Two Kooks » COOKING METHODS » Sous Vide Recipes » Sous Vide Short Ribs (Boneless Beef)

Sous Vide Short Ribs (Boneless Beef)

If you own sous vide equipment or are planning to get some, do not miss these boneless beef sous vide short ribs. Beyond easy and melt-in-your-mouth! Definitely worth the 48 hour cook time.

If there was ever a reason to use the sous vide cooking methodsous vide short ribs is it.

two cut open boneless beef short ribs

The low stress, ‘put the food in and walk away’ feature is the same as with other sous vide recipes.

Sous vide cooking means immersing the food in a vacuum seal bag (or ziploc) into a water bath to cook at a very precise, consistent temperature. It magically achieves the exact food temperature and tenderness you want.

Why you should sous vide short ribs

Short ribs are a tough cut of meat and have a lot of connective tissue that needs to be broken down to become tender ribs. Typically this requires a very long baking/braising method in the oven or slow cooker. The end result can be very tasty and tender.

But medium or medium rare and soft as butter?  Not in my memory!  That’s exactly what you’ll get with sous vide short ribs. Definitely rave worthy.

These short ribs are even more effortless with a better texture than oven baked short ribs in my opinion. They are tender, easily cut with a fork, not at all stringy and amazingly succulent.

Apart from the great end results, the process couldn’t be simpler. Just 15 minutes hand-on time, including making a BBQ sauce. The other 48 hours for cooking is all done by the sous vide machine. Ok, I know that’s a long time. But as I said, put them in. Walk away.  

After the long cook, you can finish them in 2 minutes by searing them in a cast iron skillet, on the BBQ or under the broiler. I find the best way to finish the ribs is on the grill if you have one easily accessible – no smell and no extra pan.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

6 boneless beef short ribs on plate seasoned
Season boneless beef short ribs generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Short ribs: I use beef boneless short ribs that are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick from Costco. You can also use a bone-in short ribs if you prefer such as an English style cut with a thick piece of meat sitting on top of a bone. You will need to trim the excess fat from these.

Seasoning: Keep it simple with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Season generously. Add a touch soy sauce if you like. Or feel free to use your favorite dry rub instead.

BBQ sauce: I used a basic BBQ sauce (see recipe card) to finish them off, but you can try a glaze with an Asian flair, a peppercorn sauce or a wine reduction. Here’s a great red wine sauce I use sometimes. To simplify, use your favorite bottled bbq sauce.

Time and temperature

I cook the short ribs at 135F/57.2C for 48 hours. This low temperature results in a medium rare-ish temperature.

For a medium to medium-well doneness, try 140F-144F (60-62C) for 48 hours. And for well done, use 155F/68C – same time.

You will have to experiment to find your sweet spot.

Step by step instructions

short ribs vacuumed sealed in plastic bag
Vacuum the seasoned short ribs in a vacuum bag (or put them in a ziploc bag) with a splash of soy if you like.
sous vide cooked short ribs on plate
Sous vide ribs for 48 hours at 135F/57C.  Remove them from the bag and pat dry with a paper towel.
sous vide cooked ribs with bbq sauce on pan before final grilling.
Make BBQ sauce (or use your fave) and brush it on the cooked beef short ribs. Broil or grill for a minute per side to brown. Brush on or pass additional sauce to serve. 
finished sous vide short ribs on plate
two cut open boneless beef short ribs

Shortcut

Use a good bottled BBQ sauce or glaze to finish off the boneless ribs. You can even brush the meat with it before adding it to the ziploc bag.

What to serve with sous vide short ribs

I love to serve these ribs with mashed potatoes, curried rice with raisinsgrilled coleslaw (no mayo) or grilled corn salad.

And something green like microwave green beans or healthy creamed spinach. Actually, almost anything goes.

Make Ahead 

I’m pretty sure 48 hours qualifies for make ahead!

  • A few days ahead: Cook short ribs well ahead, cool them down then refrigerate them for up to 4-5 days. To reheat, if thick, drop them into a sous vide bath 10 degrees less than you cooked them for about 30 minutes. Slather the boneless beef ribs with the sauce and broil or grill them for a minute or so on each side. If thin, skip the retherming with sous vide and just grill or broil them. 
  • The BBQ sauce can also be made several days or more ahead.
  • Store leftover short ribs in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge or cool and freeze them.

Recipe FAQs

Can I sous vide my beef short ribs from frozen?

Absolutely. Since the cook time is so long, there is no need to adjust the time.

What equipment do I need for cook sous vide short ribs?

You will need a sous vide machine – either an oven type or the more common sous vide immersion circulator, a sous vide bag or ziploc bag, a large plastic container and, for long cooks like short ribs, a lid (or aluminum foil) to avoid water evaporation. For finishing, use a grill, cast iron pan or broiler. Some people also use a torch to brown the meat.

cut open sous vide short rib boneless beef.

