Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sous-Vide Beef-Back-Ribs Revisited


This is not my first rodeo or my second. I've made these ribs several times and wanted to share with you all that I have learned. Here is a link to one of my earlier POSTS. I wish my ribs were that big. I use to love watching Fred eat these enormous portions of food. 

I cut the slabs into more manageable sections. So far so good. These Backbones are way bigger than the ones I've have used in the past and much meatier too. These larger size ribs shouldn't change the process or cook times though.

I would suggest a store bought rub or make your own. I like adding lots of brown sugar to my rubs. Rubs are so easy to make so give it a shot.

Some people will tell you to Sous-Vide your ribs naked but not me!! I dry brine all my proteins for the following reasons. Dry-Brining provides more flavor, denatures the protein and makes them more tender, and reduces moisture loss during the cooking process. If you want to read more about Dry- Brines click HERE. Or you can just google Dry-Brines and Science. There's a lot of info out there. I have conducted my own experiments and they can be found HERE.

How about that rub? Well to be honest only the salt will penetrate the protein which gives you all the benefits I listed above. The extra components of the rub are mostly a surface treatment. According to what I have read, and yes I can attest to this the additional components of the rub will penetrate but a mere 1/8 of an inch, if at all. Of course the amount of penetration is tied to the overall dry-brining time. I dry-brine most proteins for at least 24 hours and schedule permitting up to 36 hours. If you plan on a short Dry-Brine don't waste your time or rub. For this to work well you need a full 24 hours and of course 36 is better.

Double vacuumed sealed. On long cooks I double them up. After the 36 hour Dry-Bining I cooked them at 149 f degrees for 52 hours. After the cook I dropped all the bags into a large container with Ice-Packs to cool them off rapidly. Note: Previous ribs were cooked for 48 hours. Because of my schedule I did not smoke them for another 8 days. Since the ribs were pasteurized I was able to keep them for an extended time in the refrigerator.
Out of the bags and into a large container. The container is huge!! It needed to hold all 20 lb.  Notice the congealed fat? 

Apply some more rub if you want too.

Apply BBQ sauce if you want too. I love BBQ sauce. In traditional smoking I always add the sauce during the last couple of hours.

Set up your smoker. I have a custom Weber Smokey Mountain. I use this method which I find to be the best. Charcoal around the bricks will burn more evenly and will last a long time. In the charcoal I have added some wood. Using a charcoal chimney starter I poured hot coals on one end. I can do 22 hour long smokes on this baby at 225 f. This smoker is so huge I can do 12-14 whole chickens. 

I kept the temp between 200-215 f degrees. They smoked for 2.5 hours until an internal temp of 165 f was reached.

I have special racks to hold the ribs. Very handy.

Review- They came out great!!! Pulled off the bone and no big gobs of fat to chew on. In the past I have done them at 131 f for 48 hours and smoked until an internal temp of 140 f was reached (other temps and times too). The meat was near perfect but the fat did not render down at all. Globs of fat in your mouth was not what I was looking for. Than I tried 149 f at 48 hours and smoked until an internal temp of 150 f was reached. This was an improvement but again fat was not perfect. Now I believe I've come close to nailing it.... 149 f for 52 hours and smoked until an internal temp of 165 f was reached. Fat rendered down nicely (not perfect but damn close) and the meat fell off the bone. If you want more chew SV for about 44 hours. 

Update 1/7/2018- As an experiment I was curious about a higher temp and the effects on the fat and connective tissue. This time I Warm-Aged the ribs at 104℉ for 3 hours and 30 minutes and  cooked them at 159℉ for 48 hours. They were smoked at 200-225℉ until a temp of 165℉ was reached (they hit 170℉ after rest)... I wanted more of a crust on top is why I went for an extra 5℉ degrees.

I was curious if I would be able to render more fat. You see the picture above (149/52)? You see the fat between the fibers? I wanted to see if I would be able to render that fat as well. 

 Anyhow they came out very well depending on your subjective pallet. They were fall off the bone perfect if that's your thing. Unfortunately for me fall off the bone is not what I was looking for. I knew this would happen but this was an experiment about fat rendering. The ultimate goal would be to have the fat/connective tissue render all the way down and have a clean bite of the bone. 

Ok..... I think the 159℉ was the perfect temp but the 48 hours was too much. Next time.... I will Warm Age at 3 hours and 30 min followed by a 24 hour cook.

Update- 1/18/2018- Well I couldn't wait too long to try this again. I got lucky and came across a great set of Beef Back Ribs. Like I said it the previous paragraph 159 was perfect but 48 was way to long. Well I did exactly what I said I was going to do. Warm Aged at 104 for 3 1/2 hours.... followed by a 24 hour cook at 159 . BTW- the 24 clock did not start until the bath reached 159℉. I expedited maters by tossing in boiling water and removing some of the cooler water. This took less than 5 minutes. 
FLAWLESS!!!!! All the fat rendered down and they had a slight chew that and felt great between the teeth. They did not fall off the bones but required you too pull just a bit. Perfect texture. Will try this time/temp with short ribs. Don't forget this is all subject to what I like you might like something else. 

NOTE: I would not use this model for Short Ribs. Click the link for Short Ribs.