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Sous vide short ribs, times, and temperatures

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I tried to cook BBQ Baby Back Ribs last week. I vacuum pack my ribs with salt and pepper and a light clothing of BBQ sauce and SV for 24 hours at 68 deg C. It turn out dry with a lot of liquid in the bag. I tried to BBQ on grill at high heat for a short time for the BBQ taste. The area that is on the grill is freally dried but over-all result is not good even with a generous layer of my favourite BBQ sauce. Have any one SV baby back rib beore and what is your experience?

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Dry means overcooked. (A lot of liquid in the bag confirms this, imo.) 24 hours seems excessive to me. I have not done BBs sous vide though.


Kevin

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What made you choose 68C? That temperature is way too high.


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What made you choose 68C?  That temperature is way too high.

I cook mine higher yet (180), but for only 6-7 hours. I do so to render the fat. Once they come out, they get brushed with BBQ sauce and quickly broiled. Works to my satisfaction.

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Dry means overcooked. (A lot of liquid in the bag confirms this, imo.) 24 hours seems excessive to me. I have not done BBs sous vide though.

I use the recomendation by Douglas Baldwin from his article Practical Guide to Sous Vide - the only info I have on SV baby back ribs.

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What made you choose 68C?  That temperature is way too high.

I will try your temp and time next time. Thanks

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Have many people SV'd ribs? If I were going to cook ribs for 6+ hours and then fininsh them w/ BBQ sauce I would just smoke them in the first place.

Seems like another technique taken to far. Maybe you can serve them w/ a Sweet Baby Ray's foam? :raz:

Jeff

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Have many people SV'd ribs? If I were going to cook ribs for 6+ hours and then fininsh them w/ BBQ sauce I would just smoke them in the first place.

Seems like another technique taken to far. Maybe you can serve them w/ a Sweet Baby Ray's foam?  :raz:

Jeff

Probably worth mentioning that I live in a Manhattan Apt :-)

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Plus, it can be a good way to control the cooking. Smoke only flavors the meat for a finite amount of time at the beginning of the cooking process. After that, there is really no advantage to keeping the meat in the smoker. If you are able to get some good smoke flavor into the meat, and then cook to exactly the texture you want using sous vide techniques, you should be able to end up with a superior product. In addition, you could batch-smoke a whole lot of ribs and other meats for the "smoke flavoring period," then bag, freeze and finish cooking them individually sous vide whenever you liked, which would be very convenient and attractive for those people whose living situation or schedule makes firing up the smoker more than a couple of times a year problematic.


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Have many people SV'd ribs? If I were going to cook ribs for 6+ hours and then fininsh them w/ BBQ sauce I would just smoke them in the first place.

Seems like another technique taken to far. Maybe you can serve them w/ a Sweet Baby Ray's foam?  :raz:

Jeff

Probably worth mentioning that I live in a Manhattan Apt :-)

Well said except to SV to the right internal temp is easier said than done. I am keeping a log on all my SV and hoping to eventually have a list of perfect SV time and temp for all my cooking. I was hoping that list is available in the www. What I find is we have to try all those publish temp and time and see if it is really the correct ones. At least I can say for baby back ribs 68 deg C and 24 hr. is too long. Next time I will try 180 deg F for 6 hrs.

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Smoke only flavors the meat for a finite amount of time at the beginning of the cooking process. 

Smoke particulates continue to stick to meat surfaces as long as they are present. One can easily experience this: Leave something too long in smoke and it tastes 'oversmoked', i.e., too strong with, often, sharp or bitter notes.

The only thing that is limited is the formation of the smoke ring, the chemical reaction that causes the meat to form a red ring from the surface inward. This stops as the meat's temp rises but has nothing to do with smoke adherence or smoke flavor.


Kevin

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Have many people SV'd ribs? If I were going to cook ribs for 6+ hours and then fininsh them w/ BBQ sauce I would just smoke them in the first place.

Seems like another technique taken to far. Maybe you can serve them w/ a Sweet Baby Ray's foam?  :raz:

Jeff

Probably worth mentioning that I live in a Manhattan Apt :-)

Touche-even though I would get a stovetop smoker and finish in a low oven. If it works for you though...

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Plus, it can be a good way to control the cooking.  Smoke only flavors the meat for a finite amount of time at the beginning of the cooking process.  After that, there is really no advantage to keeping the meat in the smoker.  If you are able to get some good smoke flavor into the meat, and then cook to exactly the texture you want using sous vide techniques, you should be able to end up with a superior product.  In addition, you could batch-smoke a whole lot of ribs and other meats for the "smoke flavoring period," then bag, freeze and finish cooking them individually sous vide whenever you liked, which would be very convenient and attractive for those people whose living situation or schedule makes firing up the smoker more than a couple of times a year problematic.

Hmmm I'd like to taste a side by side there, however the batch smoking could have some merit.

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It all depends on what texture you want your ribs to be. When I think ribs, I don't picture medium-rare meat and so use a higher temperature.

The amount of liquid in the bag does not just depend on temperature but also on time: at 140F/60C, beef cooked for 24 hours loses about 31% of its weight while beef cooked for only one hour loses only about 7% of its weight (Bouton and Harris, 1981).

