Pressure Cooker Short Ribs


Short ribs, braised until they are melt-in-your mouth pieces of beefy goodness, are one of my favorite meals. But they are a little finicky for a home cook.
*I had Michael Symon's short ribs at Lola's, years ago. It is one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant, and I've been working on my short ribs at home ever since.

Part of why they are so delicious is they are loaded with fat. When cooking short ribs, there has to be a plan to get rid of the fat, or the ribs and the sauce will be much too greasy. Once again, the pressure cooker comes to the rescue.

Why pressure cook short ribs? First, they're done with 25 minutes under pressure, instead of the 3 to 4 hours of simmering they would need. Pressure cooking seems to break down the collagen in the meat better as well - I like how tender the ribs are after pressure cooking.
*Thanks to the pressure cooker, all the collagen from the bones winds up in the sauce as well.  The sauce, once it is defatted, is rich, luxurious, and full of beef flavor.

Finally, there is the fat issue. The best way to get rid of all the extra fat is to cook the short ribs, then refrigerate them overnight in their sauce. The fat will come to the surface and congeal into an easily removed fat cap. This is where the shortened cooking time from the pressure cooker really comes in handy. I can make my short ribs in about an hour, end to end, the night before I want to serve them. I make them while I clean up tonight's dinner, and they are ready to go for dinner tomorrow.

*Don't have a pressure cooker? No problem. See the Variations section for non-pressure cooking options.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Cook time: 1 hour
Equipment:
Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 2 to 3 inch segments, trimmed of as much fat as possible
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade chicken stock*) or water
  • 1 cup red wine (Preferably a fruity blend, like a Cote du Rhone)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (I like Amore from a tube)
Untrimmed vs trimmed short ribs

Directions:
1. Season and sear the ribs in two batches: Trim all the fat you can from the short ribs, which usually is on the top and the bottom (along the rib). Season the ribs with the 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in your pressure cooker pot until it is shimmering. Add half the ribs, and sear for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned. (I treat the ribs as if they have four "sides", so this should take about 12 minutes. Make sure one of the "sides" is bone side down - that will help render some of the fat.) Remove the browned ribs to a bowl. Add the second half of the ribs to the pot, and sear for 3 minutes per side. Move the second batch into to the bowl with the rest of the browned ribs. Pour off all but 1 tablespoons of the oil and fat in the cooker.
Ready to sear

2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, bay and thyme to the pot. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then saute for five minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the chicken stock and wine to the pot, increase the heat to high, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits from the bottom.

3. Pressure cook the ribs: Add the ribs and tomato paste to the pot, and stir everything until it is well mixed. Get as many ribs submerged in the liquid as you can, then lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Wait for the pressure cooker to come up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain that pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 to 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
Coming up to pressure

4. Prepare the sauce: Remove the ribs to a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Pour the sauce into a fat separator, let it rest for ten minutes for the fat to surface, then pour over the ribs and serve.
*If you have the time, refrigerate the ribs overnight to help remove the fat. After cooking, let the ribs cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days. This will let the fat rise to the surface and solidify. To serve, lift the solid fat from the ribs, then reheat the ribs over medium heat on the stove.

Variations:
*More refined sauce: After letting the fat separate, pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, then use a hand blender to puree the sauce.

*More rustic sauce: Add 2 diced carrots with the onions, and replace the tomato paste with a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes. Remove them with a slotted spoon before you defat the sauce, then add them back in before serving.

*Don't have a pressure cooker? Replace step 3 with:

Dutch oven: Put the ingredients in a dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover the dutch oven, and move to a 325*F oven. Cook in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, until the ribs are tender. Remove from the oven, and continue with step 4.

Slow cooker: Put the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 10 hours. Continue with step 4.

Notes:
*As I said in my I love pressure cookers post, every pressure cooker works differently. Make sure you have read your pressure cooker manual before starting this recipe, so you know how to lock it, how to tell when it's up to high pressure (15 PSI), and how to release the pressure when you're done.

*Instead of browning the short ribs in two batches, I use two pans. I brown half in my pressure cooker, and half in my fry pan. Then, I saute the onions in the pressure cooker, while I heat up the chicken stock and wine in the fry pan. This loosens up the browned bits in the fry pan, so I get their flavor in the final stew. Also, the pressure cooker comes up to pressure quicker if you add boiling liquid, so I'm heating up my stock at the same time I'm sauteing my onion.
Two batches, two pans

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Pressure Cooker Chinese Pork with Plum Sauce
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock (the best way to get chicken stock for this recipe)
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

Adapted from:
Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect (And check out Lorna's pressure cooking blog at pressurecookingwithlornasass.wordpress.com)

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34 comments:

Lorna Sass said...

