This is part 4 of my on-going series playing with a Sous Vide Supreme. For those of you unfamiliar with sous vide, “sous vide” means “under vacuum” in French. The concept is basically that you cook your food under vacuum in a water bath at the exact temperature that your food needs to be cooked at. Since the water bath is only heated to your desired temperature, it is impossible to over cook your food*. Another appeal to sous vide is that none of the flavor is lost during the cooking process, since the food is kept in a vacuum bag during the whole cooking process. I will spend more time to talk about my experience with the advantages/disadvantages of sous vide and also maybe share some tips with those interested at the end of this series.
This was actually my roommate Enoch‘s idea. Ribs were one of those things that I didn’t think about doing sous vide just because I tend to think of easily overcooked food. Since ribs are a tougher cut of meat, it’s not surprising that it’s going to take awhile. I used a recipe I found from “A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking”:
Cut the ribs into portions which will fit in the vacuum pouches (say 3–4 ribs per piece). Then brine roast in a 7–10% salt, 0–3% sugar water solution (70–100 grams salt and 0–30 grams sugar per 1 liter) in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours.
Drain, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the top of each rib with a barbecue spice rub (say 2T paprika, 1.5T celery salt, 1.5T garlic powder, 1T black pepper, 1T chili powder, 1T ground cumin, 1T brown sugar, 1T table salt, 1t white sugar, 1t dried oregano, and 1t cayenne pepper). Place each piece of pork in a vacuum pouch and seal.
Place the pork either in a 176°F (80°C) water bath for 8–12 hours or in 155°F (68°C) water bath for 24 hours. When cooking at 176°F (80°C), the bag will puff (from water vapor) and may float to the surface. To prevent uneven cooking, the bags should be held under water using a wire rack or some other restraint. [After cooking, the pork may be rapidly cooled in ice water (see Table 1.1) and frozen or refrigerated at below 38°F (3.3°C) for three to four weeks.]
After removing the ribs from the bag, sear the top with a blowtorch. Then, serve immediately with barbecue sauce.
Needless to say, I chose to do 155F for 24 hours (as opposed to 176F for 8-12 hours). Slower is better right?? =)
After a day in the bath, I took the pouches out, drained and dried the ribs, and seared the outside with a torch.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting much from the ribs. But aside from missing that smoky flavor, the texture of the ribs were perfect… like it doesn’t get much better than this perfect. The meat was moist and falling off the bone. The flavor was good and (of course) very evenly distributed. I would recommend, however, using your favorite rub (so go lightly on the salt if you’re going to brine the meat before) instead of the rub in the recipe. I felt that the rub above have just a tad too much paprika for my taste.
I’ve been a bit busy/lazy this week, I’m about to fire the SVS up and make some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Later this week, I’ll be using one of my favorite things EVER in the SVS… PORK BELLY!!! Oh I can’t wait!! If you haven’t already, please follow @gastronomics on twitter and/or become a fan on facebook!!