Thursday, January 15, 2009

Short Ribs Sous Vide

Last post not for you? Not into those middle school love stories? This may be a post for you.

My newest toy,


has been getting lots of use.


Short ribs being one of my favorite foods, I naturally chose to use them as the subject for my experiments. Short Ribs are just plain great, especially now, when I'm cold, even inside my house. Sous vid'ing (verb form of sous vide?) ribs however, would not produce the same effect as a house warming and perfuming braise. In my quest for the best however, I decided to pretend I was smelling the warm, flavorful scent of braised short ribs, as they cooked away slowly and unnoticeably in a warm water bath.


Based on recommendations from different people, and from research, I decided on three times and temperatures that I would try. Disclaimer: As I know from science class, this is not a controlled experiment (for example the 176 cooked rib was cooked with cooked off red wine). Further experimentation must be done to determine a clear winner. But, you know me, I will make my chemistry teacher proud and perform these experiments till I get it right! And then, of course, I will get back to you.


131 for 36 hours


141 for 72 hours

176 for 12 hours



131 was too steak-like. 176 too average. 141 was juuuusssttt right. Call me Goldilocks.
The 131 cooked rib was basically just red and raw and not extremely tender. It would've passed for a flank steak. Essentially, it took away all the things I love about a great braised rib.

The 176 cooked rib was cooked with red wine cooked down with garlic, shallot, thyme and peppercorn. That was a mistake. The red wine overwhelmed the meat. It was way to powerful. That aside, though it was essentially ideal texture, something about it just wasn't special. I would've taken a braised rib over it any day.

The 141 cooked rib was perfect. It was incredibly tender and moist. If the 131 cooked rib was like a flank steak, this was a rib-eye- flavorful, tender, fatty. "Yum," is really the only way to describe it.

8 comments:

craigkite said...

Roasted meat and cold weather - a solid combination. My wife was purchasing a roast for Sunday dinner and the clerk commented on the high volume of roasts she had sold that day. She asked my wife why the number of roasts had increased and my wife mentioned the natural tie-in between cold weather(sub-zero in Michigan)and the AROMA of roasted meat.
Sous Vide is the sexy new girl on the block, but lacks the down-home something that completes the package...not that I have any objections to the sexy new girls...
Nick, I am glad you are doing the "heavy-lifting" on the experimentation for sous vide. When I get around to doing a "lame-ass cook's" version of sous vide, I will be following and benefiting from your research and results.

James said...

Love the site, but you really need to get white plates. Your food will pop off and look much more appealing with white plates.

Desirae said...

I have been enjoying the world of sous vide for a while now, and am angling for a copy of "Under Pressure" for a birthday gift. I really enjoy reading Chadzilla's blog, http://chadzilla.typepad.com/ He is chef de cuisine at Neomi's Grill in South Florida and posts A LOT of info regarding dishes and experiments in their kitchen. I even use the same set up he does for my sous vide http://chadzilla.typepad.com/chadzilla/2008/04/altering-the-ho.html
Molecular gastronomy plays a big role in the dishes they create along with sous vide. You should check it out!

camilla said...

Hey, have you ever made cornish game hens?

Also, what are your views on crockpots?

Nick N said...

Craig, I'm a teenager, I'm all about the sexy new girls.

James, thanks for the suggestion. I have some which I will use when photographing food more often.

desirae, will do.

camilla, I have made cornish game hens. I believe crock pots are perfectly fine, but that you should use the braising process up until the point that you add your ingredients to the pot, meaning brown meat, then veg, then deglaze.

Daniel King said...

Wow... I've never sous vide-ed anything before but seeing your photos definitely made me want to try

Ross Bernheim said...

I got a Sous Vide Supreme for my birthday last month. I have tried several things in it. Some were interesting but nothing special.

The rump roast that I did at 60C for 48 hours was very good indeed.

The lamb shank at 24 hours was scrumptious.

The 2 1/2 inch thick lamb chops at 60C for 12 hours were spectacular. I used a bit of salt and pepper, some herbs and a pat of butter and a bit of olive oil, (non EVOO). Patted dry and seared in hot oil on each side for a minute or two. They were moist, tender and flavorful throughout.

I am doing some mahi mahi filets right now.

Paul Heinemann said...

I keep having problems with sous vide short ribs. The first time they were delicious but lactic acid bacteria have fermented and gave them an off aroma (near as I can tell). The second time, I preseared and they were delicious. The third time, the ribs I used were almost kobe marbled, and looked great. I pre-seared, seasoned, and "cooked" for 48hrs at 139. They came out mushy, and quite flavorless, really unpleasant. I don't understand because they were top quality, grass feed beef.