Saturday, March 29, 2014

BBQ-Short-Ribs Sous-vide

 16.5 lbs, Short Ribs from Stewart's Meats in Yelm WA. I will use 1/2 
Every 2 months or so I make a special trip down to my favorite butcher shop in Yelm WA called Stewart's Meat Market. This trip is special because I usually order some type of meat. This last trip was extra special because I special ordered Veal Plate aka Veal Belly (22 lbs worth). They were nice enough to accept my special order.  This is not something they normally carry. In a future blog I will describe how I will transform the belly into Bacon. Sorry I got side tracked this blog is about BBQ-Short-Ribs. 

BBQ-Short-Rib is one of my favorite ribs to eat and prepare!! I would normally cook these babies Low and Slow on my Weber Smokey Mountain at 225 degree temp until fork tender but I wanted to make these ribs using the Sous-Vide cooking method. One of the obstacles you run into when you cook Ribs the traditional way is being able tenderize them without over cooking. To make Short-Ribs tender and break down (or dissolve) that connective tissue you need cook them low and slow and bring internal temp up to 180-190 which takes them way beyond Med-Rare. Sous-Vide will allow me to cook them Med-Rare and still render them succulent and tender. 

Here is a great article on it by Amazing Ribs. Since I like my meat on the rare side and I of course want them to be tender I usually have to compromise on the pink. Theoretically cooking them Sous-Vide which is a very low cooking temp will help dissolve all the connective tissue and keep the ribs nice and pink.

OK so how do I pull this off? I searched the web for advice and came away with a plethora of recipes and techniques.  Temps ranged from 131-166 and a slew of cooking times. Some suggested BBQ the Ribs first than Sous-Vide than back on grill for a fast sear.  

I decided to do it my way!!!!! I used a dry Rub prior to Vacuuming. I will cook them in a water bath at 131 degree (55c) for 48 hours, submerge in ice-bath to cool off than refrigerate over night. The Following day I will reapply rub, maybe add some BBQ sauce and smoke them for about 2.5 hours at a temp of 200-225 degrees. Putting the Ribs on cold will keep the overall temp way down and they should be succulent, caramelized and remain pink. 

Vacuumed sealed and untrimmed. 

All trimmed up and ready to go

131 degrees set 48 hours

In water bath

After a 48 hour water bath
BBQ Rubbed & BBQ Sauce
WSM 22.5 at 225 degree F
2.5 hours.

  • Note: Ribs were refrigerated 24 hours after 48 hour water bath. Refrigerated meat does two things. 
  • Temp of meat will not rise much after 2.5 hour smoke
  • Cold and wet meat will take on more smoke

Final thoughts:

  • They were amazing. All connective tissue broke down and was dissolved. 
  • Cooking at 131 degrees for 48 hours was great but will try 60 hours next time or 149 for 48 like I do my pastrami. hmm will have to see.
  • I should have made more
  • Some people suggested BBQ first than Sous-Vide but they're wrong
  • Advantage to Sous-Vide was I was able to have Medium Rare Ribs. Traditional way of cooking them would have required an internal temp of 185-190 to break down all connective tissue.