Pork Ribs – Sous Vide & Smoke

For the last 30 years or so Drunken Ribs has been my “go to” for ribs to serve family and friends. Typically these are “baby backs”. Meat prices have been crazy this last year. However, pork prices are now coming back to earth and I picked up a rack of pork spare ribs an special ($2.99/lb). While not as good of a price as some of the my Canadian friends have been seeing with $.79-.99 / lb (Canadian dollars) for pork shoulders recently, it was still a good buy.

Every so often, I stray from the tried and true rib recipe. Until now, the overall response from my family has been: “Why mess with perfection? Just give us Drunken Ribs.” However, today’s experiment is likely to take over as the favorite. It hits all of the high points (for us): fall off the bone tender, juicy and a bit smoky, firm enough to pick up, and nicely caramelized sauce. I used the recipe from Serious Eats for the time and temp starting point.

Preparation

Trim excess fat and cut into 3-6 rib sections

Sprinkle moderately with seasoning – I used Butcher and Packer’s “Barbque Rub and Seasoning” blend It is a mild blend – not too hot to appease Teal.

Vacuum bag the rib sections. These can be 2 layers thick due to the long cooking time

Immerse the bags at 153F for 28 hours (noon until 4PM the next day). Cover the container with a hard lid or plastic wrap as there will otherwise be a lot of evaporation (especially in the dry Wisconsin winter). I had previously CNC routed an acrylic lid to fit our favorite pot for Sous Vide cooking which works great for the long sous vide cooking times to hold down the evaporation.

Smoking

Pull the packs at 4 when starting the grill / smoker. I use lump hardwood charcoal and 3-4 handfuls of mixed hardwood pellets sprinkled on top near where I am starting the fire in the BGE (Big Green Egg). I really like the Traeger Signature pellet mix which has Cherry, Hickory and Maple. I used 4 handfuls around the area where I started the fire. Yes, this is the lazy man’s way to smoke, but I did not feel like chipping wood out of the pile, from under the layer of snow and ice.

The up the for indirect heat. Add the meat at about 200F. Be careful not to overshoot the target temp for the smoker. Slather with your favorite barbeque sauce. I am partial to Sweet Baby Ray’s Original. Close it up and let the temp rise to ~300F. Flip and re-slather at 25 minutes. Smoke for a total of 75-90 min. This should have the meat firmed up a bit, the sauce, caramelized a bit and everything just plain delicious.

Ribs ready!

Pull and serve. Our choice of sides tonight was baby hasselback potatoes and peas with bacon and onions.

Sources:

Serious Eats http://Serious Eats https://www.seriouseats.com/sous-vide-pork-ribs-recipe-food-lab

Butcher and Packer – butcher-packer.com I use Butcher and Packer for many of my meat processing supplies. The spice blends and spice prices are really hard to beat. They have a great selection of supplies for charcuterie and ship quickly.