Monday, August 8, 2016

Short-Rib Faux Aging w/ Fish Sauce & Warm Aging using Sous-Vide

If you have been following along you know that I have been experimenting a lot with Fish Sauce and Warm Aging (Experiments). I have used this technique with Tri-Tips, Ribeye's and New York's with great results. Now comes the ultimate test which involves Short-Ribs. With a little better pre-planning I would have chosen a Bone-In-Short-Rib but this was a spare of the moment dinner. Wife wanted Short-Ribs and I said OK. Note: these are sliced and are from costco. Next time I will go with either Boneless or Bone-In-Short-Ribs. The results should be similar. 

What makes this an ultimate test is the mere fact I am using Short-Ribs. Short-Ribs are notorious for being extremely flavorful but not tender. Normally you have to braise Short-Ribs for a long time or Sous-Vide them between 48-72 hours to make them tender.
The experiment is all about making tender ribs in a shorter time using the Warm Aging method. The fish sauce is just an added bonus for flavor (UMAMI). I applied the fish sauce at a rate of 3%. The ribs weighed in at 5.75 lbs which converts to 2608 grams. At 3% I need 78 grams of fish sauce. I.E 2608 X 3% = 78. The fish sauce was mopped all over the ribs and vacuumed sealed for 3.5 days. My schedule is crazy otherwise 3 days would have sufficed. Note: make sure to freeze ribs in bags before trying to vacuum seal other wise the machine will suck up the fish sauce. 

Liken to my other Warm-Aged projects I will warm age the ribs at 104 f for 3 hours and then crank up the temp to 133 f for 10 hours. It's my hope that 10 hours will be enough to tenderize the rib. We will see.

All done. The Short Ribs were Ice-Shocked and refrigerated for a couple of days until I could get to them. Busy work schedule prevents me from doing everything at once. Lets recap.....104 f degrees for 3 hours then 133 f for 10 hours and then ice shocked and used later on.

As the ribs were extracted from bag one would think that there would be a fish smell but that was not the case. Nice fresh beef smell emerged from the bag. 

After I removed the ribs from the bag there was a lot of purge (the extracted liquid from the ribs aka discharge). This is great stuff so don't throw it out. Instead heat the purge in the Microwave in a proper bowl or heat on the top of the stove until the proteins coagulate making what looks like a protein raft. Almost like making a consume or clarifying a stock except you're not using eggs whites or their shells. Anyhow after all the proteins stick together strain using cheesecloth/napkin through a fine sieve. Use the purge in your sauce or gravy. For more information about the purge I would suggest more reading "What do with those juices... by Norm King" Norm runs a great group on Facebook called Sous Vide, Meat Curing and Smoking...... gotta check this group out.

Now it's time to decide how you want to use the ribs. My intentions from the beginning was to use them in a braising liquid. At this step I want to char or brown the outsides and keep building on these wonderful flavors. Spice them up anyway you want eliminating the salt. Don't forget the fish sauce we used has a lot of salt. 

Put a nice char on them and your ready for the next step. These were placed on the grill when they were ice cold which prevented the inside from getting over cooked. 

These babies came out amazingly good!!!! The fish sauce added to the beefiness (Umami) and the warm aging cooking approach helped make them tender.

As we all know short ribs can  be tough and require longs slow cooks. Take a look at Chefsteps videos on making Short ribs using different times and temps. My ribs are liken to the Chefstep video of 144 F at 24 hours. I was able to cut the time in half and use a lower temp to achieve the same result (better I think). Of course a side by side comparison is they only way to tell if I am correct in my assumptions. Give it a shot and report back.  

In this experiment I was able demonstrated a few things about Faux Aging with Fish Sauce and Warm Aging use temps. Using Fish Sauce increased the Umami beefiness and the Warm Aging procedure tenderized the ribs. This new approach has broaden my inclinations about how to cook meat in general. If you want the sordid details about what I mean by Warm aging or Faux Aging click on the experiment link above.

Depending on how you're going to finish the ribs you will have to cook them accordingly. These ribs cooked for 10 hours which was perfect for the braise. The braise was done in less than 2 hours. 

But how about BBQ Short Ribs?  In the link provided I cooked these ribs at 149 f degrees for 48 hours then gave them a 3 plus hour smoke. Using the Fish Sauce and Warm Aging approach I believe I could have done it in a much shorter time and had better results. I.E Warm Age at 3 hours (no more than 3) and maybe cook at 149 f degrees for 15 hours with a 3 hour smoke. Time will tell if I am right. I am going to continue to experiment and report back.

Here's a picture of the finished dish. I made a creamy polenta and topped it with my braised short ribs. The sauce was simple to make. Here is a quick run down. I used fresh cremini mushrooms and an assortment of wild mushrooms that were dehydrated.  I hydrated the mushrooms with hot water and saved the mushroom water. I filtered the mushroom water through triple folded cheese-cloth. I used onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes products, herbs and spices and many other things. I cut the short ribs into small pieces are cooked them in the braise for about 2 hours. They were extremely tender and a perfect topping for my creamy polenta.