Most North American Chinese restaurants use racks of pork spare ribs for this dish, which unfortunately won’t fit in the Instant Pot because the bones are too long. But we can get that favorite flavor into the ribs by using Saint Louis–style or baby-back ribs and marinating the racks to get the most flavor into the meat before they undergo pressure.
1/4cupregular or low-sodium soy sauceor gluten-free tamari sauce
3tablespoonsdark brown sugar
1tablespoonminced peeled fresh ginger
3medium garlic clovesminced (1 tablespoon)
4drops red food coloringoptional
Two 3-pound racks of Saint Louis–style or baby-back pork ribsmembranes removed
1 1/2cupschicken broth
1cuppurchased duck sauce or sweet chili sauce(gluten-free if necessary)
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Stir the hoisin sauce, soy or tamari sauce, the brown sugar, honey, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and food coloring (if using) in a small bowl until uniform. Brush this mixture all over all sides of the rib racks. If you’ve used food coloring, wear rubber gloves to save your hands.
Coil each rack up, wrap each separately in plastic wrap, and place them in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cover the pan with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
Set the racks of ribs out on the counter for 20 minutes. Pour the broth into the insert set in a 5-, 6-, or 8-quart Instant Pot. Set a pressure- and food-safe rack or trivet into the pot.
Unwrap the baking dish, then the ribs. Coil one rib rack into a spiral (like the start of crazy cartoon eyes) and set that spiral cut side down on the rack or trivet in the insert so that you look down into the cooker and see the coiling spiral. Release the spiral and let it uncoil a bit. Now coil up the second rack the same way and set it right in the middle of the first rack of ribs, releasing it and letting it, too, uncoil a bit inside the first coil. If you’re unsure how to do this, check out the video for this recipe on our YouTube channel, Cooking with Bruce and Mark. Lock the lid on the pot.
For the MAX model: Set to Pressure Cook and set to MAX pressure for 19 minutes.
For all other models: Set to Pressure Cook/Manual and set to High Pressure for 25 minutes.
When the pot has finished cooking, turn it off and let the pressure return to normal naturally, about 20 minutes. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Use kitchen tongs to transfer the (hot!) rib racks to a large, lipped baking sheet. Unfold them and spread them flat on the sheet. Spread the duck sauce or sweet chili sauce over both sides of the racks.
Set the oven rack 8 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Broil the ribs until bubbling and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once. Watch out that the ribs don’t burn. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing the ribs between the bones to serve.
• Substitute 1 teaspoon five-spice powder for the ground cinnamon.
• Garnish the ribs with sesame seeds and/or finely minced scallions.
• Or drizzle with toasted sesame oil and unseasoned rice vinegar.
• Have extra duck sauce or sweet chile sauce for dipping.
• For a 3-quart Instant Pot, you must halve all of the ingredient amounts (using only one rack of ribs). And you must only use baby-back ribs.
• For an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can increase the amount of marinade, ribs, and duck sauce by 50 percent but you must leave the amount of liquid in the insert the same as the original recipe. (Follow the technique for setting one rib spiral in another from the main recipe, then set the third spiral of ribs in the center and let it uncoil a bit, too.)
• For a 10-quart Instant Pot, you must increase the amount of liquid in the insert to 21/2 cups, even if you complete the recipe as otherwise stated. However, you can also increase the other ingredient amounts by 50 percent or you can even double the other amounts.