Loaves and Dishes: You won’t succeed without some effort

Looking at the most popular recipes on my website for Mother’s Day, I’m going to guess that a bunch of moms had breakfast made by a small set of hands and a set of parental hands.

Those top recipes? How to cook breakfast sausage links in the oven, how to cook bacon in the oven and how to cook Italian sausage in the oven. Those were closely followed by how to boil potatoes for potato salad, how to cook frozen corn on the cob and how to make kraft macaroni and cheese better.

What do all of these have in common besides not being actual recipes? They all demonstrate trying! While I hope that a bunch of moms didn’t get frozen corn on the cob and box macaroni and cheese for their special holiday, I know that all of them appreciated the effort. Personally, any time that someone wants to fix me dinner, I’m truly happy to eat whatever is put in front of me. Well, for the most part anyway.

That said, what can you do to ensure that you always have something good to serve others? One plan is to have about 10 “easy to fix and deliciously tasty” recipes in your arsenal. You’ll want to have a couple appetizers, a few side dishes and at least three main course items. If you watch TV chefs at all, you’ll know that there are several who promote making the main course and a side yourself and then supplementing with store bought items for the rest. We can probably get on board with that plan, right? For example, if you can make a mean barbecued rib and a corn pudding yourself and then purchase a delicious coleslaw and some frozen Texas toast and a store made pie, you’ve got a meal fit for any guest you want to have over. See how that works?

A second way to make sure you’ve got something delicious in minutes is to master a recipe or two in a secondary kitchen appliance. For example, the instant pot has become one such popular item. It’s really just a pressure cooker with some extra fancy features, so if you have a stove top pressure cooker, any of those recipes will work for you too. I’ve been featuring a few such recipes on the website and these ribs are super popular. Maybe you would like to try them?

Here’s to one super good recipe under your belt.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

1 rack baby back ribs

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 cup apple juice

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

Remove the silver skin membrane from the back of the ribs and cut the ribs into sections of 2-3 ribs per piece. Place ribs into the pressure cooker and sprinkle with the herbs and spices. Add the apple sauce or the substituting liquid to the pressure cooker. Apply the lid to the cooker and then bring the cooker up to temperature and cook on high for 20-30 minutes (If this is your first time cooking, set for 25 minutes).

After 25 minutes, allow pressure cooker to come back to room pressure naturally by doing a natural release. While the pressure is releasing, line a sheet pan or platter with aluminum foil. Turn the broiler on high or turn your grill on high (which ever one you will use to char and set the BBQ sauce). Once released, very gently (extremely gently) remove the ribs to the platter / sheet pan using tongs and place them meat side down. Be gentle lest the meat fall completely from the bones.

Generously paint the ribs with a thick and sweet barbecue sauce on the piece facing up as well as the sides. Gently turn the ribs over using your tongs and repeat on the other side.

If using the broiler, place the sheet pan into the oven with the meat side up facing the broiler. Broil for 2 minutes on the meat side and then flip the ribs over to broil for 1 minute on the back. If using the grill, set the ribs on the grill very gently with the meat side facing down onto the grill grates. This will make for nice grill marks on the meat side of the ribs. Allow to char on that side for 2 minutes and then turn over to char on the other side for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and serve hot with extra sauce on the side.

Notebook:

  • Choose ribs with some fat and then you can be in charge of trimming off the part you don’t want. Some fat on the ribs gives more flavor as they cook.
  • Remove the silver skin membrane before cooking.
  • You may have to cut the ribs into smaller pieces before putting in the pressure cooker. I usually cut 2-3 ribs together.
  • When cutting ribs, remember that they are at an angle and you can’t slice a straight cut or you’ll run into bone.
  • The reason for adding the apple juice or stock and the herbs and spices in the pressure cooker is to allow flavor to penetrate the meat as it pressure cooks.
  • Putting the ribs under the broiler or on the grill after pressure cooking isn’t going to cook the ribs more, it is simply charring on the sauce and giving the meat a little char for flavor.
  • You will want to plan on a half rack or full rack per person. Examine the side dishes that you will be serving. If you are having heavy sides then plan for 1/2 rack. If you are simply planning on light sides such as a salad and green beans, then go with a full rack.

PRO TIP: Sweeter barbecue sauces like Sweet Baby Rays sauce generally works best for charing under the broiler or on the grill. The sugar in the sauce is what “burns” and makes the char marks and flavor. For the best flavor, I recommend using a sweeter and very thick sauce

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