Chef Bryan Voltaggio on BBQ Culture and Pressure Cookers

Staff Writer
Voltaggio shares tips for using a pressure cooker to make ribs and more
Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio

Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio traveled the south to visit some of the best BBQ spots that the U.S. has to offer to find inspiration for recipes made exclusively for Williams-Sonoma. Part of Williams-Sonoma’s new summer launch, the chefs were given the challenge of using equipment like the pressure cooker to make ribs. Not possible, you say?  Well Bryan Voltaggio made it happen and we think he pretty much nailed it. But for those of you who aren’t convinced or want to learn more, we asked a Bryan a few questions about his methods and his trip.

Check out what he says below and don’t forget to enter our June Grilling Giveaway to win the pressure and much more for Williams-Sonoma.


Based on your trip and experience, what do you think makes good barbecue?

Good barbecue truly depends on the person in front of the pit, the traditions, techniques, and recipes that have been passed down. The choice of meat, fuel for the smoke, and time is where that person shows their knowledge of what makes great BBQ. Every style is unique and there are definitely opinions on what makes great BBQ, but it always comes down to the pit masters


How and why does a pressure cooker make a good vehicle for preparing ribs?

I wanted to experiment with the pressure cooker to find a way to tenderize ribs without extracting the flavor of the pork itself and to keep the chewiness of the meat that I experienced at Rendevous in Memphis. I learned it does not need to fall off the bone like the over cooked ribs I have experienced elsewhere. The pressure cooker was able to recreate that experience by cooking the ribs in a controlled environment for a fraction of the time


How does a pressure cooker affect the outcome of the ribs in comparison to a grill or smoker?

Of course the grill and smoker is the more traditional way to BBQ, I cannot deny that, however I was shocked as how close to the original you can get by incorporating smoke with the smoking gun and the precision of the pressure cooker in tenderizing the ribs, while maintaining a juicy flavorful cut.