Chef Bryan Voltaggio on BBQ Culture and Pressure Cookers

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

Bryan Voltaggio

Many people are scared of pressure cookers, what would you say to them about using this one from Williams-Sonoma?

Pressure cookers are much safer today than models of the past. Also like any appliance or cooking vessel, be sure to understand how it operates, and you will realize the benefits of the pressure coker and all that it has to offer and how safe to use they really are. This particular one has multiple pressure capabilities enabling a lower setting for longer cooking of tougher cuts of meats and or extracting flavor for stocks, and a higher pressure setting for cooking legumes and or more tender cuts of proteins. Also with those settings there are safety release valves to ensure that the pressure cooker does not become unsafe or unstable to use. The cooker also has a self-locking handle that provides unparalleled safety.


We know that BBQ is all about the meat, but what did you find to be the role of side dishes in BBQ culture?

OK, here we can talk all day. Every stop on our tour yielded a new discovery of what the side dishes mean in the BBQ culture. Some were complete after thoughts; some were the best dishes I have ever tasted. BBQ is about the gathering of friends and family good meat cooked by smoke and fire without too much manipulation. That takes precedence over any side dish and that was one common trend. However I had the best hushpuppies ever at Wilbur's in Goldsboro, N.C. Cole slaw and baked beans came in many forms and each stop was as good as the next. The one thing that was common among the many stops along the trip was banana pudding — we did not end a meal without it.