Sticky Sweet Soy Spare Ribs are ready in less than an hour, they start in the Instant Pot and finish in the oven for melt-in-your-mouth, sticky, sweet, crispy, spicy perfection.Jump to Recipe
My Friends, this easy instant pot recipe is an absolute A+!
Few dishes rival the mouthwatering delight of tender, succulent spare ribs smothered in a sticky sweet soy glaze. Now, to make the situation even more appealing, this doesn’t have to be a long and laborious task. You can make these killer spare ribs in a fraction of the time using an Instant Pot pressure cooker. To get that crisp caramelized bark that steels the show, simply glaze with a homemade sticky sweet soy-based sauce and roast in the oven to finish them off.
The tender, flavorful meat, paired with the irresistibly sticky sweet soy glaze, will have you falling in love. Whether you’re serving them up at a family gathering or indulging in a cozy night at home, these spare ribs are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
What Kind of Ribs Can I Use, Spare or Baby Back?
Ultimately, the choice between spare ribs and baby back ribs comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a meatier, slightly more substantial rib with a richer flavor, spare ribs may be your choice. On the other hand, if you enjoy a leaner, more tender rib with a milder taste, baby back ribs are likely your preference. Both will definitely work in this recipe. Spare ribs were on sale at the market when I made this recipe, so that’s why I chose to go with those!
What is a “Membrane” and how do I Remove it?
Removing the membrane from ribs, whether they are spare ribs or baby back ribs, is a common step in preparing them for cooking. Here are the main reasons why it’s recommended to remove the membrane from ribs:
- Improved Texture and Tenderness: The membrane, which is located on the bone side of the ribs, can be tough and chewy when cooked. Leaving it on can result in a less pleasant eating experience, as it can be difficult to bite through. Removing the membrane helps ensure that the meat is tender and easier to eat.
- Enhanced Flavor Absorption: Ribs are often seasoned or marinated to impart flavor. When the membrane is left on, it creates a barrier that prevents the seasonings or marinades from penetrating the meat effectively. By removing the membrane, you allow the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
- Even Cooking: Removing the membrane helps the ribs cook more evenly. If the membrane is left on, it can cause the ribs to cook unevenly, with one side being tougher than the other. Removing it ensures consistent cooking and a better overall result.
How to Remove the Membrane from Ribs:
- Start by locating the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. It is a thin, translucent layer that can sometimes be difficult to separate.
- Using a butter knife or a similar dull-edged utensil, gently lift a corner of the membrane.
- Once you have a good grip on the membrane, use a paper towel to grab it firmly. The paper towel provides better traction, making it easier to pull the membrane away from the ribs.
- Slowly but firmly pull the membrane away from the ribs in one piece. It may come off in one go or in several pieces, depending on how well it separates.
- If you encounter resistance or difficulty, you can use the knife to help lift and loosen the membrane at stubborn spots.
- Once the membrane is completely removed, your ribs are ready for seasoning and cooking.
What is “Reserved Cooking Liquid”?
A pressure cooker requires liquid primarily for the generation of steam, which is the key to its rapid and efficient cooking process. As heat is applied to the liquid inside the sealed pot, it transforms into steam, raising the pressure and allowing the food to cook at elevated temperatures. This high-pressure environment significantly reduces cooking times.
When pressure-cooking Sticky Sweet Soy Spare Ribs, we are going to add aromatics with rich, aromatic flavors that complement the meat. We will use water, apple cider vinegar, kombu (this is seaweed), scallion stems, fresh ginger and garlic. After the pressure-cooking has been completed, the cooking liquid will have all these flavors infused into a savory stock. We cannot let that goodness go to waste, so you will pour off, strain a portion, and use it to make the sticky sweet soy glaze to brush onto the cooked spare ribs when roasting in the oven.
What Ingredients do I need for the Sticky Sweet Soy Glaze?
In addition to the aforementioned reserved cooking liquid, you will need soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, rice wine vinegar, gochujang, and cornstarch to thicken it. To make the sticky soy glaze you will combine the reserved cooking liquid, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, gochujang, and rice wine vinegar in a small saucepan. Then, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornstarch/water slurry, and continue to boil to thicken. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready to use. You want the viscosity to be somewhere between water and BBQ sauce, not too thin. Not too thick, not too thin.
Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Ribs Video
Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Ribs- Instant Pot
- 1 Pressure Cooker 6 or 8 quart
For the Pressure Cooker:
- 3.5 lb rack pork spare ribs membrane removed
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger
- 2 clove garlic
- 3 scallion stems white and light green (save green parts for garnish)
- 1 3 inch sheet of kombu seaweed
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper- to season meat
Sticky Soy Sauce:
- ¼ cup reserved and strained cooking liquid from the pressure cooker
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
- Remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs, pulling it down the entire length with a paper towel (because it’s very slippery!) Pat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the metal steam rack into a 6 or 8-QT Instant Pot. Place the seasoned ribs on the rack. Due to the length of the rack of ribs, you will have to wrap around the perimeter of the pot, meaty side outward. Add water, apple cider vinegar, kombu, scallion, garlic, ginger to the instant pot.
- Attach lid to Pressure Cooker. Select Manual setting; adjust the pressure to high, and set time for 30-35 minutes (if you want the meat to fall off the bone, do 35 minutes)When finished cooking, natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
- Carefully remove ribs from pot and set on foil-lined baking sheet (with rack, preferably), and set aside. Reserve ¼ cup of strained flavorful cooking liquid from Instant Pot.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and position an oven rack to top ⅓ of oven. (This is where you will be broiling the ribs)
- To make sticky soy glaze. Combine cooking liquid, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, gochujang, and rice wine vinegar in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornstarch/water slurry, and continue to boil to thicken. The sauce should coat back of a spoon.
- Brush ⅓ of the glaze on the top and bottom of ribs. Slide in oven on top rack and roast for 5 minutes. Remove and brush the top only with an additional ⅓ glaze, Return to oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and brush the top with the remaining ⅓ of the glaze and return for the final 5 minutes of caramelizing the sticky glaze.
- Garnish sticky ribs with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Cut in between bones to serve as single rib portions, or slice in sets of 2 or 3 ribs for larger portions.