Sous vide short ribs are often used as an example of how amazing sous vide cooking can be, and with good reason. This is because short ribs are composed of very tough meat and in order to tenderize them enough to eat you have to raise them to a high enough temperature to break down their collagen.
With most techniques, such as braising, by the time all the collagen is broken down the temperature of the short ribs is too high and they are dried out and over cooked. Short rib dishes still taste incredible though, due to the amazing flavor of the meat, which normally turns into a nice sauce.
However, using sous vide to cook the short ribs means you can cook them at a low enough temperature that the meat will not only tenderize, but the temperature of the short ribs will stay a perfect medium rare. Resulting in a tender, moist, and perfectly cooked short rib.
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There are many variations on sous vide short ribs. You can use different flavorings and seasoning and finish them differently when they come out of the water bath. Most of these recipes follow a certain formula that is the foundation of sous vide short ribs.
Even though short ribs have amazing flavor on their own, there are countless ways to season and flavor them. Normally you will rub the seasonings on the short ribs or place them into the pouch before vacuum sealing it. Here are some favorites but feel free to experiment as you like:
Place the short ribs and seasonings into the vacuum pouch and seal it using your vacuum sealer. If you don't have a vacuum sealer here are some more options for sealing sous vide food. If the bones on the short ribs are sharp, make sure you don't vacuum seal them too tightly or they could puncture the bag.
There are many techniques and equipment for maintaining sous vide temperatures. Pick the one that you will use, preferably one of the more hands-off techniques due to the incredibly long time the ribs cook. Set the water temperature for the temperature you want for the sous vide short ribs, we recommend 56C / 133F for perfectly medium rare.
Place the short rib pouch into the heated water bath and cook it for between 36 and 48 hours.
For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
You can serve the sous vide ribs as is, but many people either sear them off in a pan over high heat or quickly deep fry them in oil heated to 365F. This adds some nice texture to them and give them the classic seared look.
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