I rather doubt you will notice much of a difference between ribs cooked at 180F/82C for 6 hours and 155F/68C for 24 hours. When I cook pork spare ribs at 155F/68C for 24 hours or at 176F/80C for 8 hours they both come out moist and very tender (even when I skip brining).


My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."

My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK

My YouTube channel — a new work in progress.

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I have to ask why you are trying to sous vide ribs rather than simply brining and slow roasting to fall-off-the-bone tenderness then a fast saucing to a chin-dribbling succulent finish.  Absolutely foofproof and delicious.  Credits to Feiniger and Milliken's City Cuisine

I usually salt and pepper my ribs than slow roast in the oven before finishing on the BBQ with sauce. I do not do it enough to be consistent in my slow roasting and sometimes it get dried. So I thought I can SV to the perfect internal temperature more consistently because there are a big window of perfect doneness (so I thought). However, I do not know what is the perfect internal temp for ribs so I choose 68 deg C. It may be a little high. Brining before SV may be the answer too. I believe if done right SV can achieve a better bite to the meat (instead of following off the bone and a little muschy) and may be more consistent.

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It all depends on what texture you want your ribs to be.  When I think ribs, I don't picture medium-rare meat and so use a higher temperature. 

The amount of liquid in the bag does not just depend on temperature but also on time:  at 140F/60C, beef cooked for 24 hours loses about 31% of its weight while beef cooked for only one hour loses only about 7% of its weight (Bouton and Harris, 1981). 

I rather doubt you will notice much of a difference between ribs cooked at 180F/82C for 6 hours and 155F/68C for 24 hours.  When I cook pork spare ribs at 155F/68C for 24 hours or at 176F/80C for 8 hours they both come out moist and very tender (even when I skip brining).

I first like to thank you for your great article on Sous Vide. It is more useful than Thomas Keller's "Under Pressure" (I have yet try to cook one of its recipe). I consulted your article for every SV I have done.

I think with any long SV brining may be the answer to prevent drying. Can I SV the ribs at 60.5 deg C for 24 hours to achieve med rare and would that also alliviate this drying problem (without brining)?

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Since this topic is a couple years old, I am wondering if there is consensus now on best temperature & time combination for Baby Back Ribs Sous Vide.

Any suggestions?

My main SV references (Roca and Keller) do not really mention baby back ribs.

I would appreciate any ideas.

Thanks

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Modernist Cuisine suggests smoking for 7h at (I think) 150F followed by 48h sous vide at 60C. I just tried that over the weekend and found the texture too soft for my liking. To be fair, my smoking temp ranged between 160-200F, so that may have had something to do with it, aside from a difference in taste. I smoked another batch yesterday and followed it up with SV for only 24h. Haven't tried those yet, though.


 

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Douglas Baldwin claims "The amount of liquid in the bag does not just depend on temperature but also on time: at 140F/60C, beef cooked for 24 hours loses about 31% of its weight while beef cooked for only one hour loses only about 7% of its weight (Bouton and Harris, 1981)."

While I realize cooking for 24 hours makes the meat more fall apart tender, losing 31% of juice makes it dry doesn't it? The sauce is just covering up the lack of juice.

Is there a better time/temperature combination? I'm especially curious for the best times for Short ribs. I know 140F for 24 hours is common, but I find the meat "mealy" and the texture dry.

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I cooked baby back ribs twice over the weekend. I used a three step process and I like the results.

-Cooked them sous vide at 60C for 24 hours

-After the bath, smoked them for about 20 minutes in a Webber grill

-After the smoke, seared them in a gas grill, primarily to improve their look.

The first batch did not have any spices/rub prior to the bath. The second batch was brined + had a simple BBQ rub.

I need to be careful on the smoking step, make sure that I just have enough coals to produce smoke without creating much heat.

I will continue cooking ribs this way.

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I have done baby back ribs at 155F for 30 hours and they came out incredibly moist and tender. I seared them on an outdoor grill set on high for only a few minutes, brushing them with BBQ sauce. I would classify them as "fall off the bone" tender. From what I understand, for every 10C change you need to double the time. So you could accomplish the same tenderness at 140F for 60-72 hours or increase the temperature to 165F and cook for around 12-15 hours or increase even further to 180F and cut the cooking time to 6-8 hours. They should all achieve roughly the same texture.


Artie

Silicon Valley Sous Vide Home Chef

The Art and Presentation of Sous Vide

www.siliconvalleysousvide.shutterfly.com

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I made a rub with brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and a few other spices. Sous vide 48 hours at 145F. Brushed them with Hot Bone Sucking Sauce and grilled long enough to char the sugar.

Best ribs I have ever had in my life.

Used the liquid in the bag to make gravy for mashed potatoes.


Edited by Kim D (log)

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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Sounds like people are smoking/grilling afterwards......what about smoking before? I have my ribs with a rub right now and was going to put it (along with a tri tip roast) for a smoke for about 1 hour @ 150F, then SV them at 140F for 24-30 hours. A few smoking buddies only smoke their ribs for an hour because they think thats about all the meat should support for taste.

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Smoking before versus after gives you two different flavors: I like them both, they are just different. And how much smoke flavor you like in your ribs is a matter of personal preference, though I agree that at some point you stop having "smoke flavored ribs" and start to have "rib flavored smoke." I just think it's a bit more than an hour.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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