed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hickory smoke powder (optional if hard to find)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup beer (alternatives: pineapple juice, cola or chicken broth)
  • 1.5 cups BBQ sauce

Directions

Mix together all the herbs, spices with the salt, cornstarch and sugar. Rub this powder into the ribs. Set the rack into the Instant Pot, pour the beer into the bottom. Roll the ribs into a spiral and set onto the rack of the pot, bones vertical. Close and seal, cooking on “Meat” setting for 25 minutes. Remove and slather with BBQ sauce and either place on high temp grill or under a broiler for 3-5 minutes per side to caramelize. Serve with extra sauce.

And now for the details…

Okay, so this is another one of those recipes that almost seems too easy to share. The Instant Pot has changed my life when it comes to cooking ribs. Remember that previous method of boiling or baking the ribs for several hours to try and get them tender? NO MORE! The Instant Pot makes this SO EASY, and so fast, that ribs on a weekday are not only a possibility, but a preferred option because of how simple it makes your evening meal.

If you want to make these even faster, you can do what I do and mix up a large batch of the rub and store it in a Tupperware container, so you can even skip measuring out spices when it’s time to make these.

Speaking of the rub, that’s where we start out recipe. In a bowl (or Tupperware), mix together the garlic powder, chilli powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle powder, hickory smoke powder, salt, cornstarch and sugar. If you cannot find hickory smoke powder, just skip that part. I know it took me a long time to hunt it down, and I’ve been treating that stuff like it’s powdered gold. Again, you double, triple, quadruple, or more the amount of those measurements, and just have the rest sitting in a container for the next time you make the ribs.

Next, it’s time to get those ribs ready for cooking! Before you rub everything in, tear off the membrane, also known as the silver skin, on the back of the ribs. It’s not the end of world if you forget this step, but the ribs will have this membrane on them when you eat, and it’s a little chewy and ropy. There are plenty of videos and info out there showing you how to do this, I found this video has great info on how and why to remove the membrane (skip to 1:30 to see the technique ;P).

Next we’ll take that rub and… well… rub… it into the rack of ribs (if you’re storing extra, make sure to set that aside so that you don’t cross-contaminate the spare rub with those ribby fingies). Get right in there and massage the rub into the meat on both sides. To save on using extra dishes, I actually do this right on the packaging the ribs came in ­čśŤ

Next, it’s time to cook! Pour the beer into the bottom of the Instant Pot. If you’re not a fan or don’t want to cook with alcohol, you can replace the beer with juice (I recommend pineapple, but orange or apple would work too), broth, or even cola or root beer.

Next, curl the ribs into a spiral and place them so the bones are vertical in the pot. In my case, unfortunately the rack was cut in half in order to fit the packaging, so I just kinda half-circled them around the outside of the pot. I have tried doubling the recipe, and a spiralled double rack JUST fits into the pot. Cover the pot up and set the lid to “Sealed” position. We are going to pressure cook these on the “Meat” setting for 25 minutes.

Once you have that set, we wait. You basically have 25 minutes of your life back. So many options on what to do here. You could make some pretty impressive sides to go with those ribs. OR. You could kick up your heels and enjoy the rest of the can of beer, since there’s more that 1 cup in a can ­čśë

Once the ribs are done, unseal the lid and let the pressure come back down, then open up that lid and expose the gloriousness that is the cooked ribs. Lay them on a tray and slather them with your favourite BBQ sauce (both sides).

Now you have two options here: you can either finish these off on the grill or in the oven. On the grill, set your heat to medium-high, or in the oven, set your broiler to medium-hi. Either place the ribs right on the grill or under the broiler, and cook them for a few minutes on either side, just long enough to get some darkened, caramelized bits.

Remove from the heat, and either serve up directly with your extra BBQ sauce on the side, or slather on a bit more sauce just before serving.

Happy eating.

Merguez Lamb Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Merguez Lamb Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 500g/18oz ground lamb
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 Tbsps paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 24 mini bocconcini, sliced into three pieces

Directions


Preheat oven to 425┬║F/220┬║C. Place parchment paper on a small cookie sheet. Mix together the spices until completely blended. Brush the outside of the mushroom caps with the olive oil. Mix the meat, spices and eggs together. Lay the pieces of cheese out onto the mushroom caps. Place the meat over the cheese. Cook the mushrooms caps for 18 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked to 165┬║F/75┬║C. Serve.

And now for the details…

Double digits in the quarantine challenge! I am now at day 10 of 14 of the daily recipe challenge.

Today’s recipe was brought to you by the same friends who I cooked yesterday’s meal with. They added a few “mystery ingredients” to the groceries they delivered to the house. One of those ingredients were portobello mushrooms. I happened to have some ground lamb in the freezer, and I thought that a Merguez flavoured stuffing for portobello mushrooms would be an awfully delicious option!

Let’s get to cooking.

Start by preheating your oven to 425┬║F/220┬║C.

