In this rib recipe, a sticky, fruity glaze that’s better than any store-bought barbecue sauce caramelizes thickly on a rack of spice-rubbed trimmed pork ribs. Known as St. Louis-style ribs, this cut is favored in competitive barbecue circles (yeah, that’s one thing!) for its neat square shape and ideal meat-to-bone ratio (ribs are smaller and tapering end). Using tomato paste rather than the often requested ketchup allows for a careful balance of acid, sweetness and spice. First cook the ribs in an oven or even an Instant Pot (more on that below), then cool them in the fridge before finishing them on the grill or under the broiler. This step will help keep the ribs together as they are excitedly flipped over and painted with the sauce.
Instead of waiting for ribs in the oven, you can use your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker for near-instant pork barbecue. Coat the rack of ribs with the dry rub, then set it to the side, gently rolling the ribs inside the cooker (rather than piling them) with half a cup of vinegar (any type will do) or water. Cook on high pressure for 10-12 minutes (depending on how tender you want them to be; they still need to be dusted, so don’t knock them off the tender bone just yet!) and allow the pressure to naturally ease (about 15 minutes). Remove the ribs and let cool before glazing.