Food escapades in modernist cuisine

48 Hour Sous Vide Short Ribs

After reading a lot of positive reviews across the internet (chat boards, recipe sites, blogs) about sous viding short ribs, I wanted to try my own hand at making them. I saw a good looking pack of short ribs while I was shopping for my beef chuck roast at BJ's and decided to pick it up as well. Since my wife and I decided to go French with our chuck roast pairing it with a classic béarnaise sauce, we went in a different direction for the short ribs, opting for Korean flavor profiles.

For the short ribs, we threw together a quick marinade using soy sauce, granulated garlic, granulated onion, mirin, and gochujang - a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. I slathered the marinade all over the short ribs and then placed them in a large zip loc bag before removing as much air as possible from the bag using the water displacement method. I then dropped the sealed zip loc bag into my Sous Vide Supreme along with the beef chuck roast I was also making for the following the day.

After browsing different websites and blogs, there were different time lengths and temperatures that were recommended for cooking short ribs sous vide, ranging from 133 degrees to 140 degrees for temperature and 48 hours to as many as 72 hours for time. I tend to have less patience than most so I opted for 48 hours since this seemed to be the minimum amount of time everyone had recommended. As for temperature, I had some reservations with cooking at 133 degrees since it would be for such a prolonged period of time (which I've never done before), but Michael Ruhlman, a noted chef and author, was the one who had suggested this temperature, so I figured it'd be okay. Plus, I was cooking the chuck roast at the same time and I wanted it to be medium rare. So the decision was made - I set my Sous Vide Supreme to 133 degrees and let it go for 48 hours.

48 hours later on Sunday night, I finally opened up the short ribs. As I pressed on them through the bag, the short ribs were definitely tender but had some resistance - they weren't so tender that they completely disintegrated.

I dried off any excess marinade from the exterior of the short ribs and also used my knife to trim off any large pieces of fat and tendon. I also removed the meat from the rib bones, making sure to also remove the thin layer of tough membrane that sits between the meat and the bone. When doing a traditional braise on short ribs, this layer becomes soft enough to eat but I noticed that when sous viding, it remained pretty tough and leathery.

I then heated up some canola oil in a sauté pan until the oil was shimmering with a small whisp of smoke coming off the surface. I did a quick sear on these until the exterior was deeply caramelized. The sugars from the marinade really helped this process along.

After quickly resting the short ribs, I sliced the short ribs in half for presentation and plating. You can see just how beautiful the interior of the meat is - medium rare from edge to edge. This typically is not possible with traditional cooking methods like braising since the cooking temperatures required to break down and soften the collagen and connective tissues are much higher than medium-rare temps. However, with sous vide cooking, the ultimate "low and slow" process allows the collagen to soften while the meat remains medium rare.

In the same pan that I used to sear the short ribs, I poured in the liquids left over in the zip loc bag and then reduced this down by half and used this as the sauce. I turned off the heat and added in some finely chopped scallions. Since the original marinade had lots of soy sauce, no additional seasoning or salt was necessary.

Earlier in the day, we were doing some holiday shopping near the Burlington Mall and stopped by H Mart to pick up some kimchi and carrots and cucumbers to make a quick pickled vegetable side dish. We served these as condiments with the sous vide short ribs. Absolutely delicious.


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