Next, we move on to mixing the spices. I had whole fennel seeds, so I needed to grind them down. I used a mortar and pestle, and ground them until they were almost a powder. Mix this powder with the rest of the spices, salt, and pepper, until they are mixed together thoroughly.

Next, we will get the mushroom caps ready to go. Wash the outsides of the caps, and remove the stem, if there is one. Brush to outside of the cap with olive oil. We do this to help prevent the mushroom from drying out too much when they are baking. Lay the mushroom caps onto a small baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.

Next, we prepare the filling. Sprinkle the spice mix over the ground lamb, and add the egg. Mix these all together very well. I find using my hands works best for this. Get right in there and squish everything all together.

Next, lay the pieces of bocconcini into the mushroom caps in a single layer. If you have larger bocconcini, feel free to use that. But again… quarantine.

Next, split the meat into four equal parts, and press the meat into the mushrooms caps. Once you have pressed the meat in, use the back end of a knife, and push a little cross into the meat. This helps to make the sections of meat smaller, which is going to help even out the cooking when it goes into the oven.

Place the tray into the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until the meat registers at 165┬║F or 75┬║C.

Remove from the oven, serve immediately.

Happy eating.

Pasta with Rag├╣ (Meat Sauce)

Pasta with Rag├╣ (Meat Sauce)

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 900g ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, chicken, elk, bison)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 150 ml (5.5 oz) tomato paste
  • 800 ml (27 oz) canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • dash nutmeg
  • dash oregano
  • 4 cups dried pasta
  • 1/2 cup pasta water (reserved)
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Directions

Add the olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot and heat on medium high. Add onion and garlic, saut├ęing until onions have softened and garlic is fragrant. Add the meat to the pot, and saut├ę, breaking the meat apart as it cooks. Add wine, cook until the liquid is gone. Add tomato paste and stir, mixing completely. Add the dash of oregano and nutmeg. Add beef broth, milk, and tomatoes and stir well. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring in until fully melted. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and add to the sauce, allow it to cook down further. Drain pasta. Mix the pasta with the sauce. Serve.

And now for the details…

Hi-yo folks! Here we are in day 6 of 14; almost halfway through quarantine and still making use of our generous friend’s grocery drop-off from last Monday, as well as our, thankfully, well-stocked freezer and pantry. We are starting to run low on fresh produce, though, now that almost a week has gone by. Luckily for us, another couple friends of ours have already stepped up and offered to go out tomorrow to top us up for the rest of our isolation period! We are feeling incredibly blessed by the support team we have at home, whether it’s in surprise gift drop-offs on our doorstep (we got fresh bread and cheese dropped by a friend this weekend, and a gag gift from other friends of a Kraft pizza kit), the full-on grocery deliveries, or the regular check-ins via phone or social media (or even on this blog! Lookin’ at you auntie ;D), we have been so lucky to have such a kickass group of family and friends. Now for a small ask: if you know of someone who is lacking this support network and needs some help during these times, reach out (but don’t touch!) to see if you can help in any way. Maybe it’s picking up a few extra groceries when you are buying your own, providing a social connection (while maintaining physical distance!), or running an errand that they cannot do themselves. We’re all on Team People, let’s take care of each other.

Let’s get to cooking.

We start by chopping the onion and garlic. Heat a large pot to medium-high, and add the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and the garlic is fragrant.

Next, you will add the meat to the pot. For this recipe, I had both ground beef and ground elk in the freezer. But you could use any mix and match of ground meat for your recipe, depending on your taste preferences, or what you have available. As the meat cooks, break it apart with a wooden spoon, so you end up with small pieces of meat. Once the meat has mostly cooked, add the red wine, and allow it to cook down until the liquid is almost completely gone.

Add the tomato paste, and just a dash of nutmeg and oregano (a small pinch of each). Stir to mix completely, cooking for about five minutes, allowing any liquid to be cooked off. Add the beef broth and tomatoes, and stir together. Then add the milk and stir completely.

Reduce the heat down medium, and allow the sauce to cook down, stirring occasionally to prevent any stickage (that’s a word, right?) to the bottom of the pot. Cook the sauce for around 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce has become very thick.

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente. For the batch that I made, I used Mafalda Corta, which is kinda like smaller lasagna noodles that have been cut into pieces. Feel free to use whatever pasta you have available. Fusilli, rigatoni, farfalle, pappardelle, you choose! The biggest thing to remember: save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water after it is done cooking, and add it to the sauce before you drain the pasta. This addition of starch from the water will help to thicken the sauce further as you cook it down, and will allow the sauce to better stick to your noodles.

Fun fact that has worked well for me since I discovered it: keep a wooden spoon in the pasta and water as it cooks to help prevent the water from boiling over.

Reduce the pasta sauce back down after the addition of pasta water and add the parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper the sauce to your taste. Avoid adding salt before this, as both the pasta water and the parmesan will add a certain amount of saltiness, and you may not want to add any more.

Finally, once everything has cooked and the pasta is drained, mixed the pasta and sauce together, and serve, maybe with a bit of additional parmesan on top.

Happy eating.