Sous Vide Barbecue Pork Ribs RecipeGet our life-saving Dinner Daily newsletter. You and your stomach anova back ribs thank us later! Lorraine's Fast, Fresh anova back ribs Easy Food. Want more from Genius Kitchen? You will need a vacuum seal system for this recipe and a Sous Vide System. In this recipe we "cooked" the ribs for 24 hours. The ingredient amounts are approximate, with the exception of the seasoning mix.
Sous Vide Smoky Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
Whether you want to call them barbecue or not, these ribs are smoky, tender, and delicious. The timing and temperature suggestions in this guide, as well as all the FAQs and basic instructions, are part of our partnership with Anova , the makers of our favorite sous vide circulator, the Anova Precision Cooker. You can download the Anova Precision Cooker App it's free to grab all this information right off your phone or tablet while you're cooking.
And if you've got an Anova Precision Cooker, you can even control it directly from the app via Bluetooth, and soon Wi-Fi. I was a skeptic at first, but I'm going to say it now: When done properly, ribs cooked via sous vide are every bit as good as traditional barbecue, if not better. Not only that, but they're far more replicable no weather or wind or uneven heat from coals to deal with , they take much less effort no babysitting that smoker!
For most people who live outside of the southern U. You may be lucky enough to have a backyard and a smoker or Kettle grill, but even then, nailing that perfect temperature time after time can be a tricky affair that takes years of practice to get right.
With a vacuum sealer and a precision cooker in your kitchen, you're guaranteed perfect results every time. I'm talking pork ribs with a crusty bark or rich glaze of sauce and a texture that's tender yet meaty. Ribs that don't fall off the bone—any barbecue lover will tell you that ribs that fall off the bone are overcooked—but that release with just a gentle tug of the teeth.
So, in order to get great ribs from our sous vide cooker, we need to address all of these issues. Turning tough meat tender requires two things: The rate at which this conversion takes place is a function of temperature; the lower the temperature, the longer it takes. At the same time, the lower the temperature, the more internal moisture the ribs will retain as they cook. At the lower end of the spectrum, the meat takes far too long to tenderize—up to three days or more, and even then, the meat comes out more mushy and soft than tender and meaty.
Too hot, and the meat falls apart in shreds, tasting more boiled than barbecued. Here are my two favorites:. At this low temperature, ribs retain plenty of moisture as they tenderize. The result is an extra-meaty rib that has the texture of a moist pork chop, but is still tender to the tooth. It pulls away from the bones nicely with just a little tug.
I've never gotten meat with this texture using more traditional means of cooking, so if you really want to see what sous vide can do, this is the way to go. This is meat that pulls off the bone and almost melts on your tongue, washing it with porky flavor and leaving behind shreds with a more significant chew. The texture is very much like that of traditional barbecue, though a little bit moister. You can extrapolate from these two temperatures and timings to figure out what other combinations in between will yield.
Ribs cooked at a higher temperature will have a more traditional barbecue rib texture, with well-rendered fat and meat that shreds as you eat it. With temperature and timing addressed, I turned to the next question: I mixed together a basic spice rub using our guide to spice rubs as a template, adjusting the flavors until I got something I was happy with.
I ended up with a combination of paprika, mustard seed, black pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, coriander seed, and red pepper flakes, along with brown sugar for sweetness. A couple of questions came up immediately. Some sous vide recipes recommend against adding spice rubs to the bag as it cooks, because it can alter the flavor in a negative way. I have never found this to be the case, whether I'm cooking a steak, vegetables, or ribs. Spice rubs work just fine in sous vide bags. The other, more important question was that of salt.
Specifically, when and how much to add. Salt can have a profound effect on the texture and flavor of meat proteins. As salt sits in contact with meat, it will dissolve some muscle proteins, which in turn helps the meat retain moisture better. That's the reason a ham has that particular juicy and tender texture—which is great in ham, but not always desirable in barbecue.
I tried cooking a few different sets of ribs side by side. The first batch I left completely unsalted, rubbing the ribs with the salt-free rub, cooking them, then adding salt only to taste at the very end. These ribs came out tender, but relatively dry, and they also weren't particularly well seasoned on the inside.
The ribs I rubbed with a mixture that included salt, on the other hand, came out far juicier in the end. Juicy enough that you could immediately see the difference with your naked eye before even biting into them. I also tried salting the ribs by soaking them in a brine solution for a few hours before rubbing, bagging, and cooking them. The ribs that were brined in salt water ended up with the same problems I find in almost all brined products: They are juicier, but that juice is watery.