Hi Mike: I usually don't trim off fat before cooking, finding the taste and tenderness best when you strain off the fat after cooking--a personal choice. Also, I just roll the ribs in a little bit of soy sauce for color and never bother browning them. (I'm too impatient...)

I'm really thrilled that you are spreading the good word about pressure cooking. With your help, the "pc" will find its way into every American kitchen. Thank you so much!

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Lorna Sass:

No, thank you, Lorna! Your cookbooks taught me how to use a pressure cooker, so I owe you a debt of thanks.

Anne T. said...

Hi Mike, thanks very much for this simple and informative recipe. I feared pressure cookers from my experiences with them growing up - Mom would always scare the pants off us when she used one. My Mom gave me a pressure cooker for 5 years ago this Christmas and although I'm a proficient cook, I had no interest in using it so it sat on a shelf in the basement. Mom died 4 years ago, and in celebration of her birthday yesterday my sister and I dusted it off and found this recipe. It happens to be the same pot you mention in this blog and the directions seemed relatively easy - the hardest part was finding short ribs at the store! I served them with mashed potatoes and the whole family raved about them. I don't think I'll let the grass grow under the pressure cooker anymore. Thanks for your inspiration.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Anne T:

Thank you for the great story! I'm glad my recipe worked so well for you.

Matt's Blog said...

I just made these. Wow, they were so good. My family loved them. I was a bit nervous as it was the first time I used a pressure cooker.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Matt:

Thank you! Pressure cookers are nothing to be afraid of. But...I always get a little worried about the "lock the lid, leave it alone" part. I want to get in there and peek. It took me years before I learned to trust it and let it cook.

Marni N said...

I am new at Pressure cooking .... they scare me.
I need all the help I can get and I was wondering if there are any cookbooks out there, just for "Pressure Cookers/Cooking"
I made my first meal tonight with my electric pc ... so far so good. But I would like to try more things ( I made short ribs) expand my repertoire so to speak. Thanks for inspiring me.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Marni N:
Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass is the best introductory cookbook for pressure cooking.

wminot said...

Thank you!

This is the easiest and best of all the pressure cooker short ribs recipes I've tried. The gravy made itself, and the amount of liquid was perfect.

I flour my ribs before searing, and season the four with salt and pepper. Makes a lovely not too thick or thin sauce.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@wminot:

You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it!

amateur cook said...

I usually go all the way and make a beef and barley soup using short ribs. I cook the short ribs similarly in the pressure cooker, and then after it is cooked, I remove the lid (after cooker is completely decompressed of pressure), and add the rest of the ingredients (canned crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes if available, potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms (lightly sauteed prior in some oil/butter with onions and garlic), beef bouillon cubes, chili powder, paprika, fresh chopped parsley, and last but not least barley with constant stirring) to turn it into barley soup.

I only use the pressure cooker to cook the short ribs, but cook without the lid for the remaining steps. While your short ribs are cooking, you can prep the other ingredients. There is no need to defat when you use this recipe.

Beef with barley soup freezes very well, and serves as a great backup meal in the winter months.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Amateur cook:

Thanks for the recipe!

Wayward4now said...

I've been married 3 1/2 times and ALL of the ex's took off with my pressure cookers, after I taught them how to use one! So, now I am single and found two used pressure cookers (4 qt) with their seals in great shape, in a second hand shop for $8 apiece!! I pressure cooked a cut up 10# turkey to make gravy for a 22# bird! After I ate the bits I wanted off of the big one, I stripped the carcass clean to add to my gravy which is so thick with meat you can eat it with a fork. I LOVE my pressure cookers! No man should be without one.

Hihorti said...

I love the richness that browning brings, so I brown all 6 sides of the ribs.  I've also been using white wine for a slightly more delicate, but nonetheless sumptuous sauce.  I add the wine to the sauteed aromatics, deglazing the pan, reducing the wine to about half its original volume, then add the broth.  Yes, every home should have a pressure cooker!!!   We use ours at least weekly chili, beans, chicken, soup, pot roast, many ethnic "slow cook" dishes are completely adaptable.  Thanks for your experiences and encouragement.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thank you! And good for you, having the patience to brown all six sides of the ribs...unlike me. I get tired of browning after about 10 minutes and say "that's good enough..."

Kristin Brancaleone said...

oh my golly, this was insanely good.  truly melt in your mouth delicious.  i used homemade beef bone broth, beer instead of wine (we didn't have any on hand) and added soy sauce and a touch of honey.  so basically, i korean-ized it a little, but used all your instructions for cooking it.  thanks so much for this!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome - those sound like great changes to the recipe!

Heidi Younggrasshopper said...

