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"I Choose You" Braised Beef Short Ribs In Red Wine and Fig Sauce

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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.

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 and is the perfect solution. 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.

 

sous vide short ribs glazed and on a plate with purple daikon and cilantro

For my last meal, I'm choosing braised beef short ribs as my main dish.

Sous Vide Beef Short Ribs Ingredients

For these ribs, I tweaked the process a little bit and added a non-typical short rib ingredient (figs) to make the dish stand out a bit.  Outside of the figs the ingredients are pretty straight-forward.

  • Beef Short Ribs (bone-in)
  • Fresh Figs (Black Mission preferred)
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (canned)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Shallots
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Red Wine
  • Beef Broth
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Fresh Thyme
Braised Beef Short Ribs

Bought at Salt and Time Butcher Shop Austin, TX

Sous Vide Short Ribs Instructions (Step by Step)

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.

Step 1: Cold Smoke the ribs

Season ribs with salt and pepper, then set aside to reach room temperature. Pre-pare smoker for cold smoking (150-180 degrees). Add ribs and smoke for 30-45 minutes.

Step 2: Brown the ribs

Heat a dutch oven pan on med-high heat. Add oil then brown the ribs on all sides (about a minute per side). Remove ribs and set aside

Step 3: Prepare the braising liquid

Saute the onions and carrots for 2-3 minutes. Add figs, shallots, balsamic vinegar, and tomatoes in the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Puree in a blender. Add wine to the pot and cook 2-3 minutes then add the pureed mix back to the pot. Mix well with the wine and then allow the sauce to cool.

Step 4: Sous Vide the ribs and sauce together

Pre-heat Sous Vide water bath to 131 degrees F. Add cooled sauce, fresh thyme, and ribs to bag and vacuum seal or place in ziplock bag and use water displacement method to seal. Place ribs in the water bath and cook for 72 hours.

sous vide short ribs glazed and on a plate with purple daikon and cilantro

Serving Suggestions

I like my beef short ribs with a starch and a green vegetable. Mashed potatoes and broccoli are favorites but feel free to go what with you like. Consider of these:

Mashed Root Vegetables

Creole Mashed Potatoes 

Simple Garlic Roasted Broccoli 

Roasted Potatoes in Chili Lime Sauce

Quick Korean Spinach

Sous Vide Short Ribs Cooking Tips

  • Bone-in ribs are preferred for their flavor, but you can use boneless ribs as well.
  • Trim away excess fat from the short ribs and season generously with salt and pepper
  • At 72 hours of cooking vacuum seal is safer and more reliable than ziplock bags which I typically use. Double bag the ribs to account for potential leaking. This is a long cook time so leakage is a real possibility.
  • Cover your pot given the long duration of cooking to reduce evaporation. Otherwise, you'll have to monitor more and add water after a while
  • Texture and degree of doneness will vary depending on temperature. I prefer more medium rare beef short ribs, which is how the recipe was written. For details a range scroll down to FAQs section to see guide for different texture/doneness.
  • No need to marinate the ribs, as over the cooking period the ribs will marinate in the braise + its own juices.
  • 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

Sous Vide Beef Short Ribs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is cold smoking?

I start the ribs off with a cold smoking before braising. Cold smoking is basically smoking the meat at very low temperature around 150-190 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. Think about smoked cheeses. 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 is the texture of the short ribs?

These are to medium-rare, so a very pink center. They are super tender and melt like butter. If you prefer a shorter cook time (24 hours) you can cook these at 165 degrees F. For more steak-like texture cook at 145 degrees F for 48 hours.

Why pre-sear vs. searing afterwards?

I prefer to pre-sear in this case in order to avoid overcooking after sous vide. It's not mandatory, but just a pre-caution. It would suck to cook these beauties for 72 hours of pure goodness and then ruin in a few minutes of cooking. If you decide to sear post-cooking make sure the pan is heated to high heat and a high smoke point oil is used. If you have a torch it's preferred for more control.

 

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 add the sauce last?

Yes indeed, if you forget a step or just prefer to add sauce last you can definitely finish with it. Just cook the ingredients down to more of a thicker glaze-like consistency. 

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 45-50 minutes. Both are quite effective, but nothing beats Sous Vide when it comes to slow cooking meat.

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.

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.

 

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.

For other similar recipes you might like, try these:

Flat Iron Steak 

Pineapple Glazed Radishes

Braised Beef Oxtail Tacos

Brisket Pot Roast

Sous Vide Smoked Brisket

Sous Vide Duck Confit

Sous Vide Flat Iron Steak

Beef Stew

Korean Style Flanken Short Ribs

If you make this sous vide short ribs recipe, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

sous vide short ribs glazed and on a plate with purple daikon and cilantro

Red Wine and Fig Braised Beef Short Ribs

72 hour sous vide beef short ribs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 823kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1 pound fresh figs preferably Black Mission, chopped into ¾-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
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

Instructions

  • Season ribs with salt and pepper, then set aside to reach room temperature. Pre-pare smoker for cold smoking (150-180 degrees). Add ribs and smoke for 30-45 minutes.
  • Heat a dutch oven pan on med-high heat. Add oil then brown the ribs on all sides (about a minute per side). Remove ribs and set aside.
  • Saute the onions and carrots for 2-3 minutes. Add figs, shallots, balsamic vinegar, and tomatoes in the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Puree in a blender. Add wine to the pot and cook 2-3 minutes then add the pureed mix back to the pot. Mix well with the wine and then allow the sauce to cool.
  • Pre-heat Sous Vide water bath to 131 degrees F. Add cooled sauce, fresh thyme, and ribs to bag and vacuum seal or place in ziplock bag and use water displacement method to seal. Place ribs in the water bath and cook for 72 hours.

Notes

  • Bone-in ribs are preferred for their flavor, but you can use boneless ribs as well.
  • Trim away excess fat from the short ribs and season generously with salt and pepper
  • At 72 hours of cooking vacuum seal is safer and more reliable than ziplock bags which I typically use. Double bag the ribs to account for potential leaking. This is a long cook time so leakage is a real possibility.
  • Cover your pot given the long duration of cooking to reduce evaporation. Otherwise, you'll have to monitor more and add water after a while
  • Texture and degree of doneness will vary depending on temperature. I prefer more medium rare beef short ribs, which is how the recipe was written. For details a range scroll down to FAQs section to see guide for different texture/doneness.
  • No need to marinate the ribs, as over the cooking period the ribs will marinate in the braise + its own juices.
  • 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

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 823kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 2346mg | Potassium: 2017mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 7905IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 9.5mg
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