Sous Vide 48 Hour Boneless Short Ribs

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum
I just finished making 48 hour boneless beef short ribs using the recipe from Momofuku. I cooled them down to use later in the week. On closer inspection, the meat had a greenish color. I opened up one of the packages to look closer. There was no off smell but the exterior of the meat was definitely greenish in some places. Is this normal? If so, why does it happen. I assume a quick sear will make it look just fine. Did I do something wrong? If so, what?.


29 Replies So Far

That's a tough one. I assume there is nothing greenish in the recipe that could have colored it? Normally an off-smell is the best indication of something that has gone bad. I'd probably either cut it off or just eat it but I'm not always as safe hygiene-wise as I probably should be.

Anyone else have any ideas or experience with this?
I decided to go search the huge SousVide topic. I did find posts from Nathan & DouglasBaldwin that say that this is normal. You could not ask for any better sources than these two.

"Lack of oxygen during cooking is the main reason. The outside of sous vide cooked meat typically looks grey, or even greenish. Not very appetizing, but that's how it is. As others have mentioned, searing is the answer."

I guess I will sear it and see how it tastes.


Great find, thanks Cey! Let us know how it turns out.
On Friday, I seared the ribs and had a great dinner. Once seared, the greenish look was gone. They tasted great. We did an experiment. Some were SVed for 24 hours and other 48. Everyone preferred the 48 hour ones. I think next time I will try 60 hours to get them a little more tender.
I'm glad they turned out well and the green went away! Thanks for letting us know how it went!
I recently tried a chuck roast sous vide. Ended up cooking it for 48 hours at 136 degrees. when we tried it it was very similar to prime rib. A tender cut with rich beef flavor.

But, it did have a dark green color. No impact to flavor and as other people have noted, searing eliminated it. Now, I had taken some small cuts from the roast, vacuum bagged them after seasoning with salt and pepper and a little butter (same as the big roast) and cooked them with the roast to serve as indicators of how tender the roast had gotten. The little packages did not turn green. The little packages were packaged much more tightly because they were 3 mil bags while the roast was in a 4 mil bag. The 4 mil bags don't always conform tightly to the contents, leaving small amounts of air in the bag. I'm wondering if that little bit of free air might be part of the explanation of the green color...

I'm wondering if other people that have had the strong green color can comment about how tightly their vacuum bags had conformed to their contents. Could the extra air allow iron to oxidize? What are your thoughts?
The green colouration is likely due to one of two effects:

1. Light scatter on the wet surface of the meat. A similar effect can be seen on pork/bacon cuts. This disappears after searing because it is dried out and the searing reduces the smooth surface for light scatter.

2. Oxidisation of iron/copper compounds in the meat. This is often exacerbated by curing agents so may vary depending on what you are using. If as you says there is a small amount of air, this would explain it.

Neither of these are dangerous.

The dangerous greeny colour that sometimes happens is associated with clostridium perfringens and is essentially gas gangrene. At cooking temperatures that would cause pasteurisation, this shouldn't occur. It would smell like a tramp's rotting feet so if it smells good, all is well.
Cey, at what temperature did you do your 48 hours short ribs?
I've had good luck at 131F or 135F. I know some people do them at higher temps though for a more traditional texture.
Thanks Jason. I will do them at 133. When I went to get the braising ribs today they had USDA Prime boneless braising ribs which is what I got. They have a lot of marbling. Since I was planning to cook them for 48 hours, I'm wondering now if I can cook them for a shorter time because of the amount of marbling? I had been expecting to buy the normal choice grade so this was a pleasant surprise.

which recipe are you using? would love to try it. Also did you cook then quick chill and freeze. then defrost in fridge and warm up at 130? i want to try this. how long did it take to warm up from thaw or from frozen?

