Sous Vide short ribs braised 72 hours would likely be my last meal; intensely rich and flavorful with a tenderness that is nothing short of perfect.
I’m about 65% plant based in my everyday diet, but perfectly cooked beef short ribs, oh my it’s goin down! I choose them over any meat/fish option. I cook/eat a lot of different foods and generally spend a lot of time around all kinds of edibles, but it’s like Goldie told Pretty Toney in that classic blaxploitation flick, “The Mack”, ‘Yo b**ch chose me!’ This is how I rationalize any guilt I may have. Actually, I have no guilt, but this is in fact how I explain it to the family when I’m that one Brown who breaks from the program and they start to clown.
I don’t just eat any short ribs. I’m actually quite the snob when it comes to them. Outside of Tom Colicchio’s short ribs at Craft, I usually have to have a strong reco from my Culinary Cabinet which consists of a small group of similar snobs. I tend to focus on making my own, especially when an impromptu trip to my butchers at Salt and Time coincides with a beautiful selection on display. It’s gotta be that they’re on display as it’s not my way to interfere with the way of the short rib gods. Tempting fate never worked for the Greeks, so I stay in my lane.
Before we go any further, let me be clear, generally speaking, beef short ribs in my mind are prepared sous vide, that is vacuum sealed with a wine-based braising liquid and slow-cooked at low temperatures in a controlled water bath. This recipe for sous vide short ribs calls for 72 straight hours of cooking. I know this may sound like a lot, but it’s really low involvement cooking not unlike what’s required for a crockpot. The end result is a butter-smooth tender cut of beef that basically melts in your mouth. The real reason I’m damn near a spokesperson for sous vide cooking is because you can pretty much get steakhouse quality results with cheaper, affordable cuts. You can make a roast taste like a nice ribeye for crying out loud at a fraction of the costs.
Why Is Sous Vide Method Preferred When Cooking Beef Short Ribs?
Cuts like short ribs are high in collagen fibers, which is the secret to their tenderness and flavor. When collagen is heated the fibers shrink and all that contracting squeezes all the juices out. Lower temperatures mean less contracting/shrinkage and more retained juices. The downside is at low temps you need more time to cook for that desired breakdown which renders tough cuts into pleasurable tenderness. Sous vide cooking allows for this.
For these ribs, I tweaked the process a little bit and also adding a non-typical short rib ingredient to make the dish stand out a bit. I start the ribs off with a cold smoking before braising. Cold smoking is basically smoking the meat at very low temperature around 180-190 degrees. You smoke just long enough to impart the smoke flavor but at such a low temperature as to not really disturb the structure and composition of the ribs. This adds another level of complexity to the flavor profile. I don’t smoke them too long, as I don’t want the smoke to be the star and/or overpower the dish and get things off balance.
What’s in the Braising Liquid For These Short Ribs?
I’m also a wine guy in terms of the braising liquid. I find that a nice Malbec or full-bodied Cab pairs well. I added fresh fig to further elevate the dish. Admittedly, fig doesn’t come to mind when I think of braising beef, but it actually works out well. The sweetness is subtle and blends in went the rest of the flavors quite well.
Can I Make These Short Ribs Without A Sous Vide?
Yes definitely. Technique wise you can use a traditional approach to brown the short ribs on all sides first to release some of the flavor and slow cook in a dutch oven for a few hours in a braising liquid and with aromatics. You can also use a pressure cooker, cooking bone-in short ribs at 15 psi for 50 minutes. Both are quite effective, but nothing beats Sous Vide when it comes to slow cooking meat.
What Type Of Sous Vide Machine Do You Use?
The model I use is the Anova. It’s portable and has bluetooth so I can monitor and make changes to temperatures remotely. I’ve also used the Sansaire brand which does the job, but I find it to be less durable. There are also countertop versions similar to what the restaurants use, but they take up counter space and are much more expensive.
What Should I Pair With Beef Short Ribs?
Most beef short rib recipes are paired with mashed potatoes. I’m not a big mashed potatoes guy unless its sweet potatoes or some other root vegetables, as regular potatoes tend to rely too much on butter and sour cream for flavor. I made roasted potatoes to go along with these short ribs and they work well together for a full, comforting meal.
Can Sous Vide Short Ribs Be Made in Advance?
Yes, with a few considerations. Once the ribs are done, immediately plunge the vacuum-sealed pouch into an ice bath and then refrigerate them. When you’re ready to serve them, slice the meat from the bones, place in a ziplock back and then reheat the slices of meat in a sous vide bath, about 30 minutes. Or you can simply reheat them in the oven.
Sous Vide Short Ribs Cooking Tips
- Trim away excess fat from the short ribs and season generously with salt and pepper
- Before serving finish the ribs with high heat. Options include quick sear in a skillet, chargrilling, quick broil, or flame torching. The idea is to get that nice exterior crust that sous vide doesn’t provide
- Glaze the short ribs with the remaining red wine au jus. I simply reduce the remaining juices in a pan and then brush the glaze on the seared short ribs
- Bone-in ribs are preferred for their flavor, but you can use boneless ribs as well.
- At 72 hours of cooking vacuum seal is safer and more reliable than ziplock bags which I typically use.
Sous Vide Short Ribs Recipe
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Red Wine and Fig Braised Beef Short RibsPrint
- 4 lbs beef short ribs
- 1 pound fresh figs preferably Black Mission, chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
- 12 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or to taste
- 1 medium shallot chopped
- 1 whole Medium Onion Diced
- 3 whole Carrots Diced
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper ribs. Set aside. Cold smoke ribs at 150-180 degree in your smoker for 30-45 minutes.
- Add olive oil to large dutch oven pan and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.
- Saute figs, shallots, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes in a skillet for 10 minutes. Remove and puree in a blender.
Add onions and carrots to the pan used to brown the ribs and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits from the browning. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
For Traditional Braising Method
Add broth, fig sauce, water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, sugar, and a good amount of black pepper. Mix well, then taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
- Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving.
For 72 Hour Sous Vide Method
Vacuum seal the browned ribs and the braising liquid plus thyme together. Cook at 131 degrees for 72 hours. Depending on how much water you lose in the process you may need to add more periodically over the 3 days.
- Serve ribs with roasted potatoes, spooning a little juice over the top.
If slow-cooking sous vide cooking time is 48 hours.