Other sous vide beef recipes

And be sure to check out our best sous vide recipes and tips.

beef short ribs sliced over mashed potatoes
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4.90 from 28 votes

Sous Vide Short Ribs (Boneless Beef)

If you own a sous vide machine or are planning to get one, do not miss these boneless beef Sous Vide Short Ribs. Beyond easy and mouth watering! Definitely worth the 48 hour cook time.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 d
Total Time2 d 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • sous vide immersion circulator (or oven-type machine)
  • large plastic container or pot

Ingredients

  • 3.5 pound boneless beef short ribs, about 1 inch/2.5 cm thick Costco has good ones. You can also use frozen short ribs which will take the same time and temperature.
  • seasonings (salt, black pepper, garlic powder)

BBQ Sauce, Note 1

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (optional) or a bit of hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • PREPARE THE SOUS VIDE BATH: Fill water in the sous vide container as per manufacturers instructions (not too high). I use hot tap water to make the heating up go faster. Set temperature to 135F/57.2 (for medium to medium-rare) and allow sous vide water bath to heat to that temperature. Note 2 for other temps.
  • PREPARE THE BEEF SHORT RIBS: Generously season both sides of the boneless ribs with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Fold back top of sous vide bags about 1 inch/2.5 cm to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Insert up to 3 boneless ribs per bag, ensuring no overlap. Unfold the flap and vacuum seal the bag using a vacuum sealer. Note 2 for water displacement method with ziploc bag.
  • SOUS VIDE SHORT RIBS: When temperature of water bath reaches 135F/57.2C, submerge vacuum sealed bags with boneless ribs into water. Cover with lid or aluminum foil (to reduce water evaporation) and cook for 48 hours (that's right, 48 hours, give or take an hour or two). Rest meat for 10 minutes before finishing.
  • MAKE THE BBQ SAUCE: Add all BBQ sauce ingredients into small saucepan and heat to medium low. Stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes. The sauce can be made several days ahead. Alternatively, use your favorite bottled BBQ sauce.
  • FINISH RIBS: Remove boneless beef ribs from bags and pat dry with paper towels. Discard accumulated juices from bags. Brush short ribs generously with sauce on both sides.
    TO GRILL: Heat gas grill to high. Lightly spray ribs with oil to avoid sticking to grill. Grill ribs for 1-2 minutes per side until you see grill marks or until sauce is bubbly and ribs are nicely glazed.
    TO BROIL: Broil close to heat source for 1-2 minutes per side until bubbly and nicely glazed. Serve with remaining sauce. They are great served over mashed potatoes.

Notes

  1. BBQ sauce alternative: Feel free to use your own bbq sauce, a bottled one or other glazes such as teriyaki. 
  2. For medium or well done meat: For a medium to medium-well doneness, try 140F-144F (60-62C) for 48 hours. And for well done, use 155F/68C – same time. 
  3. For water displacement method using zipper lock bag: Place boneless ribs in ziploc bag and zip up part way only. When water reaches correct temperature, slowly lower bag into water. This will push air out (water displacement method). When top of bag is just above water line, zip it shut. Submerge bag. Cover container with lid or foil to avoid evaporation. 
  4. Make Ahead
    • A few days ahead: Cook short ribs well ahead, cool them down then refrigerate them for up to 4-5 days. To reheat, if thick, drop them into a sous vide bath 10 degrees less than you cooked them for about 30 minutes. Slather the boneless beef ribs with the sauce and broil or grill them for a minute or so on each side. If thin, skip the retherming with sous vide and just grill or broil them. 
    • The BBQ sauce can also be made several days or more ahead.
    • Store leftover short ribs in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge or cool and freeze them. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates. 

Nutrition

Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 458IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

This recipe, now updated, was originally posted in 2017. 

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22 Comments

  1. 135? Is this going to be rare? My wife won’t eat meat that is too red. Should I raise the temperature at bit? I really want to try this recipe.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Dustin. 135f will be medium rare. Like you see in the pictures. If that’s too rare for your wife, increase the temperature to 140-142f. Hope that works for her. It will still be great.

  2. Cheryl, I haven’t cooked them yet, but am checking the comments first. In one comment, you say, “Before marinating, I cut them in half horizontally to make them 8-10 inches long, 2-3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. After searing and glazing, I slice the meat.” I see salt and pepper, but no marinating in your recipe.

    1. Hi Janelle. The comment you noted is for the Korean-style ribs (which are marinated), but you are commenting on the sous vide boneless beef ribs with BBQ sauce which , as you say, aren’t marinated. I hope that clears up the confusion.

