Go Back
+ servings
sous vide back ribs cut up on cutting board f
Print Recipe Pin
4.83 from 34 votes

Sous Vide Ribs

Sous vide ribs take a lot more time compared to traditional methods of cooking ribs. They are succulent, tender and melt-in-your-mouth. But are they worth it? Is the difference in taste and texture noticeable? 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time18 hrs 10 mins
Total Time18 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 2 generous portions
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (0.91kg) baby back ribs or St Louis-style ribs 1 rack of ribs

Rub

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH - garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder

BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (118ml) ketchup
  • 1/3 cup (75g) brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • PREPARE SOUS VIDE WATER BATH: Fill water in a large pot or container about 3/4 to the top. I use hot water from the tap to shorten the heating process. Set the temperature on the immersion circulator to 150F/65.6C and allow water to heat to that temperature. Note 1 for other sous vide times and temperatures.
  • MAKE RUB: Add all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well to combine. Shortcut: Buy a good rib rub.
  • PREPARE BACK RIBS: Remove the silver skin (white membrane) on the back of the ribs by sliding the tip of a knife under the skin at the small end of the rack. Loosen the skin from the bone, then grab it with a paper towel and peel the skin off the entire rib. With any luck, it should peel away in one large sheet. Here's a video on how to remove silver skin from ribs.
    Cut the rack horizontally into 2-3 pieces. Generously season each piece on both sides with rub. For vacuum seal: Fold back top of vacuum seal bag about an inch to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Place ribs in bag - as many rib portions per bag that will fit in a single layer, ensuring no overlap. Unfold the flap and vacuum bag using a vacuum sealer. Note 2 for displacement method with ziploc bag.
  • COOK RIBS SOUS VIDE: When the temperature of the water bath reaches 150F/65.6C, submerge the bag with the ribs into the sous vide bath. Cover and cook for 15-20 hours. (Note 1 for alternative times and temp)
  • MAKE BBQ SAUCE: Combine all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Shortcut: use a good bottled BBQ sauce.
  • FINISH RIBS: Remove ribs from water bath. (Ribs can be cooled, then refrigerated at this point to be finished in the next 2 days). Remove ribs from the bags. Discard juices.
    To Grill: Clean and oil grill. Heat grill to medium-high. Brush sauce on both sides of ribs. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, adding more sauce as you turn them.
    To Broil: Line a pan with aluminum foil. Heat broiler and place oven grill 6 inches from the top of the oven/broiler. Place ribs (meaty side down) on the pan and brush with sauce. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Turn ribs over. Brush sauce on top of ribs. Broil for another 2-3 minutes. Spread any remaining sauce on top of BBQ ribs. Cut into serving pieces and serve.

Notes

  1. Temperatures and Times for ribs - options 
    • 145F/62.8C for 36 hours - very moist, tender, succulent (but long!)
    • 150F/65.6C for 15-20 hours -  moist, soft, very tender ribs
    • 155F/68.3C for 12-18 hours - fairly most, very tender and soft
    • 165F/73.9C for 8-12 hours - more traditional, easily flakes off the bone, not quite as moist
  2. Alternative to vacuum seal bag: Instead of vacuum sealing, use the displacement method. Place ribs in a ziploc bag, lower into water bath until seal of bag is just above water line (air will be pushed out), then seal the bag. You want to get air out of the bag so it doesn't float. 
  3. Make Ahead:
    • The ribs can be made ahead up to the point of saucing and grilling/broiling. You have a window of an extra couple of hours in the water bath if you like.
    • To make them a day or two ahead, chill the cooked ribs in the bag(s) in an ice water bath to cool them down quickly, then refrigerate. Continue recipe with saucing on the grill or broiler before serving. 
    • To freeze: Place bag of ribs after sous vide into ice water to cool down. Remove juices from bag and reseal (or transfer to another airtight bag or container). Freeze ribs for up to 3 months. To retherm (rewarm), place them in a water bath at 150F/65.6C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then pat dry and continue with grilling or broiling steps. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on very generous portions of ribs and sauce. The salt and other values will be a bit lower as you are discarding the juices from the bag once the sous vide process is complete. 
Calories: 947kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 4545mg | Potassium: 1302mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 4152IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 222mg | Iron: 6mg