Beer Braised Baby Backs

What do ya’ do when you’re gonna’ be home alone all week, already spent your grocery budget, and aren’t really feeling a lot of prep work and dirty dishes? Grab your Insta and empty out that freezer! For this recipe, I went with TexMex flavors because that’s my roots, but choose whichever seasonings you enjoy most and make it your own.


1 rack Baby Back ribs

1 can beer (I used Slightly Mighty Dogfish Head)

2 dried Ancho chilies

1 dried chipotle chili

2 dried chili de arbols, optional

3 tbsp cumin powder (I like a lot)

2 tbsp light chili powder

1 tbsp dark chili powder

1/2 sweet onion, quartered

4 gloves garlic, peeled, trimmed, left whole

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 slice dried orange

1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp coarse ground smoked black peppercorns

1 tsp smoked salt

2 – 3 cups stock or water

1 – 2 servings polenta cooked per package directions

Garnish: petite diced tomato and fresh chives


Add all ingredients to an Insta Pot making sure the ribs are mostly submerged in the liquid and then secure the lid. Set the Insta to the “Meat” setting on “More” and pressure cook the ribs for 25 minutes if the ribs are thawed and 45 minutes if they are frozen. Once the pressure cook is finished, follow the Insta instructions to release the remaining pressure before removing the lid. Check the tenderness of the ribs and if the meat isn’t easily falling off the bone, place the lid back on and set the Insta to the “Slow Cooker” setting and continue to braise the ribs until extremely tender up to an hour longer.

Once tender, carefully remove the ribs from the Insta and set aside on a clean surface to cool. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid with a mesh ladle or cheesecloth into a large mixing bowl to remove all the bones, chilies, and veg. Discard everything but the liquid. Transfer the cleaned braising liquid back to the Insta pot. Set the Insta on its highest “Sauté” setting and reduce the braising liquid until it has thickened into a gravy like consistency, about 30 minutes. Adjust the time depending on the amount of liquid you have. Once thickened, turn off the Insta, taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.

Reserve about one cup of the chili gravy and then transfer the remaining gravy to the fridge and use throughout the week to top enchiladas, tamales, or smothered burritos or use for chilaquiles or huevos rancheros. You can also freeze the chili gravy up to 3 months for later use.

After the ribs have cooled enough to handle, carefully remove the rib meat from the bone and discard all the bones. With two forks, shred the pork then add to a large mixing bowl. Ladle in a bit of the chili gravy a little at a time, about one cup, and toss to combine. You want the pork moist and flavorful but not floating in the gravy. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Cook the polenta per package directions then ladle into serving bowls. Spoon an additional amount of gravy on top of the polenta, if desired, then add the shredded pork next. Garnish with chopped tomato and chives. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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