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BBQ ribs are one of my favorite meals! I love getting all messy and eating them off the bone. They are also amazing to serve at parties and are a great way to get everyone to loosen up.
Using sous vide to tenderize the ribs, then the smoker to flavor them results in moist, flavorful ribs that always turn out perfect!
When I want a special piece of meat there are a few good butchers in my area, but I've also been enjoying the super flavorful pork from Snake River Farms. I also enjoy trying the different ranchers that Crowd Cow has available.
You can pick and choose the temperature you want, ranging from a pork chop-like 131°F (55°C) up to a more traditional 176°F (80°C). This recipe is for 150°F (66°C), which results in firm, but still moist and tender ribs. They don't fall off the bone, but they come off easily and still retain a good bite to them.
I've found the best timing to be around 18 to 36 hours, but the ribs are pretty forgiving.
You can either smoke the meat first and then sous vide, or do it in the opposite order. There is a little more smoke flavor that comes through when you smoke it first, but you get a better bark if you smoke it afterwards.
I provide a favorite spice rub of mine you can use, but feel free to substitute any that you prefer.
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Preheat a water bath to 150°F (66°C).
Mix together the spices in a bowl. Lightly salt and pepper the ribs then sprinkle with the spices. Place in a sous vide bag then seal the bag. Place the bag in the water bath and cook for 18 to 36 hours, until tenderized. Take the sous vide bag out of the water and remove the ribs; chill in an ice bath for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
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.
Prepare a smoker to 200°F to 250°F (93.3°C to 121.1°C)
Remove the chilled ribs from the sous vide bag and dry thoroughly using paper towels or a dish cloth. Lightly salt the ribs then add them to the smoker. Smoke the ribs until the middle reaches no more than 140°F (60°C) then remove from the heat. Cut the ribs into slabs and serve.
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