At Mara Lake, we each cook dinner one night: Sous Vide Short Ribs was our offering.
I am hooked on my water oven. The plastic bags are biodegradable. There is no better way to prepare meat and it is impossible to explain unless you have tried it as you will have no frame of reference for understanding the effect of sous vide cooking on the texture and flavour of the meat or vegetables cooked in the water bath.
Short ribs are more difficult to get the sensation one experiences with seafood, ribs, steak, eggs, asparagus and more cooked in the sous vide oven. There is a lot of chatter about the best temperature and length of time to get the meat to fall of the bone and no one has accomplished that with the short rib, yet. However, the meat is perfectly cooked, tender, flavourful and scrumptious. And, this was the perfect process to use to prepare a meal while away from home for a hungry crowd effortlessly.
I confess, the photo above is the meal we had with the left over ribs after we came home. The meal I served while away was a flurry of flying fork festivities, so the photos are few. I served them on the platter below, after Vanja finished them on the grill to add that charred flavour and texture. A coconut rice and the retro Seven Layer Salad were the accompaniments. Home, the rice was accompanied with our gorgeous Heirloom Tomato Salad Plate.
The meat was pink in the centre and the gelatinous flavour-packed fat melted into the meat and imparted that yummy umami lip-smackin’ flavour that just hit the spot.
The meat traveled perfectly in the cooler in the plastic bags. Out of the bags, below and ready for the grill, I had not yet marinated them in the Asian marinating barbecue sauce. I was prepared to feed 13 hungry teens and adults and expected the platter to be inhaled. once grilled.
I had prepared the sauce at home and packed it along for the ride. It is a pretty basic mix of garlic, brown sugar and soy. I considered adding ginger and have added it to the recipe as it would be perfect with a sparkle of fresh ginger.
You will see below that I reserved the juices in the pot on the top right. I cooked them until they had reduced to about one third in volume and then threw it out. Not good. I used the large jar of marinade and poured it over the ribs about 45 minutes before they hit the grill, turning them about every 15 minutes to ensure all sides were attended to.
You can see how easy the ribs were to prepare once we had arrived. I prepare my main in the Sous Vide oven at home, often, but this was our first time traveling with a crowd and it was the perfect solution for zero on site effort to produce a great dinner.
The Dry Rub
A 15 pound package of gorgeous Hutterite Colony grassfed short ribs from Ben’s.
Dry the ribs with paper towel first, then press the meat into the dry rub; once all are covered, press into the dry rub a second time.
Vacuum pack the ribs.
Have the water bath filled and pre-heated to 142°F and once the water returns to that temperature, time the cook for 48 hours.
Don’t forget to have the sink filled with ice and ice water to cool the packages immediately.
Mike and Colleen have come to the White Pines Resort at Mara Lake for the past 11 years with their family and friends. One time, there were as many as 40 of them together. This time, after years of them generously extending the invitation to us, we went, and there were three families this time… which was lovely for us. It was one of the best holidays Vanja has ever had. We usually don’t relax on vacation. We are up at dawn, scouting out the country or city and actively engaged until we drop each day. We never get to spend enough time with Mike and Colleen and their incredible circle of friends, so we made the time, and are now hooked. They stay on the beach front. The rest of us book what is available. Everyone lines up on the beach around 10 am… coffee earlier for those that do that, and then a day filled with sandy summery fun. Appetizers at 4 or 5. (Those posts to come.) Dinner at 7. Fire on the beach when it is dark. Lots of giggles. Lots of reading. Counting my blessings as we are so lucky to have such incredible friends. Below, Vanja and Colleen face off!
After relaxing in the summer sun like this, a good home cooked meal is always welcome. Somehow, eating out at the cottage is simple blasphemy.
Sous Vide Short Ribs with Asian Style Rub and BBQ Sauce
Ingredients for the Ribs:
- 15 pounds (2.3 kg) short ribs trimmed of excess fat
- 1 recipe Dry Rub (follows)
- 1 recipe Barbecue Sauce or Marinade (follows)
- 2 or 3 green onions , chopped for garnish
- toasted sesame seeds
Ingredients for the Dry Rub (mix together):
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoon Spanish paprika
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
Ingredients for the Barbecue Marinade or Sauce (mix together):
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup apple juice
- 11/2 cup (160 g) chopped garlic (to taste)
- one bunch green onions , slivered
- toasted sesame seeds
Instructions for the Sous Vide Cooking:
Prepare ribs by drying them with a paper towel before dipping into the dry rub
Rub each short rib with the dry rub mixture or dip each side into it, until completely covered; repeat once until all are done
Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (optional)
When ready to cook, fill the SousVide with water and preheat to 142F/61C
Put the ribs into large (gallon/3.8 liter) cooking pouches and vacuum seal; place in the water oven, fully submerged
Cook for 48 hours, maintaining temperature
Prepare ice bath if not serving ribs immediately; submerge packages in bath when time is up to cool quickly
Freeze, or refrigerate until ready to grill
Instructions for Grilling the Ribs:
If ribs are chilled or frozen, thaw
Remove from pouches (I don't reserve the juices)
Brush or marinate ribs (for 30 minutes to one hour) with Barbecue Sauce, and sear on hot grill for about 1 minute per side, until grilled to personal preference
Arrange short ribs on a platter and garnish; serve with coconut rice and a salad