  3. Ok. I’m new to this. Why does one recipe say 4 hrs and yours says 48. I have a plastic sous vide container. I’m worried about it getting too hot even though I know the temp is constant. 🤷‍♀️

    1. Hi Joyce. Short ribs is a tougher cut of meat so it needs a long time to break down the connective tissue with sous vide. I’d be very skeptical of a 4 hour recipe at 135f with sous vide.

      I don’t think you need to be worried about your container if it’s a durable plastic as the temperature is not that high. Or you can use a large soup pot if you have one. I hope that helps.

  4. The photo shows individual slices of beef, but my Costco only sells “boneless short ribs” in larger slabs. Should I slice them first before putting in sous vide bath? Note: I use sous vide a lot and love it, and I’ve done short ribs that way before to great results, but I think there’s some question even among experts exactly what cut of beef Costco is selling as “boneless short ribs.” Mainly I grind it for hamburgers, and they’re excellent.

    1. Hi John. Thanks for your note. The final pictures are sliced. I also buy the larger slabs of boneless short ribs at Costco. I assume they are the same cut. About 8-10 inches long, 2-3 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Is that what you have?

      Before marinating, I cut them in half horizontally to make them 8-10 inches long, 2-3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. After searing and glazing, I slice the meat.

      I and others have had great results with this cut and this recipe. I use the same cut (without cutting them thinner) in our https://twokooksinthekitchen.com/sous-vide-bbq-boneless-beef-short-ribs/ which is a little easier as there is no marinating. You use a bbq sauce at the end instead. I hope that helps.

      It sounds like you know what you’re doing with sous vide cooking. As you know, you have to experiment. Hope the recipe works for you. Qqqq

  5. Just trying the boneless ribs with my sous vide for the first time, only half way through cooking can’t wait, will let you know how it goes Al.

  6. Why does this and every other sous vide recipe say to wait until the water reaches the desired temperature before adding the item to be cooked? One of the great things about sous vide cooking is not being tied to cooking time. It won’t take very long for the water temp to get to the proper level with or without the meat in the pot.

    1. Im so used to preheating an oven or grill that I didn’t think twice about it. And as you said, many of the new sous vide circulators don’t take very long to heat up. Interesting point,though, so I read up on it.

      In cases where the heating time is pretty short and the cooking temperatures long, you’re right, it probably isn’t all that necessary to wait for the preheat.

      The key issue is safety. Bacteria will grow quickly in temperatures under 130F so you don’t want meat sitting in a lower temperature for any length of time waiting to heat up. Another instance is when you require very precise timing like for sous vide eggs.

      One thing I do is start with warm to hot water out of the tap to speed up the time it takes to heat the water. Hope that helps.

    2. Less wear and tear on the heating element of the circulator resulting in longer life,start with hot tap h2o.

      1. Agree. I do that all the time. I note it on some sous vide recipes. But missed this one. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Sounds great ,I’ll be trying this soon… One thing though, my experience has been that a ziploc bag may not hold for a 48 hour cooking time (starts to leak). May want to consider a heavier duty product for that time period.

    1. You should be fine with a ziploc as long as the temperature is under 158F. I use the heavier freezer bags. The short ribs are cooked at 135F so good to go. If you’re worried, though, you can try double bagging the short ribs. Hope you enjoy them!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been eyeing the boneless short ribs at Costco for several month now. I’m so glad I decided to grab that package and give this recipe a try. They were perfectly cooked. My husband was shocked that one would cook something for 48 hours but he is now a big fan!

    At the end I flashed them in an ice bath then refrigerated. Later that night I brought them to room temperature then glazed with BBQ lightly and broiled them briefly. I served them with green beans and mashed potatoes. Absolutely delicious.

    What a great recipe for entertaining since you can do so much in advance!

    1. They do take a bit of time but so worth it I agree. And great for entertaining as you mentioned. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

  9. 5 stars
    very good, next time I will add Montreal steak seasoning, 1 spring of rosemary, 3 sprigs of thyme, thanks.

  10. OK, I’m already going to have children with whoever invented sous vide cooking. We all know this. I’m pretty sure it’s a guy, but you can’t stop true love.

    Now the boneless short rib results:
    – 48 hours at 130F (using Costco meat, liberally salted/peppered) in large Ziplock bags
    – Drained liquid and rubbed meat with Stubb’s original BBQ sauce
    – 6 minutes on the very hot gas grill, every side gets marked
    – Served immediately without slicing (I just can’t let meat cool off), good coleslaw on the side. Outstanding medium rare color inside, very moist.

    My wife and I were stunned at how delicious this recipe turned out. The taste and texture of the meat rivaled the very best steak we’ve ever had, anywhere! I’ll scale up the recipe and invite a crew over next time, but this batch is only for us.

    Thanks for sharing your easy approach to cooking! I like your style!

    1. Wow. What a lovely comment. And such an articulate compelling description! My mouth is watering. You’ve made me want to rush out to buy the meat to make the boneless ribs tomorrow! Thanks!