@Elsie The cut of the short rib can really vary in tenderness but I'd be hesitant to drop below 48 hours. You could always bag one seperately and test it out after 48. If it needs longer than just reseal and keep cooking. @chris For short ribs it normally takes 30 to 45 minutes to reheat the food. If you are reheating, I'll often time just heat it up to 110-ish, that way I can sear it for longer without affecting most of the meat. It's a great way to add a better crust while still benefiting from the sous vide. For specific heating times you can check out our sous vide thickness ruler, it's free if you sign up for our monthly sous vide newsletter.
Chris, I just put them on last night so they won't be done until tomorrow night. I haven't decided what to do with them, other than one package will be eaten right away and the rest will be frozen., The one going into the freezer will get the ice bath treatment first. I will likely make some sort of a sauce and will pat the ribs dry and do a quick sear. I will post further after we have eaten some.
Thanks, Jason.
Thanks for that. i just tried chicken breast that i sealed with BBQ sauce in the bag and it came out great. might try that with the ribs this week and see.
Chris, what do you use to seal your cooking bags? I have a foodsaver which means that I can't seal liquid. Or did you freeze the sauce first?
no i have a vacmaster chamber style. works good but still sometimes pulls the liquid up and makes a mess. when doing a lot of liquid like creme brûlée or condensed milk for caramel i have to watch it. but if i marinate with lots of bbq sauce of lemon juice it has no problems.
Chris, lucky you to have a chamber style vacuum sealer. I just have the regular one.

We had some of the boneless short rib s for dinner last night and wow, were they good. I did cook them at 133F for 45 hours. I seasoned it and then did a quick sear. It was medium rare all the way through and tasted like a rib eye steak. I did 4 pieces, each about a pound and did the ice bath chill thing and three are in the freezer for another day. Right now I have pork belly in there which comes out tonight. I'll be curious to see how that turns out.
well just put in the ribs at 133. they are seasoned with a dry rub and then some bbq sauce and sealed. i will let you know how they turn out on saturday night.
Chris, how did the ribs turn out?
They turned out great. i also have the smoking gun so i used that on one of them and i think that one was the one everyone liked. i am trying to perfect my steaks but for some reason my temps are wrong. i tried 134 for medium and still at 136 they come out rare. i am using a tone and i think i am going to try 138 next time to se if i can get medium.
Hi Chris, I did some more boneless beef ribs last week. I decided to cook them sous vide at 138F to see how that would work out. They were done to medium, with just a trace of pink throughout. They were tender and delicious but a bit too well done for my liking as we prefer them not quite as well done. For us, 133F was almost perfect, but a bit too rare. Next time I will try 134F. Amazing how much of a difference 5 degrees can make. Anyway, I thought I would let you know how the 138F ones turned out seeing as that is your next plan. Cooked this way, braising ribs rival rib steak, don't they?
Chris, I'm glad they turned out well! The smoking gun is definitely nice.

For traditional "medium" steaks I've git 140F a shot, that's usually considered the bottom of the medium range.
Medium Rare: 130-139F
Medium: 140-149F
@Elsie thank i am going to try 137 next time to try and get a little less pink.

@JAson i was afraid of going over 143 thought it would be to well done. my mom and sister like it well done so maybe i will try 147 and see how that goes. i like mine around 136. i did a rack of lamb at 137 and it was perfect but lots of red in it.

thanks for all the help everyone
okay so i am confused a little now. just bought a new instant read thermometer. it says that the temperature of meat is as follows, rare 155, medium rare 160, medium 165. to me this sounds high. i always thought 135 was medium.
Chris, I'm not sure what they are talking about, maybe poultry?
What brand of thermometer is it? Those readings if they are meant for beef are definitely off. By a lot.
Apologies if this sounds a little stupid, but are you sure it is 155(F) etc and not 55(C)? 55, 60 and 65 centigrade are about right for rare, medium and well done.

Though as I'm sure everybody on the board realises that the temperature and 'done-ness' are very subjective, and not very meaningful particularly when as a sous vider, you can quote a core temperature as a specific alternative. the temps quoted should be indicative only, its then up to the individual and their set up to find the 'right' temperature for them.
Really need 48 hrs?

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