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Rich, smoky, and tender... ribs are such a fantastic food! My favorite combination is probably 156°F (68.8°C) for around 18 to 24 hours, it's shreddable but not too fall-apart. Some other popular combinations are 165°F (73.9°C) for 18 to 24 hours or 176°F (80°C) for 12 hours. For a chop-like consistency I generally prefer 140°F (60°C) for 1 to 2 days.
Rich, smoky, and tender... ribs are such a fantastic food! Especially when cooked sous vide so you can balance the tenderness with the moisture just how you want it.
When cooking with sous vide the smoke flavor has to be introduced through other means. Briefly smoking the meat before sous viding it, using liquid smoke or pre-smoked ingredients like paprika, or a final run through a smoker at the end are the most common methods.
There are many different suggestions for how long and what temperature to cook ribs. It can be confusing but the time and temperature combination you want to use depends on how you'd like your final ribs to turn out. The hotter the temperature, the faster they cook and the more they tenderize. The amount of time you cook them for determines how tender they end up. These time and temperature combinations work for most kinds of pork ribs, including St. Louis cut, baby back, back, and spare ribs.
If you prefer traditional-style ribs, then cooking them at 160°F to 167°F (71.1°C to 75°C) for 4 to 10 hours is what you want. These ribs are flaky and falling off the bone. Sous vide them for 4 hours for ribs with a lot of bite to them and for 10 hours for ribs barely hanging on the bone.
Cooking the ribs at a temperature in between those two extremes results in firmer, but still flaky, ribs. They don't fall off the bone but they are much closer to traditional ribs. I often cook mine at 156°F (68.8°C) for 8 to 12 hours.
For tender ribs that are more pork chop-like you can cook them at 135°F to 149°F (57.2°C to 65°C) for 1 to 2 days depending on the consistency you're trying to achieve. They do not have the texture of traditional ribs but retain a lot more of their moisture.
I recommend reading more about how to sous vide pork for more information.
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Do you have experience cooking baby back ribs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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