Steven Raichlen, author of the Barbecue Bible, shared this recipe the other day: a BBQ Baby Back Rib Sandwich. That’s right, instead of boneless pork formed into a vague rack shape (cough McRib cough), Mr. Raichlen’s sandwich uses real ribs. Brilliant! I had to try it - here’s my recipe for an Instant Pot Baby Back Rib Sandwich.
Now, to (hopefully) head off the barbecue purists1. You can smoke real deal baby back ribs for hours and use them in this recipe. They’ll be great! But, that feels like overkill. I’d rather eat those ribs straight up, without all the sandwich nonsense getting in the way.
Instant Pot ribs don’t seem like seem like such a big deal to me. They’re a lot less work, so I’m less precious about them. And, pressure cooked ribs are fall-apart tender, a big advantage when I have to remove all the bones to make a sandwich.
Long-time readers will recognize these ribs from my Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs recipe. It’s my go-to pressure cooker rib technique, with homemade BBQ rub and sauce. The only difference is a suggestion from a reader - add a tablespoon of liquid smoke to the water in the pressure cooker, to give a smoky flavor to the ribs.
Recipe: Instant Pot Baby Back Rib SandwichPrint
Instant Pot Baby Back Rib Sandwich. Made from a real slab of baby back ribs, and ready in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
- 1 meaty slab baby back ribs
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup water (or the minimum liquid amount for your pressure cooker)
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
Barbecue Rub (2 tablespoons of my Homemade Barbecue Rub), or use your favorite store bought rub
- ¾ tablespoon paprika
- ¾ tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
Barbecue sauce (1 cup of my Easy Barbecue Sauce), or use your favorite store bought sauce
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot sauce
- 4 sub rolls
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- Pickle chips
- Remove the membrane from the ribs: On the bone side of the ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and the bone, then grab with a paper towel and pull the membrane off of the ribs. (If it tears while you’re pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off as well.)
- Make the rub and sauce: In a small bowl, stir the barbecue rub ingredients, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
- Season the ribs and put them in the pot: Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the salt and rub. Cut the ribs into 4 pieces, cutting between every third bone. Pour a cup of water and the liquid smoke into an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, then add the pressure cooker rack. Stack the ribs on top of the rack.
- Pressure cook the ribs for 30 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric cooker, or for 24 minutes in a stovetop PC. (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 more minutes.
- Assemble and serve the rib sandwiches: Unlock the pressure cooker lid, and carefully move the ribs to a cutting board - they are fall-apart tender. Brush the ribs on both side with the barbecue sauce, then set them bone-side up and pull the bones out of the slab, leaving the slab of pork together as much as you can. (Some may just fall apart - that is what fall-apart tender means, after all.) Set the slabs of ribs in the sub rolls, top with sliced onions and pickles, and serve.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Baby Back Rib Sandwich; Pressure Cooker Baby Back Rib Sandwich
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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