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A bit of ‘ribbing’ from my pressure cooker

In the past couple of weeks I have listened to numerous stories about folks and their PCs – yes, their pressure cookers! Here are a few lines I feel you would enjoy hearing:

“When my mom used the pressure cooker, everyone had to clear out of the kitchen and she even locked the door.”

“I once knew of a lady who went to bed and left her pressure cooker on. In the morning she was saluted by pickled beets everywhere.”

I think this one “beets” them all: “My mother warned me about the following three things: Folks that are always preaching the good word but never seem to apply it to themselves; some who certainly can tell you how to do everything but do nothing themselves; those who feel only meals that are truly slaved over are worthy enough to be called home-cooked.

She proceeded with the following: She also taught me that becoming buddies with a pressure cooker can give you a whole lot of freedom. Less time in the kitchen means more time for romance novels and shopping. She went on explain that her mother was known for her baby back barbecued ribs. Her dad would explain to guests she simply was willing to put the time in the kitchen to make them tender and delicious. Little did he know that ribs in the pressure cookers for 12-14 minutes will produce some of the tenderest ribs you have ever eaten. Just for good measure, she would brush on a bit of barbecue sauce on her apron and made sure her hair looked as if you had been “slaving” over a hot stove all day! The best part had to be when she enlightened me that her mother always used store-bought barbecue sauce. Now you are not going to find any better drama, double-dealing or downright deceit even on the afternoon soap operas!

Oh, the sweet perfume of victory in the kitchen! Now, there is an opportunity – a perfume marketed to pressure cooker devotees! Too bad Elizabeth Taylor is not still around – she may have taken me up on this idea. I can see it now: “A perfume that will allow you to blow off steam naturally.” Or perhaps this might work even better: “The perfect and most stylish way to vent – ‘Pressurize,’ the perfume that allows you to be yourself!”

I do believe if she marketed it with a hint of bay leaf, both genders could wear it and be most compelling! There you have it – you have just witnessed how a pressure cooker can bring out the creative side in a use beyond the kitchen.

We have been enjoying ribs in our home that have been first fixed in the pressure cooker, and, yes, they are some of the most tender ribs I have tasted. There is no need to be using your grill if you have a pressure cooker at hand. Here is all you need to do for the most tender and delicious ribs. (Besides, you may take the chance of getting frostbite standing out by the grill these days. In the summer, if you have a grill, by all means finish them over open flame.)

Place the rack of ribs around in a circle in the pressure cooker. If they fit

otherwise, cut them into sections and stand them upright in the cooker along with 3/4 cup water, a bay leaf or two, and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. You can also enhance the flavor by replacing the water with a malt liquor. (The high heat of the pressure cooking burns away the alcohol but the flavor hangs around just waiting to be asked to dance with the barbecue sauce.) Next, lock the lid in place. (Not the kitchen door, remember!) Bring the pressure up to 15 PSI over high, then right away reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Let this cook for 12 to 14 minutes. Ribs do not have to be completely submerged in liquid to cook properly. You can experiment with the amount of liquid that you would like to use, and I would suggest starting with 3/4 cups for 2 pounds of baby back ribs and increasing if you desire. Remove from heat and use the cold water release method to depressurize.

As always, carefully open the lid when the pressure has dropped. The ribs will have to be handled with care as they will be tender and will tear easily. You will notice how much of the fat has been melted away, and for that your waistline is clapping. Dress the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce and place them on a broiler pan. Position the pan about 6 inches away from the heat source and watch them glaze with beauty. Baste the meat often, and turn the ribs over when they have nicely browned. (You can also place these on a grill if you have a false sense of security about using the broiler; but remember this will cut down on your book reading time.)

I have also tried browning the ribs in the bottom of the pressure cooker before cooking them and this works well. The sides of the pan are nice and high and this helps to control oil spatters. You can also forego frying and add just soy sauce at the start which will make the ribs nice and brown.

The recipe above works well for 2 pounds of baby back ribs using 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve the leftover sauce on the side of the completed ribs if desired.

Now quick, spill a little barbecue sauce about the kitchen counters and maybe even a dash or two on your apron because you have been working hard. Oh, what the heck – take that basting brush and dab a spot or two on your chin. Just make sure that no sauce gets on the great book you are reading because that will give it all away! Remember there is no need to be working hard to clear a path to tender baby back ribs, because the pressure cooker has cleared this path with ease.