Sous Vide Ribs

Sous vide ribs recipe

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 36 hrs 20 mins
Total: 36 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 2
Yield: 1 rack

Sous vide ribs are impossibly tender, succulent, and even smoky, all without ever using your smoker. Sous vide is the practice of cooking in a water bath at a precise temperature using an immersion circulator. Maintaining the temperature prevents overcooking. It works extremely well for meat in general, but ribs in particular. Cooking them at the same temperature for a longer period of time helps to make them juicy and tender.

The longer you cook the ribs, the more the meat will begin to break down. When sous vide cooking most meats, you don't want them to cook for too long in the water bath because it changes the texture of the meat. However, sous vide is ideal for ribs, because you want to change their texture in order to make them as succulent as possible. 

The ribs receive a dry rub of garlic and spices before cooking. Once the process of cooking them sous vide is complete, the ribs are finished in the oven, or on the grill quickly to get a nice crust, color, and flavor. Then serve them as is, or with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 rack pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients.

    Sous vide rib ingredients

    The Spruce

  2. Prepare the ribs by removing the white membrane from the back and cutting the flap meat off with a sharp knife.

    Ribs trimmed on a baking sheet

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  3. Cut the ribs in half so you have 2 half racks.

    Rack of ribs cut in half

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  4. Stir together the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Divide in half.

    Mixture of spices for ribs

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  5. Rub the ribs with one half of the spice mixture.

    Ribs rubbed with spice mixture

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  6. Place the ribs in a freezer plastic bag, or two, if they do not fit side by side in one. Remove most of the air. Before sealing it completely, leave a corner open and drop in the teaspoon of liquid smoke through this small opening.

    ribs in a plastic bag
  7. Place the immersion circulator in a large pot of water and heat to 150 to 155 F.  Submerge the bag into the water until the pressure of the water removes the rest of the air in the bag. Carefully seal the unsealed corner and completely submerge the bag in the water. Cook for 24 to 36 hours.

    Ribs in a sous vide machine

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  8. Heat your oven to 350 F. Remove the bag from the water and remove the ribs from the bag. Using paper towels, pat them until they are completely dry.

    dried sous vide ribs

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  9. Add the remaining spice mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are dry to the touch and have formed a nice crust.

    Ribs finished in the oven

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  10. Brush with barbecue sauce and serve. 

    Ribs brushed with barbecue sauce

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Recipe Tips

  • You can cook them at a lower temperature (145 F) if the ribs are on the thinner side or if you would like them to be even more tender. 
  • If you like a rib that has a bit more chew to it and is meatier, you can cook it at 160 F. 
  • Make sure there is enough water in the pot before you leave it overnight. The water will cook off (slower than boiling, but it will still happen). If you do not, the machine may shut off (depending on your model).

Grill Version

Heat your grill on medium-high heat. Grease the grill with a bit of oil. Add the ribs with the remaining spice mixture to the grill, bone side down, and the lid closed. Grill them for 10 minutes or until they are dry and have a nice sear to them.