Hi, I just recently got a pressure cooker and LOVE it, glad to find your blog :) I'm making this for dinner tonight!
I have a pretty yummy Asian PC short rib on my blog and an awesome short rib risotto.... I'm obsessed with the short rib as well. in case you need an idea or two :D

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Heidi,

Thanks for the tips - I can always use a new short rib recipe!

Kim said...

do you adjust your pressure cooker timings for grass-fed beef?  thanks for the great recipes!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I have to admit - I haven't pressure cooked much grass fed beef. When I have, I've used the same timing, and it has worked out fine. I would be more worried about the size of the short ribs - mine are usually cut around 3 inches thick, and 25 minutes under pressure (plus the natural release) gives them plenty of time to break down the connective tissue.

If they're still tough after 25 minutes, you can always lock the lid, bring the pot back up to pressure, and cook them longer - say another five minutes to start.

Good question - let me know how it goes!

Vinylunkee3 said...

Mike -

This was really great.   I prepared this for the family using my Fagor 10 Qt. Futuro and as you said, it really makes the meat incredibly tender.   I followed your recipe "to the t", even used a Cote du Rhone, and the flavors were absolutely excellent.

The only slight adjustment I made is that I did follow your variation and completely de-fatted and  filtered the sauce.   However, rather than use a hand blender I added a cornstarch/chicken broth slurry and thickened the sauce slightly.    The sauce  was velvety in texture....very nice.

Curious what cut of short rib you normally use....I have read about English cut and Flanken.    I like the cut in your picture with the bone running across (versus along the length which I normally find at our market).    Lastly, do most of bones simply fall off as you remove the short ribs?   Mine did.

Thank you for a great technique and recipe!

Mike

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome, and good idea with the defatted/thickened sauce - I'll have to keep that in mind for next time.

Jeff said...

Looks like a great recipe!  I'm just wondering why you use chicken stock rather than beef stock.  I've just gotten an electric pressure cooker and from what I've discovered it operates at a lower pressure than the stove top ones (12 psi vs 15 psi).  I guess I'll just have to set it to cook a little longer... not sure how much longer, though.  I'm going to give this recipe a go, for sure!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I use chicken stock because I always have some on hand; beef stock would be a good substitute.

Try an extra 20% of time for the electric PC versus the stovetop. Good luck!

mef said...

I made these yesterday to serve tonight so it's too late to ask but...do you really use 2 tablespoons + of kosher salt? It sounds like a lot. I'm holding good thoughts for the $26 of ribs my husband purchased.

Steven said...

Omg I made these actually was my first meal in my pressure cooker and by far this us the best recipe on the net. Thanks. I'm making then tomorrow.

Sue M said...

I'm trying your recipe tonight - but a quick quesiton. I notice at the top of the recipe you show cook time: 1 hour - but in the instructions you indicate 25 minutes. As I'm using an electric pressure cooker - I set mine for 30 minutes. Now I'm worried.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Sue,
The top of the recipe is my estimate of total cooking time - including the sautéing and natural pressure release. You have the right time under pressure.

SueM said...

I thought so - and I just made your recipe. Superb!!! This one is a keeper. I'm not a big fan of thyme tho - and wonder if you had a suggestion as to a difference spice I could use. It was good and I think not having used it much before - it had the pungent smell that made me almost eat the whole pot of ribs. I'm going to check out some of your other recipes. If they're as good as this - dear God I may be using my pressure cooker every other day.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Great! I'm glad you liked it.

Use whatever herb you like instead of the thyme - rosemary, oregano or parsley are the first ones that come to mind.

Dan cooks dinner said...

What kind of adjustments if any do I need to make to the cooking time if I double the amount of ribs?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Extra ribs won't affect the cooking time. Because of the extra meat and liquid, it will take longer for the pot to come up to pressure, and longer for the pressure to come down naturally once it's done cooking.

But, once the cooker is up to high pressure, it will cook for the same amount of time (25 minutes for ribs that are 1 1/2 inches thick at their thickest part). Cooking time is determined more by the thickness of the individual ribs than the amount of ribs in the pot - if you have extra thick ribs (say, 2 1/2 inches thick or more at their thickest part), increase the cooking time by about ten minutes - go 35 minutes under pressure.

LaurenCooks said...

Thank you both, Mike for this recipe and reinforcing my affection for my own Fagor, and Lorna, for your awesome cookbook Cooking Under Pressure! I had to throw out all my books because we got mold in our house, and this is one of the cookbooks I'll have to buy back since it was indispensable. I am with you on the why bother browning it question! Looking forward to having these ribs for dinner tonight. And it's already 5:14 and the ribs are still frozen! But am I worried? No! What a joy the pressure cooker is.

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