Sous Vide Experiment: 72 Hour Beef Short Ribs

As I waited in line for carpaccio for New Year’s Eve, a woman next to me was emphatically telling another customer:  “Get the short ribs!”  She was adamant about how she cooked them every year at this time, and since they were on sale, you simply had to buy some.  It seemed like a compelling argument to me.


Simply gorgeous cuts of meat!

Not to mention that I’d been ogling the short ribs on the MCAH cover since I received it last year for my birthday (which happens to be tomorrow).  And although I’m a planner by nature, figuring out what I’m eating 3 days in advance for any meal other than Thanksgiving doesn’t normally suit my lifestyle.  Plus, those small short ribs in the market might withstand that much cooking, but they certainly didn’t look like the picture I was trying to achieve.  Now short ribs cut to order were at my finger tips.  And with no oven, sous vide was a great option.

There’s little to this recipe, except deciding on the cooking time and temp.  I knew I wanted to try the 72 hr version instead of the 48 hr one.  The longer the better with this meat.  But the temp was proving to be a dilemma.  The question seemed to be one of texture.  In the US, we are used to falling off the bone short ribs- because they need to braise long enough to be tender and flavorful.  But with this type of cooking, the short ribs act like a fine cut of beef.  They don’t need to fall off the bone.  They are more like sirloin, or so I learned.

The finished product

The finished product

MCAH suggested 136 but my blogger friend Stefan said not to cook it above 135.  So I did a little more research.  Even on the MCAH blog, the overwhelming majority of people agreed with Stefan.  And MCAH has so far either ignored or refused to comment on any blogger questions, which leads me to question their recipes even further.  I ended up settling on 133 degrees for 72 hours and was thrilled with the result.

All you do is season the meat (2.5 lbs) with salt and pepper.  Then vacuum seal it.

IMG_1310Place it in a sous vide water bath pre-heated to 133 degrees.  Cover the bath with some plastic wrap to maintain the temp.

IMG_1362And let it cook for 72 hours.  It’s really hard to wait!  But your patience will be rewarded.

Remove the meat when the cooking time is complete. IMG_1335It will have a nice brown color, even without browning it first.  IMG_1336

You’ll notice that the meat doesn’t shrink when you cook it.  A couple of pieces may be enough, and you can have plenty of leftovers.  Slice the meat as needed.

IMG_1337You can use the cooking juices to make a reduction or place it in a sauce of your choosing to heat it up.  Otherwise, you might need to quickly sear it.  I went with a sauce I’d typically use for braising: tomatoes, onion, carrot, garlic, homemade veggie stock, red wine and herbs.

IMG_1330After reducing, I used my immersion blender to thicken it (thanks to my Mom for buying this ridiculous piece of kitchen equipment for me).

Next serve the ribs with a green vegetable, like simply roasted asparagus, and something to go with the sauce.  Try mashed potatoes, polenta or cauliflower puree for a healthier choice as I did.IMG_1361

It was simply outstanding, even the leftovers, and I would recommend it to anyone I know with a good machine and some high quality meat.  In a word: yum!

IMG_1338I’m anxious to try this again with a slightly higher temperature of 135 for 48 hrs, just to see how it changes the texture and taste the difference.  But sadly, my SV machine cracked on the clamp area so now I’m awaiting a new one – on backorder of course!  My cooking challenges continue, but with any luck I’ll have gas back by the end of the month.


6 thoughts on “Sous Vide Experiment: 72 Hour Beef Short Ribs

  1. Glad they turned out so well. They look amazing, so nice and pink! Unfortunately, short ribs are very difficult to obtain in the Netherlands so I can’t prepare them as often as I’d like.

  2. Pingback: Sous Vide Experiment Redux: 48 Hour Short Ribs | eatdrinkadventure

  3. Did you ever get to trying the 48-hour version? I tried to plan for 72 hours but got tied up last night so now I only have 48 hours left… and I’m stuck with the temp dilemma. I’m wondering if your 135 is the right call. Thanks!

      • Would 72 hours at 135 be overkill? I have some ribs I’m about to prepare for Saturday (~70 hours from right now 🙂 ) and curious if I should wait until tomorrow @ 135, or put them in now. Great recap btw!

  4. I wouldn’t do the 135. It might make them a little too cooked, especially if you want to get some color on them after the fact. If you are only 2 hours off and wanted to cook for 3 days, 133 would probably be just fine. But really, the 48 hours is plenty of time- and that’s what they do at most restaurants that serve short ribs sous vide (I started asking around after I experimented). Good luck and let me know how they turn out!

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