Lusciously Moist Baby Back Ribs from the Instant Pot

Reader Contribution by Blythe Pelham

I recently cobbled together the recipe below in my usual way—reading through several other recipes, considered the things I had on-hand, tailored the flavors to our tastes, and dove into the deep end (though I know the deep end of my pool very well by this point in time).

One of my favorite ways to cook is to incorporate other foods that I have preserved, dried, frozen, or picked fresh from my garden. While I used my own pear preserves in this recipe, you could easily substitute your own peach preserves or a commercial fig spread—any fruit concoction that brings smiles to the diner’s faces is worthy of a try. I urge cooks to mine the treasures they already have in their supplies and to create with the tastes of their family’s palates in mind.

Just a few weeks ago I processed some of my freshly dug and dried garlic into a brine bath. At the same time, I started more cloves fermenting in honey for future use. I have been using the brined garlic nearly every day since it was ready so it was easy for me to include it as the final topping in this recipe. Your use of unfermented, fresh garlic will work just fine. I have no doubt that the honey-fermented garlic will also find its way into this dish in our kitchen by the end of fall—perhaps even into some homemade barbecue sauce.

While the following is written for one rack of 15 baby back ribs, time could be varied depending on more or less meat being cooked—use your best judgment. Many people love to slather ribs in tasty, dripping goodness that’s finger-lickin’ good. We prefer these ribs lighter on the sauce so their rich meaty flavor is more highlighted. I leave the slathering levels up to the individual chef’s taste, hence the lack of more specific quantities for topping ingredients.

Luscious Baby Back Ribs for the Instant Pot


rack of ribs
barbecue rub
1 12-ounce beer (I prefer darker beers for their added flavor and richness)
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp minced, fresh ginger
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (you could substitute another vinegar, it may alter the end flavor)
3/4 cup water

Topping ingredients for broiling:

barbecue sauce
pear preserves
fresh ginger
crushed pineapple
chopped garlic


1. Coat the rack of ribs with the rub. (This can be a commercially produced rub or you can combine your own ingredients. I did the latter)

2. Stand the ribs on end, circling the inside of the pot, meaty side in.

3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (from the first list) into the hole made by the circle of the ribs.

4. Lock Instant Pot. Turn Instant Pot onto high pressure and manually set for 17 minutes. Prepare your side dishes while the ribs are cooking. Once the pressure cooking is complete, switch to warm and let pressure come off for 10 minutes before venting (10-minute natural release).

5. Carefully remove ribs from Pot and lay meat side up on a broiling pan. This is where personal choice comes in. As I mentioned above, we prefer to taste the meat and my husband would rather not have to clean his fingers while eating so we go with a lighter-on-the-goop option. First, I lay down a light coating of barbecue sauce across the rack of ribs. That is followed by a layer of my pear preserves mixed with fresh ginger. Next is a layer crushed pineapple. I then sprinkle coarsely chopped garlic over the entire top.

6. Broil for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are nicely glazed and garlic is browned (or charred, according to preference).

7. Divide rack (if you haven’t already… it may be easier for some to cut the rack in the Instant Pot and take out smaller sections, though that also makes slightly more work when glazing and topping). Serve with your choice of sides. Pictured below with the ribs are (starting bottom left, then clockwise): fresh asparagus and kale from the garden with chopped garlic; fresh cucumber, basil leaves, and tomatoes from the garden; and fresh pole beans and dill from the garden with lemon.

Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online atHumings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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