This sous vide beef short rib recipe is by far one of the tastiest beef short rib recipes. The meat is moist and fabulously tender with a perfect chew. There is a lot of flavor coming from the rub alone, but the smoke adds a ton of extra flavor. That beautiful bark is super tasty. Some fat renders out during the final step of cooking, adding even more flavor. You can’t have enough of these beef ribs.
You could say that this recipe is a sibling of my traditionally smoked beef short ribs, only here the ribs spend 72 hours in a sous vide bath for the ultimate tenderness, followed by 2-3 hours in the smoker for the ultimate flavor. Surely, you could just use some liquid smoke and avoid smoking altogether, but it won't be the same. You won't get the same flavor, and you won't get that delicious bark.
The beauty of sous vide cooking is that it makes the meat super tender, it's fuss-free, there is no risk of overcooking and drying out the meat, and you are not dependent on weather. You can even prepare the ribs ahead a day or two and keep them in the fridge, then finish them at your convenience. You don't get that flexibility with traditional smoking.
One thing I am always concerned about when cooking sous vide is the temperature. It took me a while to figure out the optimal temperature for cooking beef short ribs. I cook chicken breasts sous vide, one of my favorite ways to cook chicken breasts, at 148F. I am very comfortable with that temperature and I get outstanding results.
But what about beef? Most recipes seem to suggest cooking below 140F, in the so-called 'danger zone'. Well, there is no need to fear. As Cooks Illustrated pointed out, "with enough time, most food pathogens are killed at 130°F/54.5°C, according to the FDA". The same principle applies here as it does to cooking chicken at 148F instead of the commonly recommended 165F. It's not just about the temperature, it's also about the time the meat spends at this temperature.
So I came up with the optimal temperature of 136F for cooking beef shorts ribs. It's safe, given the 72 hour cooking time, and the meat comes out perfectly medium-rare.
You can vary the seasoning mix in this recipe and use what you like. Plain salt and pepper will do just fine for a bare minimum. I like adding some granulated onion and garlic too, they add nice savory notes. Given the richness of beef short rib meat, I slather it with hot sauce before applying the rub. This works great for helping to balance out the richness of the meat.
Looking for more great beef short rib recipes? Check these out:
Smoked Beef Short Ribs
Slow cooker beef short ribs
- 1 4-rib rack beef plate short ribs about 6 lbs
- 2 Tbsp hot sauce
- 3 Tbsp kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp black pepper coarsely ground
- 2 Tbsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp granulated onion or onion powder
- Heat water in your sous vide bath to 136F.
- Prepare the ribs by removing the membrane and trimming off excess fat. Season with salt and place in a vacuum-sealable bag, or a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag in a vacuum sealer or remove the air using water displacement method and seal the bag. You can cut the rack in half as that will make it easier to fit into smaller vacuum-sealable bags.
- Place the bag(s) in the preheated sous vide water bath making sure that every part of the meat is underwater. Cook at 136F for 72 hours. Cover the water bath to reduce evaporation and keep adding water as needed.
- Remove the bag(s) from the water bath. Cut open and carefully transfer the ribs to a platter and let cool down for 30 minutes. Gently pat dry with paper towels.
- At this point, either refrigerate until ready to finish, or proceed to the finishing step.
- Preheat the smoker to about 200F - 225F. Add a water pan.
- Mix the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl and set aside.
- Slather the ribs with the hot sauce, then apply the rub, very evenly.
- Smoke the ribs, meat side up, for about 2-3 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the smoker and let rest for 30 minutes. Then slice and serve with pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions and Southern potato salad.
- If serving later, let the ribs rest room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes, then place in a cooler box. It will take about 2-3 hours before the ribs reach 145F internal temperature, longer if you preheat the cooler with hot water.
I am doing these the day before I plan to smoke them. After 72 hours in Sous-Vide, is there any reason I need to take the ribs out of the vac seal package and rest for 30 minutes before putting in the fridge? (And, are you recommending putting them into the fridge open air? covered?
Is there any reason why I shouldn't just take the bags out of the sous vide water after 72 hours, and just pop them in the fridge over night without opening up the bags?
Victor @ Taste of Artisan
Nik, I let them rest 30 minutes at room temp to cool down a little before refrigerating, I don't want them to bring the fridge temp down too much. Generally, it's not a good idea to put hot food in a fridge. The reason I take mine out of the bag, pat dry and then refrigerate is for the meat to develop a pellicle - a sticky skin - which helps the smoke adhear to the meat easily. Smoke doesn't stick to wet surfaces too well. Is this required? No. You can do it the way you described and it will be fine. Over time in the smoker the skin will dry out and the smoke will adhear better. It's also a good idea to bring the meat to room temp before smoking or warm up the meat in the smoker without smoke and only then apply smoke. This would be the optimal way but, again, not strictly required. Good luck!
Interesting.... I've often read that smoke tends to adhere to meat better with colder, moist surfaces. In fact, that's literally the reason why I wanted to put meat in fridge overnight... so it would be colder for longer on the smoker. I've even see some people flash freeze the meat for a little bit before putting on the smoker.
Also, if you want the surface to be more dry, wouldn't slathering the hot sauce be the opposite of that?
content that mentions Cold & Wet/moist meat for smoking:
Victor @ Taste of Artisan
Cold meat in warm/hot smoker environment will sweat and smoke particles won't adhere to the surface of meat. That's why you will see Polish commercial smoked sausage recipes have a step for hanging sausage at room temp for a few hours and/or dry the sausage in the smoker at 110F - 120F for 30-60 min BEFORE applying smoke. Look up the term pellicle as it applies to meat/fish and how its formed, and it's benefit for smoking.
These look good! I'm 24 into my 72 hour Sous Vide on these at 136 deg. I've never tried Sous Vide Beef Ribs.
From your picture, there is less rendered fat than I'm used to on my Brisket &/or Beef Ribs.
Any thoughts on getting amazing Sous Vide Beef ribs with more rendered fat? I plan to finish the 72 hours at like midnight, and then put in the Fridge overnight to cool down the beef ribs, letting me put in on the smoker for longer, for better bark, and possibly more Fat Render. Thoughts?
Victor @ Taste of Artisan
Thank you. Yeah, that's the thing with sous vide shor ribs... you won't render much fat at that temp compared to traditionally smoked beef ribs - so I would accomplish that in the smoker. The approach that you described will work fine, many restaurants do that. The higher the smoker temp the more fat will render. Fat behind to render at around 150F and accelerates the higher the temp gets. Good luck.