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This started out as a 48 hour experiment but I wasn’t hungry last night, even though this is a pretty small rack of ribs. So I left them in the hot water bath for another 18 hours until lunch today! This speaks to a benefit of sous vide: With most foods, when you’re cooking up near the safety of 60˚C, you have a wide window in which to finish off and serve up a meal — still cooked to perfection.

sous vide 60hr ribs at 60C served

This started out as a rack of Wild by Nature’s vegetarian fed pork ribs, cut into sections of four ribs each, rubbed in garlic salt and oregano (to give them a Pernil favor) then vacuum sealed in bags and frozen. A couple of days before they were to be served I set the water bath to 59˚C and primed it with warm water from the kitchen faucet, tucked a bag of frozen ribs into a rack to keep them submerged and covered the water with bubble wrap to reduce evaporation and retain heat. Forty-eight hours later they would have been ready, probably even after twenty-four. At these long cooking times all connective tissue collagen dissolves into a savory gelatin.

To finish them off they were patted dry with layers of paper towel, split into pairs of ribs, lightly brushed with almond oil and then broiled on the top rack of the oven — two minutes on the boney side and four minutes on the meaty side to an almost crisp brown, the yummy result of the Maillard reaction. The final internal temperature reaching to just over 76˚C which is medium doneness for pork.

 

A poached rack of ribs doesn’t look appetizing. Here patted dry, ready to be split, oiled and roasted …

sous vide 60hr ribs at 59C poached

A light brush with oil makes the ribs presentable. If you were to serve sous vide to your guests I would keep the meat out of sight until you’ve dried it off and oiled it up. When cut through you can get a sense of how pink and moist the ribs look inside after they come out of the bath and just before they go into a hot oven oven to brown …

sous vide 60hr ribs at 59C pink cut

After a brief broiling they look oven roasted and ready to serve …

sous vide 60hr ribs at 59C roasted

… on a bed of steamed spinach, broccoli and beans with a side salad of diced avocado in balsamic vinegar (as seen in the lead photo). Yum!

 

My personal preference for ribs are that they should have texture and fight back a little when eaten off the bone. I’m not much into pulled pork nor meat that falls off the bone, so I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy these ribs, but rather to prove the point that they cook up perfectly to a soft, juicy, medium done pink. That they did and they were delicious. The meat did not fall off the rib but there was no resistance to the bite nor when pulling cleanly away from the bone. I have never had such tender ribs before sous vide.

Note to self: This is the perfect doneness of pork for a Pernil sandwich, perhaps a small pork shoulder off the bone, sliced into thick juicy rounds for a lunch out on the deck this Spring?

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