The ribs end up tasting more wet than juicy and meaty. Regular salting is the way to go. As for timing, even salting immediately prior to bagging and cooking is okay, but I got the best results out of ribs that were salted and bagged a day in advance and allowed to rest overnight in the refrigerator before cooking the next day. Any longer than a day in the fridge, and they start to take on a much hammier texture. Now we get to the real question: How do you get smoky flavor into ribs without actual smoke?
Some sous vide recipes use a hybrid method, either starting or finishing the ribs in the smoker to add real smoke flavor to them. To me, this seems to miss the point. If I'm willing to fire up the smoker, then there are any number of traditional recipes out there that don't necessarily require sous vide for great results. I want a method that allows me to cook the ribs indoors from start to finish, no actual fire necessary.
Liquid smoke gets a bum rap, but it shouldn't. The good brands, such as Wright's or Colgin, are quite literally nothing more than smoke and water in a bottle. To make it, manufacturers burn hardwood—just like you would in your smoker—then run the moist smoke through a condenser, where water vapor condenses and traps the smoky constituents—just like how water vapor condenses and deposits smoke flavor on the surface of meat.
This water drips down and is collected and packed into bottles. In taste tests I've held, most folks cannot tell the difference between truly smoked meats and those treated with judiciously applied liquid smoke. To get a smoke flavor that penetrates the meat but doesn't overwhelm it, I like to add liquid smoke directly to the sous vide bag just before sealing it. The good part is that you don't have to worry about distributing it evenly.
Just shake a few drops in and seal the bag, and as the meat cooks, the juices it releases will distribute the liquid smoke flavor naturally.
You mean that pink ring of meat that appears around the edges of a well-smoked rack of ribs or brisket? Yeah, what about it? The smoke ring is purely cosmetic. It signifies absolutely no guarantee of smoke flavor or proper cooking.
The smoke ring appears due to the interaction of carbon monoxide CO and nitric oxide NO with myoglobin, the natural pigment that makes meat red a close relative of hemoglobin, the red blood pigment.
As meat cooks in a carbon- and nitric-oxide-rich environment, its pink color becomes "fixed," preventing it from oxidizing and turning into metmyoglobin, the brown pigment you see in cooked or old meat. A red "smoke" ring will appear in any environment in which meat is slow-cooked in the presence of CO or NO, whether or not any smoke is involved in the process at all.
For some deeper science on the smoke ring, I highly recommend reading this great smoke ring mythbusting article from AmazingRibs. All that said, what if you do want a smoke ring, to help you replicate the barbecue experience as fully as possible?
There is no CO or NO present in a sous vide bag, so getting that smoke ring seems like an impossibility, right? We can't get the exact same reaction, but we can get one that's darn close by using pink curing salts, a. By adding a small amount of sodium nitrite to the spice rub and letting the meat rest in that rub overnight, you end up with a nice pink "smoke" ring after it's done cooking—no actual smoke involved!
Remove the papery membrane on the back of the ribs, using a paper towel or kitchen towel to grip it and pulling it away in one piece. Divide each rack of ribs into three to four portions with three to four ribs each by cutting through the meat in between the ribs. Working in batches, combine paprika, brown sugar, salt, mustard seed, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, coriander seed, and red pepper flakes in a spice grinder and reduce it all to a fine powder. See the full recipe here for exact measurements.
If you'd like your ribs to have a pink smoke ring, add a quarter teaspoon of pink curing salt Prague Powder 1 to your spice mixture. Set aside three tablespoons of the mixture; you'll use this later to flavor your barbecue sauce, or to re-rub your ribs before finishing if you're making dry-style ribs.
Rub the ribs generously on all sides with the remaining spice rub mixture, then place individual portions of rubbed ribs in vacuum bags. Fold over the top while you add the ribs so that no rub or pork juices get on the edge of the bag, which can weaken the seal.
Add four drops about an eighth of a teaspoon of liquid smoke to each bag. Don't worry much about distributing the liquid smoke evenly over the ribs; it'll spread around during cooking no matter where you add it.
Seal your ribs and let them marinate in the refrigerator at least overnight to get the best texture and flavor. When you're ready to cook, set your precision cooker to the desired temperature according to the guidelines above.
Add the ribs to the water bath and cover it with a lid, aluminum foil, or table tennis balls. Cook them for the recommended time period. When the time is up, transfer the cooked ribs to a large bowl of water filled with ice to chill them thoroughly.
The ribs can be stored in the refrigerator at this stage for up to five days before finishing. Combine the remaining three tablespoons of the spice rub with grated onion, ketchup, mustard, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and liquid smoke in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.
Again, see the full recipe here for exact measurements. Bring the mixture to a bare simmer and cook until it's reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. To Finish in the Oven: Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire rack in each. Divide the ribs evenly on the racks, facing up.